Without any doubt in my mind, the most nerve racking and most second guessing time of my life occurred in a movie theatre. I treated a certain nephew to the movie of his choice in 2012, and the planet of the apes, regardless of whether the original or the reboot, is one of those franchises where there is no middle ground of opinion; one loves it or hates it. As a child, around the age of the aforementioned nephew, I enjoyed it for the science fiction or fantasy aspect. As an adult, I understand the planet of the apes movies as an allegory of the social issues of the 1960s America, specifically, and modern America, generally.
Sometime during the showing, as was inevitable, he needed to go to the bathroom. Since keeping him in the theatre was a viable, although not a reasonable, option, I allowed him to go unattended. At that time, the theatre was a second run theatre, so there were only a dozen or so patrons.
For the Gentle Reader's benefit, I will list certain thoughts that occurred during my wait for his return. Firstly, ut is necessary to know that I have never been solely responsible for another human being for an extended time. Secondly, while one can have a laissez faire attitude towards pets, such as tarantulas and dachshunds, one cannot be nonchalant towards the safety and development of a fellow human.
After watching the nephew leave the theatre, I mentally tracked his progression through the lobby to the bathroom which was located to the north end of the southern theatre. I allowed sufficient mental time for the task at hand, even allowing time for the always promoted, but rarely observed, handwashing. During this time, I recall becoming more concerned by the moment, not for anything touching upon reality, but the dark imaginings of the mind.
Images of non descript white van coupled with “I lost my dog, Candy. Can you help me find her?” was not an unknown thought, and while I do not believe the naturally cautious nephew would not recognize the ruse or deception, young adults can be overpowered. Whether or not this was a reasonable expectation is beyond the scope of this essay. We only acknowledge the possibility, and that is enough.
It was at this time that I was close to leaving my seat and speedily going to the lobby, since from the double doors I could see the bathroom's entrance. It was at this time that I was willing to forgo any pretense of being discrete.
Of course, the nephew returned in due time and, we enjoyed the remainder of the presentation and we returned safely to his residence.
From this experience, I now know, although I long suspected, that I am not parental material, in the sense of a long term commitment for the welfare for another person. It is entirely possible that the trauma or discomfort I experienced was due entirely to my lack of control.
Perhaps control “freaks” do not make ideal parents.
Perhaps aware individuals know that they would not make good parents.
Perhaps some people know the most interactive role that can successfully perform is that of uncle, and even then, success is not always assured.
Since we now know that responsibility extending for a mind boggling two hours is too much for Yours Truly to endure, the idea of a successful long term relationship is also highly unlikely.
However, although not meeting the romantic ideals of our age, we can imagine marriage as a reward for loyalty. Of course, due to our calling, we would have little time left for relationships, once we exclude time for teaching, research and travel. We would have a concern for our children, or daughter, yet we would not be involved with their development or education. Regrettably, in the hierarchy of needs, relationships and rearing children are not in the top ten, that is, we are not driven to these superfluous externals.
In conclusion, we must find solace in the select roles that nature intended, and in the roles we have discovered.