Mommy Talks

Define misanthropy

Alex is very much into non-fiction these days. Danielle Steel, to be more precise, whose novels I never read although I did see the film version of “The Promise” when I was very young. As it turns out, based at least on the questions that Alex asks, some of Steel’s novels are set in interesting periods of American history. And when Alex comes across an unfamiliar word or event, she asks me to explain. The other night, it was McCarthyism and the assassination of the Kennedy brothers.

I answer and explain when I can — when I know the answers. Sometimes, I don’t. We were having lunch earlier and she asked me what “misanthropy” meant. I said I didn’t know. She was aghast. Wasn’t I the walking dictionary at home? No, I’m not. She just likes to think so because asking me is more convenient than hunting for her dictionary. So, I told her I didn’t know.

Speedy, on the other side of the table asked, “What was that?”

Me to Alex: “Ask Daddy. He might know.”

Alex looked at her father and repeated: “Misanthropy.”

Speedy (looking surprised that Alex didn’t know): “She’s a teacher. You know… Miss Anthropy…”

Alex’s face fell but Speedy went on explaining who Miss Anthropy was.

Alex rolled her eyes and twitched her lips.

Speedy guffawed, apparently very much amused at his own joke.

I raised an eyebrow and shook my head.

We have such interesting conversations during meal times.

Then, I went upstairs and checked my iMac’s dictionary. misanthropy

Now, I know.

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