I'm talking to my friends about babies. Or, more precisely, we are chatting via internet, video chatting. So I guess talking, yes, but in that specific, slightly choreographed way where you have to accurately time your comments so the algorithm correctly assigns focus to the current speaker, and so you're not all trying to speak at once.
"Let me ask you something, guys," M says. Adding, in a hushed tone, "Confidentially. Because I feel I can speak freely with you two."
"Does it ever occur to you that the decision to have children is, well, crazy?"
A slight beat, but more or less quickly I respond, "Oh, of course. Completely bonkers." I wait another beat to see if C wants to chime in and then continue, "How do you bring another human into this world?"
"It just seems really irresponsible. Not to say a bit cruel."
"Like not even just right now, but ever."
"But, you know, someone has to right? To keep the species going and all." C is the empathetic one.
"I guess technically not."
"The world will be just fine without us."
"Let's ignore for the moment that they take over your life."
"They become your life."
"And they're not even that great! Babies are assholes, psychopaths."
"And babies become teenagers."
"And look at what adults get up to. Who wants to be responsible for unleashing that on the world?"
"And the world on them?"
"A lot of people do seem to like children though."
"Babies are like New York: fun to visit occasionally."
"Are we terrible?"
"Probably. But that just kind of proves my point."
"Was the point that people are terrible or that the world is?"
"Yeah, is the argument against babies that they shouldn't be inflicted upon the world or that the world shouldn't be inflicted upon them?"
"Both?" I pause. "Obviously, a lot of things would have to happen in my life first before reaching the choosing-to-have-a-kid-in-it stage anyway."
"I'd need to have one soon, if I ever am."
"There's always adoption. I understand adoption."
"Oh, yeah, totally."
"The world is hard enough with parents. Give those poor kids a break."
"Yeah, that's really a-grade taking one for the team there, adoption is."
"Not going to do it, though."
"No way! Way too involved with just, like, trying to figure out what's for lunch or whatever to be responsible for another human person. Parents need to teach their kids how to be in the world. And what do I know of it? More than forty years I've been here and the world is still totally bewildering to me. Which can be exciting, but not when you need to usher a child into it."
"Certainly couldn't see us doing it now. Visiting relatives with kids is enough. I don't know even know how to talk to kids; I just try to treat them like adults. And that sometimes works."
"I've seen some people I sorta know that are either pregnant or just had a baby posting things on Instagram right now. I feel really bad for them. Very bad timing."
"Not at all a good time to have to go to a hospital -- even if they are, no doubt, in a totally separate part of the building from anyone that is sick."
"You read those stories about people who are taking care of babies or young kids and the parents are both sick. Living together in a tiny apartment or something. It just sounds terrible."
And, as with all other topics of conversation that eventually dead end into the current situation, it slowly burns itself out. And we move on to a discussion of the latest episode of Picard. Or what kind of protective gear we'll wear next time we need to go to the grocery store. Or whatever.