Connoisseurs of misanthropy, rejoice, for I overheard a brilliant display on 71 bus.
I would say that our world-class misanthrope was probably younger than he looked, maybe 30-35, his prematurely receding hairline and tortoise shell eyeglasses adding years to his appearance. Caucasian, over six feet tall. His riding companion, also 30-35, was an Asian woman considerably shorter than he. She had related how her daughter was faring in kindergarten.
He asked, “So how expensive is this private school?”
She shook her head. “Totally expensive. We will probably have to send her to a public grade school.”
“You know, they just came out with a study. Raising a kid until 18 years old will cost the parents nearly $250,000, not counting college tuition.”
“I believe it. <Husband’s name redacted> and I spend a lot of time looking at the bills and wondering where.”
“So is the girl really worth it? I mean, what does she offer to justify her continued existence?”
“Of course she’s worth it, because she give us so much–wait, did you say ‘continued?!'”
“Well, come on, if she can’t justify the money you spend on her, maybe it’s time to cut your losses.”
“CUT OUR LOSSES??” She leaned away from him whilst tilting her head to him. “You don’t go on many dates, do you?”
“Me? Go on dates? With what? Humans?”
At which point, she finally realized that he had been teasing her during the entire conversation and they both had a good shared belly laugh. But dang, I have to give the man his due credit. As someone who uses Alceste’s “I include all men in one dim view” speech from Moliere’s Le Misanthrope (Richard Wilbur translation) as an audition piece, this guy did misanthropy as well as one of the greatest playwrights in history.
Vonn Scott Bair