I spent some time in a hospital this past weekend. One of the doctors was almost certainly younger than me, a mere hobbledehoy covered in pimples and good intentions. This Howser kept absently prodding my grandfather’s gouty knee as he discussed him, as if to include him in the conversation without doing anything so gauche as looking him in the eye or addressing him, as if the sheer Grand Canyon between their ages made this patient into an insensible curiosity rather than a witted human being. Granted, Grandpa isn’t always in top form, mentally. But some polite pretense would have been appreciated.
Then again, is there any way this boy could have behaved that would have made me forgive him his unlined face and adolescent spots and superior work ethic and better-educated-than-me brain?