Fell out with someone the other day. Pity, because until that point, everything was fine.
There we were, strolling through parkland, enjoying the gentle grass, and observing the calm lake beneath the azure sky, seeing eye-to-eye.
But then it all went wrong. Took about twenty seconds. Within three steps we were performing the verbal equivalent of circling round each other with sharpened bill hooks and deathly snarls.
I'd like to think I am the sort of person who'll fly to attack quickened by arousal, maybe sublimated desire and sexual tension, meeting my match. Then I could imagine the solution could have been ripping each other's clothes off and solving that power crisis right there and then.
Unfortunately, not. I put this failure of sexual exploration down to parenthood and home education. Because the argument was basically about this: where are children in the hierarchy of knowledge? First or second?
In my view, first. I look at my kids, first-hand experience, first-hand knowledge, and I ask, what person are you? What impulses must you follow? If I play a part in bringing you and the world together, what way can it be that is helpful to you, to me, and to us all?
I've been struggling with these questions, I suspect, from the first moment I clapped eyes on these bizarre miniature human forms, with their impossibly formed rubbery skins and gaping toothless mouths, face-echoes for my grandmother and all the people who went before us that I never met, driven by their own life forces of nature, and I wondered, Who on earth are you?
But here was that other viewpoint, which says, here is a child, and this is the world as we order it, and we'll introduce the child to the world we manage, where they are led, but they do not lead.
I think that's the argument. I can't present it fully, because I bared my teeth and went at it with a bill hook. I'd also like to think I left it there, a bloodied, shredded thing in a park by a lake under the azure sky while we both walked swiftly on and never spoke again.
Now I have no conclusions to make. Except that kids and home ed obviously ruined my sex life.