I was the kid who certain adults needed to tell things to. The result was endless hours of tedium with little reward, except for the questionable attention I received.
Somewhere I got the notion I should treat my elders with respect, no matter how nutty or boring they might be. This, I suppose, was at the root of my troubles. My compliance was probably taken as interest.
Having had adults as my sole companions until just after age five, and all of them with interests that daily washed over me, I was at home in the adult world. I spoke in full sentences and had a broad vocabulary. I read books; I played the piano.
So, beginning around age seven, I got trapped at events where an adult new to the family orbit would discover me. I got cornered. I was helpless. I felt as a surrogate for the whole family as this new adult (it was always a man) poured out his life’s observations and advice on how to be in the world.
I did occasionally meet the temporarily interesting man. In fact, there was almost always something new to learn, but most of the time the nugget was quickly revealed and the rest was ordinary, sometimes pathetic. I learned it was a mistake to show that the little nugget was a thing of interest—it tended to encourage the one-sided conversation, sometimes beyond the limits of what I had previously experienced.
I wonder now if I may appear to younger people as a loquacious old fool like those I could not avoid so long ago.
The manner in which one endures what must be endured is more important than the thing that must be endured.