My daughter is now 13. You can tell this by the way she presents herself for dinner at a restaurant wearing red and black striped fingerless gloves, a black puffball skirt and tights, a t-shirt that’s the dilute 2008 iteration of an idea Vivienne Westwood scrawled on the back of a fag packet in 1976, and a pair of boots that appear to have been fashioned from the hollowed-out legs of a particularly unfortunate black bear. Also, by the way I’ve gone from being called “daddy” to being called “shut up, Ellis.” She bitches that she can only hold something like 500 texts (three days’ worth of use, it would seem) on her hideous KRZR phone, and bitches that it’s “not fair” that my Nokia has eight gigs onboard. I’m faring better than her mother, who is incapable of even comprehending the previous sentence (her phone is so old that it’s essentially a Morse tapper). When she actually places a phone call, she goes out into the garden, so we can’t hear her Secret And Important Conversations. Which mostly sound like “yeah… cool… yeah… creepy… yeah.” She wears her mp3 player in the car so she doesn’t have to listen to “old, creepy” bands on the CD player. And then berates me for not listening to “dad music” in the office. Which is also often termed “creepy.” Most things are either “cool” or “creepy.” Having accounts on social network services is evidently “sad.” She’s forgotten her email password and messages her friends through game and fashion sites. She uses YouTube to listen to music. Nouns have seemingly become optional: “I need to thing about thing with thing and thing.” Her mother understands every word. I do not. This may be why her mother is “cool” and I am “creepy.”

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