When I started working at the firm two years ago, I made an unfortunate discovery — my boss likes to give unsolicited life advice.
My boss is clueless in a Mitt Romney kind of way. He grew up and stayed in Buckhead, one of the most bourgeoisie neighborhoods in Atlanta; his brothers and parents’ houses are also on the same street. He’s never lived in an apartment.
Since my boss got his driver’s license, all of his cars have been new BMWs — that’s forty years of driving nothing but BMWs, y’all. Aside from a few of us people of color at work, he’s insulated from diversity. I’m the first Filipino person he’s ever met.
I had been working at the firm for several months. On a Friday afternoon in September, my boss called me into his office.
“Sam! Have a seat.”
I sat in the chair in front of his desk and fidgeted nervously.
“You’re not in trouble — don’t worry!”
“That’s a relief, sir.”
“Whadda y’all young people do for fun these days? Like, this weekend?”
“My boyfriend and I are going to the Music Midtown concert tomorrow.”
“Didn’t know they were bringin’ that festival back! I went in the ’90s when I was single. Who all’s playin’?”
“A lot of indie bands — I’m looking forward to seeing Walk the Moon, The Joy Formidable, and Young the Giant. Coldplay is headlining, though.”
“Never heard of any of ’em, ‘cept Coldplay.”
I suppressed a laugh. “What are you and your family doing this weekend?”
He sighed in exasperation. “Prolly somethin’ lame like takin’ the kids to the park or some shit.”
“That should be fun!”
“Nah, it’s borin’ as hell! Lemme let give ya the biggest piece of advice that anybody’s gonna give ya.”
I gestured for him to continue.
“Put off gettin’ married ‘n’ havin’ kids as long as possible.”
“I’m twenty-three, so I’m not in a hurry.”
“Good. ‘Cuz everybody says the day yer kid’s born is the best day of yer life — they’re lyin’.”
“Not to say kids aren’t great — ‘cuz they can be. But they wear ya out and are a money pit.”
“Forget about doin’ what ya wanna do — yer life’s gonna revolve ’round them ‘n’ their schedules.”
“Enjoy yer freedom. Y’all hafta live it up for the rest of us who’re stuck with our balls ‘n’ chains.”
I glanced around, waiting to be dismissed.
My boss nodded, grinning. “Glad we had this talk, Sam.”