I can't help noticing how everyone's folks -- everyone I know, that is -- seem to be in trouble. Not legal trouble or moral trouble or fashion trouble (who am I to talk), but , well, words like angioplasty and elder care, overheard phrases like, Don't let Dad drive, and, How much did Mom remember are becoming very familiar. It's all demographics, of course. Life stages. I remember a time when virtually everyone I knew was getting married. Later they were all buying homes, having babies, building RRSPs, moving to the suburbs, choosing summer camps, divorcing ... I was always kind of pleased, inside, not to be a part of these trends. I felt myself a bit of a rebel for renting, living in sin, struggling financially. Doing it my way. Not following my particular portion of the herd. Of course I ended up doing most of the herd things eventually, but even then I did them my way, waiting a decade, having more kids than average, moving way out of town, continuing to struggle financially ... Maybe I'll continue to stay behind. I'm back in the city now, the kids are growing fast, and I still don't have much of an RRSP. Maybe it'll work with my folks too, and they'll defy anno domini ... maybe. But I have to say, listening to my contemporaries now, I miss the days of mastitis and projectile vomiting, when the biggest worry about your mom was that she didn't understand you, and would she babysit.