Pizza with My Teenager

Food for Thought @ Love & Dough

This evening, my daughter was bored out of her mind. None of her friends were available to play. Her mom was out and about with her friend. She had to turn to her last resort: her dad. We have practically nothing in common, except for our passion for insulting each other. When we spend time together, we hone our skill in sarcasm and zinging.

She said she wants pizza for dinner. Just as I started looking through my bookmarks on Google Maps, she said she doesn’t want any strange pizza in Queens. I pulled up some candidates in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, and she picked Love & Dough in Dumbo. We hopped on the F train to cross the river.

Cities like New York is designed for adults. Love & Dough is not expecting to serve 14-year-olds. A lot can happen on the subway that she isn’t quite prepared for. In this tight city, there aren’t any places kids can run around in. Sometimes I wonder if she is going to feel deprived of an authentic childhood experience.

I think she picked Love & Dough because it looks fashionable. When I was her age, a restaurant like this was something I only saw in movies. Many adult Americans feel intimidated by places like this because they are only used to eating at chain restaurants. When I first came to New York for college, I didn’t even know how to buy regular pizza (let alone “Boscaiola” she ordered) because I had assumed that I had to buy a whole pie. Living alone, I couldn’t possibly eat the huge pie I saw through the windows.

At this point, she is more adult than I was at 21. Walking around in Dumbo, the idea of walking into a bar with her to have a drink didn’t seem so strange. I would imagine that many people would have trouble figuring out what exactly our relationship is. Often at home, I feel like she is my roommate.

After the excellent pizza, we walked across the Manhattan bridge which scares me because I have acrophobia. She kept trying to push me to the edge. It must be amusing to see her father recoil in terror, but in many ways, the balance of authority is already beginning to flip between us anyway. Only when I bought her a cup of soft-serve ice cream, did she finally look her age this evening.