Take Your Kid To Work Day

7:38am

The train was full today, parents and their children on their way to work. The children were laughing and talking to each other. They haven’t yet learned that the morning commute is a time to be quiet, to keep your eyes down — on your phone or on your shoes, and that this isn’t a time for laughter. Today is to help them learn.

8:22am

The line was crazy at Starbucks. That’s the problem when you allow children to order coffee — they have half a dozen qualifiers. “Soy, with whip, add hazelnut, extra hot, 3-shot…” Madness. But today is to provide the kids with the experience of an adult work day, so I wait patiently to order my venti, non-fat, 3 Splenda, Blonde roast Misto. And a spinach-feta wrap.

9:28am

On this “Take Your Kid To Work Day,” the noise of the whining, complaining, and crying is becoming overwhelming. And that’s just the adults, wondering what value there is for toddlers to be running around the office.

10:05pm

This 5-year-old just broke our code build. Sigh. Can’t any of these parents supervise their children? You CAN’T reference a new library without adding it to the build file! Actually… never mind. That was my mistake. Good catch, 5-year old.

1:36pm

A little boy was crying in the cubicle row near the engineering room. His mother was trying to console him, but between sobs, the boy said “He was so MEAN!” “What did he do, sweetie?” his mother asked. “He… he… told me to send the revisions straight to Finance, and I did, but then he yelled and me and said he wanted to approve them first!” HIs mother stroked his hair and said to him, “Did you send him an email to verify that you were supposed to send them straight to Finance? You’re going to have to learn how to manage up, sweetie. And keep a paper trail.

3:06pm

Is our ability to keep quiet and sit still during an hour-long meeting a sign of our maturity, or our acceptance of our own defeat?

5:20pm

“They really make you see your routine with fresh eyes, don’t they?” I said to my co-worker, gesturing to his 5-year old. He stared at me for a moment, and then burst into tears. He sat down on the floor, started rocking back and forth, and kept muttering “The examined life is not worth living…”

Watching ‘Mad Men’

When Mad Men was over, I sat staring at the television, my brow furrowed. A curve to my lips suggested something between amusement and confusion. The cigarette in the ashtray had burned down to the filter, unsmoked, but the glass tumbler next to it held only the stubs of ice cubes and a medicinal whiff of vodka. The silence stretched until it became a presence, a spectral shape in the room, invisible but gravid with impenetrable meaning. Outside my window, a doctor glided over the night-dim street on a skateboard. He was on his way to save a life. Without a word, I walked through a doorway, leaving the living room in darkness. The sound the door made as it shut behind me echoed with profound finality.