One of them was that my ass was freezing. God damn that concrete was cold. Then I wondered if any of the other people were thinking the same thing and were too lazy to get up, like me. But the other thing I dug into was how obviously lucky I am/we are to be able to have the time to take our kids to school, pick them up and take them to a special lunch like I had planned. I guess it wouldn’t be as interesting of a reflection if we both didn’t have significant careers. That was really the point…that we’ve built our work lives in a way that we can control our own time without asking permission, worrying about ramifications, etc. We can just make life the way we need to. Then the obvious thought that have and re-have every so often; the reason we can live that way is because we invested in careers, invested in education and invested in life before we had kids. Another checkmark in the ‘get an education’ category.
It was fairly easy to scan the other people and make opinions on how they managed to be at the same place at the same time. Most of the dads in particular looked like they either didn’t work or needed to get back to work fairly soon…the former looking relaxed, usually disheveled and ready for a nap and the latter wringing their hands a bit, checking their watch if they had one. Look at me being so judgmental. Out of those two groups I guarantee I fit the same criteria that I assigned to others for looking like I don’t have a job. It’s different though, since I’m obviously intellectually superior to everybody.
A few minutes later the door came swung open and one by one Ava’s teacher marched the kids out and matched them with their parents, or grandparents, or nannies, or whatever. Hey, no secret, hygiene isn’t always a priority of mine. And on the days when I’m working from home, at 6pm I might look eerily similar to how I looked at 8am…like I rolled right out of bed. I at least changed into jeans and a t-shirt before picking Ava up but I knew my exterior wasn’t selling ‘National Political Operative’ to anyone checking me out. Maybe more like “A Guy Worth Keeping Your Eye On While the Kids are Dashing Out Into the Parking Lot.” Even Bird’s teacher did a doubletake on me when Ava ran up and jumped on me. Hey, I don’t blame her. I don’t usually pick Ava up from school and I looked a lot different than I did on orientation day. A lot different.
Later at McDonalds I watched a carousel of characters rotate in and out while I leisurely chewed through a salad and helped the girls put together their Happy Meal prizes. 30 minutes for lunch, I thought. Then I remembered having lunch money for the week, or packing a cooler at night to get 10 extra minutes of sleep in the morning. I remembered time clocks and overtime pay and hoping I’d have enough time to get to the bank on Friday, so I could cash my check before the weekend. There was the metal scrap yard in south Denver, re-bricking the boilers at Coors or the cremator ovens at Denver General, the fire-prone prairies of western Kansas and that shitty refinery in Wyoming.