Spring is upon us, and work is now a cold free zone. Cold, as in being sick. It’s still physically cold there, as the furnace has been turned off for the year and our options now are Cold or Colder. Anyway, in this post-sick work zone, I finally can introduce my co-workers to Eva. I’m excited to bring my daughter to work, to show her where daddy saves the world with slideshows and graphs.
I make arrangements with daycare to pick her up in the morning. After I pick her up, I drive to work and park (the spot by the door is open, score!) Usually I’m grabbing my work bag, but today I’m carrying Eva. As I walk by people I get one of two expressions. The “Awww” face, or “Baby at work….does not compute….shutting down…clunk”
A steady stream of co-workers come to see her and confirm the truth, that she’s beautiful and we’re lucky to have her. One co-worker manages a smile out of her, but it’s fleeting. Eva’s exhausted. It’s her nap time, and I’ve disturbed it. She stares around in a daze. Everybody loves her, but she’s thinking nap. She grunts. Diaper change time.
There’s not a changing table in the building, so I change her in my cubicle (shut the door for some privacy). Eva looks at me and goes “I’m unimpressed”. I look around and realize the stark contrast between her environment and government cubicleville. Her wide array of colors have been replaced by a menage of dulled grays and blues. Circles, ovals, and triangles are only a distant memory in this square and rectangle wonderland. Ten minutes at work with dad and I’ve already convinced her that office life is for the trolls.
It starts to affect me too. My once happy job is now this oppressive, creativity shut down factory. Eva is this bright joy in my life, and she looks so out of place here.
I hand Eva off to a co-worker while I run the diaper to the garbage. In the minute I was gone, Eva found her bottom lip. With a crunch and jet out, Eva has now let us know she’s unhappy. Time to go. Time to go back to lullabies instead of phone calls, nursery rhymes instead of TPS report cover sheets, joy over efficiency.
My co-workers say adieu, and I place Eva back in her seat. She is asleep in less than a minute. Back at daycare she tells all the other babies of her day at work. Her day at the gray building with gray steps, blue floors, gray doors, blue walls and gray desks. Her day in the rectangle factory where rectangular keys are pressed in furious succession with no music played. Her day where the cuddliest thing is the chair, and where people on “break” talk about the economy and the weather. Her classmates will begin to figure out how to stay young forever.
And who can blame them.