Monday, December 1, 2008

Scene from a coffee shop

As I work away diligently in a coffee shop I find myself amazed by the scene in front of me and to the right, that of a man, presumably a father, sitting with a baby, presumably his son (blue shirt). This man is working, or doing some other piece of business, on his laptop. He occasionally hands the baby a piece of cookie, or picks up his blanket from the floor. On the whole, however, he remains focused on his laptop, typing, reading, thinking. The baby? Happy as could be--looking around, smiling at other patrons, sucking his fingers.

Why does this amaze me? Not because the baby is so content--seems like a well-rested, well-fed, easygoing kid. But because the man can so readily conduct his business with the baby by his side. I could never do this.

That darn baby is now WAVING at the people around him. Dad continues to face the screen, focused.

I know that my inability to have done such a thing when my child was a baby rests in two areas: 1) my compulsively attentive parenting and 2) my internalization of a socially constructed middle class mommy role that prescribes a kind of consistent interaction with one's child. In other words, the guilt would get me. I really envy that dude, or rather I envy someone having both the personality and the social position to do what he is doing and--I suppose I am presuming here--not feel guilty about it.

Now I return to reading Judith Butler, perhaps the inspiration for my reflections on the performance of gender now before me?

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