When I was working at night, I was at home with Maia during the day. Sometimes I would be working on the computer and she would come by, asking if I would like a tea party or wanted to push her on the swing. "In a minute, sweetie," I would reply. "I'm doing some editing."
Sometimes she would take a console from the game Battleship, open it, sit in front of it and pretend to type on it. "I be da mama and you be da sweetie now," she would say, and then raise her voice in what she thought was an adult fashion. "I a'most done, sweetie. Dust a minute. I workin' now."
Coming to work has always been a great treat. There are computers to type on, fresh crayons hidden away in my drawer, a vending machine, and, if the timing is right, a press to watch as it runs in place, shuddering and howling. If it's not running, we can go downstairs and walk around the rolls of paper and vats of ink. Does it get any better than that?
Obviously, it does. My job's standing on the cool scale has dropped considerably. There are songs written about working on the railroad. Kids play with toy trains. You can go to The Lake Superior Railroad Museum and play on the trains.
What can I offer now? I can try to be Ben Bradlee in "All the Presidents' Men," but that doesn't impress the under-10 group. Even if I say things like, "Nothing's riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys fuck up again, I'm going to get mad. Goodnight. " Wait, maybe I do riff on a variation of that sometimes.
"Is Daddy going to work this morning?" Maia said drowsily as she woke up. "He is? I want to go with him."