Take Your Child To Work Day Is Maximum Quarantine Gaslighting
Today was what? Take your who to where day? Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day?
No that can't be right.
Angelenos have been ordered to stay home, businesses are closed, and a mist of deadly droplets has gutted the California workforce.
If you are working right now, it likely a) comes with all the risks associated with being out in the world during a global contagion, or b) is happening at home where nearly every waking moment already involves your child watching you work.
As I am not yet prepared to explain to a gentle four-year-old the existence of a "holiday" calling out gender disparity in the workplace -- and since I'm in the "working from home" category -- I decided instead to put her in charge today and see what happened.
Besides, she's probably already figured out that adults are just tall children, reality is an illusion that deteriorates when you sneeze viruses onto it, and the thermostat is a battleground (Tip: Turn it up as high as you want. Then turn it up some more. Do not stop for the rest of your life.)
The first thing she did was organize an all-staff meeting in the bathroom. It ran a little long.
Anna, Elsa, Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, Sophia, Chewbacca, six My Little Ponies, and a bucket of little green aliens were all in attendance. They had some union questions.
Two rubber ninjas presented their deck on cross-platform workflow efficiencies. The Mr. Potato department heads made announcements. And an invisible cat chased an invisible jet while reviewing the budget.
The meeting concluded with a note left in the complaint box which led to an impassioned debate about pivoting to reusable straws in the breakroom. (The note was left anonymously but I know it was Twilight Sparkle -- she's still riled up about the methodology used to judge last year's Halloween costume contest.)
My new boss' first executive decision was a full rebrand of the day. Henceforth this shall be known as Take Your Grownup To Play Day.
Think: Build a block castle. Glue things to other things. Take collectible toys out of their boxes, put them in direct sunlight, and have them get married. Paint the solar system. Add a sailboat. Say amazing things like "I want to be a telescope when I'm bigger." Demand chocolate cake. The entire cake.
I told her I would do all of those things as soon as I could. I spent all day saying "I promise I will do that with you later" as I kept my focus on captaining our monster resource: Coronavirus In LA: Your No-Panic Guide To Daily Life And The New (And Changing) Rules.
Later becomes much later. We will watch The Sound of Music at midnight, but I did pause to conduct an informal interview.
What do you think my job is?
"Doing some notes."
How old am I?
"I don't know. 18?"
What is the point of having a job?
How should a person pick a job they want to do?
"I dont know. Can you tell me?"
What do you think about me doing my job from home?
"You're a little sad."
So I lean on the leftover sparks in my nostalgic crutches. That's how my daughter knows the lyrics to Xanadu and why my small family is wearing matching velour tracksuits.
Under less anxiety and exhaustion I would be awesome at this. I don't mean to brag, but I'm really good at staying home and at not touching things when I go out. And I've been socially distant since my parents got divorced. But this is the Gen X way. We've been training for this for decades.
Still, these are weird days. A radioactive-forest-caught-on-fire weird. In this time, there is no time. There is no sleep or awake. There's no today or tomorrow. There's no "on the clock" or "off the clock." There is only now. A never-ending nowness.
So for now, we are indoor people. And life continues to move like a lava lamp -- bubbling haphazardly, accelerating and slowing at unnatural speeds, and perpetually suspending us in a viscous gurgle.
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