It was easy to come up with a destination this week. On Monday night, I left my iPad at the office. I still had three more novels to read in advance of the London Book Fair. They are all on the iPad. We had to get it.
You were completely on board with this plan. You often watch YouTube videos of trains on the iPad while I'm getting dressed, and you had noticed it was missing from our morning routine.
Daddy rode with us all the way to Union Square and you sat on his lap the whole way. You are in a Daddy phase. You also are developing one of the strongest Brooklyn accents I've ever heard. You say things like "look at the little boirdie," like some Long Island grandmother. In typical fashion, I think this is hilarious, and Jay is worried.
I work on 27th Street, in the middle of the wholesale district, or what is also known in the publishing industry as the Agency Ghetto. Rents are cheap here. 28th Street is full of plants and flowers. 6th Ave is lined with jewelry, hand bags, and wigs. 27th Street has mostly toys, with assorted luggage and socks. If you need to pick up a dozen rubber frogs and a dozen pair of feather earrings on your lunch break, 27th St. is the place to be. (Full disclosure: these are things that I actually purchased on Monday, on my lunch break).
Outside my building I explained that this is where I go when you go to Chai Tots, and introduced you to the super and the doorman. We rode the elevator to the 8th floor. You weren't too impressed with my office. After a short period of fascination with my Rolodex, you climbed on the couch and asked where the iPad was. You played games while I printed out copies of our rights list.
Jay and I both love books, and I was hoping you'd have a stronger response to being in a space that was overstuffed with them. To be fair, none of us do children's, and our offices are mostly stacked with science-fiction and fantasy novels, some with truly unfortunate covers. Roan, you should know that I really like my job. I'm proud of the books I sell and the authors I work with. Some days it is really hard to drop you off at preschool, and it sucks getting home after you've gone to sleep, but on most days the work makes me happy. It's a different kind of happy than how you make me feel, but it's a kind of happy that I need.
You were less than charming for my coworkers, who tried their best to engage you with cars and talk of trains. You opted to throw a long-winded and half-hearted temper tantrum on the floor. We had what we came for. You were ready to go back on the train.
Walking back to the train you saw a waterfall. There was a barrier of small rocks to absorb any splashes, and you put three of them in the pocket of your poncho. Putting things in your pocket is a new thing. You don't entirely trust it. You are afraid they will fall out, or get lost or perhaps teleported to another dimension, never to come back out of your pocket again.
We got on the train earlier than we usual, but even so you asked for lunch. You've gotten into the habit of opening your mouth wide like a baby bird and me spooning in food as we rush through the tunnels. This week I brought risotto. You ate a ton of it until I gave you a bite that was too mushroom heavy, and you spit it out and flopped dramatically on the bench. "Just rice!" you wailed, over and over, your face streaming tears and mucus. Even once you calmed down you kept repeating it, "just rice, Mommy, just rice" like a wronged man demanding justice.
It was a fitting week for an office visit, as I'm about to leave on my longest business trip. I will be away from you for a full week. For the first time since we started these ridiculous train trips we will have to skip a week. Which might be why I let you talk me into a train ride on Thursday. I took you to Chai Tots for school pictures, and the F/G station was impossible to miss. You made a run for it, and since we didn't have much else on the agenda, we hopped on a Coney Island bound F. After the first stop it goes above ground, and you stood on the bench and stared out at the tracks. When other trains passed, so clear in the daylight, you bounced up and down in excitement.
We rode near to the end of the line, then caught a Manhattan bound train back. We didn't get off the train to go anywhere, which confirmed something I'd always suspected: the destination is irrelevant. Maybe I've been over doing it, trying too hard with this crazy idea that we take the train somewhere. All we need is the train, preferably an elevated line.
It wasn't anywhere near lunch time, but on the way home, like one of Pavlov's dogs, you asked for lunch. Roan, 10 years from now, you might wonder why you have this inexplicable craving for a rice dish every time you board a train.
If nothing else, this post will put that mystery to bed.