Saturday, March 27 2021

regular cardboard, a stranger at the bar, and rodney's ipad



banner

Dear Journal,

Happy Saturday night, everyone. I hope your weekend has been rejuvenating for you. So far I can tell you that we’re having a better weekend than the Blackhawks. I’m not sure what we just watched on TV for two and a half hours. Those hockey players looked like our team, but I’m sure someone must have swapped out all the players with mannequins or crash test dummies wearing roller blades. Sheesh, what a low effort performance.

“Tonight, we looked like a rebuilding team,” laughed Marissa. This seems to happen whenever we pull out an impressive victory over a team we weren’t supposed to beat, especially when we immediately face a team that we are absolutely supposed to beat. It’s like our wins linger like a hangover and lead to really bad games.

If the worst part about this weekend was how the Hawks played tonight, that’s still a pretty good weekend. We slept in today. Rodney helped me make bacon for breakfast. I also got the whole morning to code. This morning on the stream, I worked on cleaning up my emacs configs. It’s not the most interesting or challenging way to spend your time on a computer. “Cleaning up” my configs just means testing every few lines of code in the old config and copying them into a new one. It probably didn’t make for the most fascinating programming video either, but it’s like a weird form of meditation or therapy for me.

I went to the grocery store today. The plan was to take Rodney along, but the girl who lives across the street knocked on our door just as Rodney was heading upstairs for quiet time. “Come back at 5,” we told her. A few hours later, Marissa and I leered from the front door while Rodney waltzed up the porch steps gently rapped on the screen door with his knuckles. He immediately turned to run away.

“No no, Rodney,” Marissa called out. “You have to wait for them at the door in case they answer.”

The screen door popped open. Talia appeared, and the two of them bounced back down the porch steps together. Marissa told me they played for an hour in the backyard, using Marissa’s agility equipment to set up an obstacle course.

Sip. So how did your Friday go? My Friday was a fulfilling end to a busy work week. The weather was beautiful, so I cut a little early so we could go for a walk around the block. On the walk, we convinced ourselves to walk a little further to the Malthouse for a beer. Marissa set up at an outdoor table with Miles and the dogs. Rodney followed me inside to grab our biertjes. The bartender Becky gave us a wave from behind the bar.

“Well hello Rodney,” she said, her mask lifting with her smile. “Boy, you must be… about five, right?”

“I’m four,” said Rodney correcting her. Becky started to ask about his coming birthday, but Rodney was already distracted by a large cardboard cutout advertising a brand of whiskey.

“Do you like our new friend, Rodney?” she laughed. “Don’t worry, he’s not real. It’s just made of cardboard.”

Rodney waited at the bar with me while Becky poured our drinks. Rodney’s tiny voice again broke the silence.

“Uh, scume Becky?” he asked. Becky leaned just far enough over the bar to see him.

“Yes Rodney?” she replied politely.

“What kind of cardboard do you have?” he asked.

“What kind of cardboard?” she asked. Becky looked in my direction, hoping I could help interpret. I just shrugged.

“Uh, we have regular cardboard, I think” she replied. Rodney nodded, as if he were satisfied with the answer.

Our family sat outside for as long as possible. It got colder, but we were bundled up for the occasion. I even zipped Miles up in my hoodie like a joey in a kangaroo pouch.

2021 03 27 zipped up

A stranger wandered through the outdoor patio and found a seat across from us. Marissa noticed that my eyes were following him.

“Do you see someone?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “Is… is that Branden?”

“From work?” asked Marissa. “I don’t know. I’ve only seen him on Zoom.”

“Yeah, me too,” I laughed. “I mean, I see him on Zoom every day, but I don’t know if that’s him. I’ll send him a slack.”

I pulled out my phone and typed “Dude, are you at the malthouse right now?” The distant stranger pulled out his phone on cue and typed a response. “Yessir.” I smiled and waved from our table. Branden sauntered over, met the family, and we had a good laugh about how remote life makes it difficult to recognize even your own teammates.

We returned home and ordered a pizza. Rodney zoned out to Ryan’s world while we waited. As you could imagine, he spends a lot of time in “Ryan’s World”, and he’s become quite captured with Ryan’s lavish lifestyle. Being a ten year old child TV star, Ryan has a pretty affluent set-up. His videos take place in his sprawling Texas mansion. He has a limitless supply of new toys and tech at his disposal, and there’s even a pool with a rock waterfall in his backyard.

“Hey momma? Dadda?” said Rodney wandering into the dining room. “I think I need an iPad.” I could tell he had just heard the word iPad based on how much he enunciated.

“Oh you need an iPad?” Marissa laughed. “Where did you see this?”

“Ryan’s World.” said Rodney. Big surprise.

“Does Ryan get to use his parents’ iPad?” I asked.

“No,” said Rodney as his eyes widened. “He has his OWN. And his baby sisters too.”

I turned to Marissa in shock. “His twin sisters?” I asked. “Aren’t they like three years old?”

Marissa grabbed a torn up envelope from atop our junk mail pile. She began to sketch a sharp rectangular outline on the piece of paper.

“Don’t forget the home button,” I said. “Maybe a few apps.”

Marissa’s pen drew a few squares on the home screen and finally an unceremonious stick figure.

“There you go,” laughed Marissa. “That’s the closest thing you’ll ever have to an iPad.”

Rodney’s eyes sparkled. He sat with that paper iPad in his lap until bedtime.

2021 03 27 rodneys ipad

Then he stayed up in bed an extra hour playing with it. When Marissa walked by, she heard his tiny voice singing the Paw Patrol theme song, pretending to watch episodes on the paper iPad. When I walked by a half hour later, I caught him pretending to facetime his cousin Alice.

What a weird kid, huh? Thanks, Ryan of Ryan’s World for this new fixation… on - bleh - an Apple product no less! Have a great Saturday everyone.

Oh, if you see my Dad, be sure to wish him a happy sixtieth birthday. Or better yet, buy one of his lamps. Today’s plug is for fromdirktolight and his brilliant steam punk lamps. I ohm you, pops (OK, that one was a bit of a stretch). Happy Birthday!