Monday, June 02, 2008

The culture of Dad

I want to be cool. I have never been cool, with the exception of, about ten minutes (non-consecutive) in high school. I am in the thick of building my life right now and many times I think of the things I would like to be doing. I think of the things I could be wearing. I measure myself against my perceived coolness of others. I believe this is human nature and we all do it to some extent or another.

Cool is incredibly subjective. Everyone has a different idea of what cool is and cool is in a constant state of flux. My version of cool is different than your version of cool but there are many variants and much overlap. But I'm not talking about what is cool, I'm talking about being cool. Being cool is doing your thing and feeling good about it. I don't want to go to work and wear a shirt with a collar. Not cool. I want to wear a t-shirt that fits well or a hoodie that's too big and wrench on a bicycle that most people would throw away. I want to wear my Campagnolo hat and listen to the Raconteurs and have a chat with someone about Aldous Huxley. I want to come and go as I please and create great art. I want people to want to hang out with me because I have something to say and I make them laugh when I say it. I want someone to ask me if they can look in my Moleskine because that's going to give them a glimpse. I want to be Jack White, Steve McQueen, Lee Friedlander. I want to build motorcycles, furniture, and have a sketchbook full of clever little pen and ink doodles. I want a tattoo. I want to ride my motorcycle more than just to and from work. I want to have a cup of tea with my wife and take a walk and not talk about money or dishes or whatever insect is invading the house this week. I want a Danish modern dining room set. I want a house that reflects all the intrinsic qualities of these things that I can say I put together.

I can do all these things. I don't have the time.

I am a father. I have two small boys who need someone (in addition to their mother) to train them to be adults. Two boys that look up to me. My time is spent riding my bicycle around the driveway in circles with my three year old. My time is spent checking out scary shadows and putting band-aids on knees. I spend my time putting together cribs and shopping for birthday presents. Answering the question, "Why, Daddy?" has become the new interesting conversation. Sometimes not having the time to do the things I used to do is frustrating. If only there were more hours in the day...I'd spend more time with the boys.

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