A great moment in a little kid’s life is getting to see the office where their dad/mom works all day. I remember my dad taking me to his newspaper office and being in complete awe of the surroundings. Desks, lamps, stacks of paper, office supplies, pens and pencils, rulers, crushed cigarette butts in ashtrays, and that smell…that smell of ink, newspaper and coffee. Only someone who’s been in the newspaper industry can relate to that smell, and I personally would consider it one of the perks of the job. But unfortunately it’s an industry in decline and that smell will fade off into the sunset, just like those industry-specific sensory marvels before it: the whirl of a VCR tape rewinding…the chorus of electronic blips and chirps as you walk through a video game arcade…the roar of Soldier Field after a Jay Cutler interception (his 4th one that day).
So as my dad did with me, I planned a last minute outing to take my son downtown to show him where I work. We talked about music and animals the entire drive down and then drove into the parking garage. He was mesmerized by the voice that says “Please take your ticket with you and pay before returning to your car”. “Who said that Papa??”. We made our way down to Kinzie St. and I picked him up and put him up on my shoulders, walking proudly down the sidewalk with my son. We approached a homeless guy clad in Chicago Bears gear: sweatshirt, hat, pants and stocking cap…all Bears. He looked up at Peter and said “Hey little man way up high! Ho Ho Ho! How you doing today son?”. We exchanged a couple pleasantries and went about our day. About 30 seconds later Peter asked “Was that Santa? He said ‘ho ho ho’.”. I assured him that no, it was not Santa because Santa is not a Chicago Bear fan…plus Santa is up at the North Pole as we speak, making Papa a new fishing kayak.
As we approached my building he was mesmerized. By the height of the skyscrapers all around him? No. He was enamored with the birds flying around. So we hop in the elevator and head up 29 floors to my office. He ran right up to the windows and pushed his body against the glass, looking straight down to the street and city below. “Papa, let’s go back down so I can see the cars.” Oh, you mean the cars you see every single day on the street at home? Oy. He ran through the empty halls of the 29th floor, going in and out of offices and conference rooms, completely in awe of where he was. Then I took him to my desk, which is where the real magic happened. You see, as adults we take so much for granted. He came and sat on my lap and started wailing on my keyboard like he was getting paid to hit it as hard as possible. Then he saw it….”Papa, what is that???” with his arm outstretched and finger pointed. And I couldn’t help but think to myself “Ohhhhh man!!! That’s right! He’s never seen one of these before”. What was it you ask? My telephone. He was ENAMORED with it. Being almost 3 years old in the year 2017, his reality of what constitutes a phone is much different. To him, a phone is something pocket-sized that you carry around 24/7 and is referred to as an “iPhone”. So he called my iPhone from my desk phone. Then I called him from my iPhone to my desk phone. When I picked up and said “Hello!” he asked me “So Papa, how is your day?” He is so freakin’ cute and funny, sometimes I still can’t believe he’s mine.
It was time for lunch, so we went to get some food at Ramen San around the corner. Within the first 45 seconds of being in the place he had the whole staff wrapped around his finger. When we walked in he asked the hostess “What’s your name?”. “Caroline”, she replied. “I’m Peter. I’m wearing cologne”, he said. She melted. She seated us and we went through the same routine with our waitress, Harley. Harley told Peter, “I want you to come back here in 18 years and if I’m still sitting here I want us to hang out, okay? That is if you aren’t running the world yet.” Peter replied, “Okay. I’m wearing cologne”. LOL When he was in my wife’s tummy I prayed for 2 things: that our son would be incredibly healthy, and that he would have tons of charisma. And thank the good Lord above, He answered both of those prayers.