The washing machine is our TV. It has a clear plate glass window in front. The baby and I sit on the fake wood floor and watch. Clothes spin. Shirts and underwear, pants and blankets. No diapers. They go by themselves. In a separate load. Clockwise. Then counterclockwise. Then stop. Then spin again. The baby tosses her head back and moos. Moos like a cow. Then she slaps her open fist on the window. I’ve got my hands on her ribs. Her legs are strong but wobbly. She loves to stand. We sit like this for three minutes. Then I get up, put her on my shoulder. She reaches toward the floor, toward the washing machine.

Flu is going around. Half my students messaged me. Said they have doctor’s notes. Kate takes the baby in on Monday, for the usual 7mo check up. I spent yesterday morning researching whether to flu shot or not. Posted on this all-mom FB group. Touchy topic. I wouldn’t have guessed women could be such bullies. I’d screenshot the thread but the administrator deleted it. I think she should have kept it, pinned it to the top, and said ladies we need to be better than this.

I know this skater guy because I work on his dreadlocks. He skates and makes Insta videos. He told me I should follow him. And then he told me again. So now I do. One post he quoted a long passage from Krishnamurti. I’d heard of Krishnamurti years ago. I can’t remember where or how. I read his Krishna posts. I clicked the heart next to this: “Life is very ugly, brutal, competitive, ruthless. It has no meaning whatsoever.”

I suppose I have a dark interior.

I’m social media fasting today. Too much checking lately. Insta, FB, now YouTube. What’s my post reach? How many likes? How many comments? I’m posting now and won’t check until 5pm. Free up some energy.

I telephoned my cousin in Philly yesterday. He asked how I was doing. I deflected and said what I was doing. Walking in the woods with the dog and baby. Sounds nice, he said. Yep, I answered. Dog salivates for off-leash. Baby giggles every time she sees the dog move. Cousin laughs. Then says dogs and babies, they just go together, like beer and pizza. We both laugh. Then slide into discussing how one of modern life’s main problems is the absolute and unbending mathematical truth that 1 day = 24 hrs. No more time than that. Context for this banter was the work-life balance. How to be a good dad and dig full throttle into a career? How to be a good parent and partner? Seems like trade-off: more of this, less of that. A comes at the expense of B.

No pictures today. To be honest, I’m not really a picture or video guy. FB usage statistics say posts with just text are the last to be read. LIVE videos first, regular videos are second, then photos. When Kate was at soccer yesterday, I stroller walked the baby around the neighborhood. It was sunny and we were both squinting. I put her carriage visor down and the sun was no longer in her eyes. But then she couldn’t see the world around her, and I felt bad, like I was depriving her. See? A comes at the expense of B.

Anyway, we were stroller walking and I was like. Oh I should take a video of this. So I turned around, put the camera on a fire hydrant, and pressed record. Then walked a good distance away and walked back. The walk back was what I wanted. This is life on the Internet. Talking photos just to post to the www. I feel like I’m living two lives. And that my first life, the physical world, is second to the digital world. Like the physical world is the crude pre-edit raw material that gets spliced and filtered, then cast into my self-created online narrative.

Then came the squinting sun existential crisis. Phone in hand, walking away from the fire hydrant. Is the act and process of putting videos and pics up on The Alt Dad Diary fundamentally not ME? Is it changing the ME that started this? Does A come at the expense of B? Yes, I thought. At first. But then I kept walking, and kept squinting. And I wondered. People change, evolve, grow. Why does adaption mean someone is no longer their self? How can you be anything other than yourself, by definition? Do I mean my new self is not congruent with my old self? I’m afraid of this, and because of this, I choose not to focus on it. Like what if I do video video video and lose the original ME that made ME ME?

Hence the social media fast. And why I want to meditate. And why there’s no title today. Real diary entries don’t have titles. Diary entries are just brain brain brain brain brain, because thats what the diarist needs to survive. Titles are headlines and headlines are sales tools.

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