Dads: Treated Differently from 10-5?

For the past two weeks, I’ve been temporarily playing the role of single dad while Carolyn’s away in Germany. It’s largely been a rush of errands, art projects, home repair, meal preparation, and so on, but we’ve largely managed to get by.

As a regular working stiff, I’m struck by how my normal after-5 and weekend haunts are subtly transformed during the regular work day. For a start, the demographics of the bookstore and mall denizens are different, with young moms, older folks, and young children figuring much more heavily into the mix than on weekends. The really weird part, however, is that people seem to be treating me a little more nicely than they do normally. People seem to smile more. They crack jokes and compliment your kids in the checkout line of the grocery store…even normally grumpy electronics store clerks were suddenly helpful and charming when I came in at 10:30 am with my four year-old in tow.

What the heck is going on? Has a niceness outbreak been infecting the South Bay this past week? Or have I stumbled onto a secret world known only to stay-at-home parents and retirees? I’m not complaining, mind you, but I gotta say it’s starting to weird me out a bit…

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