Letting babies bang on the laptop keys

On the plane coming home from BlogHer I lucked out and got a bulkhead seat next to the cutest baby. When his mom sat next to me, without thinking I went “Oh, awesome, I got lucky, a baby!” and she shot me a look. “No! Really! I wasn’t being sarcastic!” A mom with a baby in a sling is sooo much better for a seat mate than some horrid suity person reeking of cologne and playing elbonics. What’s a little crying compared to the fun of seeing a baby thinking and learning stuff!?

BlogHer '09

We made friends. The baby really liked my wheelchair gloves, which have suede, leather, mesh weave, fabric, and velcro textures.

Then as the flight attendant said she would have to take her baby out of the sling for take off and landing and just hold him, we wondered why. Wouldn’t it be more secure to leave him in the sling? My theory, which I tactlessly explained, was that perhaps it was senseless and having to do with liability or whatever, but also, maybe having a child strapped to your lap would put them in the classic child crusher position where your forward momentum as your torso jackknifes over your own legs would squash them like a grape. And it might be better for the baby to fly out of your arms and bounce around, because babies are both tough *and* made of rubber *and* have skulls. I don’t think that’s true, but it came out of my mouth, and luckily the baby’s mom and dad still spoke to me afterwards and didn’t barf from imagining out the pictures from my neurotic overanalysis.

After a couple of hours I looked up from whatever I was doing and realized they were showing their cute baby a slide show of photos on a Mac. I told them about my cousin Paul’s program “Baby Banger” which has a very unfortunate name but that draws shapes on the screen when any key is pressed. You can download it free! But they didnt’ have to download it because I had a usb stick and could just hand it to them. Yay! Their baby played with it for about half an hour, clearly overjoyed to be allowed to touch the forbidden magical laptop keys all he wanted! You could see him being all proud and making the connection that he hit a key, and something happened as a result. It’s his first hack session!

I really do like babies especially when they’re someone else’s and I don’t have to do any real work other than be amusing! Peekaboo… multi-textured gloves… and “Baby Banger”… it’s like the easiest way to be a rock star ever.

At the end of the flight I ended up screaming at some taxi drivers for refusing to let me get in their cabs. “Bigot! Jerk! I have my own car! Which I drive! My wheelchair comes apart! If I tell you I can get in your cab, believe me, I CAN!” I screamed at cabbie #5 in a line of cabs that refused to take me, while double flipping off him and the dispatcher and a very long line of people stared with their mouths open. Cab driver #6 cheered me by being rather gentle and matter of fact but I also clung to the memory of being a rather good person at least with babies on planes and crying children in the airport security line who can be easily amused by my sparkley wheels. I lost my temper and was a mean, screaming jerk, somewhat justifiably but with some level of entitlement and hotheadedness but I decided on the ride home that the baby-amusing might make up for it in the balance of life, or so I hope as I really dont’ want to turn all bitter and angry even when I actually am feeling bitter and angry – instead focusing on positive action and things that are good. But- anger. I think it’s not my anger I’m uncomfortable with so much as my suspicion that I get to express it by screaming at very angry dudes (they were all out of their cabs yelling at each other) and fairly sure that I’m not going to be punched or arrested on the spot for doing so. I ended up having complicated thoughts about anger, privilege, entitlement, and activism.

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