After a full work day running up and down stairs, taking notes and wolfing sandwiches in-between meetings, I catch a train back to my other (civilian) office, where I set the computer up long enough to print a permission form, then I'm back out the door again and off to the library to return three CDs I borrowed, then to the post office to first fax the permission form, then mail it, along with three invoices for various freelance jobs, to Los Angeles and the eighth district of Vienna.
But before I get to the Post, I see a father crossing the street fifty yards away. He's got one kid in a stroller and another, big five-year-old girl on his shoulders, plus a bag slung over one arm, and it is most certainly my Swedish stay-at-home papa friend, Big Fred. Motherfucker does not play. He's as big as a Kodiak bear, and as gentle and patient as can be with his daughters, especially the seemingly indestructible little Ingrid, whom they call the Butcher. (She's the one in the stroller.)
As I get closer, and Frederic hits the sidewalk opposite me, I'm pretty sure he won't see me, possibly because he's shouldering and/or pushing something like eighty pounds of family. But somehow out of the corner of his eye, Big Fred sees me grinning at him from afar, and he waves, while continuing to balance Merta up top and push Ingrid and a bag of groceries down below. All I can do is grin even bigger and give him a thumbs up. Signifying what I don't know, except maybe, "You go, brother papa!"
That's a man, I swear!