Tonawanda News — Through all the changes in my life, one constant that’s been omnipresent is my lack of coolness. Hard as it may be for you kind readers to believe, this columnist who’s wearing a “Star Wars” T-shirt as he writes this and whose crowning achievement is going undefeated in Scattergories has never exactly been part of the “in” crowd.
But that all changed July 17, 2007. After Penny’s birth, at least one person, I figured, was guaranteed to consider me the coolest person in existence. That was the case, too. Penny has waited up past midnight before insisting to see me before going to bed, and Rigby has called me his best bud since he first talked. Both Penny and Rigby made me feel like Elvis crossed with James Dean and Justin Timberlake the past six years.
I say “made” because, at least in Penny’s case, that status is now in the past tense. At least in part.
A note recently sent home with Penny requested the presence of either Mommy or me on a field trip she’s taking. Both of us appreciated the invitation, and my thoughts immediately jumped to a father-and-daughter whirlwind adventure about town. The destination of the field trip wasn’t even disclosed. It didn’t matter. Getting bonus time with my daughter — hanging with her and her little friends — had me gleefully looking forward to wherever we were going.
I assumed Penny would feel the same way. She loves going on dates with me, after all, and always revels with Rigby when my days off from work are forthcoming.
Intruding on her “other life,” as it turns out, does not solicit identical levels of jubilation.
She overheard the discussion on the note from the other room. When I left the living room to join her, Penny had this look I’d seen before, this look of trepidation mixed with utter annoyance and a touch of loathing. I couldn’t place the look at first, but after the first words dropped from her tongue it came to me.