When I was younger my mother would wonder what I wanted to be when I’m older. As far as I could see we were critical mass waste factories, so without hesitation, I told her. I wanted to be a garbage collector so that I could explore how other people lived, and to be an extension of our neighbor’s ejection of trash was, to me, intimate and productive. And as I tried to explain how cool the trucks were to my brain, she laughed out loud and proclaimed… something about something that I can’t quite remember, while the memory of her laughter remained.
So I changed my mind as a reaction to find stimuli that was less painful, not as a means to deceive my mother, but to live up to my apparent potential. This is a cautionary tale of a mother’s failure to veil her rejection of my innocent claim, as well as a child’s understanding and perception of perfection, while placing no blame.
All the same, as a stay-at-home father, I’ve become the garbage collector for my sons and my daughter. Self-aware of the role that I now play as a non-immigrant I’m less pressured to say what they should do with their lives at the end of the day. I just help guide their interests, optimized by collaborative inference, because nobody is perfect, and believing propaganda of otherwise is never worth it.