At T-minus 38 days, give or take, I find myself preternaturally attuned to babies and pregnant women, and prone to start conversations with perfect strangers. This usually manifests itself in extraordinarily awkward social situations:
ME: (accosting a mother with sleeping baby in Common Grounds) How old is your baby?
HER: Uh, six months . . .
ME: Do you like that stroller?
HER: It’s all right, I guess . . . (edges away)
ME: How long do you plan to breastfeed?
HER: WHAT?! (fumbles in her purse for mace)
ME: My wife is due in December.
HER: Ooooooh! (palpably relieved and even delighted)
Then we end up talking for fifteen minutes. Usually these sorts of conversations consist of a constant stream of concrete advice channeled my way. They’re sharing memes for the perpetuation of the species — very instinctive behavior. I’m amazed how much childbearing/rearing information still passes through word of mouth in the Information Age. I’m sure it mostly has to do with reliability, since we trust advice from our parents and friends far more than something we read on the Internet. But advice coming from someone you’re meeting face to face also registers as more reliable than what’s out there in a book or on a website. I’m less sure why that should be — maybe something to do with the fact that you can actually see the person and know (more or less) whether they’re a freak or not. Also, information that comes from someone you can see and hear inevitably seems more real than something you read on a screen.
Anyway, the title of this entry refers to the fact that news of progeny is flying loose and fast from my blogroll. “Lawrence Lessig”:http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/001497.shtml has a one month old. “Belle”:http://examinedlife.typepad.com/johnbelle/2003/10/kill_bill.html just announced she was pregnant in the course of an entry on _Kill Bill_ — how creepily appropriate. And “Greg Costikyan”:http://www.costik.com/weblog/2003_10_01_blogchive.html#106746597875347150 posted a note that “Karen’s water has broken,” though I don’t know enough about Greg to know if Karen is his wife, his significant other, his relative, or even his cat. Whatever the case: good luck!