Though I generally worry about the state of humankind and where we’re headed, I suppose having a baby qualifies me as having a hopeful outlook on life. While I don’t put a lot of stock in the grand liberal narrative of the Upward Progress of Humankind, apparently I don’t put a lot of stock in doomsday, apocalyptic scenarios either (even if I do tend to write books that verge on the dystopian.) So… I do have hope that earth will still be here for my children and my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren. And I have to say that this season, traveling with a baby made me even more hopeful. I was consistently the recipient of kindness by total strangers. People love babies! And they love women who have babies. People kept ogling me and the baby. More strangers spoke to me than ever before in an airport. They held my bags. They carried my stuff. They asked if they could hold the baby while I ate. They didn’t seem to mind too badly when he was fussy and upset on the airplane–they just smiled indulgently.
I have traveled for years and years, an average of one trip every three weeks. I’ve never felt so hopeful about America and humans generally speaking as this past trip. It’s a nice feeling.