Open House and the glories of being childfree

June 1st, 2008, 12:21 am PDT by Greg

We had the SFU Open House today. It all went down well. I took some pictures that I’m quite pleased with. My only complaint would have been the attendance—it wasn’t as busy as two years ago—50% more people would have been awesome.

I’m putting the blame for that squarely on Media and Public Relations. There wasn’t nearly as much advertising as last time, and I think that was the difference. I really do hate media and PR. We have had this conversation with them many times: “Hey, CS has this cool story. Maybe we can get it publicised?” “Sure. We’ll write an article for the SFU News.” “*seethe* Not publicised to SFU people that are already here: to the outside world! With the ‘media’?!? The ‘public’ that you’re supposed to be ‘relating’ with?!?” “Oh yeah… uh… *wanders off*”

I’m sure there was a very nice article about the Open House in the SFU News. But, that’s not what I’m here to rant about.

During the Open House, I spent most of my time at the “unplugged” table. Our “unplugged” demos are demonstrations of CS concepts that don’t use a computer, and were inspired by CS Unplugged which I love very much.

At one point, a woman came up with her kid. I have no real idea how old the child was because I have no interest: still had a diaper, but could probably walk okay, and talk a bit. 18 months?

She proceeded to heave the kid up onto the table and start futzing with one of the demos, so I started to explain it to her. There were a lot of things wrong with what came next. These are the things that make me subscribe to Childfree Ghetto.

  1. The kids shoes weren’t pristinely clean. The white tablecloth was (up until just then, at least).
  2. The child didn’t have the motor control to manipulate the game, and certainly wasn’t old enough to make any sense out of it. Having the kid near the game was pointless.
  3. The mother used the child’s presence to avoid actually thinking. She clearly wasn’t stupid, so could have done this thing that 10 year olds can figure out. If she wasn’t interested, she could have wandered off. Instead, she just glanced around and went with “What should we do, Jason/Madison/Nicholas/Samantha/Whateveridontcare?” The child thought we should suck on our fingers. Waste of my time.
  4. The mother had no interest in keeping the child from breaking anything. My as-subtle-as-I-get “I don’t really know how well this thing is put together” was not a sufficient clue to keep her child from leaning it’s full weight on the game.
  5. I can only imagine the whole thing was part of some poorly-thought-out attempt to raise a gifted child. Read to your kid and leave me out of it, ferchrissake.
  6. During all of this, her SUV-style stroller was left arranged so it blocked both table and aisle space.

There were probably other things too. Honestly, I think #3 bugged me the most. Procreating does not allow you to waive your right to higher brain function.

One Response to “Open House and the glories of being childfree”

  1. Eugene Says:

    Here’s the problem: if smart people don’t procreate, the planet will have more and more dumb people. Since I’m not old and decrepit, this leaves me many years to endure this increasing number of stupid people. You can’t do that to me, can you?
    So you gotta spawn something, Greg. For me.