I volunteered yesterday at my favorite space travel supply company, and ran into a conundrum: the kid I was working with was totally working me. I've tutored Cameron before, and he's delightfully unfocused due to Asperger's Syndrome. I enjoy talking with him, even if I never get to do any of the talking. Because he doesn't recognize a lot of social cues, he just steamrolls right over anything I might say, and answers his own questions with more questions that he can't wait to answer. This is okay with me; I find him freakishly adorable.
Sometimes, though, kids can get borderline unhealthy attachments--or they start seeing you as more of a peer. After we finished his homework, Cameron began drawing a picture of a King and Queen, ruling over a Lord of the Rings-type country. QUITE INNOCENTLY, I asked him what the picture was for; apparently, it was for me.
Snotty: So tell me about this picture you're drawing.
Cam: Well, it's a King and Queen, and they live in a warring country, but they're good rulers.
Snotty: And what are their names?
Cam: It's you and me!
Cam: Yeah! We RULE. Get it? WE RULE, like royalty rules.
Snotty: Riiiiiight. Gotcha.
Cam: So do you still have a boyfriend?
Cam: And do you still like people who play video games?
Snotty: Um. Yes?
Cam: What's your last name?
Cam: So I can friend you on Facebook!
Snotty: Oh, ah... well, see--I only use Facebook... professionally.
Cam: What's your profession?
Snotty: Um.... commercial real estate.
Yeah. Commercial real estate. I can help you with all of your commercial real estate needs. Whatever those may entail. I can also help you tell outrageous lies to the youth of tomorrow, if that's in any way helpful. What, I panicked; I don't need any Mary Kay Letourneau parallels. I'm cool with the status quo.
Cameron continued to ramble on, and I was thankful he never asked for my last name again; it would be too weirdly inappropriate to ever have him as a Facebook friend, especially since he's approaching 'young man' territory (I think he's 13). He talked and talked and talked and talked, stopping only once to say, "Ewwwwww--there's a hair in my mouth." Fascinating.
Cam: Remember me talking about Dungeons & Dragons a lot?
Snotty: So much that I don't remember a time before it, actually.
The only thing he talked about more than Dungeons & Dragons was the Charlie Sheen sitcom, Two and a Half Men. Normally, when someone says "Oh, I've never seen that show," what they really mean is THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I'M EVER WATCHING THAT CRAP. When I told Cameron that I'd never seen it--in a snooty voice that more-than-implied my disdain for situational comedies starring a dud like Charlie Sheen--he took it upon himself to act out every scene he could possibly remember. Then he quizzed me: What was Charlie Sheen's character name on the show? DUH--CHARLIE!!! What was Charlie's most unlikable trait to women? OH, C'MON--he never remembers their names!!! This kid is going to be writing terrible fanfic about Charlie Sheen one day... which is probably the saddest sentence I have ever written.
Kids are great.