People who know Ethan – who really know him – know one thing for sure: He will not speak to anyone he does not know.
He is a veritable river of questions anytime we’re riding in the car, challenging me to sound happy answering questions through gritted teeth while trying to listen to the radio because it’s JUST ABOUT MY ONLY CONNECTION TO REALITY THESE DAYS. He flatly refuses to give anyone other than his immediate acquaintances the time of day.
This sometimes leads to pretty awkward circumstances. Take this morning, for instance. I wanted to go to the rec center to work out; Ethan loves going to to kids’ club there, where they watch kids while their parents try to kill themselves on the equipment.
The rec center has installed an automatic hand sanitzer dispenser just inside the entrance, accompanied by a note asking all who enter to use the sanitizer upon arriving and leaving in order to waylay the H1N1 virus. Ethan loves everything automatic except toilets, so he eagerly complied. If you had a hidden camera in our household for the past week or so, you would realize what an astonishment his compliance is.
So anyway, all was well, and while I went and punished myself harshly for all the candy corn / peanut mixture I ate last night, Ethan got high on the kids’ club’s abundance of toys with wheels.
On the way out, however, we stopped back by the sanitizer just as one of the rec center employees was coming in. Here is what happened:
Employee, one of those overly-enthusiastic types: “Ohhhhh, helloooo, little boy!!!! Do you want to use the hand sanitizer???”
Employee: “Come on, I’ll show you!!!” [demonstrating] “Now isn’t that neat???? Now would you like to try???”
Me, apologetically: “He knows how to do it and wants to do it. He just doesn’t want to do it when you’re here. Nothing personal, he just refuses to speak to anyone he doesn’t know.” I wanted to add, “plus, I can see you’re really one of those in-your-face types and I don’t particularly want to engage with you myself, so I’m CERTAIN my son doesn’t want to,” but I figured that wouldn’t be very, um, diplomatic.
Employee, ignoring me, determined to prove me wrong: “But you want to do it, don’t you??? Come on, you can do it. You’re a BIG BOY!!!”
Me, a little more insistent: “He knows how, but he won’t with you here.”
Ethan: [GLARE GLARE GLARE!!!!] [frustrated growl] [GLARE!]
Finally she gave up. As she left, I rolled my eyes and, as Ethan bounced up to the dispenser and used it, fought the urge to holler after her, “See? Toldja so!”
So see, Ethan will never speak to the cops if (when?) he gets arrested. He is intimately familiar with the right to remain silent. His glares probably won’t win him any sympathy with the fuzz, though. And considering he also hates for anyone he doesn’t know very well to touch him, he’ll probably get a beatdown for resisting arrest, but that’s a whole ‘nother story….