I took Eliot with me to return movies this afternoon. At the video store or at the library, he takes pride as well as pleasure in his contribution to our trip: loading and dropping the due materials into the "drop box".
Today he had kicked off his shoes on the trampoline in our backyard and forgot to put them on again before getting into the car.
"Mommy, I really want to put the movies in the box. But I kind of don't want anyone to see me. They might think I'm kind of weird. Do you know why? Socks. I have socks on and not any shoes. They might think I'm weird because I don't have any shoes on. I don't want anybody to see me in my socks. " (This is really how Eliot talks. He's logical, organized, wordy, uses complete sentences, and says all of it very, very slowly.)
"Well, I don't think it matters," I said. "Just go straight to the box and come right back. Nobody will even see."
He did. He came back. As he closed the van's sliding door he started to laugh, "Nobody even noticed me!"
It was true. I had been watching. There were people all around and not one of them had looked at him, much less at his shoeless feet.
"Sometimes you'll be glad of it, Eliot, and sometimes it will make you sad. But people don't really notice each other all that much." I said.
"Why would it make me sad?"
"Well, you might be lonely and want a friend. Or maybe you'll work really hard to do something, and you'll just want somebody to notice."
"But Mommy, what if you're wearing socks while you're doing it?"