Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Two New Talents

Sullivan has developed two new talents, and the first is that he can tell by my cry of pain exactly in which specific way I've injured myself.

For example, last week, he was in the living room playing with his cars and I was in the kitchen washing dishes and when I turned the water on to rinse, it scalded me. I yelped. I didn't yell, "Ugh! I've scalded myself!" or "Oh! Blazin' hot!" as some people probably do.

Anyway, the point is that all I did was yelp very ambiguously, and Sullivan called from the living room, "Mom, you burned yourself!" He didn't say it like he cared very much, either. It was just a declarative statement.

A few days later, I dropped a fork on my foot while I was unloading the dishwasher. I yelped. It must have sounded different from the yelp I gave when I burned myself, because Sullivan, who was colouring at the kitchen table, looked up and said, "Mom. What'd you drop on your foot?" He looked bored.

And then yesterday, I stubbed my toe while he was in his bedroom and I was in mine. Again, I yelped, but possibly in a different key? Again, he yelled, "Mom! You stubbed your toe!" Like he was a little inconvenienced, maybe, but mostly unconcerned.

It's the weirdest thing. I promise I'm not making it up.

His other new talent is earning money for not doing very much, a talent I grew out of 27 years ago. He works the doughnut shop on the corner of Broad and Dewdney.

We were in there just a couple of days ago, actually, and an old man came over to our table to give Sullivan a dollar. It had happened the time before too, except it was a different old man and it was 25 cents. Sullivan, the first time, had not understood the transaction, but this time he grinned and whispered his thanks and put the loonie straight into his pocket, along with the quarter still in there from the last visit.

$1.25 just for existing. I was impressed.

I thanked the man too, and he seemed to take it as an invitation. He sat down. I was surprised, but also I wasn't. Elderly people love Barclay and Sullivan. At the last job Barclay worked, there was an old lady who'd come into the office to do her business in person instead of over the phone just because she liked Barclay so much. Isn't that cute? I think it's cute.

This old man didn't want to visit so much as talk. He asked how old Sullivan was and told us how old all of his various children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren were and where they were and what they did, and then he told us about his wife. He said, "I was the one who told her to go to sleep. She was suffering so much, and so I said to her that she should go to sleep and just not wake up anymore. And she did exactly that."

I can never tell if old people's eyes are glassy because they're tearing up or if old people just have an excess of face fluid all the time. He told us about his wife's funeral and even laughed about his various grandchildren and their confused and innocent reactions to the death of their grandmother, including a little girl who was put out that she had to leave her pretty red flower on the coffin to be covered in dirt.

It's interesting, how old people talk about death. And who they talk about death to.

Anyway. Those are Sullivan's two new talents.

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