Sunday, September 27, 2009

dumping the clutch

My son, now almost 6, has two problems. One is that he thinks he is a superhero (and likes being naked with his "L" cape, even in the middle of winter) and two; he is more fickle than a bulimic supermodel. Given these two issues, his superhero personality is often puctuated by moments of alter ego cruelty. Once in a while I catch him torturing the dogs, or my grandmother's sheltie, while whispering softly to them "good puppy, that's a good pup." If I weren't so dark myself, I'd think it was creepy. To me, this wicked/kind duality seems natural. He is a man, after all! And he is partly mine, so.....
This morning, the dichotomy that is Lucian suprised me with its simplicity. The topic: Cranberry juice.
"Hey Lucian, you want something to drink, maybe some orange juice or cranberry?"
Lucian cocked his head to the side, giving the question real thought.
"I'll have orange." Then he cocked his head to the other side.
"You know, I used to like cranberry juice a lot," he recalled, "But then, I just switched gears."
It can be that simple. It can be that quick. It dawned on me. The switching gears, that's a human inevitability that we rarely allow ourselves to experience. It has ugly code words like "impulsiveness", "fickleness", "selfishness". But these don't get to the truth of the matter. We're just switching gears, we' re not bad people for doing it, but we judge ourselves because of it.
Come to think of it, I haven't liked cranberry juice for a long time. I just drank it because it was there and I kept buying it. I'm going for peach next time.

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