Cute is as Cute Does
The Jawa is cute. I say that knowing that it sounds arrogant, but enough objective strangers have commented that I think it may be more than parental bias. Full disclosure demands that I also include comment on his often explosive temper and inability to accept a command without suggesting an alternative.
He is never as cute as he was tonight, walking beside me from the Daly City BART station to the Century movie theaters. We had planned to meet Sandra Bullock there and see "Hoot." The Jawa and Bullock are reading the accompanying Carl Hiaason-penned novel for their new Mother-Son book club. Since S. Bullock is not known for reading books quickly, we figured she could augment her experience through cinema. Besides, the Jawa has been begging to see the movie since his cousin Noodles saw it last week and proclaimed it "the best movie ever."
In S. Bullock fashion, our tickets had been purchased hours in advance, via Fandango, the useful online service marred by truly annoying commercials. The plan was for S. Bullock to drive to the movies, park in the huge parking garage, and then meet her urban, BART-riding boys. The Jawa and I were free to casually stroll to the theater(s), then sit near the fountain and wait.
I said that he was never so cute as he was tonight. He was also never so tween as he was tonight. At 8.75 years old, he has entered a new demographic. Witness his camouflage (sp?) pants, slip-on Vans with tiny skulls all over them, and "Vote for Pedro" t-shirt. And his favorite expression, when not burping, is a drawn out, ecstatic, "sweeeet."
Witness also the pre-teen girls -- a few years older, looked to be 10 or 11 -- who checked him out as we walked by. It was subtle but unmistakable. As we passed, the Jawa as usual in the middle of a finely detailed explanation of the evolution of the Rebel X-Wing fighter, I saw two of the girls try to lock eyes with him. Their eyes followed as we walked by. They had no idea that they were checking out a clueless little boy, not yet a true tween, but he was cute, so they persisted.
We sat by the fountain. I caught a glimpse of something colorful around his ankle. "What do you have there?" I asked casually, knowing what he had there. "Oh, Mikayla gave me this." He lifted his pant leg to reveal a two-toned friendship bracelet around his ankle. "She gave them to everyone in the class."
Quick flashback to 1987, my senior year at Santa Clara, the only time in my life I've flirted with a hippie appearance if not lifestyle. I sported several friendship bracelets and spent hours in my apartment, trying to teach myself to play Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" on my guitar. This phase lasted only until I attended an actual Grateful Dead show, where I decided almost instantly that I was among my least favorite people in the world.
I ditched the dogma, but kept the bracelets. Later that year, during the few months I was in Australia, pretending that I (and most everyone I met while there) wasn't a middle class college kid killing time before being sucked into the adult world, I collected friendship bracelets from anyone who was handing them out. I had them on both wrists, both ankles; it was part of the look. They replaced the black, gasket-like things that girls had worn by the hundreds the year before.
I like cheap jewelry things. Sometimes I still long for Puka shells.
But the Jawa is cute, which is fortunate, because I'm not sure how far an encyclopedic knowledge of Godzilla will get you in the dating world.