The kid attracts attention. Ever since he was very tiny, people wanted to say hi to him everywhere we went. I figured it was because he was a newborn baby, and supposed babies and puppies always receive smiles and compliments automatically. But 3.5 years later, he still keeps getting random high fives and pounds in the streets. People want to have conversations with him. He even receives gifts.
Completely unlike me, he is super social and loves attention. Although he seems to be developing a bit of shyness at last (I was beginning to worry he was too easy to kidnap), he’s generally a very happy child with bright smiles. I can see how he might be a cheerful sight on the bus or in a drugstore or whatever.
The fact that he looks unique has also helped leave a strong impression on those who might see him regularly. Bus drivers, coffee shop workers, custodians, restaurant servers, panhandlers, supermarket cashers and baggers, the list of his “fans” goes on…
Just today, he received one Reese’s cup from one person and a box of Lunchables (we don’t eat the brand and I tried my best to decline, but the gentleman insisted) from another, and had lovely conversations with construction workers, a Walgreens employee and crossfit gym trainers.
If it were just me going to work, walking to the train station, I would likely end up talking to zero person. I sure would collect no candy. No one would ask to make sure I ate lunch so I’d stay healthy and strong. I know it would be puzzling if a random man digging a hole in the road was to tell me how he’s always wanted hair like mine.
But walking with the kid, that is the norm. And I still have a hard time getting used to it. I’m socially awkward, I can’t help myself. I let him do all the talking. I hide behind him while he waves, high fives, gives hugs and tells people about his cardboard saxophone or washing machines jumping up and down (his interests are, how should we say, quirky).
Sometimes, his fans spot me without the kid and ask about him. That is when I get extra super duper awkward. “Where’s the Muscle Boy? (he is known as the Muscle Boy at the gym)” “He’s gone home for the day, heh heh (<— awkward laughter sound effect).” You want my autograph instead?
It is truly a natural gift to be able to connect with people like how he does. I was shy as a child, and am awkward as an adult. I’m curious how he carries on being a “people person” as he grows up. He might keep up his extroversion, or end up joining the team introverts. Who knows? Either way, for now, I just really enjoy how he introduces me to complete strangers like, “This is my friend, Momo.” and hope he never changes.