Yesterday I found myself in a conversation with the manager of the pool we belong to about Oscar's swimming ability and whether or not he should be allowed in the shallow section (a.k.a. the baby pool). He was in the process of kicking Oscar (and Abe, and all the other big kids) out when I approached him. Oscar was sitting floppily on the steps. He had just finished his lesson and was pooped.
Before I knew it, this guy was describing Oscar's "look" to me. He referred to the way Oscar's goggles slip down making his ears stick out and smooshing his eyes. He swept his hand over his own face in a downward motion to indicate Oscar's low affect. While I was the one who mentioned that Oscar had special needs (and therefore should be allowed to stay in the shallow area since he could not yet swim a lap)...I was still somewhat offended.
Today, at Target, Abe got Oscar to try on some mirrored sunglasses. He had chosen a pair himself, needing something for his evening baseball practices and games when the descending sun can be so bright and distracting.
I debated about whether to let Oscar get them. They were $20. And they will get lost or broken. But, with these on, Oscar's low affect looks purposeful, even cool. And so I bought them. Because he is, you know, a very cool kid indeed.
And, for that matter, so is his big brother.
ps. the manager only had Oscar's safety in mind. he was letting me know he had noticed Oscar swimming in other areas of the pool. he was not, i don't think, intending to be disrespectful.