All summer Julius has been coming to work with me. Some days it has been awesome. Some days it has been an endless nightmare of "is it time to go yet" punctuated by episodes of using too much Scotch tape and cutting little confetti-like bits of paper from the recycle bin that are then strewn liberally around on the dark carpet.
Once he laid a sheet of bubble wrap across the floor and jumped on it. Had I been still living near LA I would have dived under the desk screaming, "It's a DRIVE-BY!" Fortunately those days are behind us. Where I live now what constitutes as a drive-by is a pickup with no muffler, a carton of eggs and two guys name Ray and Joe Bob. (Ray always drives because Joe Bob has a better throwing arm.)
One of the great things about my job is that I have to drive around and look at stuff. Sometimes it's to take a picture of a house for a bank, sometimes I have to find a piece of land for someone, sometimes I list a cabin or some land or show a client something nice they might buy.
Living in the very relaxed South, people generally tolerate me having my kid with me. In my formerly childless life I would have held the opinion that this was unprofessional behavior and would have poo-pooed the whole scenario as distasteful were I a client. Now that my maternal pendulum has swung over to the other extreme I say... screw 'em if they can't handle a six year old tagging along with me now and again. At least it's not Tristan.
Julius is fairly well-behaved when I'm with clients with a few exceptions -- one involving his psychotic break in which he had an emotional collapse over a very large spider in the woods. Another in which he demonstrated possible sociopathic behavior by repeatedly chasing a terrified baby rabbit around someone's yard until I screamed under my breath for him to stop. It came out sort of like "Jhhs!" Out of some form of self-preservation he knew the translation for that was, "Come back and stop chasing that rabbit and embarrassing me in front of these people or you'll be grounded until you're 35 and also possibly I will give you a wedgie."
The other day we took a drive to photograph a house. It was a less-humid morning than usual and the heat hadn't become oppressive yet. We drove with the windows partly down and Julius leaned over to play some Credence Clearwater Revival which is his favorite CD and my most-hated.
Not only that he cranked it up REALLY LOUD so he could hear over the whooshing of the air coming into the windows. We drove along in silence and even though I enjoy CCR about as much as I enjoy listening to crows fight over rancid roadkill I began to get into it. I glanced over to Julius sitting next to me. He gazed out the window watching the world speed past and I wondered what he was thinking.
When my mom talks about his emotional states she always says, "Still waters run deep with that one." She is right. It is so hard to know what he's thinking and feeling. On this day he seems content and contemplative. As we drive through the harsh sounds squalling from the speakers I wonder if he likes CCR because he has a voice that is sometimes rough and harsh. I wonder if it gives him hope that not all successful singers are beautiful singers. Does he even think in those ways? Sometimes I think he does.
I reached my hand over and patted his leg then put both hands back on the wheel. He glanced at me, then back out the window, nodding. Occasionally he leaned forward and pressed the button on the stereo to skip a song or play the same song again: 12, 3, 14, 14, 7, 6, 7...
We drove on in companionable silence, each of us lost in our own fabulous world of dreams and speculation.