We took our 4-year-old trick or treating the other night.
We took him trick or treating on Halloween night. His success rate went up astronomically.
Actually, we took him twice.
The first time, Jenny took him into town to walk around Main St. with all the other costumed sugar addicts, but he fell asleep in the car and because he hadn’t been feeling well earlier, she decided it might not be a good time to wake him up…so she came on back home without doing any candy harvesting.
The second time, I went with them after I got off work.
We went to one of the little “country churches” around here…for their “trunk or treat”.
What nice folks…it was a good experience.
Nate woke up in the parking lot of the church, so he was still pretty groggy as he made the acquisition loop.
He didn’t respond much to the comments about his costume except to say a quiet “thankyou” when they gave him some more candy.
Nate was the human embodiment of the Transformers character “Bumblebee” this year.
He was proud of his costume…polyfill muscles and simulated strength…it was macho but not menacing.
He was the best Transformer of the bunch…the character in all the cartoons and movies that people find themselves loving without reserve.
He was in the pocket…he was in the groove…he was Bumblebee.
No matter how bad he was feeling…even if he was starting to come down with the flu…even if he was groggy after waking up in a strange parking lot…he was on top of the world.
We went by one “candy station/trunk”, and the lady dressed as a zombie gave him some candy…and then she said, “OH, LOOK!!! YOU ARE THE CUTEST YELLOW POWER RANGER!!! ISN’T IT THE CUTEST YELLOW POWER RANGER?!!! SO CUTE!!
Nate got even more quiet for the rest of the walk around.
It was his own version of a quiet walk of shame.
When we got back to the car, it looked like he was tearing up a little, and then he frantically tore off his prized Bumblebee uniform.
“The Yellow Power Ranger is a girl character”, Jenny whispered to me.
I don’t think Nate is sexist or anything, but it didn’t have the same cool factor to be a little dude dressed in a “girl’s costume” that being the appealing and powerful Bumblebee had held for him.
There really is a fine line between a genuinely helpful suggestion or observation and a misspoken comment that we can mull over the rest of our lives.
That lady didn’t know who Bumblebee was, probably, but it blew Nate out of the water that she didn’t have a handle on the names of all the Transformers.
When someone says something that seems to define us…like “Aren’t you a cute Yellow Power Ranger” or “You could be a hairdresser”, they usually always mean well.
It’s helpful to figure our someone else’s deal. It’s good to guide and shepherd. It’s a comfort to be able to pigeonhole someone else efficiently.
The quicker we can do that, the sooner we can get back to the real business at hand…thinking about ourselves.
“I hear that the sanitation department might be hiring” isn’t a bad observation, but when it seems to be a commentary on abilities or potential…and you have dreams of doing something really grand…it can seem like a cut.
(No one ever suggested that I should be a garbageman…it’s just an example. There’s nothing wrong with being a garbageman, either…any steady work is good. )
I guess that what I’m thinking is that the Yellow Power Ranger is pretty cool, in her own way. Her gender doesn’t have anything to do with being…or not being… cool. She’s cool because she’s a Power Ranger.
It’s just not cool to be dressed as Bumblebee and be mistaken for a “girl hero”.
Especially when you have your mask off.