I’m currently reading a book called “The Last Six Million Seconds” by John Burdett. It’s a thriller about a triple murder investigation in Hong Kong months before it’s passed from British control to Chinese. It’s got your murder mystery angle, your organized crime angle, your diplomatic suspense angle, and so much more – it’s a veritable dodecahedron of genre. It’s full of shadowy intrigue and subtle manipulation, and it’s especially enjoyable when you’re dancing to the strings of a mostly verbal 3 year old.
I’d read about a conversation where one character guides the other, disarming them with blunt honesty, lulling them into trust with neutral topics then playing on latent racism and graphic images to win them over fully. Then I’d put the book down when my toddler pointed and yelled.
It’s refreshing actually, when you walk through the world coerced and seduced in a million ways to deal regularly with someone who hasn’t figured out how to lie. The tactics of persuasion historically favored by my little man are 1- to say he’d like it, whatever he wants (we call this asking). 2- to claim that it’s his, not yours. Or 3…well, really there’s just the two.
But now we’ve entered a new stage in our interpersonal interactions. We have recently introduced the word “Maybe.” Before, we’d do this, or do that, and sometimes we’d fight about it, and sometimes plans would change, but now, with this new word in the arsenal, actual negotiations begin.
We need to run some errands. But…maybe we can go swimming?
We need to get your hair cut. But….maybe we should watch videos?
The thing is, he’s not even saying it’s likely, just that it’s possible. Which, when you’ve read enough about quantum physics and Buddhism your view of physical reality is tenuous enough to allow for the existence of a freight train in the bathroom. The probability is a little on the low side, but then again, Snooki.
It’s yet another bittersweet benchmark for a father; here’s another word he understands, that he can use. A word that demonstrates the comprehension that something can exist in a conditional state, outside of what this little person directly observes. It ties in memory, abstract thinking, and continuing mastery of spoken language. And it brings him that much closer to being able to play you like a fiddle.