Like every good 80's sitcom, my life now includes a sassy neighbor as a supporting character.
Cameron is eight years old and he comes over to play with me a couple of times a week. We play iPad games, teach our dogs tricks and set up photo shoots with our puppies. Mostly, though, Cameron and I spend our time ragging on each other. He calls me lazy and makes fun of my "artwork" (can you even imagine??!?!) and I mock him for being born in 2003 and for having a small brain. Somehow, our friendship works.
The best thing about Cameron is that he's my own personal Webster or Arnold from "Diff'rent Strokes." He's a cute little black kid who is wise way beyond his years. Cameron will show up at our house and say things like "I'm sorry I'm late. I had forgotten Taryn had extended an invitation towards me until a few moments ago." Very Oliver Twist. He will fondly reminisce about things that happened when he was "a kid." My favorite thing about Cameron is his capacity to both receive insults and dish them out in return.
One day we got on the subject of the fact that every time he sees me, I am laying on the couch in my pajamas. He told me that he feared I would die alone. Here is a quote, which I immediately wrote down so I would never forget it.
"You're never going to get married. You'll be alone alone with a lot of cats, eating ice cream right out of the carton. You won't have dogs, because for some reason lonely women have a lot of cats."
Warmed the heart! Another day he told me he had decided he wanted to be the President of the United States when he grows up. I was very encouraging, imagining him thanking me in his inauguration speech. I told him I'd vote for him.
"Really? You would?" He seemed touched.
"Of course, Cam. I think you'd do a wonderful job."
"Well great, you can vote for me. If you're still alive by then."
Occasionally Cameron will behave like an eight year old. This comes as a huge shock to me when it happens. One day he acted like a dog for over an hour. I was embarrassed for him until I remembered that he was eight years old and this was typical. It usually ends quickly and we go back to making up dances to Michael Jackson songs and debating the merits of the Chris Brown Christmas album vs. Mariah Carey's and Garth Brooks'.
He will also get his facts a little mixed up every once in a while. On St. Patrick's Day, Cameron came over and proudly announced he was celebrating because he was part Irish. My mom said, "Wow, we're Irish too!" This little African American kid looked at her suspiciously. "YOU'RE Irish? You guys don't LOOK Irish."
My new favorite awkward Cameron story happened last week when he came over to show me his Halloween costume. He was dressed as a nerd, complete with suspenders and cracked glasses. "Cam, why would you be a nerd for Halloween? You're a nerd every day." I am so good at snappy insults.
He looked right at me and said, "Oh yeah? Well you're a SLUT every day."
Deep breath, Taryn. Act natural. Don't laugh. "Cameron, do you know what that word means?"
He proudly nodded. "Yes, someone who's LAZY."
I guess I am a slut then. Even an eight year old sidekick can figure that out.