Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Saturday, November 13, 2010

That's a Big Faucet:

Who left the water running?
 There's a tendency sometimes to assume that just because you know the most about something/someone that you know everything there is to know. 'Experts' fall into this trap all the time, they've been right so many times that they don't think anyone can teach them anything more. Travelling down this path can lead to new discovery (insert embarrassment) at a sometimes startling speed. Take myself, for an example. In and among my various talents, along with an IQ that's sometimes embarrassing to talk about, (yes, I know I'm an underachiever, get over it, I have) I am a self-admitted Dude-expert. There is no one on this planet (I thought) that knows more about Dudeness than I. Well, it turns out there is someone that can teach me even more about Dude. And that person turns out to be David himself. Who'd a thunk it?
  One Saturday recently Raine was suffering from a migraine of epic proportions. Once I'd darkened the room and come back from the pharmacy with coma-inducing medication my effectiveness as a care-giver was pretty much shot. I know that migraines make a person incredibly sensitive to light and noise. So, having taken care of the light I decided the best thing I could do was get rid of the noise. So I grabbed Dude and headed for the door. Us being the two noisiest things in the house.
  A few days ago a friend of mine on Facebook asked if I had any waterfall pictures, and that got me wondering if there were any named waterfalls in the area, those being the easiest to find on the Internet. Come to find out there is one not too far away from here. It's called Buttermilk Falls. No idea why it's called that, because the water's clear and there isn't a dairy anywhere around, but it's an oddly pleasing name for a waterfall. Evidently many other people think so, because there are at least 3 other waterfalls in PA with the same name. Anyway, even though the sky was cloudy I decided to at least find the falls and check them out. Of course, being part of a bizarre Japanese genetic experiment I basically have my camera welded to my hand whenever I leave the house.

Buttermilk Falls. One of them anyway
 So, once again without any directions of any kind, (other than a quick look at MapQuest), Dave and I forged our way into the untracked wasteland that is Western Pennsylvania. Ok, actually we drove up a State Highway about 12 miles and found it right along the road between the edges of two towns. I'd like to tell you of the long, arduous journey by foot along the forest trail, but it was really only about 600 yards. Even Dave didn't complain about the walk. Actually the trail went through an old rock quarry that had been cut into the side of a very sharp, narrow rocky ravine it wandered a bit but stayed pretty close to the boulder strewn bank of the creek. This tended to add visions of my son's broken body lying on the rocks to my already flaming paranoia about Dave walking near water, but Dude was unfazed.
 Now understand, Dave is basically with me because Raine's head would explode if he were left at the house. I know for a fact that he has no interest in the outdoors (other than that's where all the open water is) his venue of choice is the floor in front of his TV. Maybe, if he's feeling especially 'outdoorsy' he'll ask me to open the windows so he can regale the neighborhood with his current babble. But parks, trails and other natural settings are definitely not his cup of tea. Or so I thought.
  Buttermilk Falls (the one I was at anyway) isn't really all that impressive a waterfall. It has a very nice semi-circular ledge, about a thirty foot drop, or plunge, and the undercut makes it possible to walk entirely behind the falls without getting wet. But it's autumn, so there's not much water falling over it, about a 2 foot wide stream at the crest. 

That's a big faucet!

 Once we'd crossed the little rise before the falls, the first thing I heard was 'Wow'. I turned to see Dave, mouth agape, staring at the falls. I chuckled a bit, and said, 'Pretty cool, huh?'. As I turned back to take another picture he said, 'That's a big faucet!'. From then on everywhere I walked, Dave had to go. All the time talking about 'someone forgot to turn off the faucet'. Climbing over rocks, passing underneath the cap rock to completely circle the plunge pool, even walking the rocks to cross back over the stream at the outlet.   He then, evidently, wanted to 'mountain goat' our way back down the gorge, climbing from rock to rock to follow the stream all the way down the valley. Now who's the wimp? You guessed it: Dad. There was no way I was going to go leaping from stone to stone with a camera in one hand and Dude's hand in the other. Call me a wuss, I don't care.
  As we walked back to the car (on the trail, thank you very much), Dave was turning his head from side to side, looking at all the rocks and trees and talking about them rather than his video games. When we got back to the 6 he actually seemed reluctant to go, taking one more look around and talking about the 'faucet' again. I was so stoked, I almost took off across country to see if I could find more 'falling water'. But lunch was to be had, and our patient had to be checked on. So after a stop at the Arches and a scenic ride we pulled up in front of the house. Dave, full of 'Royale with Cheese' and me, full of hope that I'd actually found something that my son enjoyed that might drag him away from his video zombie-ism.
  This hope (like many others) was quickly crushed. As I was getting out of the car I heard Dave say, 'That Raine better get out of bed. Gotta play the video games!' Yeah, good luck with that, kid. Luckily for Dude, Raine was feeling much better, and did indeed get out of bed and he did get to play his video game. But Dad still hopes that next time it'll be a little easier to drag his son from his virtual world..... Yeah, good luck with that kid.

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