Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Minister of Propaganda:

 David has a disturbing tendency to have a minor chest or sinus cold slide right into pneumonia without much advanced warning. So the other day, after 3 days of coughing and sniffles I cancelled his bus ride and took him directly to the clinic at his Dr.'s office. During the exam, he informed the doctor that he was more than healthy enough to go to Las Vegas. The Dr. smiled and said, 'Oh, that's quite a trip!' She then looked at me expectantly. I looked back at her with an indulgent smile on my face and told her to ask him where his money was for the trip. When she did, Dave reached around my hip, pointed directly at the right cheek of my butt and said, 'It's right here in the Dads'es wallet!' she laughed when I said, 'Yup, if three bucks will get us to Vegas, we're all set.' That part never seems to get through Dude's force-field of denial.
       After a precautionary prescription, and since the clinic is close to his school, and despite much vehement protesting, I took him to class. As we walked through the hallways, me with only a vague idea of where we were going, one of the Staff stopped us in the hall to talk about the Talent Show. He asked, 'Did you have any idea that he was that good and talented?' I replied that I did know how well he could sing, but about the xylophone, I had absolutely no clue. We both talked for a few moments about how wonderful the whole thing was (especially Dave's part), and then he pointed the way to Dave's room and we were off again.
      Mrs. Yarosz, as always, seemed delighted but confused to see us (we get that a lot) and soon enough Dude was in his seat (mostly) and Mrs. Y and I had a few moments to talk. With our usual conversation about Dave's attitude and actions (both sometimes borderline) and both of us gushing about how well he didin the Talent Show, she brought the subject up about Dude's upcoming trip to Vegas. Dave heard this, and said, 'Yes! He's going to the Vegas to get ALL the elevators!' For more than a year, David has insisted repeatedly that he's going to Vegas. As this dire need to travel to Sin City is ignored, thwarted, or put-off, he changes who's actually taking him, but it always works out that Dad, or Raine, or Alexis, or mom, grandma, the grocery clerk,   somebody is going to the Nevada Desert with Dude in tow. I assured Mrs. Yarosz that we had no actual plans of heading that far west, and after a few more minutes we said goodbye and I started to leave.
Susan photoshopped this for Dude... I'm never letting him
see it
      As I walked down the hall I was greeted by a rather fit looking younger man who introduce himself as Chris McCabe, Dave's phys-ed teacher, saying, 'You know that son of yours is a real character.' I replied, dryly, 'You'll forgive me if this isn't shocking news.' and then we laughed. Now when I went to school all my phys-ed teachers where either semi-retired nuns, (10 years of Catholic school) or ex-football coaches that looked like Frank Sutton, the Sergeant from Gomer Pyle, or possibly Bulldog Bob Brown, the wrestler from the 60's and 70's. So the concept of a fit phys-ed teacher is always startling to me for some reason. Chris and I don't talk very often, but when we do he always tries to make sure that we're going to the Track and Field event for the Special Olympics. I assured him that we wouldn't miss it for the world. He then brought up how excited Dave was to be going to Vegas over Summer
Plotting..... something.
Vacation. I closed my eyes and shook my head. Once again I had to dash someones hopes for 'the poor homeless waif' that is my son. I put on another (hopefully not fake looking) smile and told him in an amused voice that we were definitely not going to Vegas that summer. His response kind of startled me.
       He immediately called to a teacher across the intersecting hallways and told her in a loud voice, 'David's not going to Vegas!' 'What?' she immediately started toward us, and with no small amount of grief in her voice, 'He's not going to Vegas?' He then yelled (sort of) to Tammy, Dave's Speech Therapist (oh yeah, he can talk. Thanks Tammy!) 'David's not going to Vegas this year!' Soon I was nearly surrounded by about 6 teachers, some of them leading students, all nattering about Dave's cancelled (?) trip plans. And since we were in the intersection of two hallways we soon had a traffic jam going. They all seemed to be very sad that Dude couldn't go, but the startling thing (to me) was that they all believed that he was going in the first place. I was beginning to become alarmed and not a little afraid for my safety if they started blaming me for the lack of slot machines in David's future and became a vicious, torch wielding, pitchfork carrying mob. I tried to play the whole thing off by telling them that he's not even interested in gambling. 'He's just heard somewhere that Vegas has more elevators per capita than any other city in the States. It's kind of like Mecca to a Muslim.' I tried desperately, laughing, 'He prays to Vegas 5 times a day. Bowing to the West.' But they were having none of it. Chris even suggested, mostly facetiously, that they should gather funds somehow and make Vegas into a Field trip for Dude. I had to get out of this Dude-induced haze and back to the merely surreal world I generally live in. I made some awkward goodbyes and stumbled off down the hall.
     Halfway down, and about a third of the way to my desperate escape attempt, I ran into Ashley. When she seemingly only wanted to talk about how wonderful David's performance was in the Talent Show I began to relax. Chiding myself for my Sin City Paranoia I was kind of blindsided when she asked about... you guessed it, David's Vegas Excursion and Grand Elevator Tour!  I laughed (that was getting harder to do) and told her that probably wasn't going to happen. Then Jill, whose room we were standing across the hallway from, walked over and said, 'What? Dave's not going to Vegas?' but she
And now, cult members....
was smiling when she said it, so that was okay. After some more talking about other things, not Vegas-related,(future post) I continued my escape, as the mornings announcements started over the speakers. I honestly and completely believed that the Headline Announcement would be: Dave's not going to Vegas, everyone!  And prepared to sprint down the halls with my finger over my lip, shouting, 'Leper! Outcast! Unclean!' in fine old biblical tradition. Hey. I was getting a bit frantic, I'll admit.
     I finally made it out and to the car without being stoned as a heretic by completely ignoring anyone's attempts at conversation and drove off in a mad dash. Although I may have waved at someone who was actually talking to someone behind me. After I calmed down a bit it hit me that my son was becoming a little Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda guy from WWII. (Hey, we're German and I'm kind of a history nut) He'd somehow convinced everyone in the school that he was going to Las Vegas, and that I was taking him there. I mean, they believed it! It was like a little Cult of Dude-Vegas! I could only see this as an attempt to force my hand, and make me take him to the Mecca of the Elevators, and then to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!  That's when I realized that I hadn't really calmed down at all. Because, even though we are of German decent, we've never been Nazis, and if we ever did try to take over the world, it'd be more like a Pinkie and the Brain episode.

You make the call which of us is which. It's tougher than you might think.

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