Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Prom and Circumstance:

     I mentioned in an earlier story that Dude's teacher, Marilyn Yarosz, snuck in a Dude-Prom request when she found out I was weakened by giving Jill permission to put Dave in the Talent Show. I'm pretty sure they worked out their scheme in advance. I'm not paranoid at all... really... School Conspiracies actually exist! We'll pause 10 seconds for this brief psychotic break... and a word from our sponsors.
      Conspiracy or not, I'd already sent in the 40 bucks for the ticket so now we were committed. (that was an appropriate turn of phrase) So the first thing we needed was, evidently, a Prom Uniform. That's Dude-speak for 'suit'.
     I have to explain something. I haven't worn a suit since I quit the local Theater group. I haven't even owned a suit since I was about 22. I have no blue collar prejudice against the things, and I look pretty good wearing them. I just won't own one. I fully blame my mother for this. Just before my own Junior Prom my mother decided (and rightly so) that I needed a suit of my very own. Nothing would do, but we had to go get one, immediately. Mostly because there was no way in hell any of my father's would fit me, since he was 2 inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter. So I was immediately dragged down to a dinky JC Penny store (the only size we had) to gather me some formal wear. The 70's were just a couple years gone and with the time-lag inherent in a small town, a scent of disco must have still been in the air, because Mom went directly to the Haggar rack and picked me out a sky-blue white threadstripe leisure suit and supposedly matching dark tan brush leather shoes and a gold toned Rayon shirt with a navy blue sweater vest. Even with the minuscule amount of sartorial knowledge in my teenage brain I tried to protest. But she had the bit in her teeth and would not be swayed by any thought of mere teenage humiliation or degradation of same. Okay, granted we were just out of the 70's and also, it really doesn't take that much for a teenager to feel humiliated, but still... Okay, I'll admit it... I did like the shoes.
Not my picture... but that's my suit
Revived from the dumpster
Powder blue leisure suit?
    Two weekends before Prom I lassoed my fashion consultant (Raine) to, you know, consult.... Mostly 'cause this ain't my first rodeo, and there's no way in hell I was going to come home with something she wasn't a part of picking. Then I corralled the Prom-meister and we headed off to conquer us a Haberdashery. To stave off buyer's remorse and to keep my wallet from going into immediate spasms we first tried a couple of re-sell stores in case there were any 'gems' at low-low discount prices. No such luck. But, for once, Dave liked shopping. He moved through the stores like he was part bloodhound (we all know he's actually a cheesehound) and when it came time to search the racks he was, of course, right exactly in the way, every time. 'He needs to get the Prom Uniform, to go to the Prom, next weekend!' or, when looking at a suit 3 sizes too big and some strange green/gold color that should only be seen on Black and White TV, 'That's the cool uniform to go to the Prom!'  'Dude', I said for the third time, 'Prom is in two weeks, and there's no way I'm ever going to buy that, even just to burn it. Now get out of the way.' After our nod to fiscal responsibility we ran for the Sacred Halls of Commerce, to better bolster up the global economy. The cool thing about going to an actual store is that even though it costs 4 times as much, they have more of the stuff you want, or might actually pay money for, and some of it is even in the right size!
    Spurning the Arkansas-based chain of Department Stores as unworthy of the Event we went instead to a non-hyphenated chain of vestiary for the 'Prom Uniform'. Immediately we were confused by two things: Firstly, there were more than 3 suits to choose from. And, Secondly, David loved every suit there, so he was no help picking one out. (which wasn't really surprising). I think, that if there was any surprise, the person who was surprised most was Raine. I walked in with very definite ideas about what I wanted to look for in a suit (that isn't the shocking part) and then immediately started setting together what I wanted. (only sort of surprising) The shock came, I think, when the things I set out actually worked well together and looked good (she even loved the tie). Other than a bit of a debate about color (Raine wanted a black suit) the only quandary came when I couldn't find a shirt that was the color I wanted (so I got a black one). I displayed a working
knowledge about style, and fit and even taught her a few things about sizing shirts and jackets. This all would have been ever so much more impressive if I'd actually known my son's measurements before we started. I'm pretty sure Raine didn't trust me though. I had to step out to the car for a moment and she whipped Dude and his new clothes into the nearest dressing room to try it all on. Everything fit, except the shirt that I told her was too big.
    Dude followed me around like he was attached at the hip. As I slithered through the different collections and selections David was right there, always ready to agree to whatever shirt I happened to pick up, move out of the way or even glanced at out of the corner of my eye. 'Yep! That's the one! Now we've got the Prom Uniform to go to the Prom next weekend!' After a while I just stopped contradicting him. We finally finished our purchases and went home. Dude was immediately ready to put on the Prom Uniform and wait, completely dressed, until the time came for the dance... in 12 days. Thankfully, once the suit was put away and it was explained again that prom wasn't for another week and a half or more he finally seemed to put it out of his mind. Or so we thought.
    Finally, Prom Week was upon us. We hadn't heard much from Dude about the Prom except for the occasional, 'Yes! He goes to Prom on the next Friday and then in the Summer he goes to Vegas!' The first part was readily agreed to while the second was quelled as much as possible. I had gotten a note on Friday telling me of the Prom rehearsal to be held on Tuesday. But, other than making sure that David knew about it, (he did... loudly) didn't think any more about it. I left the house at 6am as usual and got home around 3:30, covered the bike, grabbed the mail and opened the front door. I noticed the suit, still in its bag, was laying across the back of the couch as you enter the door. I wondered for a minute why A: Lorraine got the suit out. And then B: Why, once she had gotten it out, she had left it in the front room. After a moment, I shrugged and put it away in David's closet.
    Dude came home, and we talked about the rehearsal, but he didn't mention anything about the suit, so I was left wondering why the hell Raine had gotten it out. I get home before she does, so generally by the time she gets here I'm already cooking dinner. I was deep into... I don't know, some stuff I was making that resembled food (if you didn't look too closely) and she was doing her normal after-work puttering around when she came into the kitchen and asked, 'Was David supposed to wear his suit for rehearsal today?' I stopped slicing when I looked up (always a good idea) and answered, 'As far as I know it wasn't a dress-rehearsal. So, no, he wasn't supposed to take it.' I turned back to my vegetable mutilation when she asked in a puzzled voice, 'Then why did you leave it out?' My eyes widened in surprise and I turned to face her. 'I didn't get it out. Why would I do that?' She looked at me suspiciously, 'I thought you were giving me trouble because I haven't hemmed the pants yet.' My face decided it wasn't done with the surprised look, so it stayed there. 'I haven't given you any crap about that, and there's still plenty of time to hem them. So... no, it wasn't me.' My face decided a stern, thoughtful look was more appropriate now, 'So if you didn't do it. And I most certainly did not do it. That only leaves... DUDE!!!!' I yelled at the ceiling.  Our ceilings are specially reinforced.
     After a certain amount of clomping and clumping about my youngest son graced the Board of Inquiry with his presence. 'David...' I started rather sharply, 'Did you get the suit out this morning?' Without imminent threat of the loss of games or cheese, my child doesn't do 'repentant' 'Yes! We need the Prom Uniform for the rehearsal for the Prom!' He said enthusiastically, totally unconcerned with the fact that rehearsal was 6 hours previous. 'Then he puts on the suit to go to the Prom on the Friday and then the Vegas for Summer Vacation!!'  I dropped my head into my hands, peeked one eye out at Raine, who was manfully (?) suppressing laughter, 'Please remind me again why I don't kill him?' She pretended to ponder this for a moment and answered psuedo-helpfully, 'Well... there is that whole 'Law' thing. They kind of frown on that. They think you're suppose to take care of him, or something.' I broke out with a pompous British accent, 'If that is what The Law supposes, sir, then the Law, sir, is an ass! If that is what the Law supposes, then the law, sir, is a bachelor!' Dropping the accent, 'Or at least childless.' I looked imperiously down at my offspring, 'And if you ask, 'Please, sir, may I have another?' I'm gonna kick your butt.' I shook my head in defeat, 'Go play your games, man.' He retreated, then stuck his head back in the doorway. 'He goes to the Prom on Friday!' I had no more fight left in me. 'Yes, David. But it's only Tuesday, so you'll have to wait.'
    So wait we did. And eventually (a word often used in waiting) Prom Day dawned. I understand there was a bit of a problem keeping Dave from dressing for the prom at 7:00 in the morning, but other than that it started out as a normal day. Since I had to get him to the school between 4 and 5, I was told that I could pick Dude up from school as early as 1:00 so I raced Raine home at lunch, hung around the house for a while, changed clothes, got something to drink, watched some TV, talked with Raine for a bit, had something else to drink, hunted around for my shoes, remembered I hadn't brought any socks downstairs, got my
socks, had to hunt for my shoes again... and picked him up at 2:00.
     In quick succession we got a snack, a shower and dressed and turned immediately around to go back where we just came from. We were among the first there, so we grabbed a program and started wandering around. Mrs. Yarozs found us (how does that woman do that?) and while we were talking she mentioned that she had forgotten to send the permission/information slip for the State Special Olympics home with David that day. It just seemed to be Dude's day. Already two of the things he'd be desperately waiting for (and bugging me about) came together on the same day. Of course, since his Dad is mean, and he hadn't heard his teacher, I decided to wait until the next day to tell him the good news. It would have only distracted him anyway.
   The school had a couple of volunteers (probably conscripted teacher's children) that accompanied the kids without dates for the pictures and the walk. Dave's 'date' was a nice young girl named Laura, or Luana... or something starting with 'L'... probably. Dude walked down the runway like it was an Imperial Progress, waving to the crowd, and knowing him, probably wondering why they weren't cheering.
   With that out of the way, we raced (ish) over to the Country Club where the actual dance was taking place. The only problem was, I had only a vague notion of where it was. I struck upon the clever scheme of just following someone out of the school parking lot. The only problem? The first person I picked was obviously going home, because he turned the wrong direction immediately out of the parking lot. But all was not lost! Because of the nice lady in the white mini-van that was going the right way. And I could only hope that she was going to the same place I was. Hey... it got my Dad out of Southeast Chicago one time with a
van full of family and a pop-up trailer. That's good enough for me. I was so intent on staying with her, I even followed her into the wrong parking lot. We exchanged funny looks as she was headed out and I was headed in. Dave laughed, 'Not the Country Club with the Prom and the Dance!' I gave him the Patented Dad Death-Look, but the warranty must have run out, because it didn't have any effect at all. 'Wrong parking lot! We're going the wrong way.' As always, very helpful. I raised my eyebrow to increase the Death-Look's power, but the batteries hadn't charged, or something, because it still wasn't working.
    After a short talk with the Nice Mini-Van Lady it was determined that she had misinterpreted her brother's directions and we just hadn't gone far enough. So, back out on the road we went and eventually found 7 Springs Country Club and I had to stop Dude from bolting out of the car while it was still moving. 'He has to get to the Dance with the Prom Uniform!' he explained. 'Yeah, I know. But I'm pretty sure they're not holding a dance in the Emergency Room, so you just wait until I park and we'll go in together.' He wasn't a real big fan of this idea until I told him I would be leaving afterwards.
     Jill Mosura was in charge of the music (naturally) and I finally got to meet her husband. Whose name is, I think, Jim. (I found out his name is Dan. It's really pathological, this name thing. I need a telethon, or something.)  He'd been wanting to meet me for a while, and I can only hope it wasn't too much of a disappointment. Jill (Yes, but I've known her for 6 years and her name was on those notes that came home all the time) asked if I were going to stay, but I told her that this was a 1 Dude only event, and I ran out the door. I'm certain I didn't scare too many people as I, Fast and Furious-ed my way out of the parking lot. I'm almost certain that one older lady will recover with the right therapy.
     Several hours later I returned at a slightly more sedate pace and made my way back to the Dance. David
was 8 feet away from the DJ table dancing away. I asked Jill, 'Has he been there all night?' She nodded, 'Except when he had to go over to get his picture frame.' I was relieved. I thought he'd stolen someone's iPad and I'd have to wrest it away from him to give it back. She smiled. 'I was surprised how many songs he knew all the words to.' I said, 'Yeah, he knows a lot of songs. And if he doesn't know the words, he makes them up.' She smiled and changed the subject. Smart woman.
    Well, finally it was time to wrap things up and head home. (Carefully not frightening parking lot ladies) As we headed out to the car I asked Dude if he'd had a good time. 'Yes!' he said, startling people in the next parking lot, 'He went to Prom in the Suit and next week we go to Vegas!' 'Dude,' I said wearily, 'let's just concentrate on getting home, huh?'


  1. Oh my! David is so handsome in his prom uniform. All of this stuff should be in a book. You are a gifted storyteller. The epilogue could be your trip to Vegas!!!

  2. Thank You! Even though you seem to be a member of the 'Take Dude to Vegas' conspiracy.... lol