Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Uncomfortable Praise... uh... Pause:

   This is an addition to,  The Minister of Propaganda:
   With the faint sounds of hurricane sirens and bloodhounds baying, desperately trying to avoid the harsh glare of the spotlights, and weaving through the razor-wire, I stumbled urgently down the hall toward the distant hope of the front door and freedom. Okay, it wasn't quite that bad, but it sounds much cooler when I put it that way, instead of, 'In craven fear I slunk down the hallway, trying to flee Dave's school.' Just doesn't have the same ring to it. I was actually trying to get away from a veritable storm of questions about bogus trips to Vegas that left me with the vague feeling that I was somehow at fault.
   As I was making my surreptitious attempt at exiting the building, I was stopped by Ashley Jakubowski, former and current cohort of Jill Masura, of Talent Show fame. Ashley wanted to talk about Dude, and how wonderful his performance was, but mostly she seemed to want to talk about the Blog. And how wonderful the stories are, and then how wonderful I am, both because I'm writing it and just because...well, I was just born that wonderful, I guess. Now, I'll get all misty and talk about that Talent Show until people's ears fall off. But, for some reason I get uneasy when people gush about me. But Jill heard her talking (and let's face it, who didn't?) and walked across the hallway about the same time that Ashley said, 'We need to find some way of getting your stories published! And I'm not the only one who thinks so.' and when Jill said, with a smile, 'Yes!' Ashley topped her with, 'See?! I told you I wasn't the only one!', pointing her finger at me. I think if there hadn't been such a disparity in our sizes I would have been in danger of getting poked in the chest!.
    In my usual self-deprecating manner I tried to downplay my 'wonderfulness', but they were having none of it. 'Everybody here reads it!' Ashley stated sharply, 'We all read it, and we laugh, and we cry.' And Jill said, 'Yes, we all love it. I hope you don't mind that I share it with all my family.' I was pretty embarrassed by this time, but I said sincerely, 'No, I don't mind at all, if you think they'll enjoy it.'
    Now Ashley is very brash and up front and intense, and Jill is very quiet. I began to feel like I was in some sort of Special Needs, good cop-bad cop routine. 'All right. confess your wonderfulness, or we'll tell the kid that you're taking him to Vegas.' 'No! Not that! Anything but that!'
    Then Jill (the quiet one) leaned forward and said, 'No, I don't think you understand what your stories mean.' I thought I did. I mean, I'd written them. 'People see our kids and all they hear are the bad things. About is how hard everything is, and how tough it is to raise them. They ask me all the time, How can you stand to be around them?, Even my family doesn't understand. But you're not like that, you see the humor and the good things, and you put that in your stories.' She may have said some other stuff, but my blushing had pretty much stopped up my ears at this point. She was right about one thing, though. Evidently I didn't understand what my stories meant. At least not all of it.
     Now it says right here in the Manual of the Emotionally Repressed that; When faced by a concerted effort to expose gushy feelings or admittance of Wonderfulness it is required that the repressed individual immediately turn the conversational spotlight on someone else. By any means necessary.
     Luckily for me, I didn't have too far to go, since as far as I could see the person with the most Wonderfulness here was standing right in front of me. 'I am sooo glad you're teaching Dude again.' I said quickly, 'And I'm glad you're doing the music thing. I don't think anyone else could have gotten all that out of Dude.' She blushed a bit, and paused in saying 'wonderful' things about me. 'I think I've found my calling.' she said bashfully. Aha! Someone else in this conversation was uncomfortable with praise. 'When you wrote in the Blog that you hadn't sung with David for a while... We had that problem at first, but once he started, it was so wonderful!' Her face got mock-serious, 'I just had to figure out some way of getting him in to the show.' She grinned, 'He looked so good in that tux!'
     Realizing that the conversation may turn back to me at any moment, I turned to bring Ashley back into the conversation but Ashley is a small person with a lot of energy and also a lot of stuff to do, so she used the pause to vanish mysteriously, so I was on my own. But I had lost momentum and the ball, conversationally speaking, was back in Jill's court. I thought I was lucky when she merely asked, 'Is David going to prom this year?' 'Yes.' I said, somehow managing not to roll my eyes. 'Mrs. Yarosz heard that I'd allowed the Talent Show and hit me when I was weak and my Permission force fields were down.' She laughed a bit, then continued, 'My husband, Dan (Ashley IM-ed me his name when I screwed it up last time) would really like to meet you.' 'That would be cool.' I said, thinking... well, that it would be cool. She continued, a bit more earnestly, 'He saw you at the Special Olympics, after I pointed you out, but didn't want to bother you.' That confused me a bit. Bother me? How could meeting new people bother me? It must have shown on my face (after all it was right out front where everyone could see it) 'He reads the Blog too, I think he's a bit nervous about meeting you.' Okay... one of us has to do some reassessment of my Celebrity Status. And I'm pretty sure it's not me. 'Well, he wouldn't have 'bothered' me' I said, trying to stumble back away from me being the topic of praise or awe. 'I'm really looking forward to meeting him.' I finished lamely, but sincerely. I started hearing faint echoes of the sirens again and maybe even the bloodhounds baying in the distance, and was just about to give out with my favorite Never-Fail distraction, 'Look! There's an Elephant!' when Jill said something about having to get ready for her first class of the day, and that allowed me to run
like a little girl out of the building and back to the Land of Denial.

No comments:

Post a Comment