Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Sound and the Fury:

       People sometimes ask me, 'Isn't raising David more difficult than you thought it would be?' I, of course, have to answer 'Yes, but I'm more difficult than he thought I would be, so it evens out.' I suppose that my stumble through plan of making life choices has led to this any number of times. I guess I really started my training when I was a Freshman in High School.
   Toward the last third of the school year Maur Hill would have what was kind of laughingly called the 'Senior Play'. I say 'laughingly' because the seniors, for the most part, seem to have better things to do with their waning time in school than spend endless hours in a theater practicing for a play. I can't imagine what they'd rather be doing with their last few weeks of fairly unsupervised under-adult time. (that's a lie. I know exactly what they'd rather be doing). At any rate, the other classes tended to outnumber the seniors by about 3 to 1. And, since Theater Geek is actually one word in the high school vocabulary they're always looking for more audience victims... uh, actors for their plays.
     So what I was doing was minding my own business, just trying to get out of the building before anyone noticed I was leaving. I passed the theater doors and I saw a notice for auditions for Inherit the Wind, and recognizing the name of the director from an education program I'd participated in before my IQ/psych exam determined that; No, I wasn't an idiot, I was an antisocial underachiever and bored to tears by school, long before Bart Simpson made that cool. I decided to slip in and say hello' to Stacy (the director) and check out the whole audition... thing, in a completely non-participatory kind of way. But what I didn't count on was, A: While she remembered that she knew me, she had no idea from where or when, even though it had been less than a year ago. and B:The fact that friendly people can talk me into almost anything. So, you got it, I ended up auditioning. With strict instructions to her that I would only accept a minor, perhaps even non-speaking role. Best case scenario; A character with no lines that dies off stage before the first curtain.
     You have to understand, this was before I realized that the strange things that happened to me weren't aberrations, they were just the beginnings of a lifetime of the slightly bizarre as the living embodiment of the 'Chinese Curse'. So, instead of just talking for a bit with someone I kind of knew, or cruising through a nothing part and having to point out to family members where to look for me onstage, I got the lead... and so much more. It was work. It was a LOT of work. In addition to my regular school work, there were late night rehearsals, contentious cast members, and loads of extra time with Stacy and Dipshit the Self-Righteous (the idiot co-lead) to work on lines and characterization. If that weren't enough I was also helping out with set, props, lighting and publicity. Because just doing one thing you have no idea about just isn't enough for some people, they need five or six things they have no clue about. Yes... that would be me.
    That's pretty much the same with Dude. 'Let's have a baby' or at least 'Let's have some Sweaty Naked Fun Time' has so far turned into 20 years of nearly constant wonder and aggravation. Sometimes equal measures of both.
  I work in a steel fabrication shop with hammers, air-impact wrenches, train horns, industrial
equipment, sledge hammers striking steel, the shrieking of metal as it's being cut in the saw and sometimes, something large, heavy and metallic striking the floor. It's basically louder than Quasimodo's bell tower. I leave all that to the rushing of air past my ears at 70 mph to get home. When I get home I have 10 minutes with the house to myself, no TV or stereo, just me and the (mostly quiet) cat. It's quiet enough that the electric clock in the next room is sometimes annoyingly loud.Then for the next hour and a half  after that, I'm directly below 'Game Central'. I've long ago learned how to tune the babble, bangs, yells, twitters, tweets, bings and bongs into background noise. But every once in a while something happens that tweaks me out of my 'anti-Dudenoise' Zen.
     The other day I was sitting at my computer goofing off when a loud buzzing sound vibrated through the floor directly above my head. It was LOUD. It startled me, but I resolved not to find out what the hell it was. I had recently seen a vid that someone had posted to FaceBook that involved a vibrator flying through the air (please don't ask) and that's the first thing that came to mind. (Because it's my mind and it doesn't work like a regular one) Couple of things wrong with that snap-theory: Firstly, it would be just.... weird and creepy and make me go Eeeeeeeew!. Secondly I'm the one that gets the mail, and I'd have noticed if he'd gotten a narrow, plain brown wrapper package, and I'd have remembered. Even so, I wasn't brave enough to go up and actually find out what was making the noise. It happened again when we happened to have a movie paused and Alexis reminded me that his game controller has a vibrating function and he leaves it on the floor sometimes because he likes to watch it vibrate across the floor. And we already know he likes freaking me out. So, there you go.
     One other time I was coming out of the bathroom, muttering to myself about forgetting something and then I heard this from behind Dude's closed door. 'You know what we're going to do now? We're going to put you on the bus, and that bus is going to take you to the place. Then you're going to get out of that bus and we're going to put you up against that wall... And then we're going to BLOW YOUR BRAINS OUT! You understand?' ......... I said softly, 'Damn Dude. That's a bit harsh just for forgetting your watch in the bedroom.' I looked around for any bus-driver looking people ready to whisk me away. 'Well, I won't be doing that again, that's for damned sure.' I muttered as I went in the bedroom for my watch. Thankfully the Death Squad didn't know where my room was and I was spared.
My jersey, not his.
   Once again in the upstairs hallway, Dave was getting dressed to go shopping with me but had left his sleeping shirt on with the rest of the clothes that I had laid out for him. I immediately sent him back into his room to change his shirt to the one I'd laid out. It was a hockey jersey style shirt with a 'Rotten Rebels' logo. As he closed the door (he always closes the door) I heard him yell, 'Yes! We're going to play hockey in my room!' As I turned away to go downstairs I said, 'Well, that certainly explains some of the racket coming out of your room.
   Even the simple act of going through a door can become a major drama. 'No! Wrong door! Exit only!' Which, I will admit, is advice I've actually needed more than once. But you can't explain anything to him. The sign on the other doors saying, 'Please use other doors after ____ o'clock.' Means nothing to him. He doesn't care that you forgot a cart and it's a 32 mile walk around to the correct door. 'Exit only. When you see this sign, it means that this door is only to be used for exiting the building.' Thank you, Captain obvious, but using means I don't have to hire a native guide to get around the 600 people in line and then mount an arctic expedition to get to the car in the parking lot.
     So... More difficult? Yes. In ways that I never could nor even now predict. But also, incredibly rewarding in ways that I never could have predicted as well. So... like I said, it kind of evens out.

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