Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Self-Driving Tour:

The Wearin' of the Grin
     I sometimes think that people in the Midwest are both less and more able to cope with the Dudeness than Pennsylvanians. Less, because, while friendly and courteous, Midwesterners are sometimes more easily startled  by anything that breaks their routine than people on the Atlantic Seaboard. And once brought up short, it tends to take a bit of time for them to get back on a roll. I've seen David make genuinely crazy people wander off shaken, confused and looking over their shoulders in wonder. Typical people generally have no chance at all.
     I say more, because they are friendly and courteous and anyone with those traits will almost always at least be given a listen-to. And despite whatever else Dude is, he is very friendly.
     Case in point: By now, anyone who's ever read one of these stories (and if you haven't, get to it! There are only 89 of them so far) Dude invites anyone and everyone to Vegas wherever we go. Sometimes he invites them 2 or 3 times in one sitting. The other day we were heading into a place called Vintage Stock, a used game/music/movie store with a bit of game/movie memorabilia and paraphernalia, and when we drove up we startled a small girl and her mother parking next to them in the lot. The bike is kind of noisy. After we concluded our business we were followed out by this same pair. When the woman explained that the girl was especially sensitive to noise (picked the wrong Dude to follow out of the store there, didn't ya?) So I kept the bike silent while Dave and I patiently waited for the two to get into their SUV. When the little one was secured and the woman was getting into the Land Tank, Dave, once again, asked if she was going to have fun coming to Vegas with us. She turned with a smile, and said, 'I'm sorry, I won't be able to make it to Vegas. We're going to Scotland and Ireland this year.' Dude could care about the Gaelic Homeland. The woman said she wasn't going to his Mecca, so she was instantly shuffled into the 'nice, but beneath notice' category.  I was almost instantaneously interested... and jealous. Seeing my interest, she pretty much gave me her entire itinerary for the trip. You know, so I could catch up, if I happened to be in the area. The whole time Dave was hawking Vegas like a carnival barker and occasionally drifting off subject (if there ever really had been one) to various movie quotes and restaurant choices for dinner that evening. This woman was genuinely delighted by both Dave and my interest in her Adventure Across the Pond. She spoke to him when he butted in with his questions and then switched back to me when he was done....ish.
     That's one of the things I truly love about the Midwest. You can meet a total stranger in a parking lot, accidentally start a conversation with a polite gesture or phrase and end up knowing more about them in 15 unhurried minutes than you do about some of your relatives. I never got this woman's name, nor she mine, but by the time our brief exchange was finished I knew the Where, What, and Why about her trip to the Old Country (Ireland and Scotland: Self-driving Castle Tour; and because they're descended from some of the Royalty in that area). Hell, I don't know where anyone in my family is going on their vacation. But that may be just because they don't want me tagging along. Come to think of it, I don't even know where some of them live. (it's a big family)
     The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that, in this one aspect at least, David is perfectly suited to the Midwest. This is the only place I've ever lived where a wrong-number call can lead to an hour long conversation with a complete stranger (it happens more often than you'd think). Anywhere you can start an hour (day/week/month) long conversation with complete strangers is just the place for a Dude to be. He's already found cheeseburgers, 2 favorite game-stores, public buildings with elevators, 2 malls and a steady supply of Mac and Cheese, so all of the essentials are covered.
     Pittsburgh people try to be polite in the face of all that Dudeness, but it's really not in their nature. There was always that startled pause whenever Dude would ask, 'You ready to go to Vegas?' A quick look at me to assess the danger and then another look at David. They rarely ever seem to smile as quickly or as easily at David as do the Midwesterners. Of course, smiling is about the only thing that
Midwesterners do quickly. (Mostly kidding) But the smiles are sincere and the courtesy is genuine.
     At any rate there was an unexpected hazard resulting from this chance encounter. It seems that Dave's dreams of Vegas Glory have become just a tad more organized. I mean, he's always wanted to go to the 'Big V', but it was more of a 'You ready to go to Vegas?' way. Now he's talking about specific places and things we have to do and see once we're there. I mean, now there's a buffet, complete with elevator, (I mean, how they hell am I going to find one of those?), he's evidently entered into a multi-million dollar Talent Show, we're going to a pool....  on a roof! We seem to be visiting either the Luxor or CircusCircus, depending on what day it is, and we seem to be bringing along everything (including the cats) except Suzi. Not because she isn't allowed to come along.... but because we're sending her on a Spa Cruise. I'm pretty sure, except for the gondola ride at the Venetian, and the sinking ship at Treasure Island there's just not much Cruise action in Vegas. Of the ocean going variety, that is.
     Dave does, however, want to take Suzi's car to Vegas with us. He says it's the 'Best, perfect way to get to Vegas!' Suzi drives a BMW Z3. A 2-seat convertible sports car. He's always saying, 'We've got to take the racing car to Vegas!' How we're going to get 3 cats, 5 gaming systems, about 300 game discs, 2 Dudes (regular and Super-sized), clothes, Mac and Cheese, ketchup, ranch dressing, and a long, long list of other things into a vehicle with the total passenger and trunk space of an airplane bathroom I have no idea. Maybe we'll just leave the top down? I just haven't been given the specifics on that one. Dude is beyond such things.... It's probably just my job to figure it out.
     Right after I wrote this I found out that I'll have to find room for one more package for our Quest. It seems that Suzi is indeed invited along on our Adventure. When I mentioned that she was the only thing in the house that I hadn't been asked to find room for in the Z3, she corrected me. It seems that it's her job to figure out how to find a Spa Cruise in the midst of the Mojave Desert. Maybe a Spa Bus Tour? I'm not really sure. Perhaps Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is making a World Tour from the deserts of Australia?  Maybe they'll take along a non-Drag Queen guest with a personal Dude-request?
     Also, he's been reminded that I have relatives in Chicago. So now our 'Vegas Road Trip' (his words) is somehow supposed to include a swing by the Observation Deck of the Sears Tower. I think he even knows what floor it's on. Once again, the logistics of fitting in a 350+ mile trip (in exactly the wrong direction) into our 'little road trip' is entirely up to me. I'm evidently capable in ways that boggle the mind... My mind feels boggled, anyway.

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