Saturday, February 5, 2011

And then it got weird. Or, WTF, me?

Hi! So... I'm on a teeny tiny bit of a manic roller coaster, it seems, cause I'm in a good mood today! I love the idea of the roller coaster, although in real life, I've never ridden one (not even DisneyWorld's Space Mountain - damn you Bethany for freaking me out about it in the 7th grade - I should've just gone, couldn't have been that bad, right?) So, watch the following scene from Parenthood. Or don't. I'm just going to include it.

I've always loved that movie.

Alrighty. So today's post. WTF, me? This I ask myself a lot. I have the tendency to make even the most banal exchange with other human beings extremely awkward. Unnecessarily and completely unconsciously. This happened yesterday.

I was at the speech therapist with my son for his weekly appointment. Routine stuff. Same people in the waiting room, usually. Same goddamned horrible shows on the tv. Does anyone watch Let's Make a Deal regularly on purpose? Christ, it's horrible.

Alright. So, the following was extraordinary. Usually, the speech therapist comes back with H and he has his lollipop or his candy cane (full sized, wtf, Ms. Lucy?) and we chat a bit about his progress and blah blah. Only this time, no candy cane, but a hexabug or whatever they're called. Little robot bug thingie. So, I naturally think it was his to take home, but whatever. Apparently, he thought that too, but no, it was hers and she was going to take it back. But, because he's a good kid and generally listens to grown-ups (especially those who aren't me), he gave it back to her. His bottom lip started to quiver, though, mostly, I realized, because he got no candy cane or lollipop. Mercifully, she realized that too and invited him back to her office to get one.

While they were gone, I'm standing there getting my coat on and stuff ready and one mom in the room, who last week created an impromptu time out corner in the waiting room, to everyone's extreme discomfort, said to me, "Wow. That's impressive. If that had been my kid, I would've had to wrench that toy out of his hands, chasing him down the hall."

My response? "Yea, well, he has an older sister, so he's used to things being taken from him all the time." Which was a completely stupid thing to say for lots of reasons. First of all, the reaction in the room was overwhelmingly pity for poor little abused H. For the little brow-beaten boy who no longer fights back for what he wants. Sad, that. Only, here's the thing - completely not true. He always fights back for what he wants with his sister. There's constant fighting. And he turns it on her all the time, too. Taking her toys and then not giving them back when asked to.

Why did I say it? I'm guessing, subconsciously, to get myself back to being a bad mom. That's my guess. Plus? To make things weird. Which distances me from people? I didn't want this mom's admiration, the one who had done the time out thing the week before. That was horrible. And she was probably doing the right thing, I don't know. It's not what I would've done, but then, I would've taken the kid out of the room, to let him save face and to let him calm down and to stop it from being a battle of wills. Oh, plus, to save the other people in the room from being uncomfortable. It was awful.

All I had to say was, "Yea, he's a good boy." But that would've possibly made this person I care nothing about feel bad. I guess. Or better, "Yea, I'm surprised too. It's not usually that easy." Crap! That's it! That's the right thing to have said. I cannot believe it took writing this down to realize this. Wow.

Apparently, learning a script is the main way Asperger's kids, girls in particular, adapt or cope. Once I rejected my mom's script, because people began looking at me funny due to the anachronistic 1950's Southern woman world view it was based on, I started going on my own with limited passing. Well, now I know what to do when someone compliments my child. I can now use this when that situation happens again. Which, who knows when that would be.

In any case, I do this awkward thing a lot. Sometimes to put myself down and make myself less threatening. Sometimes because I'm on auto-pilot and just really don't think about what I'm saying. Sometimes, who knows why. I guess I don't have a script available always at the front of my brain, or tip of my tongue or whatever. The thing about it too is that new situations baffle me. I have a hard time categorizing them and then remembering which script is appropriate. Baffled. A lot of the time. So I end up just stumbling through, even if I've successfully identified what should've been said (see the last paragraph).

Another case in point, a few months ago I went to a reading by David Sedaris. I've wanted to do that forever. I love him. So I stand in line afterwards, to get him to sign a book, and he says, as I walk up, "You know, you see so few women with natural hair color." Referring to my gray hair. And I mumbled something about my guru aunt (true) whose hair went white at 35 and how I'm staying true to family tradition or roots or something. Crickets. And then changed subject. But, since that time, I've thought of tons of good responses. 1. Have you ever been to a hair salon in New Jersey? Jesus, the thought of going there every six weeks for the rest of my life is like a goddamned sentence. 2. I'm going for distinguished. Does it work? 3. Dude, have you seen George Clooney in Up in the Air? Salt n peppa, baby. And hot.

Etc. etc. Seriously, though. George in that. Hot.

This past summer, Conan O'Brien went on the "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television" tour and I could've tried to get tickets. But I didn't. Because... it's complicated. Here's why. The ad for this said something like "A night of music, comedy and awkward silences" or something. And I thought, "Really? Him too? How's that possible? Really? He's a tv talk show host. Is that real? Come on." And, while it may have been true, the thought of it being something a lot of people deal with, and not something unique to me, was weird to me. Plus, is it cool? The issue of awkward silences. People do it on purpose? I don't know. Seems suspect.

Plus, I don't think I can properly explain this, except to quote Woody Allen who was quoting Groucho Marx: I don't want to be part of a club that would have me as a member. So I didn't want to go to see the tour. I can't believe I'm quoting Woody Allen, fucking perv. I don't care the situation, step-dad/step-daughter "relations" are gross. Anytime. Anyplace. And now I'm singing that same inappropriately risque song by Janet Jackson. Which is weird. WTF, me.

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