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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Animal, vegetable or mineral? From way back when.....

“What is dat?” he asks breathlessly.

“It is a sweet potato,” I explain, worryied whether it is indeed a sweet potato or whether I am unwittingly providing him with false ammunition to beat me with later.
There seems to be a great deal of confusion between what is a yam and what is a sweet potato? I have never sought to clarify this deficit, despite having been a resident for more than a decade and a citizen for a few years, because they are both loathsome. As a vegetable they are vile because they are sweet, but to put them in a pie is equally as reprehensible. Who ever heard of carrot pie? [Translate = a transvestite of a flan]

“No, it is a humungeous lemon!” he announces. That probably means that it is a yam and not a sweet potato? What on earth have I purchased, and why did I listen to the advice of the checker. [translation = probity of checker dubious due to the fact that she was unfamiliar with Swedes. {sub translation = rutabagas]

“It is a potato lemon?” he blurts, raising his eye brow, hoping for a hit.
I prod it, to see if the skin will come off yet.
“May be,” I add dubiously.
“It is disgusting anyways, any road up!” [Aside = gosh he automatically translated himself!] Soon junior son will be five.

For the first three and a half years of his little life he ate almost an exclusive diet of sweet potatoes, as only orange food was acceptable by that time. As he reached his fourth birthday, pureed carrots were out and he had an orange aura about his person. [translation = carrotine poisoning?] He would surely have perished without the intake of the humble sweet potato in such vast and exclusive quantities. I can’t say that I view little orange gold fish crackers as a nutritional advance, orange or not.


I stand at the computer with my stack of books searching for a book on ‘transitions’ for ‘autistic children.’ There isn’t one. Why isn’t there one? Why is there no book to tell me what I am doing wrong? What I should be doing and how? [translation = help!]

I’ve left the boys with spouse. I gave up bringing them here six months ago, there’s only so much humiliation and stress I can endure in one day. Junior daughter lies on one of the sofas reading. Ten minutes drive there, 20 minutes hunting for books, ten minutes drive back; I promised. [translation = I'm trying]

Near me, a woman checks out a huge pile of books, fingers fumble a bit with bags, baggage and paperwork. Five feet from her, is a boy, maybe 12 years old, sludge green parka, mop of shaggy hair, pale complexion. He flaps his hands, jumps on the spot and talks to himself too loudly. I glance at him. I glance at her. She talks to him in a firm authoritative tone, as she concentrates on the task at hand.

I take in the aerial view of the library from the ceiling in a blur: they are two fixed points, static although one jumps, but there is a flow of traffic around them, people flowing past on route to their book quests. Each head flicks across to them both magnetized by the sound and the riffle of static, pauses, registers and then continues on their previous path, with haste. [translation = not long enough to be contaminated]

I return to the computer and the blurred screen. I want to speak to her, to tell how wonderfully she is coping, how great she is, how I admire her. [translation = ‘I think I love you.’?] But I don’t, because they’re all the wrong words. [translation = jolly good show is unlikely to translate]

I think of all the things I want to ask her, because she must know; ‘how do you get him to stay with you?’ ‘how do you stop him from running off,” ‘how do you keep his voice at that level rather than shrieking?’

I beam positive energy towards her. I beam harder and focus on the screen. If I beam hard enough, I might be able to cancel out all the stares of condemnation and embarrassment. I beam more ‘zen’ thoughts at her, but I don’t think she needs them?

Still, it can’t hurt to have an extra boost to the energy reserves. [translation = a few spare as back-up] Calm, in control, knowing. It happens all the time you know? You’re trolling around [translation = in existenc, hopefully vertical] wondering how you’re going to make it through the rest of the day, when for some unaccountable reason, you suddenly get a little lift.

That little lift is when someone beams you positive energy. You have just been zapped. Even if you don’t need it at that precise moment, your body is more intelligent than you give it credit for. It will store it away in a special reserve for emergencies. It has been scientifically proven [Ref 1] that the transfer of energy is beneficial to both parties. [Ref 2] Studies have shown, [Ref 3] longitudinally that the ratio of zapping to energy, increases in the second party exponentially, and proven to reduce anxiety as measured against a control group receiving placebo zaps to a significance where P< 0.05.[Ref 4]

She tucks her books in a bag, lays a hand on the shoulder of her son, the same height as her, maybe a fraction taller, and says ‘time to go now.’ She leaves accompanied by her scarecrow who leaps, her spine erect, her footsteps steady. Can I do that in six years time too?

[Ref 1] Somewhere.
[Ref 2] Somewhere soon.
[Ref 3] Watch this space.
[Ref 4] ditto

Silence in Court

I hold up both hands in a visible 'STOP' sign, which means ‘pray silence as the middle sized chappie is about to make an announcement.' Now that he is beginning to speak, becoming less 'non-verbal' he needs a break. [translation = chance to be heard] It’s hard to keep the other two small people silent for an indefinite period of time, whilst the middle sized one literally, gathers his thoughts in preparation for speech.

I need to get a handle on this now, whilst he’s still only six and a half in the hope that in the future when he becomes a morose teenager, I will still be able to extract information from him.

Junior sons jumps and jiggles in his chair on his hunkers, like a horse in a stall before the race. Junior daughter slumps back in her chair eyes on the ceiling, tedious, bored.

Senior son starts; “well…..do you know what?” Great start, very casual, very contemporary, not too strained, carry on. His eyes rest fleetingly on each of us, he isn’t just addressing me, he is addressing a whole audience, nearly all of his family, he is being inclusive.

“Genie has two children,” he announces with hardly a stammer, the correct tense and a countenance that isn’t distorted. He is initiating conversation, imparting a piece of information to me that is of a social nature, nothing to do with Pokemon, school or someone else’s exciting misbehaviour. There is no perceptible gain to him in telling me this, it is ‘merely’ social exchange.

His enunciation is poor which means that you can’t be sure if he said ‘Gene’ or ‘Genie.’ I decide to be difficult, even though I know exactly who he means. [translation = push the enveloppe]

“Is that Genie from therapy or Gene from over the road?” I pause, count to twenty, maintain eye contact and wait. The other two are bubbling with irritation but I manage a palm up hand in front of each of them.

“Well,’ he begins tentatively and uses a ‘filler phrase’ whilst his brain does catch up “I think maybe………it is Genie.” [translation = many people use 'fillers,' Americans often say 'you know,' British people often say 'actually.']

More interestingly, I know the motivational source. [translation = to what he is referring, the incident that he wants to share] Yesterday, during therapy, he was motivated to check the current marital status of his therapists, whether they were still married, perhaps a divorce might be pending, whether they had managed to off load their current burden of offspring. [Translation = perfectly natural for a young man with social aspirations.

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