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Sunday, July 22, 2007

England, my England! [one]

I find that I am so used to the political correctness of my adopted country that I completely forget that it is otherwise elsewhere. [translation = senility advances] I am reminded of what I take for granted, by visiting home. [translation = England for a fortnight]

We’re on a tight schedule [translation = timetable] and visit friends for lunch. Because we are on a tight schedule, our friends also have other friends for lunch at the same time. [translation = three couples plus our children] This is a fortunate turn of events because we all know that our friends’ friends, will be our friends too.

After lunch, I help my friends clear the table. The kitchen is awash with the dirties. I excuse myself for a moment and nip to the loo. [translation = restroom] The window is open as I wash my hands at the sink. [translation = ear wigging is one of my many more reprehensible habits.] I can hear my friends’ friends talking on the patio outside. I idle. I listen. [translation = ear wig]…….

“Do you think his head has anything to do with it?”
“How do you mean?”
“Well it is unusually large, don’t you think? You only have to look at the two of them side by side and it’s obvious. He has a huge head. It's like a medicine ball. I’m sure there was a study out about head size and other abnormalities.”
“Yes, now you come to mention it, I do remember hearing something like that too.”
“They’re quite sweet though.”
“Quiet though.”
“Hmm, don’t have much to say for themselves. Need to learn to speak up for themselves.”
“Do you think that’s the speech delays or are they just shy?”
“Difficult to say.”
“She said they’re ……..getting better or something or other.”
“Hmm, well that’s a mother for you I suppose.”
“If that’s better, then what do you suppose they were like before for goodness sake!”
“One hardly dares imagine.”
“There’s that nice school down the road from where Frederick and Felicity live.”
“What one would that be then?”
“Oh you know. School for the deaf or something, but I think they take all disabled children.”
“Well that would be bound to help. Anything to get them to talk surely. They must be experts at helping speech, don’t you think.”
“Well it’s looking a gift horse in the mouth if you ask me.”
“Why does she keep banging on about occupational therapy though?”
“No idea! I mean really! They can walk. It's not as if they're really, properly disabled. They look perfectly normal to me!”
“Just ordinary children really. Mind you, the older one’s a bit…well, er…how can I put it kindly? Er ….floppy.”
“They call that a Klutz in America. What a dreadful word!”
“Oh right! A bit of a butter fingers.”
“Hmm. The other one is so……….busy.”
“Oh yes, right. Busy. Busy as a little bee, buzzing around. The energy of the young.”
“I know.”
“She’s quite a little madam.”
“The daughter.”
“I know! But parents do tend to over compensate when one, ….well two children are, er, abnormal.”
“Can’t blame them really.”
“No………..I suppose not. They’re not doing her any favours though, molly coddling her like that. They’ll pay for it in the end, ultimately. Spare the rod and all that.”
“They’d be so much better off back here, with family support, friends and such.”
“Better to be amongst your own people.”
“Oh yes, definitely. Nothing like home when you’re in trouble.”
“And are they ever in trouble!”
“Do you think they realize?”
“Must do, surely.”

.............. well we surely realize something! [translation = ain't that the truth]

To be fair, these kinds of 'friends' exist in all countries. I prefer these kinds of "friends," that Estee Klar-Wolfond over at the "Autism Acceptance Project," but maybe that's because they're global.

Since bias against one's country is reprehensible, I also speak from the other side, over "here."


Rachel said...

“Why does she keep banging on about occupational therapy though?”
“No idea! I mean really! They can walk. unquote

Pfft. I had occupational therapy, and I can walk.
Besides, OT is for fine motor skills.
Your "friends" are, to put it nicely, misinformed.

Anonymous said...

So... when are you coming for lunch???


Bev said...

I do hope part two is going to be here tomorrow. Curious to see if the "friends" survived or are buried underneath a lawn gnome somewhere.

"Ear-wig", that's a new one for me. So this is what we would call "eavesdropping"? (Want to make sure I use it correctly, you know) :)

Heidi said...

'it's not like they are properly disabled'.... that was a good one. I really should e-mail you what a friend of mine wrote on her blog about meeting a 'handicapped person' (yes, really!) in the park. Come back to England, at least you know what people really think... love the photo in this post

Unknown said...

Bless! This made me giggle.

Its funny though. I always think that England is a pretty good place to be autistic- the whole eccentric englishman thing, plus we dont have Autism Speaks... the whole british stiff upper lip thing as well means we dont tend to do the whole autism is a disaster thing on quite so grand a scale. obviously some still do.

We also dont tend to have any kind of services to speak of (ABA is *far* less common, OT? Yeah right!! Speech therapy? massive shortage of therapists, my son never saw one even when he was completely nonverbal etc) but I dont think anyone has proved that American autistics fare any better than their british counterparts even so. This is of course child services.

oooooh hark at me getting all pro Brit...argh!

earwigging does mean eavesdropping! Its a very cool phrase i think.

Niksmom said...

Oh my word. I am afraid that my "ugly American" would have gotten all riled up at hearing that. How on earth did you handle yourself after that?

I echo Bev's eagerness about reading part two!

With friends like that who needs Autism Speaks or your local school district!? They sound equally uninformed/underinformed!

Bill C said...

Ignorance is such a fine, useful word, yes? So many nuances and layers...

Plus I've now learned a new use for 'ear wig.' Thanks!

(also thanks for visiting and commenting)

Sarge Charlie said...

I want to thank you for stopping by my place, stop by again, we can have a spot of tea and a biscuit.

joker the lurcher said...

come back! then we can meet up with a bunch of autistic kids and run riot!

Jeni said...

Don't you just marvel at the misinformation levels so many people have about autism?

Joeymom said...

We get "not properly disabled" all the time- even fro the school. It makes you wonder where to start to try to even think about saying something...

Haddayr said...

Wow. WOW.

Yes, you really DO need to be closer to people like that.

My blood is BOILING.

Especially the comments about your brilliant, wonderful daughter, actually.

Stupid people always find smart children unafraid of authority intimidating. I hope she pisses of more people just like them!

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