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Friday, March 23, 2007

Ignore the autistic child

Spouse and I haven’t seen each other during waking hours for a considerable period of time. We decide to attempt an adult conversation. [translation = reciprocal exchange] We have many things to catch up, the meaning of life, amongst other things. We commence with ‘other things.’ The first ‘other thing’ for discussion is the problem of the window, the kitchen one. It lets in lots of light, but we’re in California which means that in March although the temperatures outside are in the balmy mid 70’s, within the confines of the window, the temperature tops 101. ‘ Would that we all had such problems!’ I hear you sneer, and well you might, but you see this house is a haven for plant life and plant life curls up it’s toes and dies pretty rapidly when the barometer creeps over 90.

“Well why do you have to grow so many seeds anyway?” he starts unhelpfully. Junior continues to perseverate on the floor between us, at ‘tripping over’ distance. He stabs the floor boards with the green cocktail stick, his favourite colour of the week, or possibly month. [translation = maybe longer] Since it’s made of plastic, we anticipate minimal damage to either himself, or more importantly, the floorboards.

“I grow seeds to save us money dear.”
“How does filling the garden full of flowers that have to be watered, with very expensive water I might add, save us money? Exactly?” Junior mutters to himself as his imaginary letters fail to meet his exacting standards of precision, even though he can’t actually see them.
“Good point! When are we going to fix the sprinkler system? When everything is already dead at this rate.”
“By ‘we’ I assume you mean ‘me’?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“You didn’t have to.” I look at the top of my son's head, busy, absorbed.
“Do you realise I could say 'chocolate pudding' fifty time now and he wouldn't even blink an eye." We both look at the top of his head, whilst his fingers scratch away. Otherwise he doesn't so much as flinch, oblivious.
"Anyway. The window. How can we make it cooler in there?”
“How about the fan, the old one in the garage?”
“That will ruin my streamline look and anyway, then they’ll just all be in a hot desert wind, rather than a still desert.”
Junior pokes me in the leg with his cocktail stick. I check to see if this was experimentation, an accident or a request for attention? I can’t tell, so I carry on the conversation without paying him any more heed. He’s quiet, don’t lets rock the boat.
“I suppose. Do you keep the little side windows open?”
“I do, but there just no air flow.” Three well timed little pricks to the calf attract my attention, “yes, dear?”
“Pointy fings.”
“Yes it is pointy. Pointy and chartreuse coloured.” Spouse changes position on the counter and peers upwards, “we could always put some shade up. I could tape some cardboard up there.”
“Cardboard! Are you quiet mad? There again, that’s quite a good idea.”
“Yes, we could have some of those lovely pull down canopies that they have on shop windows.”
“You’re kidding right?”
“No really, I think that’s a brilliant solution.”
“Just for a few weeds,……er plants?”
“No, not at all. It will add to the value of the house, a sound investment.” Junior stabs my little toe with the cocktail stick, “pointy plants!” Really, the child can be so irritating sometimes. I hunker down to attend to the annoyance. “What are you doing dear? It hurts my toe when you poke it like that.”
“It does look rather like a chipolata,” my beloved spouse adds unnecessarily. Junior rolls back onto the floor to guffaw, “wiener!!!!!!!” I take advantage of the mutual hilarity between the males of the species, to drive the point home, “so I’ll give them a ring and make an appointment for them to come and measure up then.” It is a statement not a question, “that way we can fill the whole window with beautiful plants for the delight of everyone!”
Junior regains his composure, climbs up on the counter, to where the top glass shelf is located. He is above our eye line. He takes his green cocktail stick and uses it as a visual aid for his aged parents to announce his own solution, “pointy fing, wiv prickles is being dah cactus that is growing in dah desert. Now I have my chocolate dessert?”

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