Thursday, September 25, 2014

Autism Awareness -One Neighbor at a Time.

Notice the gray hair taking over!
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  A beautiful day in which to spread some autism awareness. 

I'm in the line at the grocery store. My purchases are mostly lined up on the conveyor belt --cereal, a few things for Blue's lunch and most importantly, my mom's 6 bottles of Chardonnay. My cell phone rings. It's not a familiar number but it's local so innately, I answer.  It's Red's voice that I hear. Heart sinks! Shit! What is it now? 

"Mom! Dad called the cops on me. They're probably on their way to get me right now! You have to do something!" 
(He has been doing a lot of  turning our words around into something we've never said. What is that about?)

He said more than that.  There is a disgusting line from a Boondocks video that he likes to include whenever he talks about what happens when people go to jail. Because in his mind, the Boondocks is a documentary.  Yep. Thanks, You-Tube.  Autism parents around the world thank you for our children's ability to find the most disgusting videos, play them over and over again, and then script the most inappropriate lines, at the most inopportune times. 

Wait a minute? Cops? Where is he? 
My head starts swimming, spinning like I'm in a dream sequence in a movie. What the hell did he just say? 
"Where are you?" I manage to get out of my mouth.

It turns out that he's calling from our neighbor's phone. Just great! Wonderful! Neighbors if you weren't aware of autism ...this is it! We are the poster family for autism awareness! If you don't you know! 

I hang up with him and call the house to find out what happened. No one called the police. There is no imminent threat. Great. Again. I hang up. I can barely process what the hell is going on while trying to run two different debit cards through the thingy. Somehow, I manage to pay for my groceries. At least, I think I paid for them.

Blue and I end up wandering around the parking lot for what seems like 30 minutes looking for my car. I have absolutely no recollection of how I arrived here.  What does my car look like again? I think it's white.  Oh! There's a white car! Not mine. Damn! 

I finally sit down in the middle of the lot on the curb. I park the basket and tell Blue to find our car.  He looks at me like ...really? Why are you sitting down in the parking lot? 

I somehow managed to make it home.

The conversation between Red and my neighbor goes like this...
"Why do you think your Dad called the police?" 
"Because I was yelling and screaming at my grandmother." 
"Well, is that what you're supposed to be doing?"

When I arrive home, the 3 of them (Dad, Red, and Neighbor) are talking in the driveway.  

After unloading the car, I'm searching for my earring that somehow fell out of my ear in the car. The neighbor comes over.  "So ...the boys have Aspergers? How exactly does that affect him?"

"Well, he has autism.  Maybe not specifically Aspergers.  Aspergers describes Blue more than Red.  But this isn't just autism; this is also ..." I go on explaining all of his challenges as well as his strengths. 

It turns out that our neighbor knows someone at work who has Aspergers.  He also knows someone at his church who own's a video business.  He's going to talk to him about Red.  He says, "Maybe he can throw some work his way, they can collaborate, or he could mentor Red in someway." 

Wow! Another person is willing to help this kid! Amazing. 

And that my friends is how you create autism awareness.