I am so angry, so very, very angry. I have just returned from our little rural supermarket where I have had a lovely interlude with a local lunatic. Nope, not anger talking, the truth... because this is the second incident with the same nutter in the last two days.
I suppose I need to start at the beginning. Yesterday morning, bright and early, I picked up Wise Woman for her quarterly blood tests (need to check no return of insidious lurker). We arrive a few minutes after the local pathology place opened, popular as ever, we were seventh in line (they have a number system). A couple more people arrive, grab numbers, sit. Friendly repartee and conversation, jokes about it being the hub of the town abounded. THEN in she storms. Under five foot tall, full of venom, spitting mad.
"YER KIDDING ME! IT'S JUST FRIGGIN OPENED AND UP TO NUMBER TEN ? I AM FUCKIN PISSED OFF, YOU HEAR ME, PISSED OFF...." Yeah, we hear you, this waiting room is tiny, we have no choice but to have our eardrums bombarded..."THREE FUCKIN HOURS EVERY WEEK I WASTE HERE. HAVE CANCER AND HAVE TO COME IN EVERY FUCKIN WEEK. I AM PISSED OFF, REALLY FUCKIN PISSED OFF!"
Grabs number, all the time glaring around as if her rage will force someone to meekly offer their place. Not a chance in hell after that tirade, sister. Off she storms, muttering, cursing, giving all the evil eye as if we were responsible for the crap in her life. Much mirth and laughter follow her departure, and quite a few comments on anger management courses.
Fast forward to today. Standing in the aisle, Boy 1 and Boy 2 join me after borrowing some library books. Talking to one of my oldest and dearest friends and her two kids. Not blocking the aisle, though Boy 1, reading his book, was probably a little too far in the centre.
I didn't hear her until she shoved past Boy 1. Apparently she asked him to move over (I didn't hear her so it couldn't have been very loud). He, lost in his book, DID NOT HEAR. So she pushed past and then loudly started ranting about what a rude child he is, what a terrible boy, how he has no manners, called him a little pig, all the time walking.
I see red. At this point I did not even realise it was the same nutter! My friend looks at my face, goes "uh-oh" (she knows how cutting I can be when my blood is boiling), grabs my trolley as I stalk off.
Turn into next aisle where nutter is still loudly denouncing my child. I storm up to her, and her husband, and go "EXCUSE ME!" She stops babbling venom for a minute, I jump in. "My son suffers from autism spectrum disorder. And aside from that, he did not hear you, I did not hear you. He is not rude, but you are. You should see someone about that attitude problem!" "Well, how was I to know, he hasn't got a sign on him has he?"
"Neither have you, and I think you are far more in need of one!" I know I said more, but I was shaking with my own rage at that point. Ever been so angry that you cannot remember what you said? Well, that was me.
I stormed back to my trolley. Friend is doubled over in hysteria. Mind you, this piece of work still ranted the whole way around the shop. My friend overheard her still carrying on in the last aisle. And came and told me at the checkout. It was at this time I realised WHY she looked familiar. It was the head case from the QML waiting room!
What a piece of work. Every one faces adversity in their lives, everyone has problems. Do not use illness as an excuse, it is not. It is the same as me running around with a frown on my face, hating the world because my son has Asperger Syndrome. We all have bad days, but this one... well, I think she has bad lives.
And as for my ill-mannered boy? As he was faded out he heard not a thing. When we arrived home he happily helped his Madmother unpack the car, as in his words:
"I like helping. It makes me feel good to be nice."
Inspired by Thea's post over at her blog, on must have classic children's books I am reviewing my favourite book of all:
The VERY Ordinary Caterpillar
~ Garry Fleming~
ISBN 13: 9781875875344
When the Very Ordinary Caterpillar looked around him, all the other animals and birds had very beautiful colours. Why didn't he? He didn't have shiny feathers or a magnificent orange frill, or red eyes, or spots or rainbow colours. So he spun himself a cocoon to hide, and became . . .
Well if I told you, that would just ruin it all... wouldn't it?
I love this book. It is a tale about differences, possibilities, metamorphisis and not judging by appearances. Full of Australian flora and fauna, it sends a wonderful, positive message to children of all ages.
Once there was a caterpillar, a very ordinary Caterpillar. He looked up one day and saw that the sky was endlessly blue...
So begins his journey. The illustrations are incredible. Beautifully vibrant they leap off the pages pulsating with life. The story: simple, poignant, heartfelt. For our family it mirrored what we faced with Boy 1. I hope it will make people realise how easily they can damage self-belief with thoughtless words.
“I don’t have shiny feathers or a magnificent orange frill, I don’t have red eyes, spots or rainbow colours…..
I really am a very ordinary caterpillar” said the very ordinary caterpillar.
And with that he spun himself a cocoon to hide.
And that’s where he stayed till one day……..
This book helped both sons, especially when they were faced by adversity and condemnation. At twelve, Boy 1 still re-reads it when people get him down. He doesn't understand why people feel they have the right to make massive assumptions about who he is and what he is capable of without even taking the time to know him.
The very ordinary caterpillar was now a very extraordinary butterfly!
Sorry, but it doesn't really spoil the book. There is a lot more detail in it, not to mention the glorious artwork. It makes me cry every time I read it. Especially as my own little caterpillar slowly transforms into a butterfly.
I cannot recommend it highly enough to other parents, it is by far the best I have seen in getting the message to littlies about differences and acceptance.
I will add, I am a little stunned at how limited the information on the web was on this book, and even more floored to see it is not mentioned on Garry Fleming's website. Off to find out why.
An in depth expose about life as the brother of a boy with Asperger Syndrome.
We ask the hard questions to one who is often overlooked in the Autism Spectrum Disorderdrome, the sibling. Tune in for heartwrenching honesty and simple sincerity. The truth as only a child can tell it.
Bring tissues. And excuse the tearstains on the blog.
Aussie Waffler's recent post on the things her children have attempted to pull off has inspired me to reminisce a touch on my childhood adventures. I was on the surface a really good kid, so sugary sweet that one of the many nicknames my older sister used to use was goodytwoshoes (yes, you have to snarl it out really fast like one word). But what my sister and my parents didn't know was that lurking beneath was the heart of a sinner. And a very clever one at that.
It is the usual story, I had a willing partner in crime in the form of the boy next door. We lived next to a private hospital, he was the matron's son. We were best friends, inseparable until the day he moved when we were six or seven.
Poor boy, on the rare instances we were caught out he was the one who copped the blame. And good mate that he was, he never crumbled under pressure nor dobbed. Not even when getting a full on spanking (yes, that was perfectly acceptable back forty odd years ago).
We weren't truly evil, just adventurous and spirited. And I guess in my case, a little too curious and imaginative, or is the term creative more appropriate?
Like the time I decided we were going to be superheroes and jump from our front verandah railing OVER the concrete garden edging to land safely on the spongey lawn. A little sample of our flying super-abilities. Of course, I was not going first, oh no. I was the brainiac who had dreamt up the idea, it was up to him to lead by example. So up we climb, I do the countdown (always gotta be a countdown), ten...nine...eight...seven..."Do you think we should MC (madchild)?" "What are you a chicken?" "Nooo, I'm not a chicken!" ...six...five...four..."It was your idea, maybe you should go first?" "It was my idea, so YOU have to go first! Do I have to do everything?"...three...two...one...
At this point he hesitates so I give him a little push to help launch him over the garden.
*SPLAT* Faceplants straight onto concrete edge. Blood splatters in vibrant streaks across Wise Woman's gladioli as his nose erupts volcaneously. He runs screaming next door to the Matron.
Of course, I then climbed down. No way was I going to be stupid enough to repeat that test of flight. Not after the big failure to launch he had managed!
And no, he didn't dob.
Then there was the big campfire debacle. I was obsessed with fire when I was young. To be honest, so was he. And so one day we decided to build ourselves a little campfire. Underneath the old timber hospital. Now the hospital was an old hardwood construction, about 3/4 of a metre off the dusty ground, and surrounded by a yew hedge. We had many meetings and played lots of games under there, hidden away from prying eyes. It was our secret hideaway. Sorta like a clubhouse but without the walls.
Anyway, this day we decided to add a bit of spark to the old place. So we dug a small pit by hand, placed some largish rocks around the edge, put in screwed up old newspapers, and threw on some dry twigs and smaller pieces of wood I had surreptitously gathered from our wood pile. Quite a pile when it was all combined. We then lit it with my Dad's matches.
Woof - up she went. We quickly realised our error in judgement and like the children we were, panicked. Attempts at throwing dirt on failed to quell the raging inferno, though the flames did dim a little. By now the floor was showing huge scorch marks, and we could hear the staff starting to yell "FIRE!" So we did what all terrified culprits do. We ran.
The fire station was only a block away, and the engines arrived quickly. By this time we joined the onlookers, scrubbed clean of soot and dust. Thankfully the smoke in the air masked the stench of our clothes. And the bottom of the floorboards were only scorched. It could have been so much worse. But it is only after the fact a pair of six year olds even think of those things.
Now, I could go into the rotten egg planting escapade, or the toilet incident, but I think you have read enough to get the idea.
Boy 1 and Boy 2 have no hope of ever getting away with any misdemeanours, unbenownt to them they have the master of all mischief in their midst...
Oh, and Wise Woman has never learnt why from such a young age I renamed those flowers of hers.... Bloodioli.
So it was off. We were trying to pin down another date with little success. Out of the original five only three could make it, and as we three were driving long distances to get there it all became too hard.
But two of us lived not far apart. Hesitantly (shy little flower I am) I suggested dinner, as free nights are pretty rare and hard to arrange in the Madmother house. Falteringly, she agreed. We had never met face to face.
Oh my Lord! What a night. Started at the local Mexican Restaurant for dinner, moved on to a Radiators gig at a local pub, ended with an hour of laughing our heads off talking in front of her place.
I feel I have a new friend, a real life friend. We talked. A lot. We both do talk a lot. We laughed, oh my we laughed all night! I think we share a similar warped sense of humour, and think fast on our feet.
I left home at 6pm, I returned at 3am.
Sometimes the nights where everything appears to go wrong can end up so right.
Yeah, not firing on all six cylinders yet as I hoped I may be. Spluttering along on about three or four would be my guess in between nose-blowing and sneezes. Will have to refrain from any air kisses or hugs tonight, don't think this cold is at its most contagious but I certainly do NOT want to share the love around. Think they'd be peeved if I wore a surgical mask in the car? (I am one of the designated drivers tonight, still on my alcohol break which is a blessing with the way I am feeling with this damn head cold...)
It may be a good thing I am not in top form. Meeting new people (even if you feel you have known them for yonks) is always a bit tricky. People's perceptions from online personas can be, well... off base. And let's face it, even without alcohol I can be like Tigger on speed when I am at my finest.
Yeah, scary. I have been known to reduce grown men to tears when my razor wit is fully sharpened. In my heyday I could reduce them to sobbing wrecks via other means, but that is a blog revelation for another day.
I am really looking forward to meeting this group tonight. After many years of interacting on the interweb I must admit I am curious to see if my mental images are accurate.
The first time I met another friend I was surprised at how quiet she was. A little stunned actually, as she was so forthright and outspoken online. Don't get me wrong, I liked her, but had to adjust my ideas. Then came the next time we met when she stayed here and we got to know each other a lot better. My web impressions had been spot on, she was merely reserved upon our earlier meeting, and her verve was revealed in full force once we knew each other a little better. Hell, I was nervous at that initial get together, my first experience of web crossing into life. I would now class her as one of my closest friends.
It is a little surreal, this cross-over. You know intimate details of other's lives, have been through incredibly heart-wrenching crisis and hard times, have supported each other in times of inconceivable pain and need and yet have never met? Bound to be a little stilted at first, when there is so much pressure.
But if tonight goes as well as I suspect, it could be the first of many new catch ups. Not only from forums, as this one is, but from all web worlds. Bloggers, twitterers, hell the possibilities are endless!
Blog parties may well be this decade's new version of block parties. Like-minded people sharing interests and life experiences, what better basis for friendship is there?
Lurgy on the way out (okay, it was obviously just a head cold but it felt yuck), girls all ready, restaurant being organised... I AM MEETING SOME ONLINE BUDDIES, MOST FOR THE FIRST TIME! I cannot wait.