Chris and I found ourselves in Denny’s yesterday, laughing so hard we were in danger of asphyxiation. It seemed to be combination of things that had set us off, but the couple behind us was the start. I honestly thought that there was a woman all by herself in the booth behind me, since we had sat down she had been delivering a stream of constant chatter into her cell phone. Chris kept peeking over my shoulder and then blinking at me. It wasn’t until I heard her chatter starting to move away, that I looked up and realized she had a person with her!
Apparently, she and this older gentleman had been sharing the same booth seat the whole time that she chattered into the phone. I couldn’t get over someone blatantly ignoring someone else that way but Chris couldn’t get over their seating position. “Were they waiting for a bus?” “Did the other side of the booth have their ghost friends?” “If they stopped leaning so closely together would they bleed to death?” he muttered. “Are you kidding me? Really? That is the distressing part to you? She wasn’t even discussing anything important! It wasn’t her mother, there wasn’t a friend giving birth, not even a one day sale at the mall! I would never ignore you like that!” I hissed right over his mutterings.
We collapsed into giggling realizing we sounded like our grandparents and of course hilarity is a slippery slope downward for some of us. No sooner did we give up on our topic another one presented itself. Somehow we got into the discussion of Mark, our beloved son who is cursed with vertigo and clumsiness brought about by genetics and medications alike. We discussed the thought of fitting him with OnStar or some form of warning system. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if he wasn’t a very, very big boy. He is almost as tall as his father and wider than Godzilla. Having autism makes it difficult for Mark to understand some basic things, like, if someone is where you wish to be, you must ask that person to move, then wait for it to happen. Standing on the person is not a good solution nor is leaning over them while heavy breathing until they grow uncomfortable and leave.
Mark has a rather unique walk. He puts his head down and forward, hands clasped behind his back then rams forward like a demented headwaiter. His head goes forward long before his feet start propelling, so it’s this rush of blond hair, then a sound of thunder, like the god Thor doing a soft shoe and with any luck you have scurried out-of-the-way. Walls, doors and people are always a surprise to Mark, he honestly cannot comprehend how they manage to always crash into him. We cannot believe he has made it to eleven without a fractured skull and our landlords cannot believe that we have any walls left standing down here.
I will be laying on the couch, corner position, and suddenly Mark will loom above me, tapping his green pipe cleaner into my forehead. We will stare at each other as I wait for him to discover words will help him achieve his goal. Heaving a huge sigh, Mark will announce, “Mom, I want to lay down now. Please move so I can lay down there.” After this proclamation, he continues to stand there, looming above me, eyes boring through my skull, pipe cleaner tap, tap, tapping on my head insistently. We have a problem now. I explain that until he moves out of my way, I cannot get up. Another heartfelt sigh and Mark rumbles slightly over to the side. I barely get out of the space, before Mark throws his entire body at the spot I was in, as if a catapult sprung him, the wall shakes and I feel as if my death was very narrowly averted.
Mark’s other favorite place to be is the computer desk of course. This is Chris’s favorite spot as well. Chris will be huddled over the keyboard lost in a world of dark knights and killer elves when a ten pound arm will sling around his neck, heavy breathing pushes against his ear and a little green pipe cleaner will nudge his shoulder. It will not take Chris long to realize Mark is trying to use subtle skills to get the computer. Chris will hug Mark back and say, “I love you too, Buddy” then go back to his game. You can actually see the sparks come out of Mark’s head as he tries to assimilate what just went wrong for him.
By the time we receive our bill, my sides are in agony, there are dark splotches in my vision and tears streaming down my face. Chris and I have spent our lunch laughing like lunatics, using wailing, grunting language that only each other can understand. Strangely enough this will be more sustaining to us than any food we could have had. As long as we are still laughing, I know we are good. It’s when we stop that I will worry.