5/27/10

Did you say pie?

I get a good snicker when Orangeboy does his "knowledgable authority" routine.  He does this pretty regularly, and because pedantic speech is characteristic of most Asperger types, this is not really surprising.   What triggers my mirth is the incongruency between his typical level of cluelessness and his spouting off like an expert.  I can't help it, it just cracks me up to hear this scrawny little guy with his face all screwed up, pushing his voice down to sound authoritative, and using his best grammar to tell us what he knows - or thinks he knows.

He can still be so clueless about everyday life skills.  The boy is in his second decade of life and approaching (in theory) adolescence, and yet he still struggles with appropriate daytime and nighttime fashion conventions.  Even fashion rules that I think I've made very clear; like, "Don't wear jeans with holes to school"  and "It's time to stop wearing thermals to bed when it's 85 degrees outside" are frequently violated.  He looks positively consumed by regret when I point out yet another violation.  "Oh", mumbles the puckered face. 

How to determine if his pants are long enough is also a perplexing issue for him. If he bends over to check the length and can't see the tops of his socks, he assumes he's fine. Then he straightens up and goes out of the house wearing capri pants that stylishly end five inches above his ankles.  He also fails to fully appreciate why everyone hassles him so much when he has cold or allergy symptoms.  He does realize that his habit of snorting mucous up loudly into his nostrils; or worse, using his sleeve to evenly distribute it across his face for quick drying, is grossing everyone out, since their noises and words of dissatisfaction have become hard to miss. Even for a boy who drills his attention into the minutae of his schoolwork, caring not that his classmates may think he is weird; when the teacher stops class to say, "I'm not going to watch you do that anymore.  Go get a tissue", it's hard to deny there is some objection to his habits.  Orangeboy just doesn't seem to understand why everyone gets so bothered - so he keeps doing what works for him.

So it's like discovering a talking cat on those occasions when Orangeboy turns from his own special world to hold up his head and speak with a confident monotone about current events and thorny issues.  It's unexpected sensibility coming from the wrong place.
Today, when a certain song came on the radio, he gave his surprising opinion (surprising because he had one) of the overnight sensation, Justin Beiber:
"Oh he is so popular right now.  But his popularity will go down pretty soon."

And recently, Orangeboy's older brother was telling me about measuring circles.

Orangeboy confidently contradicted, "Pie are rarely square.  They are usually round."
His brother retorted, "You haven't learned about this in school yet."
To which Orangeboy responded, "WHY in the world would we learn about PIES in school?!  I really don't think so."

The same boy who licks his textbooks will seriously muse, "I wonder what happens when they have a tie on Jeopardy and what is the maximum possible score?"  And then he proceeds to try and reason out the maximum possible Jeopardy score, including accounting for the daily doubles which would need to show up as the last two questions in the perfect round in order for the contestant to be able to place maximum bets.

He could tell you whether a toad is a reptile or an amphibian much faster than he could tell you the relationship word for his mother's brother and then name him. (amphibian) (uncle - Scott)
He's a fourth grader who can read at an eighth grade level and do sixth grade math, but he can't work the DVD player or find a favorite channel on the TV.   Despite the high reading scores and his straight A's, he can't complete any home chores without assistance and many instructions; other than making his bed.
He didn't realize his Dad and grandfather were spending their weekends building a barn until it was nearly completed. (He wondered why Dad had been spending so much time outside.)
For the life of him, he can't figure out how to climb a good climbing tree.  He just stands there and looks up at his brother.

A boy who can be reduced to tears of frustration by being given the task of drawing a picture on a homemade get well card - unless he is told exactly what to draw - can speak with grand authority on the topic of simple circuitry:  transistors, closed vs. relay, loose connections.  I suppose he is a study on what happens when different parts of the brain fail to coordinate with one another.  He has all the pieces, they just don't all work together on the same priorities. 

That's all right.  Even if he's wearing a sweater in June and he doesn't know who you are, he can still beat you at Chess.

       

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