• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”
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I Never Learn!

palm-meet-forehead

I had a busy day planned today. As always my “to do” list is long and unrealistic, which is a topic all of its own. I needed to run to the bank, make a money order, pay a bill, and wanted to pick up a can of paint to change the paint color in my kitchen. Well because I was up very late last night (passed 4 a.m.) reading The Great Gatsby for school, and the baby was such a good sleeper this morning, I got a late start today.

Usually Aspie Teen will run around doing errands with me so I don’t have to drag the baby and his car seat in and out of the van a hundred times-especially when just running into the bank or paying bills. There’s only so many times you can pull a car seat in and out of the van before you knock (and consequently dent) the door. Whoops, thank goodness there is insurance for vans! But Aspie Teen has a lot of school work to do today, and I didn’t want to interrupt his day. The little man is already home from school so if I drag Aspie Teen, I have to drag him too likely while he complains very loudly that he does not want to go!

So what did I do? Stupid me, I called my mother. At the beginning of every month, I have to drive her all around town so she can take care of her banking and bills, which we did on Friday. I can’t believe it has taken her this long to get a checking account. I figured I would call her quick and have her run with me to do the errands so I didn’t have to take the baby in and out of the van; it would make everything go much faster.

I should have known better! Why don’t I ever learn? Since she doesn’t need to go anywhere today she didn’t want to go anywhere with me. In fact, unless it is for her she never wants to do anything to help me out. She began telling me how her boyfriend, who lives with her, is sick and he can’t go.

“You do not need him to leave the house,” I said.

This is a constant source of contention because she will go no-where without him.

“Well, how long is it going to take?”

Now I was getting irritated as usual because it would not take very long without her bitching and complaining!

“It will take as long as it takes,” I told her, “it took several hours for you to run your errands Friday, I only have to make three stops.”

“An hour, no longer then,” she said. I could feel my face getting red.

“However long it takes, it takes.”

God, what is wrong with this woman? (Too much to list) I was definitely starting to growl at this point. So she tells me that she has to be back within an hour because he (her boyfriends) can’t stay home by himself when he’s sick and she has to change a bandage on his boil every hour. Really? Are you kidding me? His boil??? Deep breaths…

“Ya know what, Mom, just forget about it,” I said in the calmest voice I could muster. Her response, “OK, bye,” and she hung up the phone!

This is what I am talking about when I say that I never learn. I am constantly upset by things that I should expect by now. It makes me mad at myself as much as at my mother because I let her do this to me again. I must be insane. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result???

Liane Holiday-Wiley said in Pretending to be Normal, that Asperger’s Syndrome makes it difficult to learn from where you have been. I think these are the things she was referring to-not taking general information, and synthesizing it properly to fit other situations.

I know my mother is this way-I know she is selfish, and has no interest in me or my well-being, and yet I still move from day to day, from situation to situation without incorporating information I already know. I should not be surprised, should not be upset, and likely should not have even bothered to make the phone call.

I have repeated this scene over and over again-next time will I call my mother expecting her to help? Or, will I remember today, and not waste my time? I suspect that I will likely make the call, and sit here again smacking my palm on my forehead saying, “Stupid head, you should know better!”

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Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.