Saturday, July 24, 2010

Explanation Optional?

The other day, in another place, I posted a picture of a spool I had recently painted. As others posted pictures of beautiful pieces of jewelry or other handmade works, I plopped down a photo of my latest vision in pink. Granted, it's a rather odd looking sort of thing, and not the kind of piece a traditional seamstress would envy. (I swear some might refer to it as a “Nightmare in Pink”.) Bold and erratic strokes of rose and white acrylic paint cover the wooden spool, rendering it anything but useful. But post it, I did - along with a brief description of why I created it, and who I was thinking of when I did.

Sure enough, someone commented that she had seen the piece earlier, and was quite puzzled by it. But, thanks to a sentence or two, she now understood it

That got me to thinking a little about art, in general. Sometimes, I'll look at a piece and "get it". Other times, I'll wince at a creation, begging for someone to explain it to me. Then I’ll wonder if art should ever be explained in the first place.

It's not much different with my daughter's form of autism, really. There are days we don't say a word, as it really isn't necessary. But there are other times we take a deep breath and try to explain any given awkward situation. Sometimes, doing just that puts someone at ease, as now they can "get it". Other times, it just seems to add to the confusion. (And, no, we don’t ever excuse poor behavior.)

But most times, I'd rather no explanation be needed - or desired. Just like in art, where viewing a carefully crafted work is often best left unexplained, without any critique. I suppose when it comes to autism, to explain or not, to disclose or not, will be an ongoing question. But, as with the spool, sometimes, an explanation is needed to increase awareness and understanding.

And that explantion need only take a sentence or two.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Imagining a Better World, Part 1

Every once in a while, I think about all the things that create stress in our lives, and how nice it would be if some things were never ever necessary. (And, please, no disrespect for those who earn a living via any of these things!)

The first thing that came to mind today was keys. Even beautiful, oversized days-of-old keys. There are many reasons we have them, the main one being safety – protection of our home, our cars, our belongings from theft and damage.

But the bigger reason is trust, isn’t it? We don’t have faith that others will exercise respect or self-control. Or, on the flipside, keys may represent something that someone wants locked away, out of sight, out of the light. And keys are virtual as much as they are tangible. It all makes me rather sad when I think about it. But, instead of dwelling on that feeling, I choose to spin it around, and imagine…

Never locking myself out of my own house (trust me – been there, done that)
No safes
No security systems
No security codes to fumble
Never worrying about forgetting my passwords, for they’d never be needed
Never leaving work keys on the dresser at home, especially after a long drive into the office
Never needing to lock my car
Never needing to find my key to turn that very car on
Or seeing it on the driver’s seat, with every single window up, doors locked tight
Stores closing without clearing out registers or sealing the doors for the night
No keys to lose, especially when supervising an overnight field trip (Would you like to know how many times teens can lose multiple keys – for the very same room - in a 2-hour span? I quit counting after the first day. So did the hotel receptionists.)
No locks on luggage, just closures to keep my overstuffed luggage from popping open
No gates
No fears
No crime
No worries
No locks

Just trust.

Isn’t that pleasant to imagine?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just Stand Up

We did it. We took a quiet day and threw all sorts of spontaneous plans into it. A long car ride. A new ball park. A few other odds and ends in order to appease everyone on a hot July day.

And then we gave the news to our teen.

The teen who doesn’t like anything unexpected. Ever. Especially ballgames.

But she rose out of bed, to the challenge, knowing that we’d buy her the same old “this” at the brand new “that”, adding another ball to her collection, safe in the understanding we’d leave the park if things got to be a bit much. Aside from the loud speakers before the game began (they call them LOUD speakers for a reason, right?), it all went well.

Except for the roaches.

Apparently, one of the promotional games for the kids is to swat humans dressed in cock roach garb.



Later came the bumper boats. Somehow, I allowed her to talk me into climbing into one of those things, thinking all the while that at least I know how to swim. Because I was certain I was going to topple over. Then my astute teen pointed out the black on gold letters. The water is only three feet deep. And if I did fall in, I just needed to do what the sign – in bold face type – said.


Something so obvious applies to so many other situations, doesn’t it?