I think that people with autism are born outside the regime of civilization. Sure, this is just my own made-up theory, but I think that, as a result of all the killings in the world and the selfish planet-wrecking that humanity has committed, a deep sense of crisis exists. Autism has somehow arisen out of this. Although people with autism look like other people physically, we are in fact very different in many ways. We are more like travelers from the distant, distant past. And if, by our being here, we could help the people of the world remember what truly matters for the Earth, that would give us a quiet pleasure.
- Naoki Higashida
With Violet, she (they) wants me to call her ‘them’ and I want to but I forget a lot. It’s been almost 14 years of life for them with me calling them ‘her’. Calling them ‘she’. Calling them ‘daughter’ where she now politely but firmly reminds me that she wants me to call them ‘kid'.
As in: ‘my kid’.
Not: ‘my daughter’.
Which, again, is a lot to grab onto and recall when the automatic things/ the few things I once could count as truths/ they change. Everyday stuff, sometimes it has to go in different directions. Real change requires new steadfast diligence from the worn-down minds (‘hard-working’, we tell ourselves) that are faced with the reality shift. Which is a struggle, I’m not going to lie. I can’t seem to remember half the time what to refer to Violet as and that starts to get me all flustered about even talking to her or about her at all.
However, there is another part of me, I know, that is bullshitting myself. I tell myself that I’m totally onboard with the pronouns thing and why wouldn’t I be? I mean, I’m the kind of guy who could give a shit about what a fellow human being wants to call them selves or see themselves as or ‘identify’ as, you know?
Of course the fuck I am! I’m an intellectual, dog. I’m white and middle-age and kinda overweight and with that I stand in a big-ass crowd of American people who aren’t as sure of themselves as they once were, yet, I’m a free-thinker. I’m a progressive. I long for the idealistic nation state to finally come sprouting up out of the Georgia pines and up through the ancient Wyoming plains/ come crushing up through the jagged rocky Maine coast/ spiraling up through the sunlit California freeways, right smack dab in the middle of the goddamn day of all times, spinning like an old time barbershop sign. Twirling around as it bashes through the mega traffic like some kaiju narwhale/ tossing buses into the sky like they were lit matches/ smacking whole gobs of SUVs down into the neighborhoods in the shadows of the road/ lifting up out of the earth: a brand new day: a brand new way of living where everyone is equal and everything is cool and medical care for everyone and blah, blah, blah.
It’s not going to happen, huh?
I see that now. I look at myself in the scuzzy bathroom mirror in our house and I can see a fool, played by fools, playing the role of do-gooder across his years. Because what else could I do? What the fuck else was I supposed to do??
It isn’t a certainty to me that I’m really onboard with the whole pronouns thing. Not so much because I don’t agree with it, but more because I think I’m too lazy. Too set in my ways. I think I look at myself in this mirror and I’m a little bit ashamed, honestly, of the frumpy weird selfish figure I turned out to be. Tired all the time. Exhausted. I’ll be 51 in a few weeks and I’m still chasing gunfighter cigar smoke like a young punk. I still have dreams. I still wake up on Friday mornings and hope that today will be the day that a lot of people discover my writing. But it never really happens.
I plod along/ work my jobs/ my ‘gigs’/ working 4 of them these days, I am/ and I sit down on the couch at night and have a drink or two with Arle as we try to decide what show to binge next.
Or talk about why we can’t understand our own kids.
Why we feel so helpless so often when it comes to them. Why we love them all so much and strive to be decent and instill decency and work with them to find interests that aren’t just YouTube and video games and maybe connect with them over some kind of mutual admiration for something deep and beautiful that resonates the rest of all of our days: mine ending first in like 19 years, then Arle’s in like 41 years, and then the 5 kids: way down the line: way in the future which is a towering stack of Polaroids/ snapshots of every moment there ever was and which has already happened but still: we are only able to see/experience one Polaroid at a time: because human consciousness can only handle one meager frame at a time.