Right, so where does that put me then?
I had a call with my Mother not long back this evening, and she thanked me for attending the funeral service on Monday which threw me out somewhat. “Well l was always going to the funeral Mum?”
“Yes l know dear, but it was good you could make it, and it was good to see you at the Wake as well. It shows people you are not as odd as they think.”
“What do you mean … not as odd as they think?” I asked somewhat bewildered.
“Well you know, being the Son of your Father darling.”
“No, nope l am still a little lost by that comment Mum, more so now.”
“Well, your Father was just, so, well you know odd, and of course you were his Son, so people thought you were odd too.”
“Who thought l was odd? Not the 75 year old who thought my Father was such a marvelous man? He didn’t even know who l was until l told him, after he referred to me as a waste of time. He may have thought me rude, but l was above everything truthful with him?”
“Well you know … people who knew your Father .. those who thought he was odd, they probably thought that about you too.”
“Well how could they when they don’t know me, l’m really not following this conversation Mum, and you are not being – well honest?”
“Well l just don’t want you turning out like him Rory, that’s what l am saying.”
“But l am nothing like my Father??”
“Well you have been like him in the past haven’t you?”
“In so far as what??” I asked now really baffled.
“Well with your hobbies and interests.”
“Mum, look, will you just stop buggering about and say what you mean?”
“See right there Rory a classic example, so like your Father always wanting things in the black and white, you should know what l mean dear!”
“If you were more straight forwards and more direct, l would know what the bloody hell you are on about Mum, but you are dilly dallying about and l have no idea, absolutely no idea what you are on about?”
“Well your Father had some strange habits didn’t he?”
“Yes he did, but how does this involve me?”
“His hobbies, all those silly things he collected, the books, the music, the military memorabilia all that sort of thing, l don’t want you turning out like him, and well he was never a writer and he was always writing, l don’t want you falling victim to the same stupidity. It was his Asperger’s you know?”
“Whilst l don’t deny, Dad had some strange habits Mum, you have no right whatsoever to knock his interests and passions. He liked to write it doesn’t make him a bad person you know? So he collected things, well in the world of Asperger’s and autism, it is classed as a ‘special interest’, and he had a few sure, of all the things you could criticise him for, you pick on something so utterly not your business at all. Furthermore what interests, hobbies or special interests and what not l might have shouldn’t concern you either. I happen to be on the spectrum as well, as you know, so where does this critique of yours place me?”
This long pause followed, finally she said, “I just don’t want you becoming odd like he was that’s all l am saying.”
“But l am not odd Mum, and l can’t believe you have now put me into the arena of defending Dad and his rights to collect what he wanted, but l will stand here in his defence, he was many things, and not all of them pleasant, however just because he chose to collect certain things he was passionate about, doesn’t make him a bad person. I am defending the fact that he was on the spectrum, and whilst he was bloody odd and an absolute bastard in other areas, l don’t like and have never liked your view on autism and Asperger’s. For the record, you do realise that my Sister’s Son is on the spectrum?”
“Don’t be silly he is a marvelous young man, and not in the slightest bit odd like your Father!!”
“So on the grounds that Dad was odd because of his Asperger’s and special interests, but my Sister’s Son is not odd, where does that place me then?”
Another long pause followed, someone realising that they had put their foot so far into their mouth, there was no way out without completely choking themselves to death….
“I just wanted to say thanks for coming to your Father’s funeral and try and not become odd dear, like him.” Then she hung up.
I am still none the wiser, but l am pretty sure my Mother has just referred to me as odd. My Mother has always had a very unusual opinion regarding autism and my Asperger’s. For many years she could see it in Dad [when l first informed her of my thoughts] but couldn’t see it in me and catagorically denied that l could have it irrelevant to a formal diagnosis. Slowly over the years she then conceded that she always thought me different to my peers. But l was somewhat thrown off by this attack on someone’s hobbies! More concerned, how she perceived things l guess, and now that Dad is dead she wants to warn me of not becoming like him .. and when pressed you find out that she in essence doesn’t want me to have hobbies?? Am l missing something here?
My Sister’s Son is most assuredly on the spectrum, l only had to talk with him for an hour or so in the way l can talk to people to know that he clearly sat there and even if he didn’t say himself that he thought he was out loud, as he listened to me he was shaking his head a lot in that knowing way. I told him l was on the spectrum, and he wasn’t phased by any of it, just asked me lots of questions which l gladly answered. Afterall, it was the first time l had seen him in 17 years, so he was quite pleased to finally meet his Uncle. The funniest thing was, whilst he like me, would not agree with the terminology of ‘odd’ used to describe us, he did say he viewed the world differently to most and considered everyone else not just odd, but totally wierd. Now that is a sentiment l could relate to. I think if he had overheard my conversation with my Mother he would have been as equally as baffled as me.
He didn’t like my Father any more than l did, but was always fascinated with the man’s knowledge on his passions and admired that he had hobbies. I didn’t like my Dad either, but he knew his stuff about his interests, and l never found that odd. But maybe others do, who knows. Obviously my Mother does/did.