Adapting to Changes

Nate has always been a creature of habit. He thrives on consistency and predictability and, when he was younger, had a hard time adjusting to a sudden change in schedule. He’d make a scene, lose it completely, if going out to dinner had to be cancelled, or a DVD set he’d been waiting for wasn’t released when he thought it should.

Over time he’s gotten better about it, though so have we. We always give him a multi-day heads up if something needs changing, and he bears it well. Nate’s rep is that “he needs a schedule,” but I always thought somewhat differently. True, Nate’s behavior was noticeably better when life proceeded exactly how he thought it would. Hell, we all do better when there are no detours. But I never minded pushing his comfort zone and switching things up on him. I found him surprisingly adaptable, though that didn’t mean a tantrum or outburst wouldn’t have to be endured. I could deal with that better than his mom, or his teachers. I had the time for it and the willingness to sit through his fighting back. Life is full of changes, Nate had a life, therefore he’d have to deal with changes. There’s a syllogism for you!

This has been a summer of upheaval for the big guy: Robbie gone to Brazil, my spinal surgery, and the results of earthquakes and hurricanes. Nate dealt with Rob’s departure well, my surgery pretty well, and the brief ground shudder decently. He was very worried about Hurricane Irene. Nate can not deal with power outages. It’s beyond his ability to grapple with an open-ended, no solution in sight, situation.

Thankfully we never lost our electricity; many in Cooperstown did. We did lose cable and internet, Nate’s life blood. No TV, no websites, none of the screen time that occupies almost all of Nate’s days. Yet, he took it in stride. We tried to explain that we didn’t know when service would return, and he accepted that. As the day wore on, he came up with ways to occupy his time: old DVD-ROMs on the computer, new DVDs on TV. Karen and I happily went to bed pleased on how good Nate had been.

Then he started to break down. From his next door bedroom came the yelling: “Fix it! Fix it! When is the damn cable coming back. I WANT the internet!” And then: “I’m going to cry about not having the internet,” said with voice cracking and choking. We called him in for a talk and got him to settle down.

“Don’t fall apart now Nate. You had such a good day.”

“When will the cable be back?”

“Tomorrow morning Nate,” we said and hoped.

“Wake me up at 8 AM.”

Thankfully all was returned to normal as we predicted. I can’t imagine how things would have worked out had the cable stayed out. I think we would have had a major storm in our own home.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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