Late afternoon, early evening on Sunday, I was stumbling my way up the front stairs, my arms filled with bath towels. Nate was in our bedroom watching TV. I had something to tell him.
“Nate, it’s going to be 50 degrees tonight. You can turn your air conditioner off.”
Nate likes his room cold and tends to have his AC running much of the time. He does not do well in heat and humidity.
“Fuck you.” That’s Nate. He says things like that all the time, rarely with venom. It’s interesting because he is the most prone to media influence. He hears these words all the time and doesn’t quite know the context. He’s the only one I let get away with talking to me that way, and I’m the only one he does talk to that way. I let it slide, most of the time.
“No, fuck you!” That’s me.
“Shut up, you _____!” What Nate called me is something I’ll leave out. Again, he uses words without real knowledge and transcribing this verbatim would only make him look bad. I’d written a “day in the life” scene for the book proposal and the first draft was met with horror by my editor. “We can’t have him portrayed that way,” he said with shock. And it’s true. I have no problem showing Nate, and all of us, without a filter, but for a blog post, I’ll skip it. With proper explanation, I’d let it rip.
“That’s enough of that.” Still, I tend to not let a coarse epithet pass without some response noting its inappropriateness.
“Another Bert and another Bert!” This is one of Nate’s nonsense phrases, one that is triggered by the word “enough.” I’d forgotten.
“Now dance!” Another automatic reaction to the word “stop.” The phrase is usually accompanied by a funny little dance, a little bit of swaying in the leg coupled with crooked arms churning back and forth.
“What, are you having an autistic festival tonight?” When I show Nate a mirror on his behavior, it cuts many ways. First, it feels cruel to remind Nate that he’s autistic, that he needs to control himself. However as he got older and realized in some fashion what his “condition” was, it became helpful to him as a check on his actions. Second, Nate often finds it amusing. He’ll refer to TV characters who mutter something incoherent and say, “Is he autistic?” Referencing himself is a big step.
Well, Nate did find this episode pretty humourous and immediately committed it to history as a note on his iPad. It was one of those funny scenes that only can be had with Nate. Now he reminds me of the night of the “autistic fest” every day.
Nate’s been very busy working on Alpha Folks’ designs. I’d made up a grid of what he needed to get done – 26 letter characters, one male, one female, each in a hand drawn and graphics version. That’s 104 creations in all. He got down to work and knocked them all out over the course of a couple of weeks.
They’re brilliant. He added some detail from out of the blue, even revisited his “C Boy” figure that started this whole thing. The next step is getting together with our creative council – Doug Miller, Nate’s patron and curator, Margarethe Lauber, Nate’s adviser on all things graphic, Karen, Nate, and me. Once we powwow and approve of the designs, it’s on to the next step. Don’t be surprised if we’re up and running in a few months with shirts to sell.