Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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My husband and I have always spent too much money going out to eat. We were together for over thirteen years before having Teghan, so you can imagine how many opportunities we had to hang out in restaurants. It was about nine years into our relationship before either of us had a job that required us to be up before noon, so a good percentage of our twenties were spent over breakfast and coffee with friends at three in the morning. Or, in those early poor years- sharing an appetizer platter at Lums.

We didn’t know how good we had it.

These days we go out to eat once a week. Sure, I blow a lot of money on carryout. Especially at work. But once a week the two of us actually go to a restaurant together for a lunch date. Alone. We order breakfast and coffee and dream about our future. Just like the old days.

If you don’t have a restaurant where they know your order when you walk in the door, you should work on that. Shop around, go to other places as the mood strikes you- but having a regular spot is invaluable. Find the right atmosphere and comfort. Get to know the staff. Tip more than you usually would, even if you consider yourself an excellent tipper.

There are perks to being a favored customer. You feel welcome. You get the best service. The staff look genuinely happy to see you. And on a stressful day, maybe even relieved. There is no brief flash of disappointment across their faces when you enter the room. You know the look. And even though we almost never take Teghan out to restaurants, it’s a place where we could take her and not feel so anxious. Continue reading

So, Is Your Autism Community Bringing You Down?

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I like almost every autism parent I have encountered online. My personal statistics on this are overwhelmingly positive. I’ve been lucky. And, of course, my page is small. But I can accept that in life people can and will make fools of themselves. It does not define us as a community, it’s just how human nature works. Some people are simply meaner than others. Some are more (or less) emotionally charged. Some are at an intellectual advantage. Or disadvantage. Welcome to the wonderful world of human interaction.

I am certainly no saint. I repeatedly have to stop myself from saying things I might regret. I write ten times more blog entries than I am willing to post, but have let a few slip through the cracks. Maybe this is one of them. There are times when I have been meaner than necessary in a debate. And I pray no one is still whispering about anything I said or did during the summer of 2005- when I proved that the combination of alcohol and fertility drugs make me way more outgoing than I ever intend to be. Consider this my official overdue apology to anyone who just said to themselves, “I remember that summer.”

We all have a long list of things we wish we could take back. But I hope no amount of anger or insult would make me react in a way that compromised my integrity in this community. Some people have a very different definition of integrity, or have no idea how to maintain it when they are angry. Many people are quite mistaken about what a clever comeback is or how ineffective pointless insults are in proving one’s point. We all possess varying degrees of wit and emotional self-control. I guess it’s because we are all human. Unless you are part of the lizard people conspiracy (and I secretly hope you are).

There is temptation to delight in the mistakes of those who we don’t like, and even more temptation to pick sides when a line has been drawn in the sand between a friend and someone we deem undesirable. But if you choose to publicly attack one another with immature insults and mean-spirited conversations, we can all see you doing that. Continue reading