Since April is National Autism Awareness month, I wanted to share a little more about my Dog Walker just in case you weren’t aware that he is autistic. Sometimes I even forget he’s autistic and then there are other times…so yesterday he was participating in the Region Orchestra Festival. He plays the trumpet as part of our school’s symphony, getting up twice a week for class at 6:00 a.m. Now I am barely coherent that early (unless I’ve been up all night) and my sweetie takes him to school and then heads off to work.
The Festival bus was scheduled to leave the school at 3:15. School gets out at 2:25 and we live less than a mile away. This is ample time for him to get home, have a snack, change into his concert attire, and get back to the high school in time to load the bus. It is NOT enough time for him to search through his entire bedroom and the pile of dirty laundry to FIND his concert attire. That’s why I had him gather all of his things including his black suit jacket and bow tie and place them on the pew in the living room (Editor's note* Yes, you read that right. If you missed that story go here.). I figured that way he’d be able to come in the house, grab a snack, and change in a nice leisurely fashion. Things rarely work exactly the way I plan them.
As I headed off to bed I checked the clothes and shoes in its haphazard pile, satisfied that it would ease the confusion and stress of the next day. Unfortunately, I didn’t guess that he would come back upstairs from his room and gather the whole works into a garbage bag. When my sweetie was ready to leave in the morning, the Dog Walker slung his backpack over one shoulder and the garbage bag over the other. "What are you doing?" he questioned. All he got back was "I have to take these to school." Not knowing any better, my sweetie shrugged and they headed off.
One thing you have to understand about the Dog Walker is that he WILL NOT use a locker at school. That means this garbage bag full of his jacket and tie, a white button up shirt, black slacks and socks and his black dress shoes (that he walks around in…outside!) will be hanging out with him all day at every class and during lunch. When I hear the situation, I fire off a quick text, but he doesn’t answer me. Teach finally gets hold of him during his final class period. "I’ll pick you up," she texts. No point in him carrying all of the clothes back home again just so he can change.
She shows up at the high school, but there are no signs of him so she heads home. About halfway there she spots him…without the bag of clothes. She rolls down the window and motions him over. At first he ignores her, but finally succumbs to her pleas and gets in the van.
"Where are your clothes?" she asks.
"At the school," he says.
"I thought you were going home to change," she says.
"I can change at the school," he replies.
By this point Teach is totally confused. "Then why are you going home?" she asks.
"To get the truck," he says.
"Why do you need the truck?" He looks at her like she is a total idiot.
"So I don’t have to walk home from the school," he says matter-of-factly. She gets him home and he leaves in the truck. We hope he made it to the festival on time, but even if he misses the bus, he won’t have to walk home, he has the truck…and a change of clothes.