Mister Bubby: If you take steroids, you can develop breasts.
Madhousewife: Maybe I should take steroids.
MB: But, Mom, if you take them, you’ll develop really big ones. And we don’t want our mom to be Barbie.
Here’s a thing I don’t like: swimming. I am hard-pressed to come up with a single thing that I like about this popular summertime activity. In case you were wondering, I am about to explain, yet again, why I am no fun whatsoever and it’s a miracle that anyone can stand to be around me. (You’re welcome, honey. That was for you. P.S. Thanks for not divorcing me ages ago just because of my dour and depressing personality.) Here is a list of things I don’t like about swimming:
1. Getting in and out of my bathing suit. I don’t dislike wearing a bathing suit. In fact, when it’s really hot, I love wearing a bathing suit. I don’t care how I look in it. I care that it is socially acceptable in certain weather to wear this amount of clothing, no matter how it might make others feel. I don’t like the bother of having to change my clothes, or more specifically, to change back into my clothes, particularly at a public pool, which brings me to the next point.
2. Public pool dressing rooms are gross. Not because there’s a bunch of naked strangers in them–though, now that I mention it, that is kind of creepy. But that’s not what I mean. They’re all wet and humid and oozing with the residue of human experience. I hate touching my bare feet to the inevitably-slimy floor, but there’s not much way to get around that if you’re going to get out of a wet bathing suit (or a dry bathing suit, but a wet bathing suit is worse because it’s harder to deal with and prolongs the activity and therefore the potential amount of time your bare feet might have to be in contact with the slimy floor). And yes, I realize it’s kind of my imagination that the floor is “slimy.” Really, it’s probably just merely “wet,” but…no, it’s not working to tell myself that. It is slimy. It is. And my feet are touching the slime. Ew. I hate it.
3. It was really super-effing hot before I took a cleansing shower, but now that I’m actually all wet, the temperature has suddenly dipped about 20 degrees. How is that accomplished? Now I have to get into the pool, where it is at least theoretically warmer–except isn’t it supposed to be cooler than the air? Isn’t the hotness of the air the reason I was roped into going swimming in the first place? To get into the nice cool water? And yet the world is all backwards and upside down now. I’m wet and freezing cold and the only way to get warm is to get into the water, but the only way to stay warm is to be all the way under the water, except maybe for my head, which is okay to be a little bit cold if it means I can still breathe, but since I am here at the pool with my kids and have to stay in the shallow end, the only way to be mostly-underwater is to maintain this really uncomfortable position that invites leg cramps and the occasional charlie horse.
4. I don’t mind being wet, but I don’t like to be splashed. I don’t like having water in my eyes or in my nose. I’m a sissy. Sue me.
5. Chlorinated water hurts my eyes and also nauseates me.
I guess that’s about it. Fortunately, I don’t think I will have to go swimming again until vacation, when we go to a water park, which is technically different from swimming, but still boasts all the above unpleasantness, plus:
6. There are long lines.
7. There are scary rides that plunge you into chlorinated water, which you may try to drown in even though it’s only 4 feet deep.
Fortunately, that is only one day of the fun.
Elvis went to day camp for a total of four weeks this summer. That was awesome. Now he is home for the duration of the summer, which is less awesome, no offense to him. We are still doing Math Minutes. We are just about to finish the second go-round of the 100 minutes and may be able to complete a third before school begins. Lucky us.
I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned Elvis’s traffic light obsession. It’s been going on for several months, so it seems incredible that I haven’t, and yet just thinking about Elvis’s traffic light obsession makes me tired, so maybe it’s not so incredible that I’ve never bothered explaining it. Anyway, he is obsessed with the traffic lights. Last night at the public swimming pool, which is outdoors, he spent a good portion of the time hanging out at the edge of the pool and watching the corner traffic lights change. He can do this INDEFINITELY. Every time we’re out walking in public, we run the risk of being stuck at an intersection for great gobs of time because Elvis cannot pull himself away from the fascinating change from red to green to yellow to red to green to yellow to red to green to yellow to red…if you catch my drift–not to mention the added complexity when you put protected-left-turn arrows in the mix. Oh. My. It is a beautiful thing, if you are autistic and not in any particular rush to get anywhere, ever.
Elvis learned to ride a bike back in May, and the first solo trip he took was down to the nearest major intersection so he could watch the traffic lights. We noticed at one point that he was gone, and just then we got a phone call from a neighbor who happened to be driving down one of the streets at that intersection (well, technically, her husband was driving, she was riding–it’s against the law to drive and talk on your cell phone at the same time, and I want you to understand that our neighbors are on the up and up), telling us that he was there. I can’t say I was all that worried about his safety because Elvis, for all his cognitive deficits, may be the most competent and self-sufficient child I have. Nevertheless, for propriety’s sake, if nothing else, we had to set some limits on where he could ride his bike (down to the nearest major intersection being out of bounds).
So on Memorial Day, we were just hanging out at home and Elvis said he wanted to go on a walk to see the traffic light. Since I wasn’t busy, I said, sure, we’ll go for a walk to the traffic light. So we went to the nearest major intersection and watched the traffic lights. And watched. And watched. Eventually I started counting the changes. When I got to twenty, I called it quits, and we came home. Since then, I’ve instituted this routine where we go to the traffic light and practice crossing the intersection safely (in the crosswalk). We make 3-4 round trips and then go home. It’s fun because it has a discrete beginning and ending. I like that.
What I don’t like is driving in the car and being subject to all of Elvis’s emotions about the changing of the traffic lights, or the failure of the traffic lights to change in what he deems a reasonable manner. Elvis does NOT like it when you make a right turn on red, even though we’ve explained a thousand times (literally, which is why I said “a thousand” and not “a million”) that it’s perfectly legal and even expected (much like wearing a bathing suit in August). Indeed, it is almost impossible to avoid making a right turn on red at some point in our driving excursion, unless I really want to incur the wrath of all those cars lined up behind me. It’s hard, though, because Elvis still doesn’t accept that this is okay, and he will start screaming and will probably hit the driver or kick the seat or whatever. Even though these temper tantrums have become significantly truncated over time, I still find myself getting really tense when I have to make one of these right turns.
Here’s something else, though, that Elvis likes EVEN LESS than the right-turn-on-red. Our city has just installed all these flashing-yellow-arrow-left-turn lights, which has made life significantly awesomer for anyone who cares about traffic control, but significantly LESS awesome for anyone who has to ride in a car with Elvis, who does not approve of these strange new lights, for reasons you can probably intuit. I don’t know how long it will be before I can see one without experiencing some kind of stress disorder.
And now His Neuro-atypical Majesty would like a sandwich, so this has to be all for now, folks. Gentle readers, adieu.