Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The kind of person I am

We’re in the car, driving from Yarraville to Richmond. IKEA country.

It’s hot. 37 degrees hot.

I line the burning black leather seat with my denim jacket before I sit. The silver foil windscreen cover stings my fingers as I peel it off for the drive.

My armful of CDs falls beside me with a plastic clatter.

We’ve chosen most of them for F’s tastes. AC DC. Blur. The Beatles. The Verve. (He loves Bittersweet Symphony since Matt Corby sang it on Idol.) I’ve snuck in an ‘oldie but goodie’ of mine, too, one that jumped out at me as I rifled through my CD rack on the way out the door.

We agree to take turns choosing the music. The order, decides F (and we don’t challenge him), is youngest to oldest. So, F goes first. He chooses Back in Black.

I turn to see him listening earnestly, a faint smile hovering at his lips. He is quite still.
‘Are you enjoying that?’
‘Mmm-hmm.’
‘He’s a connoisseur, not a headbanger,’ says The Husband.
I glance back again. He is now bobbing back and forth, the dreamy expression replaced by a fierce, slightly self-conscious, expression.

The Husband is right, of course, but F prefers the idea of himself as a headbanger.

‘What will you pick?’ he asks The Husband. ‘You’re the next youngest.’
‘Mum can go next,’ says The Husband. He’s into reggae at the moment and isn’t about to throw that into the mix.
‘Great!’ I settle back with a grin, enjoying the lukewarm breeze in my hair.
‘What will you choose, Mum? I bet I know! I bet it’s Bittersweet Symphony! To get us in the mood for driving.’

I’d mused on this on the way from the house to the car.

‘No,’ I say. ‘I’ve changed my mind.’
‘What? It’s A Long Way to the Top?’ He sounds hopeful.
‘Nope. Something you don’t know.’
‘Awwww.’
‘F, you need to take turns. That’s the rule. That means I can choose whatever I like, not what you want me to choose.’
‘Fine.’

‘It’s rock,’ I venture, as I fumble for my CD in the pile. ‘It’s good.’

A few beats later ...

‘Mum?’
‘Yes?’
‘Do you know what kind of person I am?’
‘No. What kind of person are you?’
‘I’m the kind of PERSON,’ he replies, somewhat imperiously, ‘who when someone TELLS me to like something, WON’T like it.’
‘Ah,’ I say. ‘Are you now?’
‘Yes.’

He is silent when my song comes on. Not, I think, the silence of the connoisseur.
More like a silent protest.

**

Earlier that day ...

‘Hey!’ says The Husband. ‘We’re out of dental floss!’
I don’t look up from my newspaper.
‘You’re using it!’
‘Uh huh.’

The Husband got back from his overseas sojourn fanatical about the wonders of daily flossing and preached about it with all the fervour of a Mormon on a train for his first month back.

‘You know what?’ I say, folding down my paper to fix him with a stare. ‘I’m the kind of person who, if you bug me about doing something, if you TELL me to do it, I won’t. You left me alone, so I’m doing it.’

**

Is it genetics or small ears lurking in hallways? Or both?

10 comments:

eleanor bloom said...

Well they do say kids learn more from example.

Oh blood flossing! Why do I have to be reminded again. *grumble grumble*

And, if we ever say anything along the same lines to men it's called "nagging".

eleanor bloom said...

Hmm, that should have been "bloody" flossing. Perhaps a bit of a Freudian slip there eh?

Helen said...

Yes I'm a born-again flosser, too, don't get me started!

Just wait until F gets old enough to get fingered by the dentist for orthodontic intervention - HAVE YOU GOT YOUR RETAINER IN NO WELL GO AND GET IT... Grrr

kirstenjane said...

Coincidence or chip-off the old block!?! Either way v. funny & good to see such healthy senses of identity!

mindlessmunkey said...

I'm intrigued now. What was your musical choice?

Ariel said...

Eleanor, yes, I think that WAS a Freudian slip. And Aspergers kids very much learn by example, more than most - though they're also amazingly stubborn. It was the exact replication of my phrasing that really made me wonder if he was copying me. I KNOW he's that stubborn, as am I.

Helen, I'm converted too now, I just couldn't be until I felt I was making the choice myself instead of doing it because I'd been told. Yes, I'm sure I'm hell to live with!

KJ - What a fantastic way of looking at it. 'Healthy sense of identity' - I shall use that next time someone complains about my stubborness.

MM - Aha, I wondered if anyone would wonder that. The CD was Jane's Addiction and I played the first track, 'Stop', because I thought it was the most likely of the bunch to please F, though my favourite is 'Been Caught Stealing'.

eleanor bloom said...

Hey, I've been listening to some old Jane's Addiction lately too! Cause my new/old car has a tape deck so I hunted out what few tapes I kept. Jane's Addiction Live and Rare is getting repeated plays. Esp good for driving (you obvs agree!) as it includes 'Been Caught Stealing' and 'Had A Dad' (great live version).

Ariel said...

I think I might have that CD somewhere, you know. Must hunt it down: it is great.

There you go - another JA fan. Brilliant!

redcap said...

Heh - I think it might have been little flappy ears :) I was wondering what your song choice would be, too.

I'm bad. The only time I floss is when I've got something stuck that refuses to be dislodged any other way. Grotty me, I know. My punishment will be toothlessness one day.

Ariel said...

I think it was flappy ears, too. Especially when the owner of those ears is a known imitator.

I guess I'll owe my teeth to The Husband, then. He'll be pleased about that.