100 Days Project

Ben: 100 Writings / 100 Opening Guitar Hooks

various, random creative expressions / writings, inspired partially by 100 popular songs (songs that somewhat begin with a leading hook of a guitar.)

Day 90:

“Oh Well” (1969) by Fleetwood Mac

“Oh Well” (1969) by Fleetwood Mac

I wasn’t gonna write today.  Too lazy.  But I did have a family get-together in the weekend.  There I met my cousin, Joey, his wife and three children.  Last time we met was at a Christmas function and was the first time I met his second child, Delana.  Delana was seven months last time I saw her and what I found incredibly odd about her was that she never cried; she always watching people and objects in the room move; and smirked the entire time.  I kept staring at her thinking it was very strange behaviour, even for a baby.  It was rude on my behalf.  Her mother, Maggie, saw me and said, without hesitation, “it’s okay, we think she’s autistic.”

When I saw her again this weekend, her head was disproportionate to her body, her eyes crossed and she was extremely observant to every single motion in the room.  It seemed as if everything was in slow motion for her.  It was rude (as I am) to want to bring up the subject.  I didn’t know if Joey was touchy about not wanting to talk about it.  I didn’t know if other people in the room wanted to talk about it.  But the day moved along nicely, typical of a family get-together.  The only difference was I was indecently anticipating more features of the Autistic syndrome, while everyone treated her normally.  And to be fair, if you didn’t know it, she looked like a normal baby.

By the end of the night, FINALLY, I got my opportunity to speak to Joey privately.  (We should really stop smoking.)  I was chicken.  I snuck in the subject just as we returned back in.  I ashed out my cigarette and said, “So what did the doctors say about Delana?”  “She has Angelman Syndrome.”  I pulled out my iPhone, typed in what I thought it might be and showed him.  “Is that how you spell it?”  He was taken aback my immediate interest.  “Um, yeah.”  Joey moved into the kitchen, while I investigated what the hell this thing was that my beautiful niece was under:

• Flailing hands; jerking movements
• Minor communication, if any
• Sleep deprivation
• Motor under-development
• Sudden bursts of laughter
• Imbalanced posturing
• It’s not Joey and Maggie’s fault.  This was a one in ten thousand chance this would happen to anyone.  It’s incredibly rare.
• I also discovered she’ll be wearing nappies well into her teenagehood.

I was heartbroken.  I truly was.  I saw this happen to other families, but now such a thing has hit closer to home.  I was in grief … for about a minute and a half … after closing my iPhone.  I asked Maggie if she was okay with it (what a stupid thing to say!)  And with a shining smile, Maggie said “Oh, Well – things happen!”

Yip!  I was making a fuss over nothing, really.  This was not a Sandra Bullock movie.  This was not a Henry Mackenzie novel.  This was them being handed a spade and them, with no hesitation, digging instantly with it.  It’s that blue collar mentality of just getting on with the job.  That ‘she’ll be right’ perspective of not needing to cry over spilt milk.  No special treatment; no favours; just getting doing the task at hand.  What a brilliant attitude!  What great parents!

It’s obvious, as already discussed, that the only person who had a problem with it was me!  Everyone just passed it off and treated her, and shall treat her, as the normal person she is.  And as I’m far from fucking perfect, I can’t help but think of these eponymous lyrics:

I can't help about the shape I'm in
I can't sing, I ain't pretty and my legs are thin
But don't ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to
Oh well

And as Maggie is from a strong Christian, Polynesian family:

Now, when I talked to God I knew he'd understand
He said, "Stick by me and I'll be your guiding hand
But don't ask me what I think of you
I might not give the answer that you want me to"
Oh well