Friday, July 24, 2009
Alex has a friend that is less intelligent than most people. I don't want to say retarded, but he's severely intellectually handicapped. He's a latino kid named Jarome or Jaron. He is constantly accompanied by his more intelligent sister, who is about the same age. Jaron will call (employing his sister to push the correct sequence of buttons) and ask if Alex can play. Then he and his sister will come over. If one of them is invited to a party, they both come. I seriously have never seen them apart.
I'm not the kind of parent that lets friends eat over much. I have to really like the kid to allow him at my dinner table. Since these two don't qualify for that honor, every night at dinner time I say, "You kids need to go home now. We're eating dinner. Do you want me to drive you, or do you want to walk?"
"No, we're good." Jaron will say, plopping himself down in front of the tv and flipping through the channels.
"The point is, you will now be leaving us. Get in the car."
They don't know their address, so they guide me to their house. The girl is aware that it's on 750 east, but that's it. I'll drop them off at their empty house, and they'll find the housekey and go in.
For a while I thought they didn't have parents, because parents are supposedly the ones that teach kids manners and what their address is, but apparently I was wrong. Once their dad came to our door to pick them up. They had asked if Alex could sleep over, so I wanted to feel out the guy a little first.
"Alex isn't ready yet," I say. "Give me your address and I'll drop him off later."At the time, I hadn't been to their house.
He gives me a blank stare.
"?Cual is tu direccion?" I ask.
"I don't know."
Now, this family has lived there for over a year. I'm not a hyper-organized type, but there hasn't been a place I've lived (including Ecuador) where I didn't know the address of where I was living within the first week. I consider it a semi-important thing to know. But not this guy.
"What's your phone number? I'll call you after you find out from your wife." I assumed there had to be someone at the house that knew.
"I don't know."
"Oh, you don't have a phone?"
"No, I have phone. I don't know the number."
I go into really-polite-understanding mode, acting like, hey, none of us really can keep track of ALL the crap we've got on our plate. "Oh, well, that's fine...I'll find it on the caller ID." And then I internally winced, knowing that "caller ID" was definitely out of their lexicon. What rattled me most was that this timid, confused man was an exact replica of his son. It occurred to me that maybe this man was a cyborg from the future that the kids used only on Parent-Teacher Night and to drive them places but was completely bewildered by humans and their ways.
They went home, and I washed my hands of the whole business. Mandi wound up taking him to the sleepover.
My parents didn't burn too many calories in my upbringing, and I turned out to be pretty-what's the word? Oh yeah, awesome. So maybe I worry too much about discipline and friends and memorizing my phone number and I just need to relax more.