So last night the aspie kid, dad and I were sitting around the kitchen table, playing card games. We made a dent in some of the leftover Halloween candy, consumed a couple pots of tea, and generally had fun. Later on that night I was thinking over the evening, and I realised that there were some marked differences compared to similar evenings of my own youth.
For one thing, no one was complaining because I jiggled my leg much of the time, or kept popping up to do things. Nor was there a television show running in the background, as hard-of-hearing dad isn’t fond of extraneous noise. Compared to card game evenings with my mom, sister and grandma, there was certainly a lot less chit-chat about celebrities and suchlike.
Instead, the teen’s conversation was in large percentage comprised of random movie and program quotes. The rest of the vocal output was set to “Shuffle” mode, with an intermittent selection of sound clips by humming or scatting bits from show themes, classical, jazz, and rock tunes. Sometimes I riffed off the music clips with one of my own, and a few times we delightfully segued to the same sound clip.
When we tired of Uno, we settled on Rummy. I hadn’t played in a long time, and it took a couple of games to get the strategy down. About that time, the overall card-playing grew more intense as the teen also became more focused on what cards were being drawn and discarded. Several times the kid made killing plays by “dumpster diving” and picked up several cards from the discard pile, in order to access a pair of matching numbers that had been added over the turns.
“Are you ‘counting the cards’?” asked dad, meaning memorising everything that had been played by whom.
Aspie kid nodded, laying down a couple of sets in front of him, and then playing matching cards off of some of our sets, noting with glee, “It’s delicious. I love it!”
“Get good at that, you can go to Vegas,” dad joked.
“Yeah, but would have to put up with all the overwhelming sensory input from the lights and noise,” I added, with a slight shudder at the idea.
Mentioning lights reminded dad about some strings of discounted blue holiday lights (fairy lights) he’d picked up at the store, and he went over and tried to string them across the mantle.
“Oooh, shiny!” I exclaimed in delight.
Dad’s efforts at running the wires around random objects on the mantlepiece were wobbly, so I retrieved my hammer and some dyed paneling nails, tapping in a few more camouflaged points across the woodwork, and re-stringing the lights across the length of two walls. We all admired the airport-runway effect of the lines of blue lights, and decided that with a couple more strings, we could have the entire greatroom outlined. I think we’ll leave them up year-round.
Maybe this isn’t how the “average” 16-year old spends Saturday nights, but we had fun.