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11:59 a.m. - 2011-12-15
The Men

Got an email from Mick's nephew, Jon, who is currently working as a farmhand in the Valley of Longevity near Vilcabamba, Ecuador. Along with the very long-lived native Ecuadorians there's a hippy-ish community of American ex-pats and the rumbling rumors of the village becoming a tourist hot spot. I hope not, the place looks simply beautiful. I can definitely understand why the hippies and Jon (a hippy-in-training) have settled there. Not that I think Jon will be settling down for good anywhere anytime soon, as long as he can find work and be happy he will be wandering through South America for a long time to come. I selfishly miss him for my own sake, but am also delighted for him and hope his travels and adventures continue to bring him joy.

Mick and the rest of the family worry about him because he is young and they love him, but there's also a heavy streak of xenophobic suspicion in their fear. One worry I don't share. I tried to reassure Mick that Jon's biggest danger is gastro-intestinal distress from iffy food and parasites, but he doesn't really believe me. My poor mannie is too deeply steeped in his clan's bitter fearful loathing of 'the other'. Namely pretty much everyone not of direct blood relation. (Something I found out the hard way, that's for sure.) I also pointed out that a skinny, slightly scruffy but otherwise patently harmless young man with a backpack and a skateboard is hardly a prime target for bad dudes. Jon's obviously too broke to bother taking for ransom, he's too polite to pick fights, and he has no political agenda other than shucking off some of his American-bred consumerism and learning to be more in tune with nature. I, for one, envy Jon and only wish I could be so free. Sigh...

Thud! And here we are back in LA's world where American consumerism is alive and well and hiding in my bedroom closet. We bought Wolf's gift last night and I am stupid with glee and gagging to give it to him. While Santa may be gone, I still have the opportunity to blow my kid's socks off with a completely unexpected Christmas gift. He's a good guy, this gangly, almost-grown son of mine. Wolf rarely asks for anything and certainly has no idea this particular goodie is coming his way. Mick and I are so proud of him and the way he's taken on the challenge of regular public school and made such a good job of it. Still has that A average in algebra and his teachers have nothing but praise for his good behavior and even better manners.

When I told Wolf I was working on a book about his early years and asked him if he was okay with it, he thought on it for a while and asked if I would please not use his real name. He doesn't mind when I talk about him here, but the idea of being the central character in one of Mom's books, especially a book about the challenges of raising an Aspie, it foshed him. Wolf hates being reminded of his more difficult days. Not that I blame him, I have memories of some spectacularly cringe-worthy antics of my own and completely understand Wolf's reluctance. We talked about the book and what I hoped it would do and why I was writing it. I was honest and explained about how lonely and hard it had been to have a kid like him and not have anyone who understood. How tough it was to feel like a failure every single day and the huge weight of guilt and self-blame I carried for so very long. He and I have muddled through together and have come out the other side doing pretty well. If this book could offer hope and help to even just one mom and her child and save them both some grief it was worth it, yes? Wolf was quiet for a long time and then finally nodded. Yeah, it was okay with him. He admitted he'd felt like a failure too. A lousy son and a bad person all around. If some other guy and his mom could read this book and know that they're really okay and just having a tough time from something that wasn't anybody's fault, it was a good thing.

See? Can you blame me for being a little doofy over my kid? And why there's a fantastically cool Christmas present for him upstairs in my closet?

Good Guy in My Life: Vignette #3. Mick has instituted the Weeknight Movie Date. Now that Wolf is old enough and responsible enough to watch himself for a couple hours here in the house alone Mick's declared he is going to take me to a movie every week. We're limited to the local mall's cineplex. No way am I going across the river and turning off my phone in a theater more than 30 minutes from home when Wolf is here alone. But the local mall movie house? Okay. I'm in.

Last week we saw 'The Descendants'. I was stunned when I saw it was playing at the mall cineplex- home of the moronic mass-market tripe. Previous to the film popping up at the mall 'The Descendants' was only showing at the art house theater waaaaaaaaaaay the hell upstate in Rhinebeck. Across the river and almost an hour from here. On a weeknight? With Wolf here on his own? Not a chance. But miracle of miracles, the local crap-house remembered grown-ups like movies too and booked a film without franchise, without Happy Meal toys, without boobs, farts, explosions, and puke. Wow.

Did I enjoy 'The Descendants'? Yes I did. Do I think it's worth all the buzz and hype? Not quite. But I also know I am a ferociously tough critic. And that the general movie audience is so starved for movies that aren't complete shit that any film which dares to be the tiniest bit smart or off formula is slavered over and feted beyond any true merit. After a steady diet of McDonald's even a meal at Outback seems like gourmand fare. Such is the case with 'The Descendants', a solidly good movie that's being treated like a precious gem.

Something I can honestly apply to last night's movie too- 'The Muppets'. Mick actually slept through the first 45 minutes, this was a pick based solely on my desire for a Muppet fix. My hubs knows nothing about the Muppets. Too old to have watched 'Sesame Street', too grumpy to have gone to any of the original Muppet movies, never had any kids of his own to force him into any contact at all with Muppets, Fraggles, or even 'The Dark Crystal', Mick insisted on taking me to see the newest Muppet movie just because he loves me and wants to give me anything my little heart desires.

I wish the latest film could have been better so he could 'get' my thing with the Muppets. So Mick could understand what happiness Jim Henson and his felt critters have brought to my life, but sadly this new movie missed the mark. Far too into the song and dance numbers and sorely lacking in the utterly absurd sight gags and sly snarky humor which is the true genius of the Muppets, I still respect the effort. And I did my sappy crying over 'Rainbow Connection' anyhow. How could I not? I grew up with 'Sesame Street'. I was Wolf's age when I saw the very first (and very best) Muppet movie and am forever imprinted with its silliness and kindly philosophy.

But I have to give Jason Segel his props for bringing this new one about. I've never been a member of the Jason Segel fan club. BFD he showed his flaccid penis and balls in a movie for a nano-second. Is this really such a big deal? Guys pee in front of each other all the time. So really the big deal is that some guy let girls see a brief glimpse of his junk. Dude, I've been reasonably acquainted with what boys keep in their pants since I was a wee slip of a lass back in the dim bygone year of 1976. I've had three husbands. I have two sons. Over the almost four decades of dick I've continued to be underwhelmed by the supposed 'honor' of being privy to boy bits. I have my own bits. Everybody has bits. Get over it.

However I could see in last night's movie that Jason Segel really, really, really loves the Muppets. He remembers them just as fondly and with as much respect as I and the rest of the Muppet folk do. And he had the swing to have gotten a new Muppet movie made. So snaps to you, Mr Full-Frontal Apatow Flunky. A guy from a cinematic universe where a complete schlub always gets the prettiest girl and is considered a true hero if he doesn't fart during dinner.

Meanwhile, off-screen I am truly blessed with some amazing men. A nephew, a son, and a husband who go far beyond the 'huge' sacrifice of occasionally keeping their bodily functions to themselves. Good guys, all of them. Jon, Wolf, and Mick. I love all three. And I am lucky and happy such cool dudes love me back.


The woman in their lives, ~LA

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