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10:34 a.m. - 2012-07-08
Wolf at the movies

It's not that they aren't respecting the sign it's that even when given physical space I still feel all crowded up. This, however, is more on me to fix than it is anything being done by the guys. Besides just being here all the time, I mean. Wolf is laying chilly as he almost always does. And Mick, bless him, is really trying. Not just to stay out of my face, but to dial back this seething pool of piss-off and hostility which seems to be his everyday inner environment. But there's only so long the Mick fish can live outside his 'water' of ugliness. Asking him to adapt to my 'water' of peace and shrugging indifference to such horrible injustices as a misdirected piece of mail or that guy who drives past the house a couple times a day with his car stereo blasting, well, it's nearly impossible. So it's on me to find a way to keep my water clean and breathable without Mick's seeping into and polluting it.

Hey, I'm not always the queen of 'Let It Be'. Thursday the power went out and it being movie night anyhow, we packed up and left the house earlier than we'd planned. I'd just gotten home with $200 worth of groceries and was none too pleased when the grid went down. I jammed the perishables into the dead fridge and freezers and hoped for the best, but I was torqued anyhow, besides the groceries earlier that day I'd made a huge bowl of tuna-noodle salad and a tray of deviled eggs, so it seemed that my cooking and shopping were about to melt into a puddle of expensive spoiled goo. I was not happy. But there wasn't anything to be done about it besides hoping like hell the power came back on before the food went to shit. So. Into the car and across the river. Instead of our usual movie house in Dead Fish, we kept going and went to the Galleria in Po-town. Their metroplex had a 6:40 show for 'Brave'. Our movie pick of the week. The AMC at the Po-town Galleria is nice. Stadium seating, big comfy reclining seats, even the popcorn is a little cheaper than the Regal in Dead Fish. But the theater in Dead Fish has the redeeming factor of almost always being nearly empty on weeknights. A crowded house ups the odds of texters, talkers, seat kickers and all-around assholes considerably. We, being sane people who go to the movies to actually watch the show, have done our best to protect ourselves from the new normal of rude idiocy. We don't go to movies on the weekends. We don't go during opening week at all. We try to pick showings at odd hours and patronize the ghost town theater in Dead Fish. All with an eye toward actually being allowed to watch the movie in relative peace and quiet.

So it seemed with a dinner hour pick of 'Brave'. At first the house was pretty empty. Not only was it an odd time to see a movie, but the film was being shown with subtitles for the hearing impaired. Hey, who would be quieter than the deaf, right? Then during the previews in marched what seemed to be the entire population of a summer camp. No, not the entire camp, just the kids about 12-15 years old. At least 50 young teenagers. They settled into the rows ahead of us like a flock of starlings- twittering, fussing, chattering, squawking...oh my lord. Yet when the lights went down they did seem to quiet down and the first couple minutes of the movie were okay. Then the subtitles started and this one kid read them aloud at the top of his voice and punctuated his narration with yelping laughter. Delighted with himself, he was. Usually it's Mick who says something, but my spoiling food and my tolerance for interruptions and other people's noise already stretched thin I barked, "SHUT IT, TWERP!" Shock from the campers in front of us and murmured agreement from the rest of the audience. My demand for quiet netted us about 1 minute 30 seconds of quiet and then the kid started in again. So now Mick chimed in with a menacing, "YO! Quiet!" Wolf, the most sensible one, got up to go find a manager. While he was gone a girl, probably a counselor, came up to us and started to tell us WE were at fault here, supposedly the kid 'couldn't help it'. He was autistic...I cut her off. I leaned over and hissed, "So is my kid and he's not making a peep. Shut your kid up or take him out."

Not long afterward Wolf returned, a manager appeared in the house and the loud yelping kid was lead up to the back of the theater, seated in the very back and miracle of miracles was hushed quite well for the rest of the show. When the movie was over we left quickly and were met outside the house by the Po-town police. Thinking we were about to get hauled in for being obnoxious, I about fainted when the cops apologized to us and said we should go to the service desk and pick up passes to another movie to make up for our bad experience. I thanked the officers nicely and told them how much I appreciated their understanding. We got our passes and the manager apologized to us too.

Vindicated. Utterly vindicated.

Now lest anyone think I was too harsh and was being 'mean' to the handicapped let me say this, "Go screw yourself."

Any idea of just how many movies I carried my own ill-behaved kid out of? Dozens. And not just movies. I've hauled a noisy, tantruming Wolf out of diners, shops, away from parades, out of banks, parks, birthday parties and other people's houses. I can't tell you how many times I hauled him out of school. Wolf's inability to control himself was NOT everyone else's problem to suck up and deal with, it was his. And mine. Wolf's bad behavior wasn't allowed to spoil other's movies and meals. And I never let him or me cop out with 'He can't help it'. Never. Wolf would learn to control himself.

He could and he has.

That's the bottom line. The bad behavior of the one was not allowed to spoil the enjoyment of the many. I didn't care what was wrong with my kid. I didn't care if he was autistic or weird or had bi-polar ADHD or even Tourette's. His public behavior would comply with the standard or he was removed from the situation. Simple. And oh so very hard. Until Wolf was able to discipline himself it was my job to enforce the discipline. It about killed me. Constant, constant vigilance and reinforcement. 24/7 for almost 14 years. I was so tired! I cracked a few times and Wolf himself cracked up enough to be sent to the hospital when he was 9. Something I remember getting quite a bit of smug scorn for and snarky, bitterly pleased chiding and mockery about. The compassion was overwhelming...not. I don't forget your shit, you small-souled bitches; I don't forget a single syllable of your delighted cruelty over my son's pain and my supposed comeuppance.

Guess what? My son can and does behave himself these days. He has pride in himself. He's gained the confidence and the self-control to make his life his own. And while I cannot say I'm 100% positive about Wolf's future, that's up to him. I do know his odds of drinking, drugging, getting tossed from school and into the jailhouse are pretty fricken slim. All the struggles and he and I have suffered through, all the sneering from outsiders, all the pleased jubilant smackdowns sent my way when my son was struggling the hardest and I was told his pain was all my fault, it was worth it. All of it was worth it. Today Wolf is his own man. Confident about his ability to drive his own destiny.

And he sure as hell can keep his mouth shut during a movie.

Very, very, very proud of my son and all his hard work, ~LA

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