Defining Moments. Really?

September 4, 2014
It was very hot last Tuesday. Still, Robert and I spent the morning at home. Robert was finishing the laundry he started on Monday evening after we returned from Pennsylvania. We studied for 90 minutes following easy routines to get back on track after three days of travels. After lunch, I suggested and Robert consented to drive to Castle Island in Boston and take a walk around the bay and the fort. When we left the car, the hot, humid air almost knocked me out. Soon, however, the breeze from the ocean relieved the heat. Slightly. We watched airplanes take off, kites soar, and seagulls glide over the water. We watched people swimming, cormorants diving, and sailboats floating. It was a very relaxing walk. On a way home, we stopped at Polish Deli. Robert chose his favorite chocolate. I paid for it and for a few other items and we left. Then, I decided to stop in the Irish Deli to buy White Breakfast Pudding. We went to that store once before. Robert knew the way, opened the door, got in and…. started screaming and slapping his ears. I was two steps behind. Two young men who worked there were startled, but recovered quickly. I said very sternly, “Robert, calm down. Everything is fine. Calm down. We will buy white pudding for dad. He likes it. ” Robert calmed down almost before I finished. I apologized and so did Robert. “We understand”, said one man.
The rest of the day was uneventful. We stopped at Stop and Shop Supermarket to buy milk and bread. Robert put all the shopping away, helped with dishes, and watched Netflix on his IPAD.

I don’t know why Robert started screaming in the Irish Deli. Maybe those two friendly men who welcomed him in a very pleasant way did scare him as Robert is not used to being talked to by strangers. Maybe the store looked different than what he expected. I don’t know and Robert won’t tell me.
I know that it was one of those moments happening from time to time when Robert demonstrates “atypical” behavior. But this 10-20 second in the span of the whole year seems almost nothing. And yet, it is in those instants that most of the people form their opinions about Robert.

Of course, we will visit the same store next week. The worst thing would be not to go there again. Robert will have an opportunity to conquer his anxiety and the young men will get a chance to understand Robert better.

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