Chaos Theories (#463)

“Chaos” is from the ancient Greek word for “a vast gulf, an abyss, a, infinite space”—three terms that, I think, describe how an unstructured stretch of time feels to Charlie. Unsure of what might happen next, of what might happen at all, he is indeed like some unmoored heavenly body, lost in the space of too much time.
He was all eagerness this afternoon while waiting to see his ABA therapist and sort of skipped up and down the driveway; unasked, Charlie pulled out two puzzles to work on while I made calls on calls because the black car’s right front tire was flat—only to learn from another phone call that the therapist’s young child was sick. And (another phone call) that the truck from the towing company had broken down. And (another phone call) then came, an automated phone call asking if the truck had left, was service completed?. (I dug out the main number and asked, what is going on?)

Charlie’s face drooped. I ran to ask Veronica if she could call me if the tow truck came and Charlie and I went for a walk during which a large cocker spaniel ran towards us; Charlie kept walking very fast, eyes wide open and head turned back at the advancing animal (who stopped).

(“Chaos” is also related to the Greek verb chaskein, “to gape, to open wide,” and that was somewhat how Charlie was holding his mouth as the dog charged—-and, perhaps, from Charlie’s perspective (?), a four-footed non-human creature hurling itself at him while twisting and jumping is chaos in another form.)

Of course, the tow truck came long after we had rushed back from the walk and I was cooking Charlie’s dinner. Everytime I went out to see what was going on with the black car’s flat tire, Charlie ran out:


Meaning, I was to come back up the front doors so Charlie could close the door. Again and again I said, simply, “Mom’s car is broken, it has to get fixed. We’ll have dinner soon as the man goes.” The tow truck was a huge flat-bed model that filled our driveway and spewed noise and machinery. Charlie bobbed about on the grass and the steps and back into the house and out again: “Mommy stairs!”

When I went back inside, Charlie was snitching bits of hamburger from a plate between Grandma and Grandpa, who wanted to know where the traffic was that had resulted in me getting home too late to meet Charlie at the bus (Veronica was there). “It was in Jersey City,” I said: Most of the cross streets between Route 1 & 9 and Kennedy Boulevard, where the college where I teach is, were closed with police barriers. Behind the orange pylons, large mounds of dirt and backhoe-ish equipment were visible—and lines of cars (including me in my father-in-law’s large white sedan) stuck on too few non-closed streets that were not one-way: Yet another scene of chaos, and certainly to the driver who called me a word that cannot be repeated on this blog.

And yet, road-resurfacing and jackhammers on concrete are the kinds of chaos I can handle. Charlie had someone to meet him when the bus let him off; he has been learning to handle chaos not by hurtling himself into more, but by finding ways to create spots of order—be they jigsaw puzzles, a green squishy ball strategically aligned with the kitchen door and the stairs—and to stand in the eye of the hurricane as it whooshes by.

2 Responses to “Chaos Theories (#463)”
  1. Lisa/Jedi says:

    Whew! Just reading about your day makes me dizzy! I’m glad that Charlie was able to ride the storm with you 🙂

  2. MommyGuilt says:

    Oh I know those days! Started one like that today – hoping it will end soon.

    What is great, though, is that you have the perspective that yes, it is utter chaos – in different forms for you and Charlie – but that you know what to stress about and what not to. Me – well, I would have eaten someone’s head by now…although I think we’re through with the eating of heads…LOL

    Big hugs to Charlie!

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