Just the Regular Mischief (#497)

The school nurse left a voice mail while I was teaching Elementary Latin: Charlie was……..very tired.
“Tired”: Not “applied ice,” not “bumped,” not “forehead,” not “fever.” “Tired” and that was all.

I began the telephone tag and left my own voice mail, starting with what may be a new one to add to the list of Excuses:

My parents organized an autism conference and got me up early to take the speakers to the airport and then we had to drive all over Queens with my two great-aunts…..

I explained this on the school nurse’s voice mail and—as a student came into the room and described her unusual weekend sleep schedule to her friend—-I had an Aha! moment. Yesterday morning it had been time to switch back to regular time; I made mention of this on my voice mail message (it was a long message). Another student had come into the classroom by the time I hung up and confirmed that the change in time—-even though we “gained” an hour—-could still make a person even more sleepy.

Class was starting soon and I called the nurse back once more; she described Charlie as sure “glad” to see the pillow and bed in her office and we went over the usual list; had I given him cough syrup, etc.? Conference, I said. And Regular Time. All duly described in an email to his teacher.

An hour or so later, Charlie’s teacher emailed me that she was ill and out sick.

Aha! number second as it occurred to me that the other classroom instructors had not been able to read my email about Charlie’s weekend.

And what a weekend it had been with three trips into New York City in two days, spending time with three people Charlies does not know well, and the air still crackling as Jim and I talked our way through every speech and moment and person met at the conference? The conference inspired by Charlie himself?

Charlie cannot yet tell time, and, aside from us mentioning the time change to him, he was not directly aware that the clocks had been changed. “Regular time” meant a dis- or perhaps a de-regulation of everything around him: Time is of the essence.

And this was the day before Halloween: “Is he going out on Mischief Night?” my students asked before regaling me with tales of escapades involving socks, Nair, and eggs.

Charlie went to bed by 10pm (okay, by what used to be 11pm) and was soon sound asleep, safe in bed: A return to order after more than interesting times.


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