In Dada’s own words: “I thought 2013 had some pretty nasty qualities to it, but 2014 is kicking its ass…”
Once more we are reduced to three inhabitants for a short period of time, and J didn’t really let it sink in until dinnertime last night. During the day on a Sunday, the argument can be made that Dada is getting some work done at the office, or that he and TGG went somewhere together. By dinnertime (a sacrosanct time around these parts,) it’s obvious that one of us is gone from the table, and that’s that… Even if TGG is not having dinner with us because he’s out on a date, with his friends, working, or whatever, there is a plate left out. Last night the chicken parmesan was distributed among three plates, and three plates only. It was seven P.M.
J started roll call right then and there.
He didn’t really stop calling roll until we finished our reading of Where The Wild Things Are. It was 10:30 P.M.
During those three-and-a-half hours, we looked at the PECS board (where Dada’s smiling face is neatly laminated and firmly velcro-ed to Friday,) at the map (showing where we are and where HE is,) and at the Proloquo2Go.
This morning went better. We looked at the board again, I reminded him that it is Monday, and then he counted the days between today and Dada’s face. I admit I am missing Dada a much as J, and sleep has pretty much eluded me since last Saturday so this disruption in our usual general family routine isn’t helping. Dada flies in on Thursday, but the drive from the airport will take long enough that J should be asleep when he arrives. To stave off the anxiety of waiting for him on Thursday, I’ve made the executive decision of putting Dada’s PECS at the bottom of the board on Friday…
The phone continues to ring throughout the day with updates, questions, reminders… I only truly jump if it’s after 11 P.M. or before 5 a.m.; calls during the day have become par for the course, but I won’t go so far as to say that I will miss them when they stop. The new normal includes a constant ringing outside, as well as inside, my ears.
I grew up in the days when Caller ID was a pipe dream. Answering machines were non-existent. Call waiting? HA! If no one was home when someone called, the phone rang and rang, and they had to call again. If you weren’t home and someone was there, you relied on checking the space next to the telephone to see if there were messages jotted down for you. If someone called and you were on the line, they got a busy signal. If you were out and about, and you needed to make a call, you had to dig for change and use a pay phone. Now people look at you funny if you don’t have a cell phone, if you don’t have your voice mail set up, if you didn’t already KNOW it was them because you don’t have caller ID, or if they get a busy signal because you don’t have Call Waiting.
On Tuesday Dada and I had to rush to the store to get a cheap pay-as-you-go cell phone because our old pay-as-you-go cell phone has become obsolete enough that I couldn’t manage to get it to work with any pay-as-you-go company. Of course, the frantic pace of travel preparations didn’t help. We have had so many things going lately that I’ve determined some battles are just not worth fighting. Before I resorted to losing my cool over an old cell phone, I decided to be mature and just go get another one…
TGG took ownership of activating and loading that phone, putting all the contact numbers and what not in there. I had taken ownership of renting cars and such, and THAT went horribly awry through no fault of my own. It seems that the more connected, and the simpler things are made by doing them online, the more glitches and unexpected mishaps come to pass. Yesterday morning, bleary eyed and sleep deprived, I had to call TWO airport shuttle companies in quick succession. The first botched my request to the point where they charged me for a ride from the wrong airport (oops! We don’t have availability from the one you requested…so-rry!!!!!) and will refund the money in three to seven business days, and the second one solved my problem for half the price in half the time prompting a deluge of gratitude that might have included angels singing in heaven, happy tears, and a wish for eternal happiness and the big prize in the lottery.
Looking back, I don’t know how my family managed to travel when I was younger. Granted, it was not Pterodactyl Air, but it can’t have been easy to make all the arrangements necessary for hotels, visas, passports, plane tickets in the days of “we have to do this by phone.” I used to love going to the travel agency, looking at the posters, having the plastic pouch handed over with plane tickets and such… I remember the hassle of going to the bank to acquire traveler’s cheques… I remember how important it all seemed, and how they’d give us pillows, magazines, playing cards, and so forth… I remember that you got a meal, or a nice snack during shorter flights. It was all so sophisticated, and it involved a bit of a promise of leisure, of suspended disbelief and the real world far, far away.
Travel these days is the complete opposite. Your phone can ring right up until they tell you to put in Airplane Mode, and you’re getting absolutely nothing (not even leg room) from the airline. Your plane tickets are printed at home; you get confirmation e-mails for everything, and no one looks like they might relax at any point during the flight, or when they arrive at their destination.
Yes, we miss Dada and we can’t wait ’til he’s home. Yes, we are stressed out and anxious under the shiny layer of routine we are firmly adhered to, and we are -like the proverbial paddling ducks- keeping the efforts on the down low so the glide across the week looks seamless to the casual observer. We know he’s not having fun, and we feel for him…there’s a lot of phone ringing going on everywhere these days…
And that’s Monday morning…