xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: Autism, and why I (seriously) love Berkeley

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Autism, and why I (seriously) love Berkeley

I saw the You're Perfect Guy again this morning; I was driving to work and he was skateboarding down University holding up his sign. I smiled and waved at him. He smiled and waved back. I thought "I can't wait to blog about this!" and as I drove I started thinking about what I would say in a new edition of Spotted in Berkeley. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to say more about this town than just to make fun of it like I usually do.... and now here we are.

First of all, how cool is that, really? Here's a guy who has taken it upon himself to spread the message that no matter what, you're perfect just the way you are. What a great message to be spreading around town, and so true. We're all so hung up on societal norms and customs and how are you supposed to behave and what are you supposed to wear, but all of that is just bullshit. This guy has it right; none of that matters, because you, and I, and my kids and your kids: we're all perfect, just the way we are. I know that I make fun of this place a lot, because it's really like no other place I've ever been, but really I love it here. I'm happy that we have a guy here who does that and I wouldn't want it any other way.

When I tell people that I have a child with autism, I'm often asked what that means, or how "does it manifest?" or something like that. I may go on and on about focus and attention and language delays or cognitive development or whatever, but really what it comes down to is that my kid is weird. He is, he's the weird kid. He flaps his hands in front of his face, jumps up and down and then runs back and forth pretty much all day long. When you ask him a question he's very likely to answer you with "This is the platform elevator at the 24th street Mission BART station." Most people don't have any idea what to do with all of this, but that's okay. We live in a town where it's no big deal that a dude riding a skateboard will be holding a sign that says "you're perfect," or that another dude wearing a pink leotard would be riding a unicycle down the street. That's just how it is around here, people all over are weird. This is the perfect place for my kid to be weird, and I don't mean to sound snotty about it, but I'm so fucking glad this is where we live. I would never move, ever; and for that reason, alone.


Lynn said...

I love Berkeley...love all of Northern Cali. The #1 thing that I miss about San Jose is that Audrey would not have seemed all that strange amongst all of the techy nerdlingers. I think the entire population has Aspergers. My memories of living there aren't great, because that's where she got diagnosed...why couldn't I have known you then?

Not Just Another Mother Blogger! said...

It's wonderful that you live in a place where a person can be who they are and nobody even blinks.

Cheryl D. said...

Ooh..My daughter will have to move up there to be with her kind! Awesome!

Lynn said...

OK, this sucks...you snuck ahead of my on blog gems. I already commented on this shizz! You lose.

Marylin said...

That guy is awesome!
I love where I live too. It's a small community. Not so small that everyone knows everyone, but you know that when you pop to the shops, you'll bump into someone you know. Most of the mums at the school gate know us, or know about us, and are very accommodating, and if there's someone that isn't, they're soon put in their place by someone!
Glad I found you through blog gems, adding you to my feed reader now. :)

Dani G said...

Please send this guy my address. I'd like him to hang out outside my window with that sign!

JennieB said...

I love Berkeley too. Love it, swore after I returned from grad school that I would move back and never leave. Unfortunately, commuting to Silicon Valley was too much and for some reason I wanted to work here.

I totally remember pink leotard guy.
p.s. when do we start "Operation get Lynn back to the Bay Area?"

Heather said...

I wanna move to Berkeley!

kathleen said...

I have town envy. I live in rural Maine...where people on unicycles are from "away" and away is not considered good...although my kids..they are accepted-go figure..over from blog gems..

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