Dying/broken/forgiven.... now I begin

Born: 17-06-56....gemini.... monkey
re-born: 3-09-80
born again\found: 14-04-08
other notable dates: 10-03-68; 03-09-87; 23-03-96;
1-05-98; 31-01-02; 5-04-04

Interests: movement, stressed/transgressive embodiment, lived experience (body\space\time\relation)
expression ( word, dance, text, image, story, music, poetics)
learning, yielding......

Hopes for the blog:
offer up the wild intersectedness of lived experience and engage others in creative, expressive, perhaps irreverant, hopefully playful, and respectful encounters....
enact kindness
create moments of pause for disclosure, discovery, stillness

Friday, September 10, 2010


 John Livingston, a naturalist of some acclaim and author of a wonderful book, Rogue Primate, proposes that there are two characteristics or habits that seem to distinguish animals (who co-exist in communities) from humans (who co-exist in communities), these being rationalization and deceit. Apparently, animals do not engage in these distinctly human behaviours. Why do I include this information here, at the beginning of a post that will take up some recent adventures at autism camp? Well, dear reader, perhaps you might consider it a courtesy, a foretaste of what is to follow, an anticipatory set....I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

I believe I've already mentioned that the autism camp I so affectionately write about has been in operation for about 15 years. I believe it would also be fair to say that I am a tad protective of my camp and my campers. It's also unfortunately accurate to say that in spite of my (admittedly anal and compulsive) attentiveness to detail and organization, every year something seems to slip through my grasp.This year was no exception. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that another camp was going on at the same time as mine, that another HUGE event was also taking place on the campus where I hold the morning half days of my camp and that my camp and the other camp would be sharing space. Somehow, this did not translate into my NOT using a gymnasium space that I had counted on in  my schedule rotation. So, when  I arrived a little before 8:00 am on the first day  of camp after having spent the previous day hauling and setting up equipment for my activity and arrival stations, and encounter the other camp's director and his entourage of camp counsellors assembling outside the entrance doors of  MY arrival space,  I was unimpressed. You might even say perturbed. Others on the scene used other words as well..... I think I heard one of the entourage use the phrase Total eFfing Bitch (except he didn't use the word eFfing... if you get my drift).  The Other Guy and I exchanged mature pleasantries that went something like this:
OG: the building manager was supposed to have told you about our camp
me: he did
OG: so why the surprise
me: i'm not surprised about the camp.... i'm surprised about the space that your camp is using ( i am also getting a bit panicky about the 60 plus autistic camp participants and the 60 students who will be arriving ANY TIME NOW  who will NOT have an arrival gym.... not good, not good at all)
OG: i had this space booked already....
me: could you have said anything  that could be more unhelpful than that statement?!
OG: ( slack jaw stare)
me: i don't CARE about that.... what are we going to do now? right this moment!!!
OG: ( slack jaw stare)

[pause.... imagine 60 autistic people spread over a large  arrival space, say the size of a large gymnasium wall; they can arrive and bring their stuff to a designated spot, it will stay there undisturbed while  they can go to the other activity  spaces and begin their large equipment activity, or their fine motor activity or their outdoor activity.. following these activities,  they can return to that large arrival space and use its spacious bottom half (divided by a sound barrier curtain) to engage in games skills activities. the 60 campers are divided into four groups so that no more than 15 people are in an activity space at a time.... perfect for this population... this is now dismantled by the loss of the second gym to the Other Guy's camp. just thinking about it makes me livid]

me: so, my campers, who always get the shit end of the stick, will have to be the ones to do the adjusting ?! my campers who have meltdowns when a back pack is misplaced by a quarter of an inch will be the ones doing the adjusting?!!  [ you can see, i was livid]
OG:  ( clenched jaw terror)
OG's barbie doll counsellor [ ok, that's totally unfair, but did i mention i was livid?] : well, if you like you can see the schedule... right over here on the wall [my schedule is also on numerous surfaces, but never mind; the writing is now on the wall as far as i'm concerned]
me: please do not placate me; in fact, it would probably be a good idea not to speak to me at all for at least the next hour or so.... i shall certainly be verbally abusive [ i wondered at the time about the word "placate" .... my therapist tells me that i ought not to wield  my intellect like a weapon.still, it was out of my mouth before i could stop myself]

upshot:  my camp moved across the hall; we reorganized one space  so that three different types of activity could go on in more or less divided and function -specific  stations and we got it done in the 15 minutes we had before the campers arrived. i was seething and putting considerable energy into not letting it spill over onto my camp counsellors and certainly not my campers. we get the day going and even though the kids are more agitated than i'd like for what i usually am able to achieve at my camp ( so much unavoidable human noise from all of us sharing one big space for at least three of our activity stations), the day goes reasonably well ( but you can check back to the day one blog and see all the goodies that did happen). we have this arrangement for the next day as well, and then have a big trip to a theme park on day three. by day four, we get our other gym back and move things around again. our more vocal and observant campers point out to me that the space is different and don't i realize that this is a stressor for someone with autism.
no shit.
next time, i am going to invite my campers to be my negotiators. why waste this valuable resource ? and who better to make the point? sometimes, ya just gotta let a crisis happen.

btw, pride not being one of my deficits  ( i swallow it with great regularity) i apologized to OG for being a T.F.B.
he accepted.


  1. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    whoever is responsible for this debacle should swing


  2. and yeah... I go the TLA for TFB...

    no kidding

  3. Jon-- the question is: swing by what body part? nice catch on the TLA, btw. no flies on you....
    thanks for dropping by. nice to see you here and to experience your wonderful economy (and style) of expression

  4. I'm not sure if I'd have apologised in your place, after that. But you're a better person than they are, that's for sure.

  5. Madame- i might have understated the full force of my venom. i had a few things to apologize for. and so i did. thanks for the read and the comments. cheers!

  6. "i ought not to wield my intellect like a weapon"
    it's the only weapon worth wielding.
    The world would be a wonderful place if it wasn't full of people :)

  7. Pisces-- a point; it is a shame to waste a weapon. your sentiment is so poignant... some people are wonderful and some are assholes, and many are both, simultaneously or serially. i suppose this makes life interesting.

    thanks for the visit and the comment :)

  8. The Happy Hegemony family never likes meeting TFB in public spaces. But it's a small price to pay to keep the turf and lipstick the dog. : /

  9. aporia... lipstick the dog; i like that. i think it beats dirtying up the snout, but i suppose it depends on the dog, or the dirt.
    thanks for the textures !!

  10. I am thinking, the world needs more 'people' like you! And although I am more of an Animal lover than a human lover, yes,'the differences make life interesting'; to say the least!

  11. I would love to experience the camp some day, but possibly on a better day...

  12. SarahA--thanks for the kind words. vive la difference!!

    Oyvind-- you are welcome anytime!!
    loved your humour. i'm also enjoying reading what is going on in your blog. cheers