When I was in the 3rd grade, I remember this math problem that really confused me. It was a word problem, and you had to answer where the best possible place to sit would be at a football game. It gave you multiple choices of different yard lines.
Of course my dad watched football on TV, so I had seen a game before. The problem was with the way my brain worked, and how I thought about things. I kept thinking that the answer really depended on where most of the game was played, where the ball was kicked off, and how many touchdowns a team made. If it was a really good team, you would want to sit near the end zone where they would make their touchdowns. My brain, being a little left of center, couldn’t grasp the obvious answer, but instead threw in all kinds of variables and possibilities that needed to be weighed.
I had to ask the teacher to help me with the problem. She drew a football field, and divided it with the yard lines. Then she explained why the 50-yard line was the optimum place to sit.
Flannery, why do you make things harder for yourself?
Get out of my head, mom.
So when Connor asked me, again, about what the word “tonight” means, I wasn’t surprised. I think I’m the only one that understands why he is asking.
He knows what night means. He knows what it means to go to the store, or to count two objects, or to say “I like that too.” What he doesn’t understand is what to-night means.
“It is the night that will come when this day ends.”
“It is the very next night.”
“It is the one that is part of this day.”
I keep trying to answer it in a way that will make sense for him, because I understand that he got his brain from me, and it sees things a different way. Not even daddy really understands it. But since I have a brain that complicates things, and doesn’t always see the most obvious answer, or accept the simple explanations (which is sometimes a good thing, but more often it’s really not at all), I am the one that tries my best to explain things for Connor.
It took me over a year to explain the concept of “privacy.” He kept thinking privacy was some sort of object, that you could put in a box. So when someone would say “give me some privacy,” he would say “okay, where is it, I’ll go get it for you.”
Last weekend we went to the mall to see the fat man. We went in through Macy’s, since it was close to where they had the Santa exhibit set up. Connor hadn’t been to the mall since the previous Xmas, since he tends to get overstimulated and very hyper. As we walked through Macy’s he kept looking around, saying “wow, there’s sure a lot of stuff in here.”
I asked him, “what do you think they sell in this store?”
His answer didn’t surprise me at all, since we both have unorthodox ways of processing information.
“I think they sell creepy things with no heads.”