Some thoughts

Life in a mixed marriage – the problem with wine gums, Teresa’s response…

My first thought upon reading David’s post was – what’s going on? What happened to our routine? Routine is crucial for autistics and those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know that the custom is for me to write the kick-off article, then David will come along and respond. On this occasion, the world seems to have turned topsy turvy and the man who likes routine has broken with routine and changed the rules while I wasn’t watching…

Be that as it may, the thing about the wine gums highlights, as David says, the whole theory of mind issue and also harks back to what I said on a previous posting about politeness.

Early on in our relationship I remember going to a pantomime with David and his son (his daughter was on stage) and said son won a box of chocolates in the raffle. He received his prize, sat down, opened it and hunching over it, began to eat. It did not occur to him to offer the box to his father or to me, nor did his dad say anything to him. I was shocked. Now that’s a big word, ‘shocked’. Part of my personal baggage is that as an only child, my father was determined that I should not be spoilt: share your sweets; always take the smallest piece of cake; never take the last biscuit; if out for a meal and someone else is paying, never choose the most expensive item on the menu. In the early days David’s son regularly broke all of these behavioural conventions and I really struggled because according to my world view, he was being incredibly rude and antisocial.

Fast forward to David himself. Early on in our relationship we went out for a meal and at one point he turned to me to congratulate himself for being good and not taking food from my plate. That word again: shocked. What on earth made him think it was appropriate to take food from my plate, unless invited to do so?

I mean, I know food taken from other people’s plates carries no calories, but even so…

The point here is that we are all programmed from an early age to behave in a certain way and can find it difficult to step outside that programming. It took me a while to understand that what I considered to be rude might just be another person’s way of coping with the world due to the fact that their brain is wired differently to mine.

However, we need not be defined by these predispositions. I understand that just because David and his son see the world differently to me, that doesn’t make them wrong. Similarly David may have been brought up in a culture where women were ‘less’ and men always drove the car and therefore were entitled to the last wine gum, but he understands that to be inappropriate and so modifies how he thinks and acts.

Most importantly of all, as David said, we talk about these things all the time, we prod and poke at our responses and reactions and that is why the wine gum conversation happened. Of course at one level David was stressed and I should have just let him have the other wine gum. On the other hand, I too had had a stressful day (it didn’t turn out to be the ‘us’ day I had hoped for) and yes he was driving but I would have been quite happy to drive and the reason he was doing so was – yes, you’ve guessed it, because driving is less stressful for him than being driven!

So, fast forward to the writing of this post. We decided that we needed a packet of wine gums for the photo. Once the photo was done, we divided the remaining sweets into two equal portions – but oh no! There were not two left over, but three. What to do? Well, David took one for himself, and left the rest for me. Like the ‘last Rolo’ ad, I think that as a declaration of love, that hits the spot 🙂

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