I always thought the constant nickname of "Charlie Brown" my dad used to give me as a child was because I loved peanuts so much. I realized the true reasons as I grew into adulthood - I AM Charlie Brown. Not in every aspects mind you (although I haven't got much left scalp-wise), but mainly regarding that football joke. You know the one - Lucy constantly tricks Chuck into thinking she'll hold the football for him to kick, and takes it away at the last second, leaving poor baldy flat on his back.
Justin, my son, has started special pre-school, to get a kick-start on his development. He's only four, and autistic, so cutting the chord is pretty rough for a stay-at-home dad. But I figured it would be beneficial for the both of us to let him be carried to school by the special transport offered to us - a middle aged (oversized) lady in her minivan carrying 5 other special-needs children. Which IS beneficial on all counts - the school is pretty far and I work the previous night, and Justin gets to meet other kids like him, so I could use the help. There's the football, ready to be kicked.
The lady pulls up to the house first morning. No child seats. Justin's 4, and wide as a 2 by 4 - seen from the side. If you want a special seat, the lady says, it's your problem. I don't like to argue, and I don't mind. Better use mine since I know where it's been. And it's the law anyway. So I take it out of my car and bring it over. Football. Me. Kicking. Yay.
Too big. What? The seat's too big, she says. Well, it fits in my Hyundai Accent, it'll fit in your big minivan (I strenously overcame an urge to point out SHE fits in the damn van). But alas...as the poor woman installs said seat, she breaks a nail. And so refuses the seat. Let me copy/paste that so you can enjoy reading it again. she breaks a nail. And so refuses the seat. A fat middle-aged lady's manucure is prioritary to my child's life. I lost my big sister in a stupid car crash, I'm not loosing my son that way. Not today. So I'm taking him to school myself. Now THAT is the insult - the woman loses 1/6 of her paycheck.
As I get back home, my wife calls from work. Seems a disproportionate passed-her-prime "driver" called and yelled at her because I won't let my child ride without a child seat. Now, Chuck's getting pissed. Ring-ring, quick call to her boss. No sir, we don't have to put him in a child seat. The law says so, I retort. What puts you above it enough to tell me my son's life isn't worth it. Because, says the former heavy-weight thumb wrestling champ at the other end of the line, we need express confirmation from the school board to do that, and they say the car's seat and belt are quite enough.
You know the one hair that lies on Chuck Brown's head?? It's falling off too.
Ring-a-freaking-ding, quick call to the school board. The transport supervisor can't take my call, and returns calls only within 24 to 48 hours. Mind you, once I called the local Autism Aid society and asked them to call her, she calls right back. What makes you so special, am I asked, to want something the other kids don't have. Steam vegetables don't melt butter that fast. As I prepare to let her know what sound a sardine last hears before dying, she gives it up - the school board is supposed to give seats for parents who ask for it, but I didn't, so it's my problem. Fatty Arr-don't-Buckle never said that, I argue. Well, we'll talk to her. Don't worry. Don't worry??? My son is worth less than a manucure to the woman in charge of his safety, and all I get is Don't Worry?
Flat - FLAT I say - on my back. After 4 years of special expenses, sleeplessness, frustration and let's be honest, loneliness (everybody loves a special child, no one wants to care for him), I really thought I'd catch a break from an organisation who's purpose is to give me one, the school system. I really thought I'd get to kick that damn ball THIS time.
Only three words can rightfully conclude my day. Oh Good Grief.