Charlie was glad to go on every one of the three bike rides he did with Jim on Sunday. As I've often noted, he loves to be in motion. He's been riding with more ease, and faster, since Jim changed the gears on his bike.
Sunday morning's ride in New Jersey horse country was preluded by Charlie hurrying out of the car, seemingly eager to choose a breakfast item at a 'general store' in the town near the bike trail. But once in the store, he dashed to the counter and tried to throw a plate.
It all happened in about five seconds and Charlie was quickly directed to the front of the store and out the door without anything else happening. We felt terrible, as Charlie had been doing fine looking around the store and waiting in line on previous occasions, though certain looks suggested that his presence was not the most welcome. We won't be going back.
It's, how to put it?, the really painful side of all of this 'autism awareness' business. Many had been aware of us in the store, and of Charlie's being different, but such awareness does not always translate into acceptance. In times past, I would have felt a need to do a lot of explaining about what had happened and what autism is and much more. Now, I think the best thing to do is to clear out of any trouble spots and move on-- to let it go--and we did.
Charlie and Jim did ten miles on the lovely bike trail and we reflected how it is always better for Charlie to be out under the wide open space of the sky. The narrow aisles and glass cases of the general store must have felt confining to him. He had asked to go in, as if he has some unappeasable urge to go where he has a feeling he should not, and then something happens. It's our job to be on the lookout for when he's sensing such, and avoid places where trouble can (and did) occur.
But things on the bike path were good. Jim related that Charlie cried for the first half of the ride --lagthen cheered up--smiley, Jim quickly texted me--on the way back, which was uphill.
Sunday was so sunny and bright, we thought it well to take advantage of the fine weather. Charlie had only rested at home a short time when he asked to get back in the car. At first he sat and doggedly waited watching the numbers on the Giant Timer iPad app scroll by. Then we gently encouraged another bike ride--and, after several no's, Charlie was ready to ride four more miles.
Charlie asked for ride #3 all on his own, after dinner. The sun was just starting to set and he and Jim really enjoyed one more tour around the neighborhood, to make it a 40+ mile weekend.
To no one's surprise, Charlier was hungry afterwards. He heated up some frozen fries and grinned when I pulled out a watermelon and cut it up. At 9.30, he looked at the front door and said 'yes,' indicating that he wanted to go out again. We told him we would, to go to school Monday morning. Charlie went upstairs and brought down his iPad, and asked me to get his blue blanket. He stretched out on the big black Ikea couch and fell asleep, across the room from where Jim and I were sitting.
I'll hazard to say, I think he likes to be near us.