The background to this post is the mysteries of male adolescence
When Life Gives You Watermelon (Take 2)

Homeric Chariots and a Slightly Busted Batmobile

Home life

This post is a bit about "Neighbors 101" (advanced version). But with a superhero twist.

We've lived in this house, more or less (not counting the period we lived in my in-laws' sort-of basement and then in a condo so Charlie could go to the school district that started out great and ended up a bit of a mess) for nine years. 

We haven't exactly endeared ourselves to the neighbors, but c'est la vie, autismland-style. 

In the beginning, lots of me yelling 'CHARLIE' and running frantically out the door. Now we just run, sometimes on the daily race-walk, sometimes because Charlie is heading to brown car trunks.

Monday afternoon, I could sense (by the way he held his shoulders) that Charlie was on edge on a second early evening walk. He ran with his characteristic growl moan down the street. Walked and uttered a very loud scream.

Of course, a few feet away were the nice old guy who waves at us from his front yard, a woman his age, a younger woman, and a cute 2-year-old girl.

The man gave me a sympathetic look as I hurried Charlie past. Charlie then ran, still growling, in a slightly over desperate way. I texted Jim. Jim said he'd get the car.

This is where the batmobile aspect of this post comes in.

Charlie only rides in our wonderful workhouse white car now but the black station wagon has settled into a life of mostly being parked on the street, hauling the loads of branches and weeds and dead ivy and dead trees and shrubs that I have been making a highly enjoyable summer project of removing from our front yard, taking Jim on the occasional trip to NYC when he wants to get back and forth without worrying about getting caught on a broken down NJ Transit train. The back right passenger door won't open (the lock keeps whirring and trying to) and the car lacks four-wheel drive. It's a great car, especially as the dealership said it was dead about 4 or 5 years ago, allowing we could eke out a little more time with it by paying $XXX.


Charlie, still growling, was hastening him and me down the street and I was wondering how long it had to take Jim to get in the car and drive but then, tada, black car! 'Hi pal!' Jim called out the window. Charlie looked, grouched, and started running. 

Jim got out, left the car and we all ran home without any incidents with other cars or parts of them.

Charlie had a happy time sitting on the couch, drinking cold things and eating crackers and typing B ocean as I switched between reading about why the euro zone crisis could go on for 20 more years and which era of ancient Greek history, give or take 100-500 years, the Iliad may have occurred in, based in part on the fact that the heros in the poem do not seem to know how to use chariots.

Then we did another walk. There was a breeze and it was much cooler. Jim came too, so he could retrieve the black car and he and I agreed, good solution that I text him if Charlie is having trouble on a walk and Jim can drive obviously much faster than run to catch up.

Unlike those Homeric warriors, we know what to do with our trusty vehicle.


james fisher

Neighbors are lucky to have us!


Yes, your neighbors are lucky indeed! That quiet little suburban corner of the universe would be so boring otherwise. Thank you for this Batmobile story! Such grace, such humor ... and yes, you do need that superhero reinforcement sometimes!

Jim, maybe you should start wearing a cape (Charlie would probably NOT appreciate that, though, so just kidding).


Yes, grace and stealth. Can you txt while running? Superhero parents!

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