The landscape has become a maze of unexpectedness, trees on their sides, power lines pinned by branches and telephone poles, darkness without the traffic signals and neon-lit signs that are ubiquitous in New Jersey when there isn't a natural disaster.
On Friday in the week of Superstorm Sandy, the power was out across Jersey horse country. Jim and Charlie found trees strewn all across the bike trail and every bridge washed out, so they rode on the road.
Other road ways, like the Garden State Parkway and various state roads, have been host to standstill traffic as long and longer lines of cars wait for gas. New Jersey's governor has decreed that, starting at noon on Saturday, gas is to be rationed. Even numbers on your license plate mean you can get gas on even-numbered days and vice versa for odd numbers.
Even and odd: The 70s and the gas crisis all over and due to our peregrinations throughout New Jersey to keep Charlie going, we will need to refuel on the next even day, Sunday.
Most people would probably not have done so much driving at a time of fuel shortages. But our priority is to take care of our boy throughout a week bereft of any familiarity.
It takes a lot of energy to be free-floating in such disarray, especially if you're a boy who is reliant on a tightly wound routine. After a second bike ride and black car ride with Jim and a Bill Evans CD to see if his favorite burrito place was open (it wasn't), Charlie fell asleep at 7pm.
At 8pm, the Big Autism Center called: It will be open Monday.
Charlie woke at midnight and we gave him the news and he's talked some after a lot of quiet these past few days, smiled some and ran his paces in the L through the kitchen, dining room and living room. 'School Monday' means there is a telos.
Jim urged Charlie to sit in his brown chair.
Amid reminders of how fabulously he has endured the past week, I started to read Thucydides' account of the Peloponnesian War.
After 15 minutes, Charlie said 'bedtime' and went back to his room.
I actually rather dread to read about the Peloponnesian War knowing the defeats and deaths and plague Athens will suffer, of Thucydides' own 20-year exile from Athens after losing the city of Amphipolis to the Spartan general Brasidas.
But then, if I've learned anything from the past decade and a half, it is that you can live on the brink of catastrophe every day, you can fall into it more than you like, you can survive things you would rather have not had to have known and navigate the next new day.