I Never Know When You Are Kidding.

Shane was playing video games (as usual) when he suddenly said, “Back in my day, I thought ‘Xmas’ meant ‘Christmas for cool people.'”

I laughed, thinking this was a quote from a YouTube video somewhere. “That’s really funny,” I said. “Where’d you hear that?”

“I didn’t,” Shane said. “I just made assumptions.”

“You actually believed that ‘Xmas’ meant a completely different holiday?”

“No,” he said. “It was still Christmas, but it was reserved for cool people.”

“I never know when you’re kidding,” I said. “But even if it wasn’t a joke, that is really funny!”

Another day, we were in the car. Shane was talking about the songs he liked – mostly stuff from the 70’s and 80’s that were forced upon him as a toddler.

“I loved ‘Dance the Night Away,'” he said. “I thought it was a song about a scary knight and we had to dance to make him go away.”

“Really?” I asked. “Did you actually think that, or are you kidding?”

“I really thought that,” he said. “I was, like, four.”

“I never know if you are making a joke or serious,” I said.

“Maybe I should say a creepy ‘HA HA HA’ when I am joking.”

“That might help,” I said.

This morning, I decided to give the kids a treat on their last day of school before Christmas break. I drove them both to school, and took them to Burger King for breakfast on our way.

We were racing, though, to get Dylan to school on time – and he wanted to get there early. We all rushed around the house to get out the door by 7:00.

We’d driven half a mile when Shane asked, “Are we going in to Burger King, or are we doing the drive-thru?”

We’d rushed insanely to get to the car, and certainly had no time to eat indoors. But there was no “HA HA HA” coming from the backseat.

“You’re kidding, right?” I asked, looking in the rear-view mirror.

Shane’s face was deadpan. He didn’t even look happy, let alone like he was kidding.

“You are kidding, right?” I asked again.

Shane didn’t say anything. He just looked at my eyes in the mirror.

Dylan jumped in. “Shane, how could we possibly have time to go inside and eat and still get to school on time?”

Shane still didn’t respond. He actually thought we might be going inside to eat.

I just never, ever know with Shane.

After some pretty lousy biscuits, I dropped off the kids and went to the gym. On my way out, I was still wearing shorts on my way to the car, even though it was 35 degrees outside.

I looked up and smiled at a man who was heading the other direction. As soon as I saw his face, I knew: this man had some disorder, probably Asperger Syndrome. I have no idea how I knew, or why it mattered. I simply said, “Good morning!” and kept walking.

But the man stopped. He looked at me very earnestly and said, “Isn’t it a little cold outside for shorts?”

He wasn’t smiling. There was no “HA HA HA.”

“Yes,” I said, still smiling at the man’s emotionless face. “Yes, it is.”

He shook his head, and walked away.

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