I spent five hours tonight sitting with my cousin who has Down's syndrome. All this while our grandmother (her guardian) and the husband went to a hootenanny. As usual, things were not going according to plan for me. I ordered some breadsticks from a local pizza joint, but I got there about 15 minutes after they were supposed to be done. So they were cold when I got them.
I didn't want to eat them in front of my cousin (she can't have food like that late at night because it upsets her stomach), so I decided to pick up the sticks and eat them in my car in the parking lot. This was at 6:00. I was supposed to be at Grandma's at 6:00.
Fortunately, that wasn't much of an issue.
I let myself into Grandma's house, and promptly sat down to look at the newspaper. My cousin came out and started playing with something that I foolishly assumed was a toy someone had given her. No such luck--it was, in fact, Grandma's GPS system. Why it was in the living room, I'll never know.
"Captain, how do you turn this on?"
The "Captain" thing deserves a brief explanation: when I was little, my cuz and I used to play Star Trek. But we were both captains. The nickname kinda stuck, though I'd been subtly hinting at her to stop calling me "Captain" for about 15 years now.
I looked at it and said, "This isn't going to work unless it's in a car. This is a GPS system to help you get where you going when you're on a trip. Plus, it wouldn't do you any good if it's not in a car. Where'd you get this from again?"
She pointed toward a shelf. "Let's just keep this here, okay?" I instructed, setting the GPS down and wondering what else was in store for the evening.
A few minutes later, she wanted me to help her with a code for her computer. Apparently, her dad gave her a computer for Christmas, but nobody seems to know this password code thing for logging on. I certainly didn't know anything about it. But that didn't stop me from trying. My cousin had, in the meantime, picked up one of those free AOL discs and was trying to insert some code from AOL. I told her that it was a different code, and that we'd better turn the computer off so nothing got torn up. I said this as I was turning the computer off, actually.
That was really the end of the sticky situations for tonight. Somehow that girl always comes up with something that I don't know how to handle. My grandma doesn't have a cell phone, either, so I can never call her for advice.
Throughout the course of the evening, I became extremely sleepy. I tried working on a crochet project. I tried reading Faulkner. I think I even started daydreaming. Each time I tried something, the result was the same: I'd find myself nodding off. I knew better than to sleep while I was supposed to be watching my cousin, because, knowing my luck, as soon as I fell asleep, she'd probaby do something she wasn't supposed to do, and of course, it would be my fault for not keeping watch.
Finally, Grandma and her husband showed up at 10:45 or so, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, like teenagers. I, the 25-year-old, was like a zombie. They were all wound up from their dance and having a great time being chatty about it. I just wanted a drink of water and a chance to go to bed.
As I was driving home tonight, I thought, "How did I get so old?" Was it college? Grad school? Something has worn me out. When I was 16, I remember watching my cousin and thinking it was so cool to stay out until 11:00. Yeah, not now. Anyway, to stay awake on my short drive home, I sang the song that shares the title of this blog. Yes, Robin, I have been on a Grateful Dead kick again--thought you'd be proud of me ;) Anyway, I got home and had gotten my second wind. I don't think it's going to last very long though, because as I type this, I realize that I'll probably drink that glass of water with a Kit-Kat so my blood sugar doesn't plummet, and then I'm off to bed!
Lucie - Our Shady Dog
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