My family is, shall we say, atypical.
On Thursday, we planned a trip to St. George to see a cousin’s temple wedding. I kissed Ethan goodbye (since he had classes to attend) and then got in the truck for a 5 hour drive. As I did so, my father related the following tale:
Dad took my brother Andrew to Wal-Mart in the morning – partly because they needed to do some shopping, but mostly to get him out of Mom’s hair while she packed for the weekend. While Dad was finalizing something just inside the store, Andrew went wandering out the front doors. Dad checked on him every few minutes, just to make sure he was okay. He was. Check on him again? Still fine. By about the third or fourth time, however, things had changed. He didn’t see Andrew right away. Upon further investigation, he found Andrew squatting on the sidewalk, naked from the waist down. He had taken off his shorts and briefs, pooped on the sidewalk, and was in the process of wiping himself with his underwear (so he could put his shorts back on) and threatening to leave the underwear in the back of the truck.
If it makes the visual any more out-of-place, my brother is 20 years old. He has Autism and Down Syndrome, so hopefully the unsuspecting bystanders were politically correct, and our family is not currently topping the charts at “People of Wal-Mart” – but with or without mental challenges, the man is toilet-trained. He knows he needs to wear pants. And, to the best of my knowledge, this is new behavior. It’s not like he frequently takes occasion to defecate at local department stores. He just decided that Thursday morning was a good time to try something new, something shockingly unusual, something liberating and free and socially offensive.
And the rebellion didn’t stop there. On the way to St. George, we stopped at a Wendy’s for lunch. After Dad went to pay for gas, he came back to find Andrew quickly putting the lid back onto Dad’s soda cup. He discovered that in his absence, Andrew had thrown up into the cup and was replacing the lid so as to remain undetected. While Dad was furious, I chose to look on the bright side – at least we caught him before Dad took a sip. Although I might not be quite so forgiving if it had been my drink.
In the past few days, things have quieted down somewhat in the Cope household – but perhaps that’s not really saying a lot. ♦