There is a severely autistic man singing in my shower. There are no words. Alan* is a man of 28 years and 300 pounds, with a mental capacity comparable to a two and a half year old. He is incapable of behaving gently. He marginally approaches this only when Rojer is there to remind him. "Sit down CAREFULLY!" Hi voice is sometimes that of a tiny child, high and weak, but sometimes like a man's. He warbles in between these two noises at times, and has trouble with sentences. All the candles, matches and knives in the house are hidden in my room, which is "off limits". High shelves don't work, he is 6'4". He wails and runs through the tiny apartment, and the doorframes shake. He follows the rules when he remembers them, and when he wants to, and my roommate Roj* is usually able to calm him down, divert his energy.

I am afraid.

Roj casually informed us a couple weeks ago that Alan would be staying with us on Thanksgiving and the day after. Having interacted with Alan before, I decided it would be best for all involved if I arranged to stay with at my parents' house for those two days. I don't see my family as much as they'd like, and I knew they'd welcome my sleeping over. I am also afraid of sleeping, alone in the house with Alan, as I would be on thursday and friday night, since my boyfriend works nights and holidays, and Alan is sleeping in the room next to me, while Rojer sleeps all the way out in the living room. No, there is no historical reason for me to be this afraid of Alan. He has never caused that kind of trouble before.

As I was walking out the door to my car on Thursday morning, my boyfriend informed that plans had changed, and that now Alan was staying with us Saturday through til Monday morning.

I was eating lunch in a diner with my boyfriend this morning and he asked me what I think about Alan. I told him I wasn't interested. He laughed and told me about how Rojer was angling to have Alan move into our apartment. So I told him about how afraid I am. He said "You should be. Alan hasn't had much contact with women. His mother beat him as a child. His attendants at the home are all male, and strong enough to move him if necessary." This did wonders for my sense of security in what is supposed to be my home.

Even at a third of his weight and nearly a foot and a half shy in height, I keep trying to convince myself that my fear is unfounded, because I cannot sleep. I do not think he is genuinely dangerous

Alan is leaving this afternoon to go back to his father's house, and to the assisted residence on Monday. Telling Roj about my concern was enough to cut the visit short. It really isn't Roger's fault, his other brothers and sisters refused to care for Alan while the home was closed over Thanksgiving weekend. Someone had to take him, and he loves his brother. He is the oldest, and really did raise them all, taking the beatings to spare his younger siblings. So I am the bad man, the outrageous roommate who will not compromise. But I was not born or married into this family, and they have been watching Alice in Wonderland for 6 hours. I am cracking up.


* Names changed.

Today I was chopping onions.

I know I can't cook. But the one thing I can do is chop vegetables. I've been chopping them for years.

Thing is, I've never started crying from chopping them. For years I've not understood what that thing was about. Actually I haven't cried for years for any reason.

But today, I was chopping onions and I suddenly felt a tiny sting in the corner of my left eye. I ignored it, and moved on to the next onion. The stinging continued, and before I knew it tears were gathering in the corner of my eye.

And I let them fall down my face. For years I knew I had just been gathering them inside myself, and now I could let them all go free. I let them run down my nose and gather at the tip. And then they fell. As they fell, I remembered all of those sad things I'd hidden away. All the supressed memories I was too frightened to think of.

But I wasn't sad. I was happy. Because I thought I had forgotten how to cry.

The beginning

So I've been checking various stores this week for signs of war and rumors of war ... errr, for the Nintendo Wii. I have been successful exactly zero times, but I certainly heard a lot of stories, tall-tales, half-truths, guesses and estimates. Black Friday was going to be a nightmare, and I wisely skipped it - more people camped out that night and walked away with bare handfuls of restocked Wiis. The motto of past week seemed to be: "If you don't camp, you don't get a Wii," which was just fine by mii.

My interest in checking out Best Buy this Sunday morning was piqued when a persistent rumour made its presence known in 3 different forums I follow - BB was holding back a shipment so that they could honor their Sunday ad. Tricksy hobbitses! I decided to follow up on this one, and got there at 7:40 in the morning - this is about 40 minutes later than I tend to get up on weekdays anyway, so no biggie. The store was due to open at 10:00am. I figured either there was going to be a huge line and I'd leave, nobody there and I'd hang around for a while in the car, or a small line and I'd stay. It was a crisp 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so I would have been happy about any of those outcomes.

Turned out it was scenario 3 - small line, less than 20 people. I debated briefly with myself and decided to stay, based on my phone call the day before which promised "around 20 units"; it appeared I was right around that limit. I chatted with the folks around me, but no one else had any concrete info - the ad in the paper promised a dozen, but I remained hopeful that my information wasn't completely made up.

Around 8:15 (so not too long at all), the manager showed up and made the announcement: there were 42 Wiis in the store, and vouchers would be handed out at 9. The store would open at 10, at which point we'd be able to get our purchases done. The line continued to grow to about 60 people, hopeful despite themselves, but of course right at 9 about 20 left, disappointed. I was #21 out of those 42. Woo!

The rest of the time waiting passed fairly fast, as we were buoyed by our vouchers and the hot brews I made a run to Caribou Coffee for. The line was ver civil, and the folks around me were very easy to talk to. I must say that being able to pick up a unit only a week after launch was a very pleasant surprise. Kudos to Nintendo for decent quantities, and to Best Buy for a well-handled sale.

I picked up Zelda: Twilight Princess as my only launch title, and have been enjoying Wii Sports after a bit of adjustment to the controls. I think I like it, but I'll need more hands-on time to form a more solid, write-up worthy opinion.

Edit: Oh yeah, damn you Best Buy salespeople to hell for blatantly lying about Wii's internal memory in order to sell your overpriced 60 dollar 1GB SD cards. Seriously, that is low even for you. The Wii has ample space to save Wii Sports stats and Zelda progress, built-in. I'm not sure how much, but you certainly do not need a memory card right away. Sixty bucks!!! I didn't buy one of course, but several people did. It made me sad for them. :(

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