Register Tuesday | December 7 | 2021

on not researching autism

I'm supposed to be researching this whatsit, Lovaas treatment for autism right now, for a little article I'm writing, and can I get myself to go and type it into my search engine of choice? I cannot.

I just can't. I've been at it all day, at work I mean, with unexpected intensity - an interview got bumped up, a movie opened sooner than I'd expected, and the library was there with its persistent gentle demands: "Tidy me, Wendyyyy. Sheeelve my books." And suddenly it's, like, ten p.m. and there's a big heap of unfolded laundry on my bed and sorry, autism, but you'll just have to wait.

Kvetch, kvetch. I know, everybody's busy right now. Everyone's all stressed out, sleeping nine minutes a night, kayaking all the way around Lake Ontario on the way to work sixteen-hour days hewing tonnes of coal from the living rock with nothing but sheer force of will. That's Toronto for you, that's what living here's supposed to be all about. And you're supposed to get to wear a suit.

But I'm done. My gears are grinding. I actually threw a tantrum on the corner of Queen and Bay today when the chain fell off my bike: hurled my Terminator-style lobster-claw mittens on the pavement and cursed while pedestrians beat a wide and eye-rolling path around me and M looked on in patient dismay, fearing no doubt that I'd finally turned for real into the gin-guzzling harpy I sometimes pretend to be in my giddier moments.

This is wrong. I've been going like this, more or less, since January, telling myself that it would let up in a week or two. It did, actually, almost, for two weeks in July, and then it started up again, and I'm worn out, threadbare like a tire that's ready to pop and send careening carnage everywhere.

So here's the plan: First, I'm going to go away. I'm not completely sure where yet, but I've got some relatives in California, nice people I haven't seen in a while. Second, when I come back I'm going to find a cheaper place to live, which means applying to a co-op, because it's hard to go much lower than the discount-bachelor-Parkdale-rooming-house rates I'm paying now without Communist intervention. Third, seven years later when I finally get in to the co-op, I'm going to ditch one of my jobs.

The question is, which one? I like them all. I mean, at NOW I get to watch zombie movies at ten a.m. - for free! And I'm working! And the medical review people are delightful, and, like, I just spent two hours on the phone with a professional clown doctor, which sounds horrible but was actually fascinating - did you know that Hippocrates had clowns working in his hospital in Ancient Greece? And that St. Bartholomew's teaching hospital in England was founded by a clown? I didn't, until now. And the library, malodorous, poorly ventilated and garishly lit though it may be, is the place where I go to interact with people, living, breathing meat-colleagues who aren't imaginary and who live in the same city as me and who sometimes feed me oranges or cookies.

So it's a tough call, and if I weren't driven by visions of the halcyon summer of 1998, when my rent was only four hundred dollars a month and I survived on my library income and twenty-six dollars a week from the Revue cinema, and spent my time happily blogging and growing magnificent rosebushes and building primitive machines in the basement, I would cheerfully accept my lot. But I am plagued by memories of past happiness, and won't rest now until I'm resting. Ergo no autism.