Last night as I was talking to him, Ben’s eyes started to twitch, then he bugged his eyes open real wide, closed them, then stared in my direction. I asked him if he was okay, he looked like he was going to faint.
He said, “I was using all my powers of concentration not to zone out on you.”
We both just stood there.
He said sorry and I said thank you at the same time.
One of my favourite books as a kid was The Cricket in Times Square by George Sheldon. The story-line goes something like this:
There is a little cricket named Chester who lives in the countryside of Connecticut. He gets caught on a subway train heading for New York City and ends up in Times Square where he feels overwhelmed and scared. Luckily, he’s found by a boy named Mario Bellini who helps his parents, Mama Bellini and Papa Bellini, run a struggling to be profitable newsstand. Mario keeps the cricket, and they make a trip to China Town in search of the perfect little house for Chester to sleep in at night in the newsstand. Chester also makes friends with Tucker mouse and Harry the cat, and the three of them have adventures in the train station when everyone has gone home.
When Chester eats a precious $2 bill and later accidentally sets fire to the newsstand, you can understand why Mama Bellini is angry and ready to blow her stack. Just then, Chester chirps Mama’s favourite song, and she begins to sing along, to her own, and everyone’s surprise. They then realize Chester has a perfect memory for classical music, and the sweet and beautiful little concerts he give to the commuters who stop their rushing to listen, increases the sales for the newsstand and brings calm moments to a bustling and loud station.
Chester begins to miss his home in the country, and although everyone will miss him, they all agree that he must do what makes him the most happy. Tucker and Harry wish him good luck as they say good-bye at Grand Central Station and Mario is glad to know his cricket friend is on his way back to Connecticut and hopes to visit him there someday. ________________________________________________________________________
Life has its chaotic, loud and rushed times, not unlike the train station at Times Square, and what people say and do can be confusing and unnerving, especially if you have Aspergers… there is also a lovely and calm simplicity if we take the time to recognize the charming unique gifts in each other. We each have in us a friendly virtuoso cricket, but sometimes we really do need to STOP and make the effort to listen. Also, because this blog is mainly about focusing on the intention behind behaviour, the analogy of how amazing it would be to find cricket song in Times Square train station works – it would take some searching, and maybe unconventional listening, but definitely worth it. It could change your perspective, and add a layer of appreciation for the enormity of activities going on at the same time. And, ultimately we are all happy in possibly very different environments, doing very different things… and that’s okay. Some of us like Connecticut, and some of us like Times Square. It’s all good.