Friday, January 7, 2011
In the three months I stayed with my mom before I got a condo, I was able to know Andy even better. I left Raleigh a couple of months after my mom bought him, so Andy grew up while I wasn't around, unlike Abby. Sure I was able to play with him and hang around him when I was down visiting on vacations, but now I was able to know him even better.
What I learned was just how crazy he is. He has so many fears and hang-ups that I can't list them in one entry. The most noticeable fears of his was his fear of the phone and the computer. For example, when my mom started talking on the phone, Andy would quietly skulk away from the den and lay in the foyer until the conversation was over. My mom had told me about this quirk of his, but I didn't believe until I saw it. Everything my mom said was right.
I wondered why he was scared of the phone. As far as I could tell, he didn't like how my mom showed inflection in her phone discussions or would spontaneously start laughing. Andy couldn't figure out why she was going through the emotions. Since Andy didn't understand, he grew confused and scared. Andy wasn't so scared when I got on the phone. His neck may crane up and his ears would perk, but he would settle down and go back to sleep.
I clearly understood Andy's fear of the computer. In the late 90s, my mom bought a computer at my dad's behest. Teaching her how to use the computer would be a monumental task. She had no computer or technology background and was in her late 50s. Teaching her to program the VCR was almost impossible. I dreaded having to teach her how to use a whole computer. She eventually learned how to use the computer, emails, and the internet, and I was privately proud of her. I think some of her relatives in her age group was jealous. She would also develop a slight internet shopping addiction to the point she knew the FedEx deliverer by first name.
However, teaching her to use the computer took time and work. There was a painful and emotional learning curve involved. My mom would raise her voice during the instruction sessions with me or my dad. She would get mad and sometimes curse. The occasional computer lock-up only aggravated things.
It didn't take long for Andy to associate the computer with my mom's mood swings. The moment she would go to the computer cabinet , Andy would leave the room like when the phone was in use. However, unlike when the phone was in use, Andy would not lay in the foyer but would go all the way back to my mom's bedroom and get on the bed. That bed was his sanctuary. When all else failed and Andy was scared out of his mind, he would go to my mom's bed and wait for things to pass.
Sometimes I would go back there and comfort him. He would be facing the door staring towards the hall and waiting for things to simmer down. He was so sweet. I know his mind was a whirlwind but these traits made him so endearing.