Do you remember the Academy Award winning movie "Rain Man"? Dustin Hoffman won an Academy award for his character of the autistic Raymond Babbitt. Well I am not as bad as that, but I do have Asperger's syndrome. For the most part, I am just like you, just a bit quirky. All right, a lot quirky.
Us "Aspies" cannot decode social cues. Most people understand that if the person they are speaking with is yawning and looking at their watch, it is time to go. People with Aspergers are unable to make that connection. We are very literal, logical, and methodical. You all know a person with Aspergers syndrome, we are that computer nerd, the rocket scientist, the geeky programmer, think Sheldon from the 'Big Bang Theory' TV show.
I am pedantic. As a CNN commentator once wrote, we usually have no expression on my face or in our speech. I cannot look you in the eye. (I've learned to look people in the mouth or nose.) I cannot have a conversation of more than a few words with you, but I can lecture you ad nauseam on U.S. atomic bomb tests, the Pittsburg Steelers, Doberman puppies, or medieval society
We are good students in school because we always follow the rules. We also make good employees if given specific tasks and goals, but generally we are lousy bosses or managers. ("Why do you need the whole week off for the death of your Mother? The funeral is only one day.") Yes, your boss may not have been a total A-hole, just an 'Aspie'.
My parents died when I was young, but I was a constant source of amazement and confusion for my grandparents. They had raised 6 children, but none that kept them constantly in the principal's office as I did. This was due mainly to questions I raised in class, such as:
"If this week is Anti-bullying week, what was last week?"
"How come in case of fire we have to line up quietly in a single file line from smallest to tallest. Do tall people burn slower?"
"Why is black History month in February, the shortest month of the year?"
While I was an outstanding student academically, and never in any real trouble, even getting a scholarship to college, my grandfather would often shake his head muttering.
"Something just ain't right with that boy."
I never dated in High School, being unable to figure out the mind games and mental gymnastics that girls subjected teenage boys to. Instead I read everything and anything. Grandpa being a practical man as well as an old Navy hand, bought me a prostitute for my eighteenth birthday. I enjoyed the gift like any teenage boy and made a standing arrangement with the young lady whenever I had funds to afford her "charms".
No good deed goes unpunished is how my first big romance came about. I was filling my fuel tank outside a local mall before I began my Meals on Wheels route for senior citizens. No, I am not some goody two shoes, it was a community service requirement I had chosen as part of my scholarship package. I picked Meals on Wheels as I did not have to deal with any other workers. Once I was doing it I discovered the people were an interesting group. These senior citizens had weathered the Great Depression, fought a World War, and defeated both Fascism and later Communism, while building this nation into the biggest economic powerhouse the world had ever seen. I loved to listen to their stories about everything from " ... making moonshine and bathtub gin while running from the 'Probies', to storming the beaches at Normandy, and fighting for Union rights." It was like my own set of living history books, but even better, because they were interactive and I could ask questions. And it was just as big a deal for them; they loved to tell the stories to anyone willing to listen.
Anyway, I was paying the clerk for my purchase, when a young girl ran by being chased by two guys. One was a big dude and the other one a smaller guy. A "Mutt and Jeff" combo if you will. The trio circled my car a few times, which was still parked at the pump. Suddenly the girl jumped into my car and locked the doors. "Mutt and Jeff" were cursing her while pounding on the hood and roof of my automobile.
The store clerk was on the phone with 911 as I walked quickly to the altercation.
"Hey you two!" I said to the guys, who still yelling at the trapped female while making significant dents in my cars body work. "Get away from my car."
The smaller man I mentally named 'Mutt' looked up at me. "This your car?" he declared authoritatively. When I did not answer 'Mutt' continued. "Open it up asshole, so we can get that bitch."
"I will do no such thing." I answered. "We will wait for the police who are on their way. I need a report for the insurance company. Plus I will need your information as you both are responsible for whatever deductible to repair the damage to the body. I will have you know that was my Grandmothers car and she kept it in perfect shape. It had not a single scratch and I washed that car every Saturday at 5pm with premium wax called Mothers..."
"Shut the Fuck up, you jack off," the bigger guy 'Jeff" interrupted, than pointing at himself, he continued. "The Police are already here. So unlock that junk heap NOW!"
I looked over 'Mutt and Jeff', they were not in any uniform, and no badges were in view. "May I see some Government Identification, or a Badge, please."
The smaller 'Mutt' moved toward me. "We ain't got time for this shit" he muttered to his partner as then grabbed my arm, trying to twist it into some kind of arm lock.
At this point I need to regress a bit. You see children with Asperger Syndrome are often bullied and picked on as our physical coordination comes late, making us the last choice for any team in gym class. Add in the incapacity to respond appropriately to teasing and sarcasm ... well you get the picture.
To combat this I was enrolled in Martial Arts from an early age, both to help my coordination and self-confidence and to handle bullies. It took a few classes before they found a modified version of Aikido was the best discipline for me to study. This was because the Aikido I was taught was based mainly reacting to your opponents moves. The fear was I would underestimate, or overestimate a threat, so it was drilled into me I could not respond unless someone physically touched me. I liked this "line in the sand", as I generally did not like to be touched. It also suited my Asperger's black and white view of the world. Thus words, taunts and such were to be ignored, but physical acts I could respond to. So three times a week and Saturdays, I was a fixture at the local Aikido establishment, so much it became like a second home.
Now back to the present as 'Mutt's' face registered surprise when I countered his arm lock with a move I had practiced a million times in Aikido class for well over a decade.
Dropping to one knee I turned under his arm and deftly used my weight and his momentum to throw 'Mutt' over my shoulder flat onto his back, knocking the wind out of him.
Popping back up into a standing position I declared. "You touched me first, please do not do it again."
The girl in the car shrieked "WATCH OUT!"
I turned to see the big guy 'Jeff', rushing me with open arms, his head down, and shoulders hunched, readying for a classic football tackle.
"Wow this is like my last belt test" I thought as 'Jeff's" massive fingertips began to close onto my arms. Swiftly I fell backward, while raising my foot to plant into 'Jeff' stomach. Latching onto his outstretched forearms, I pulled his upper body down while continuing my backward fall. As we continued our downward movement I pushed up with my foot still planted on 'Jeff's' stomach. He was flung upside-down into a gas pump. I rolled into a standing position.
I heard female laughter, and saw the girl my car had the window rolled half down. "Ha Ha Ha! You two big shot dicks cannot even take down one pudgy kid. You need to go get some more of your asshole buddies before you get hurt." This was followed by more of her laughter and taunts.
But I was not laughing. These guys did not give any indication that they were going to stop touching me. In fact the big guy 'Jeff' jumped right back up, pulling out what looked like a taser stun gun. I could see the blue sparks between the dual prongs and hear the electronic crackle.
We had never practiced in class against a taser stun gun, but I decided to treat the taser like a pointed weapon. Ducking and weaving, I avoided "Jeff's' thrusts with the taser. When I finally maneuvered him into the correct position, I moved to his right side and tapped the underside of his elbow up, while sliding the wrist holding the taser downward.
'Jeff' screamed as his hand grasping the taser plunged into the bucket containing windshield wiper fluid and a windshield squeegee.
I do not know the exact chemical properties of the windshield wiper fluid used at that gas station, but apparently it conducts electricity. Over 1,500 volts of electricity from the taser was transferred to 'Jeff's' exposed wet skin. As the electricity surged thru his body, 'Jeff', was unable to release his grip on the taser, and flopped to the ground, his arm still stuck in the bucket as his torso and limbs shook violently.
Turning in time, I narrowly missed being hit by 'Mutt' wielding a collapsible baton of some type. I jumped over 'Jeff', still convulsing on the ground and pulled the wooden handled squeegee out of the bucket. 'Mutt' must not have used that baton a lot, because it was pretty easy to counter his strikes. His lost his grip on the baton when I used the T bar of the squeegee to hook his ankle, pulling up, causing 'Mutt' to lose his balance and fall on his butt.
Laughter was ringing out from the girl in my car, but stopped when 'Mutt' pulled his pant leg up exposing an ankle holster, then drawing out a snub nosed .38 pistol.
"Freeze Asshole!" barked 'Mutt' standing up. "I am not playing!"
In class we had practiced gun defense many times, the drill was 'Run from a Knife, Run at a Gun." Conventional wisdom is that a knife at a distance cannot hurt you, but a gun can, and you must get to the shooter. But that had all been with paintball guns. Sure a paintball stings when you get hit; this however, was a REAL GUN. The instructors claimed the method was the same,
We had also been taught almost all shooters shoot high, so I closed the gap between 'Mutt' and me with a low shoulder roll.
Two shots rang out, followed by a shattering of my rear car window and panic shrieks from the girl in my car.
'Mutt' was stunned when I came out of my roll, and popped up directly in his face. He gasped when I pinched points in both his wrist and elbow, before pulling the pistol out of his paralyzed hand.
Just then two metro squad cars with flashing light and sirens pulled up. Car doors swung open and officers with drawn sidearms pointed at us, and commanded I drop the weapon.
I tossed the pistol and raised my hands high, when someone hit me in the back of the knees. As I fell to the ground, I saw 'Mutt's' leg moving forward in a kick as he struck me in the head, and everything went black.
I will spare you the details, but I spent over 24 hours in a jail cell after 'Mutt and Jeff' handcuffed me to a chair and beat the hell out of me. It was not like I saw in the movies, because I never got a phone call or that " ... you have the right to remain silent..." spiel you see on Police TV shows. I guess 'Mutt and Jeff' really were police officers, because they were the ones that gave me the beating while I was handcuffed to the chair. My other time in the cell was not too bad, other prisoners let me be. No doubt taking on two cops earns considerable respect in some circles.
On the second day, the jailers, who had been indifferent to me up until that point, became very nervous. Several went out of their way to point out they personally had treated me no different than any other suspects, and had nothing to do with whatever happened before I was put into their custody.
"ANTHONY" the jailer barked while opening the cell door. "Please come with me."
As I stepped past the cell bars I was surprised to see the girl that had been hiding in my car with an older distinguished gentleman.
My jailer was shifting from one foot to the other after he escorted me to the couple. "Here you go Judge ... err ... your Honor. He is in good shape just like I said. We kept him safe and sound."
The Judge did not look, or answer the jailer, but grasped my chin with his hand turning my head to inspect my face. He lingered on the ugly cheek bruise caused when 'Jeff' had wacked me repeatedly with a telephone book.
The girl started snapping pictures with her cell phone. "Yea, he looks real 'SOUND' to me. How many guys did it take?" She eyed the handcuff bruises on my wrist. "You must have all been very brave to beat a handcuffed man. Da Fuhrer would be very proud of you."
The Judge waved his hand at both her and the jailer. "Enough!" He then faced me. "Come along son, you and I are going to play Proctologist Doctors and tear some people new assholes."
With that the Judge turned on his heel and started walking away, both the girl and I followed.
We were sitting outside the Metro Police Commissioners office, watching as several harried men in suits shuttled in and out of the Commissioners office with forms and documents. I had not seen the Judge since he had entered the Commissioners office.
"Would you like anything to drink?" asked a lady who was the Commissioners Administrative Assistant.
"Yes, watermelon juice please." I answered.
"Watermelon juice?" The Assistant echoed.
"You said anything." I replied.
"I am afraid we only have soda, tea and coffee. No watermelon juice." She said.
I paused for a minute "So you did not mean it when you said 'Anything'. You have only soda or tea and coffee. That is very misleading, in the future..."
The girl broke in. "We will both have a soda, any kind of soda is fine. Thank you."
She pulled me to a chair. "Be cool dude, what are you a spaz or something?"
I answered back. "I do not know what a spaz is, but I was only trying to help that lady not to be so vague in her communications. That is how wars get started. In 1607 during the..."
"Wow, you are a spaz." She interrupted. "But a cute spaz. Now hush, or don't you want to know what happened at the gas station after the cops came?"
"I assume you will tell me. Is that not why you came to the police station?"
She rolled her eyes. "OK first up my name is Dawn..."
I pointed at the ID sticker on her shirt. "But your Badge says 'New Dawn.'"
"Yes technically my name is New Dawn because my parents were all into the crystal power stuff, but you can call me Dawn OK. Can I call you Tony?"
"Yes you can, as I have no control over how you address me," I replied. "But I will not respond if you call me Tony, because my name is Anthony."
Dawn chuckled. "OK, Anthony it is. Look I was being chased because those two jackbooted goons tried to arrest me for shoplifting."
"Were you shoplifting?"
Dawn gave me a look. "Yeah right. As if a big place like that is gonna miss some petty shit. Do you know how little that corporation paid in taxes last year? What a pittance the workers get paid? Not to mention the overseas child slave labor that makes their stuff."
"What does that have to do with you stealing merchandise from the store? That store is a franchise, so technically you were stealing from the franchise operator, which is family owned and operated, not the corporation."
"Whatever." Dawn said waving her hand. "Come on, are you not pissed the whole Metro Police department is a bunch of corrupt, lackey goons, who get rich sucking taxpayer money. Look at those two Nazis who attacked you.
"They were a statistical outlier." I said
Dan looked confused. "A what?"
"Statistical outlier. Every large organization, public, private or religious has 11% of its workforce that are its stars and account for most of the revenue and growth. 86% do what is needed, when it is needed, no more no less. Of the remaining 3% there are the 2% that are corrupt, the ends justify the means portion of society. The last 1% are the nonperforming deadwood. Historical Kings, Queens, Princesses and Princes, also; trust fund babies, second generation CEOs and most political leaders who hold office past eight years."
I held up my two fingers. "I had the poor circumstance to be number one, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ten minutes sooner and I would have avoided that event. Ten minutes later and I also would have never been placed in such a position. Number two is the fact I had to encounter those two particular law enforcement officers, who are atypical of law enforcement officers in general."
Dawn started to speak, but I held up my hand. "The medium income of a law enforcement official is well within the mean of most wage earners. Certainly nowhere near the definition of 'rich'. They enforce laws. If you do not agree with the law, change the law, or those elected to make the laws. Do not fault those who are tasked with enforcement of the law. Now that is all I have to say on the subject, please continue with how we have come to this condition."
Dawn shook her head. "You are a character. After the other cops came, they were so busy with you, I managed to bail out of your car unnoticed and hide in the gas station. I saw the big and little cop come into the gas station and grab the security cam tape, then threaten the clerk."
She held up her cell phone. "Dipshits did not know I recorded the whole thing on my phone from the very start. They never identified themselves as cops, attacking you first. I even got them threatening the clerk. I saw all the food in your car with the 'Meals on Wheels' wrappers so I called the number and explained what happened. Told them as the song says, ' ... send lawyers, guns and money.'"
Dawn looked at the Commissioners door. "Did you know the Judge was the head of the Board of Directors for Meals on Wheels?"
I nodded. "Yes, he is also Chief Judge for the county seat as well as the chairperson of the political majority in this state. He spoke at my high school graduation."
Dawns eyes opened wide. "That explains a lot. Right after the Meals on Wheels call, a bunch of State Trooper cars came to that gas station. Your car was confiscated, the clerk and I were whisked away to the Judges office. He was livid when I showed him the cell phone footage. It was like the King and his court. Even though it was late at night, when he called, people hauled. Guys in tuxes from events, men and women of every stripe were enlisted to locate you."
Dawn touched the bruise on my face. "Those two bastard cops were gonna 'lose' you in the system, delay the paperwork until your bruises faded and then it was just going to be their word against yours as to what happened. Not to mention the fake charges of resisting arrest, assault, possession of a controlled substance, and a bunch of other stuff. You do know they planted a load of Meth in your car."
Just than the Admin lady answered her phone, hanging up she spoke to me.
"Anthony would you please join His Honor in the office."
Long story short, the two officers were fired and brought up on charges. The Metro Police Commissioner was glad to rid of them as this was not their first encounter, IAD also had a long list of complaints, but no 'smoking gun'. Turns out they were 'working' mall security, accepting a paycheck from the Mall, while on the clock with Metro PD. That alone assured they would be booted off the force.
Other officers involved were to be reprimanded for their participation. The Commissioner, District Attorney and Judge said they owed me a big favor. They were surprised when I asked the favor be used to not penalize anyone else involved, I was surprised they could not understand that other officers involved had only acted in good faith on what 'Mutt and Jeff' had told them. (The story was I and a gang had jumped them while they were apprehending a suspect. Apparently we were protecting the 'stash' in my car). I knew from history that we were headed down the Roman Empires path if these 'New Centurions' could not trust each other.
I did get a sizeable payout from Metro. I had been brought up to have modest tastes and live within my means, so money was never a big factor or concern in my life. I accepted the money because even I knew a jury does not look kindly on any government organization that trumps up charges after falsely arresting, and beating a handicapped orphaned, (handicapped? Yes, Asperger is considered a disability), plus an honor scholarship student, while he is delivering meals to senior citizens.
A week later Dawn showed up at my place.
"Come on, Anthony." Dawn said surveying my small accommodations. "I heard you got your check from Metro today. Let's blow this dump, go out and celebrate."
I looked around my one room efficiency. "Dawn I have a bed, desk, and small eating area, it may be a bit spartan, but it is clean and functional, certainly not a dump."
"Fine." Dawn said exasperated. "You live in a F'n Taj Majhal, now take me out someplace nice. I 'm worth it and you and me gonna PARTY tonight!"
"I can't eat any of this." Dawn exclaimed, throwing down the menu.
We were at one of the town's best steak houses. A classic establishment that my grandparents would take me to celebrate, if the occasion was special enough, and we had the funds. It had the best beef, plus crabs or lobster, when in season.
I looked at Dawn over the menu. "What is wrong with the choice of meat?"
She gave me a disgusted look. "I am a vegetarian." Pointing at the menu, Dawn said. "Is there anything in this restaurant to eat that did not die a horrible death!"
"You're a vegetarian?" I asked, and she nodded.
I recalled something my Grandfather once told me. "You know Dawn, the original meaning of the word 'Vegetarian' is 'Poor Hunter'."
Dawn pointed her finger at me. "You don't know anything. Nature did not intend us to eat hamburgers."
Again I quoted my grandfather. "If Nature did not want us to eat hamburgers, why did they make cows so easy to catch? You never hear of cheetah burgers."
Dawn looked annoyed. "Humans were never meant to eat meat. Our prehistoric ancestors had a diet almost completely of wild grains, fruits, and vegetables."
I gave Dawn a puzzled look. "But you are not living in prehistoric times. If so you would be dead, because the average lifespan of a cavewomen was less than twenty years of age. The cave men got to live an extra five years longer."
She waved her hand at me. "No one seems to know that our ancient cave dwellers were only successful less than 10% of the time on a hunt. Hunting was dangerous, you could break a bone, twist an ankle or be injured in the hunt. A fast way to a quick death with no medical care. Without greens and tubers, they would have starved."
"Dawn you are scared of spiders, I cannot picture you eating termites."
She made a face. "Anthony that's gross!"
Putting my hands together I continued. "People living in the caves got most of their protein by eating insects. Termites were plentiful, and are 38% protein. One particular Venezuelan species, Syntermes aculeosus, is 64 percent protein. Termites are also rich in iron and calcium, essential fatty acids and amino acids such as tryptophan
Dawn dismissed me by waving the menu. "People need to get back more to basics, like our ancestors. Not all this industrialized farm crap."
Putting down my menu I continued. "So we should not use penicillin, or antibiotics? Do surgery without anesthetics? Go back to where the main killer of woman was childbirth?"
"No." Dawn replied. "We got to be more self-reliant." She waved her arm around the room full of diners. "It bothers me no end what all these people are eating."
I tried to consider her point of view, but it seemed silly. "Dawn what other people eat bothering you is like getting mad at someone eating a donut because you are on a diet."
Dawn laughed and tossed the menu on the table. "I'll have a salad, but the dessert is on me at your place."
"Are you sure?" I asked, turning the menu to show Dawn the pictures of various desserts. "Tonight's special is homemade Key Lime Pie with whipped cream, and I cannot think of a better idea for dessert."
OK I was wrong. Dawn's idea of dessert was MUCH better than the Key Lime pie. Besides, I was never allowed to have Key Lime Pie three times in one evening.
"You have not been in relationships with a lot of women, have you?" Dawn said, snuggling up to me, as we lay naked on my bed.
I held up one finger. Dawn looked at me, and sighed. "That's OK, I have only had three serious relationships myself."
"But I had sex more than once." I protested, thinking of my escort lady friend.
"Oh you mean sex!" Dawn exclaimed. "That is different. I have had sex with more than three guys."
"How many?" I asked.
"I do not recall." She said looking at the ceiling. "It's not like I hook up with a guy every month."
"That is Okay if you do not remember, I can do the math for you." I offered. "You started sexual activity at seventeen, as is the norm –correct?"
Dawn hesitated. "Sure, let's say seventeen..."
I began to do the numbers. "A sexual partner every other month for five years, equals 30 men. Wow, that is a lot of guys." Pausing for a second, I added. "I do not think I even know thirty guys."
Dawn threw a pillow at me. "That cannot be right."
"Well the average female has 23.9 sexual partners before she is wed, even though most women will only admit to under ten partners. The average age of todays bride is 29, you can look it up yourself. Therefore your behavior would be considered to be 1.25 times more promiscuous than the median. At your age and on the current trajectory you will have sex with over 70 males before you marry. That is well above the baseline." I looked at her. "Do you consider yourself a slut?"
Dawn narrowed her eyes at me. "Are you calling me a slut! We just screwed, and now you are calling ME a slut!"
I was confused. "I am sorry, I am not calling you a slut, merely asking a question. You seem to be upset, and I did not mean to upset you. I tried to explain at dinner about my condition. The unspoken emotional subtext that most people take for granted is mysterious and invisible to me. My obliviousness leads to bad feeling, and I never know exactly how and where I went wrong."
Dawn relaxed, putting her finger on my chest. "That's alright Anthony. I am not a slut." She started moving her head down my body. "But I can be your slut."
It seemed logical that if Dawn was my girlfriend then she should be living with me. It followed we could not live together in my small place, so I got a bigger domicile. Fortunately the payout from Metro allowed me to afford larger quarters. Money was never a big priority for me, but Dawn seemed to enjoy all the things money bought.
I was majoring in mathematics and accounting. I loved math, but Grandpa said I should have a trade and people always needed bookkeepers. I am not sure what Dawn was studying in school. She always was involved with some rally or protest on campus, be it 'Gays for the Metric System', 'Indigenous Muppet Rights', or 'Stopping Condom Testing on Animals'. I never bothered to keep them straight, but Dawn reveled in every demonstration and march.
But if it made her happy it made me happy. On that note I was determined to please Dawn in bed, so I did what I always did, and conducted extensive research about everything sexually related to the pleasure of women. I examined Internet forums, magazine articles, videos, and best-selling books, I even paid for a session to quiz my escort 'lady friend'. NO, I did not do anything with her -I had a girlfriend now!
"Wow!" Dawn exclaimed, flushed in the face and falling back on our bed. "What made you come up with that!"
I put the 'toy' back in the bedside drawer before answering. "The clerk at the Pleasure Palace recommended it. She even brought me in the back room so she could demonstrate on herself how to use it correctly. My research investigations showed it was one of the most highly rated units."
Dawn looked at me hard for a minute before she burst out laughing. "YOU are the only guy in the world who can say with a straight face that watching a strange girl masturbate is research –and I believe you."
Dawn became pregnant, which upset me. Not that she was with child, but because it deviated from the linearity of our relationship. Dawn seemed unconcerned that the conventional path was courting, living together, marriage, THEN children.
It took me two weeks to convince Dawn of my logic and get her to the courthouse. It was a great year for me as I had two wonderful things happen. Dawn married me, and most important the birth of our daughter.
The birth of our daughter brought our first real fight. Dawn wanted to have a home birth with a midwife.
"Anthony I do not want our daughter born in some place full of sick people. I want to have our child here in a place of love, near the bedroom where she is going to live and the kitchen where she is going to grow."
"Dawn you do not even like to cook in the kitchen, yet you want to birth a child here?"
With a baby girl in my life everything seemed great. I again researched everything about proper parenting. I badgered the best child psychologists and child care professionals the University had for advice and information. Dawn became upset at my constant corrections to what was obviously her incorrect mothering of our daughter. Soon Dawn just left the child's raising primarily to me. I do not mean Dawn was not a good mother, she just tired of me always taking our daughter to the zoo, recital, aquarium, and such. I felt it was my duty to expose my baby and stimulate her, besides Dawn was still involved in her campus activities.
The next decade seemed to fly by. I ended up working on Wall Street after I got my Doctorate. A big dog from one of the major hedge funds was recruiting from diverse fields such as Mathematics, Theoretical Physics, and Engineering. He wanted people who were, as he put it " ... brainaics who can take 2 + 2 and have it equal 5."
I found this great fun, a giant three dimensional puzzle. On Wall Street the way the various accounting and investment rules were written, we could make 2+2=9.
We all got paid a buttload of money for this Rubix Cube arithmetic, but I did not care about the bonuses, raises and salary, as I never cared about being rich. Truth has often said a poor man wants to be rich and a rich man wants to be king, but a king is not satisfied until he has everything. Besides this Wall Street stuff was a big rigged shell game as far as I was concerned. However, if the money made Dawn and my daughter happy, I was happy.
It never crossed my mind that Dawn would cheat on me. We both had some late nights, but Dawn continued her activist work, now on bigger scale. This time she was saving the world environment. For a time, she was big on saving endangered animals.
"You do know Anthony that man is the reason whales are almost extinct. Man is most dangerous predator the Blue Whale face."
"Dawn while that is a true statement, it is not entirely accurate. They are the largest mammal on the planet, what other predators do Blue Whales have? Pelicans with machine guns? Lions on jet skis?
I could not see her logic in climate change either.
"Dawn do you see anything odd about you driving to a 'Save the Planet' rally in a massive Cadillac Escalade?"
Dawn gave me a look I could not decipher. "Anthony, it is a hybrid, they are very fuel efficient. For example when I come to a stop in the SUV for more than a few seconds, the engine shuts off to save fuel."
"Dawn, my grandfather must have been way ahead of his time, years ago he had car whose engine shut off whenever he came to a stop for more than a few seconds also." I replied.
"Anthony, you do not understand, this is about our carbon footprint."
I pulled up a webpage on my laptop. "The resources that went into your Cadillac Escalade, not to say what is needed to dispose of the hybrid battery, create a massive carbon imprint the size of Bigfoot."
Dawn, threw up her hands before answering. "What you want your wife and child to drive around in a Volkswagon Jetta?"
"Well they are one of the safest cars, and the diesel model far exceeds your SUV hybrid mileage, plus..."
We never really fought, I could see no point, but I was unable to see why Dawn needed so much 'stuff'. She would buy these ugly dresses with designer names, and always hold them up saying.
"This looks so much better on."
I thought "On what? On fire?" but knew better and held my tongue.
When Dawn delivered us a son, I was over the moon with joy. I do not know who was more happy with the new arrival of the new boy, his older sister, or me.
However the housing bubble burst a few years later and that is when life hit the skids- at least as far as Dawn was concerned.
Like most Americans I did not get a bailout from the government. That was only for the CEOs and financial institutions that were " ... too Big to Fail."
I ended up at a small town bank far from Wall Street in the southern part of the country. My salary was a fraction of my former pay, and the house we bought was almost underwater as soon we bought it.
Gone were the European vacations, Private clubs, private schools, spas, Tutors, Cadillac Escalades, and Starbucks was history.
I was proud how my children adapted. My daughter loved the public school and my young son was thrilled to have a big yard to play in. My job at the small bank was not as challenging as Wall Street, but the people were friendly.
However even I could tell Dawn was not happy. I did not know how unhappy Dawn was until I walked into our bedroom eight months after we moved, to see her packing clothes into a suitcase.
"Dawn it looks like you are packing for a trip. I do not get my one week vacation until I am at the bank for a year."
Dawn grabbed a second suitcase from the closet. "They need me in Manhattan Anthony, I am going to help out with the 'Occupy Wall Street' protest."
"Dawn we cannot leave now. It is the middle of the school year, I am just over my probation period at work. Besides our bank accounts are pretty low."
Dawn never stopped folding her clothes. "I don't care, 'Occupy Wall Street' is a huge event, they need me. I will only be gone a few weeks."
"Dawn, we need you here. What about our children?"
"Do not be such a baby, Anthony. Our daughter is old enough to take care of herself after school until you get home. I arranged to have that teller at the bank with the kid our boys age ... Janet, I think, was her name, her babysitter will watch over both her boy and ours until you pick him up."
Dawn turned to face me before speaking. "During war, families in the military have to endure long separations when soldiers are called up into battle."
"Dawn, you are not a soldier in the military, there is no state of war, 'Occupy Wall Street' is not a battle. And no one called you up."
Dawn waved her hand at me and continued packing. "Anthony, they need me, it's my calling to help lead them."
"Dawn you cannot lead from a crowd. A well known psychologist, Dr. Goncalo, has proven the sensation of belonging to a group of like-minded people activates the pleasure centers of the brain If the majority has done your thinking for you, you probably should move on to something else. Basically it showed people don't want to think."
Dawn slammed the suitcase shut. "Don't fight me on this Anthony. You are not going to win this fight."
I sat down on the bed and tried to reason with her. "Either spouse can win a fight in a marriage if they wish to go far enough. It is called a divorce."
She turned from her suitcase. "We ARE NOT going to be one of those 50% marriages that end in divorce."
"Well Dawn, the other 50% of marriages end in death, as in till death do us part"
I tried to make Dawn understand the foolishness of her trip. "Look, the tires on your car will not make it to New York. I was planning to replace them next pay period."
Dawn hefted her suitcases off the bed, walking toward the door. "I am not taking the car. I am catching a ride with a guy I met online blogging about the movement."
"And how are you going to pay? We barely have enough to cover living expenses this month."
Dawn just shrugged. "He said we could work something out."
For the first time in my life I did not have any answers. I sat stunned speechless and did not even hear the car that drove Dawn away. I do know she did not even kiss her children goodbye.
I could not wrap my mind around Dawn's leaving. I was honest with the kids that Mommy was at rally up north and I did not know how long she would be gone.
However the media had a field day when they found that there was a protestor at Occupy Wall Street that was married to a banker. Dawn was dubbed "Occu-Mom". Even in our small town this kind of coverage had consequences.
"Dad" my son asked me. "What's a hoe?"
"Son, a hoe is a type of rake used in gardening." I replied.
My son looked confused. "Why would all the kids at school tell me Mom is a garden rake?"
Just than my daughter came in. "It's 'Ho' you idiot, not 'hoe'. You know, like in whore."
My son turned to me. "Dad what is a whore? And why is Mom a whore?"
"Son your Mom is not a whore, and that is a bad word. Now go outside and play until dinner."
After my son left the room my daughter, sat down heavily in a chair. "Dad you gotta stop Mom. She is ruining my reputation at school. Do you know what people are saying! I hate to think what they are thinking about us."
I put my hand on her shoulder. "Honey we cannot stop what people are saying, and if you knew how little people even think about us you would not be concerned."
"DAD!" she said with all the drama a teenager can muster. "Don't you care that Mom is shacking up with some strange guy in a tent! It all over the internet."
I shrugged trying to hide my feelings. "If it bothers you so much, do not go on line."
"DADDY all my friends keep tweeting me links to the blog. It's gross, You gotta do something."
I kissed my daughter on the forehead. "I will Honey, I will"
After days of voice mails I finally got through to Dawn.
"Anthony sorry I have not called sooner, it has been crazy here."