Author: C.A. Bennett

About I am a wife to Rob - my multi-talented husband supreme, & mother to 5 gorgeous, intelligent, & talented sons. I am a trained Behavior Specialist, which means I know why people do the things they do even if they don't know why they’re doing them. I am simultaneously writing three books of varying genre. I knit, crochet, sew, weave & spin yarn from natural fibers. I am a two-term AmeriCorps Alumna. I generally say what's on my mind regardless of what people may think of me, so if you aren't happy with what I say, well... I won't care, BUT I don't want to waste my time arguing, so if you don't like what I write, feel free to go elsewhere, and don't let the door hit you in the bum on the way out. My writing is a random mixture of things that make me say, "Hhhmmm..." and usually walks a thin line between social and political satire, and religious teachings based on my Christian beliefs and my status as an Ordained Minister. I warn you: I am NOT politically correct! I am, however, politically independent. Many Blessings! :-) C.A. Bennett

Personal Space

*Not my actual house*C. A. Bennett

Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017
2013 AlphaSmart Neo2

Being part of a family or other group can have its difficulties, especially when the quarters are cramped. We live in a tiny house that is seven-hundred square feet of living area. We shift, turn, and shuffle our way around each other in such a way that would nearly be worthy of a finely choreographed dance on Broadway, except now and again, we trip, stumble and collide with Keystone Cop-like coordination. Sometimes it’s comical, sometimes it isn’t. Always, it’s annoying.

What happens when something in the normal routine changes? It can be as simple as a teenager who used to spend most of his time in his bedroom, but has decided to come out and join the family in the living room. Nothing wrong with that, and in fact it’s a really good thing! I’ve been trying to get him out of there for years. It does have it’s effects though.

Since the space is small and cramped already, it can seem even more so with the addition of one more body on a more regular basis. Especially when that body is six-foot-five and all skinny legs and arms. Come to think of it, that’s how he got the nickname, “Daddy Long-Legs”. It can make a parent who loves his child a bit edgy to have most of the living room floor taken up by sprawled out legs and size 14 shoes, even if the kid is quiet by nature. It’s not noise… it’s space.

So how does the dad-in-question handle it? By going to bed at 8:20 PM, which completely disrupts my routine. My response was something along the line of, “WHAT?! Wait!” because I was in the bedroom working on a paper, and making every attempt to concentrate while working in solitude. “What do you mean, you’re going to bed NOW?? UGH! Fine.” So I relocated to a different room to work uncomfortably. Solitude. Personal Space. And it’s all because of one little change. One person made one small decision about where he wanted to spend his time, and the rest of the people in the house lost their minds.

See, here’s the thing, and I want to be clear on this; We are a typical family. We interact regularly, usually eat dinner together and talk, yadda, yadda… we are always doing something together. The thing is… in this particular case, the timing is what really changed, and that’s what actually threw everything out of the delicate balance it was for years. Dad’s TV time was disrupted, and that caused a minor cascade of events.

Adaptation takes time. Becoming reacquainted with an area once something has changed is a process just like any other. For my husband, the shift of our son spending more time in the living room was the equivalent of having someone move in, because it was an extra body that wasn’t usually present at that tone of the day.

The boy had always had a habit of staying in a certian area of the house, and no amount of cajoling from his mother had ever chanced that. Autistic people are creatures of habit, and up till recently, getting the boy to spend time with family was more like pulling teeth than actual socializing. It was out of his comfort zone, and sometimes you have to let a person have their comfort.

Here’s the thing… my son is high-function, and isn’t anti-social. On the contrary, he interacts with people on a regular basis, and does very well. He has a lot of friends, and has held a job without problems typical to autistic people. He’s socially okay for the most part, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy his solitude, and his room was his preferred place for that.

So what changed? Hard to say, really. One day, he just decided to bring his computer to the living room, set up shop. It’s now become his preferred area to do whatever computer-related things he does. Why? We don’t know. My curiosity got the best of me, because I am an observer by nature, so he and I had a conversation about it. The boy was unsure as to why he suddenly liked the living room better, but says it has more space. Interesting that it took him four years to come to this decision, but personally, I’m happy about the change. I like that he’s spending more time with dear old mom & dad. I’m happy to see him out of his room and interacting more when his brothers and their girlfriends come for a visit. It’s a good thing.

The (former) Behavior Specialist in me is jumping for joy at yet another social victory in the life of her autistic son. The mom in me is just happy the boy isn’t cooped up in his room constantly. As for dad? He’ll adjust eventually… most people tend to adapt to changes pretty well in the long run, it just may take a little longer for some than other. At this rate, he will be well-rested at the very least.

One thing I think we will all agree with, is the need for a bigger house. Let’s face it… Tiny House living is tough at best, but when the dynamics suddenly change, it’s rough. Seven-hundred square feet of living space isn’t much for three adults and a dog, but we’ll manage. We always do.

Many Blessings,

Crystal

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Pre-writing Exercise

P.S. Please forgive the unstructured error-prone nature of this, as structure and accuracy are not the point. The idea is to allow the brain and fingers to get reacquainted with one another before the work day begins. It’s like caffeine for the creative process, and what I write during these exercises is different every day. As it should be 😊

SUVs – An Inductive Essay

SUV MemeAre Sport Utility Vehicles dangerous predators of the road, or are they the hapless victim getting a bad rap for their size and power? The world it seems is made up of two kinds of drivers; those who hate the SUV, and those who love it. Their reasons differ from person to person on both sides. In the United States alone, SUV’s account for 12% of the registered vehicles on the road. That’s a 3% jump over the ever-popular Mini Van, in a country where the “Soccer Mom” is legendary. In this same country where the population is 253 million registered vehicles, that’s a difference of over 7.5 million and that’s huge. But why do so many people buy an SUV in the first place, when they are known for their ability to suck down fuel like a Hollywood actor sucks down a bottle of Jack the night before heading off to court-ordered rehab?

Here are a few points to ponder: The towing capabilities of SUV’s are outstanding for a passenger vehicle. They can easily haul up to 2500 pounds while carting dad, mom and three kiddos off to their favorite camping spot, in relative car-like comfort. If you have a trailer, dirt bikes or Quad, the SUV can’t be beat for getting where you want to go and who wouldn’t want a big, roomy space and luggage rack for hauling personal effects when going to a favorite home away from home? A sense of safety for the driver and his/her family is a popular reason for owning and driving an SUV. People have a funny way of thinking bigger is better, and like the sense of security that comes from driving a burly vehicle over the cute little sports car, even if the sports car gets much better gas mileage. The ability to sit higher up and see everything just that much better is another factor which weighs in heavily for many SUV owners. Since many SUV’s are four-wheel-drive equipped, those snowy trudges up hillsides won’t be quite so nerve-wracking as might be in the average family-size sedan as Fran Wood points out in her essay, “Attacks On SUV Owners Are Driving Me Up The Wall”. And when it comes to fun, a good old romp in the mud, all you need is your SUV and a good set of Bigfoot tires to set you right!

But what is it about the SUV that seems to get some drivers’ panties in a bunch? Writer, Paul Craig Roberts points out in his article, “Fuel Economy Laws Bite Back” the problem of being in a standard automobile at night, only to have a set of headlights blinding you from the rear-view mirror, which is caused by the higher position of the SUV’s headlights. Naturally, the problem is the same with oncoming traffic of any sort, and yet the average night time driver seems to believe only SUV’s are to blame for this phenomenon. Interestingly, many a cars are now equipped with those blazingly bright blue lights that will burn the average human retina, should he or she stare long enough. At night on a curving levee road, while deciding between going blind or wrecking our cars, most of us don’t think to ask what make and model the culprit vehicle is. Mr. Roberts also points out those SUV drivers are more inclined toward aggressive driving habits as a direct result of having a bigger, more intimidating vehicle, thus causing more damage and injury to the other, more responsible, smaller vehicle drivers on the road. Indeed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis shows an increase in of 382 fatalities from 2014 to 2015 for accidents involving SUV’s where passenger car occupant fatalities increased by 681 in that same time period. Whether the higher incidence of passenger car fatalities is a direct result of reckless driving on the part of the SUV driver is unclear, but the data does show that most were caused by alcohol-impaired driving on the part of the standard passenger car operator, many of whom were unrestrained by a conventional seatbelt system.

Another issue many economy car owners are troubled with is the environmental impact. While there are several models of economy and hybrid cars on the road, the chances of finding an SUV with this feature is slim to none. Though the SUV’s fuel efficiency is better now than twenty years ago, the SUV is still considered a gas guzzler, and frowned upon by the environmentally conscious. For example, a 1997 Chevy Blazer SUV got about 15 mpg city/20 mpg hwy, where the same year and manufacturer sedan, the 1997 Chevy Lumina got 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy, which all comes out to mean more fossil fuel used, more fossil fuel burned, and more pollution created by the SUV as opposed to the sedan. By comparison, the 2017 Chevy Equinox FWD SUV gets 21 city/31 hwy, and the 2017 Chevy Malibu gets 27 city/36 hwy. Fortunately in 2017, even with the obvious gap between SUV and Sedan those numbers look better on both sides of the coin, and in fact the car makers are ever working on more environmentally friendly options for all makes and models.

When and how the great divide among drivers of passenger cars and SUV’s began we may never know. As for who drives the culprit-in-question SUV, women are more likely to choose an SUV over the standard passenger vehicle or even the typical so-called “mom mobile” minivan. Statistically and historically speaking, men are the more aggressive of the sexes, (aka the hunter/protector of the species) yet men are more apt to choose big trucks or flashy sports cars. So who is at fault in the grand scheme of dangerous vehicles: the SUV or its driver? Certainly the vehicle itself is an inanimate object that can do no harm until there’s a driver behind the wheel, and a key in the ignition. Whether that driver is male, female, aggressive, passive, alcohol-impaired or a sober teetotaler, one thing is certain – the SUV is here to stay.

 

 

Sources

Wood, Fran. “Attacks On SUV Owners Are Driving Me Up The Wall”, Reading and Writing Short Arguments, edited by William Vesterman, 5th ed., McGraw-Hill, 2006, pp. 73-74

Roberts, Paul Craig. “Fuel Economy Laws Bite back” Reading and Writing Short Arguments, edited by William Vesterman, 5th ed., McGraw-Hill, 2006, pp.75-76

NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis | 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812318

US Dept. of Energy | Compare Side-by-Side https://www.fueleconomy.gov