A tale of two Joeys

We went to a friend’s funeral today.

At the reception after, a special needs woman attempted to interact with Joey. He was aloof, kind of like he is toward our cat (and vice versa).

She offered to take Joey, who was done eating reception food and ready to go “back to Joey’s house,” into a comfy sitting room and read to him. Some of the other folks asked, “Joey, do you want to go let her read to you?” To which he gave a firm “NO.”

We’ve noticed that Joey gets antsy when other special needs people are around.

Our hypothesis is that he can distinguish special needs from typical people, and he assumes that when typical people bring two or more special needs people together, it is to make them “work.”

School, community programs, whatever – Joey perceives that the folks like us like to round up the folks like him and set them at undesirable tasks.

On the other hand, he’s shown himself able to enjoy spontaneous encounters with other special needs people under certain conditions.

One weekend, I took him shopping with me. While I bent over comparing canned tuna prices, I heard him chuckling behind me. A group of special needs guys, apparently residents of a group home sharing an outing, happened upon us. There were lots of smiles all around, and they and Joey engaged in chit chat and laughs. It was a chance encounter of a group of pals, without taskmasters scripting the interaction.

There’s more to explore, lofty scientific types that we are. When Joey does seem relaxed and interactive, it’s usually with guys. He tends to go aloof around girls.

So we need to test for cooties.

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