Thinking about words is a perpetual audio playing in the periphery of my mind.  Given recent life events, “indifferent” has become powerful and is the perfect expression as I try to understand Garrett.  It is my word of the summer.


[in-dif-er-uh nt, in-dif-ruh nt]

1. without interest or concern; not caring; apathetic: “His indifferent attitude toward the suffering of others.”
2. having no bias, prejudice, or preference; impartial; disinterested.
3. neither good nor bad in character or quality; average; routine: “an indifferent specimen.”
4. not particularly good, important, etc.; unremarkable; unnotable: “an indifferent success; an indifferent performance.”
5. of only moderate amount, extent, etc.
6. not making a difference, or mattering, one way or the other.
7. immaterial or unimportant.
Above is Garrett at the beach last week.  He does not look indifferent.  He is happy in the water, happy to be with his parents, happy in the beautiful day.  He is fine in his new home, does not ask to come back to our house, he accepts, as far as he can understand what and where he is.  Today is his first day in his new school.  This is the closest we have to a “first day of school” picture for this year, but it is from last week.
First ran into the use of this word with frequency when Garrett was evaluated by yet another psychiatrist.  To have a trainer come to the home to help us, the client has to have more than one diagnosis.  He has been diagnosed with Autism and OCD.  But this doctor came up with another which was spot-on.  GAD.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
We had no idea that GAD even existed, but when explained to us, man, did his habits become a lot clearer.  Garrett “spooks” or is overly surprised a lot.  He  stims all the time.  Frequent urination, morning nausea, muscle aches are also characteristic.  And he worries about anything and everything.  When an anger episode starts, it often is initiated by worry about death.
In the paperwork that accompanied the diagnosis, over and over again in the blanks following specific questions to him: “indifferent”.
rain man
Remember the movie “Rain Man”?  I see that last scene over and over in my head in thinking about Garrett.  The brothers discover each other, go on the road together, live together, experience good times and bad times.  The younger brother is very emotional, angry, a heightener of experience.  And at the end of the movie, Raymond is indifferent, unchanged by the last months.  On the bus, going away from that intense family experience, it is as if it had never happened.  He was in the moment and indifferent to what had happened.
I for one, see Garrett’s new life as small, routine, repetitive.  I see what he could have here were he not violent.  His own room, his computer, a swimming pool, the freedom to run.  Probably better food, but not sure about that.  Seconds, for sure.  Ice cream cones.   But Garrett is indifferent to these changes.  It is difficult to imagine.  It doesn’t matter one way or another.


We all want to write books.  My (kind of) stepsister, a well-known New Yorker, wrote one called “Decorating on a Dime”.   She is not afraid of work.  She is an entrepreneur, after having been a television personality.  She worked for NBC in St. Louis for no pay for a while to prove herself.  Rich people can do that.

I can remember when she was billed as a “fashion expert” on the Today show years ago.  Whaaa?  She willed herself to be expert at anything.  And she sold it well.  Took this gig and parlayed it into a big business that promotes local places to visit on hotel television channels.  Again amazing.

So she wrote this book.  And we were all in Delray Beach, as we often were, falling out of bed early to get to the fabulous Ft. Lauderdale flea market.  Even the kids wanted to go.  Can you believe it, there is a live circus in a central building!

Christy had just written her book.  I thought, well here is something we can teach her.  Her flea markets were in NYC and not near as amazing or cheap.  She did not come with us.

They are newlyweds, my step-father Sidney said.  Christy and Neil are on their own time.  Later we had dinner in an outside-friendly Italian restaurant in Boca, and got to know Neil a little.  Brilliant guy.  As we left the restaurant, Christy had a discussion with the hostess posted under the tent as to how the restaurant could be better run.  Amazed at the depth of this spur of the moment conversation.  I can still see Christy’s body posed.


I can also see Neil’s figure at the hors d’oeuvre table after Sidney’s funeral.  He tilted forward and down as he chose some food.  There were seven day candles lit, and some mournful singing was going on in the apartment.  Not sure if we spoke that day.  It was a bad day.  Hot day in July in St. Louis.


And then Neil was just gone, gone on the day that none of us will ever forget.  Having had worked for NY Gov.  George Pataki, Neil was the new Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  He was having a breakfast meeting in the restaurant “Windows on the World”  in one of the towers.  His driver made it down and out, his briefcase made it down and out, he stopped to help a woman and his body was not found until the next March 5.  He was almost out.


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