For years, Dreamer has been your average geeky, aspie, introvert - rarely talking, definitely not to strangers, only comfortable in the company of a few chosen friends. Yes, I know the geeky girls adopted him, but that was because he was tall, handsome, and distant. A safe bet. They would talk to him, and adore him from afar, even though he was monosyllabic in response.
After starting on an SSRI a few months ago, he's become positively garrulous. And funny, and cheeky (in a eye-twinkling way). Overnight, I have a 17 year old son who is being social but hasn't a clue.
Last weekend he arrived home at 2am and 1am respectively. Friday night he went with his brother Speedy to a board and card games night. Speedy had organised transport home, but the driver, being geeky, had begun a new game and wanted to finish, so they were later than expected. Fine.
Saturday was another matter altogether. I dropped him at the local library, where he was going to borrow some books, study a bit without sibling distractions, play some DS, and catch a bus home when the library shut at 3pm.
At 5pm, I phoned him:
"Where are you?"
"I'm at (couple of suburbs away)."
"How'd you get there? Did you catch the wrong bus?"
"Yes, well no. I met K's sister and her friend at the bus stop, and they were going to K's house and I thought I'd just go and say hi."
Long pause from me.
"OK, can you catch a bus home now? Be home for dinner please."
At 6:30pm, He-who-has-no-Nickname phoned him.
Apparently, they were having pizza. HWHNN spoke to K, who assured him that she knew the bus timetable, and would organise Dreamer to the bus stop.
At 10:30pm, HWHNN phoned again. I was asleep by then.
"We can't come and get you, please get a bus and come home."
What Dreamer didn't tell his Dad then, was that he'd just missed the last bus. All he heard was the tone of 'you got yourself into this, so you get yourself out of it'. He didn't dare say anything. So, he began to walk home.
At 12:30am, I answered the phone.
"I'm lost. Can you come and get me please?"
After I'd worked out where he was, and picked him up, praying that I wasn't over the limit from a few glasses of wine, we talked on the way home. He'd thought if he just kept walking, he'd eventually get home. He was tired from lack of sleep on Friday night, from walking for an hour and a half, in boots that hurt his feet, with a backpack full of library books. He'd come to an intersection, and had no idea which way to head for home. He was ready to curl up on the footpath and fall asleep.
Big lesson learnt about the danger of missing the last bus, but he was safe, and I'm sure that every teen misses the bus at least once. What am I worried about?
He said the next morning, with a grin, "I'd had caffeine, and I just got spontaneous." No, that's not so bad, either. That's a matter of teaching him that if he's going to be spontaneous, he has to phone and let us know.
What I'm really worried about is that he doesn't know what he's doing, socially.
Inviting himself to a girl's house, just dropping by uninvited on a Saturday afternoon? Not a brilliant idea, but not disastrous. Staying for seven hours, staying for dinner? I hope he gets away with that one. He could either be thought rude for overstaying his welcome, or, K could think she's found a boyfriend.
Dreamer really doesn't have a clue. He already has another girl inviting him out fairly regularly. They are all just friends with common interests, right? Spending an afternoon and evening at a friend's house, eating pizza and playing card games is just that.
Or is it? Are we heading into the murky depths of teenage relationships?
I've got no idea. No idea what Dreamer is thinking. Which means that 'social stories' may have just jumped to a whole new level of complexity.
I previously assumed that the whole bunch of them were as naive as each other, which is why they hung out together. I'm not sure any more.
Help, I think they're growing up.