Monday, April 02, 2007

The importance of being Badger

I snapped this shot of Badger at the wheel of her convertible mini cooper whilst she was whizzing us home from Portsmouth yesterday afternoon.

As I took the photo, the lyrics from the first track on the latest Take That album - Reach Out - permeated my consciousness.
'Cause I don't know you
And you don't know me

click here to watch it on youTube

And it got me to thinking about how lucky I am to have, and live with, a friend like Badger.

As well as having tourette's, Badger is on the Autistic spectrum. Sometimes it's easy for me to forget how different Badger and I are, because on the surface we're pretty similar.

We share values - simple things .. like be nice to people and animals, but don't be so nice that you compromise yourself and others. Don't worry about what's in it for you. Things that cost nothing can be more precious than ferraris. If the chickens need cleaning just get on with it, no whinging. If you don't know how to do something, ask and learn. Don't be scared to make mistakes or busk stuff.

Badger and I also share most of our interests - football, walking, tree climbing, playing the guitar ... we have the same taste in music, TV and computer games. In fact, I can't think of any of Badger's interests that make me think "No thanks, I've got some shiny new pins I can stick in my eyes instead".

We shop the same. That's what I want. That's my size. No I'm not trying it on. I'll take 3 please. No messing.

Both being runts of the litter, we had similar school experiences of always being friends with the fat kids, the ginger kids - the assorted rejects. Neither of us is interested in looking cool - which is fortunate, as Badger had a little outburst of tourette's break-dancing in the queue for the wholefoods shop yesterday.

So ... sometimes it's good to remind myself that under the surface we're very different. We gather data about the world and process that data in totally different ways.

Faced with something new and unfamiliar, I disappear into my head to extrapolate from the next-closest known-model ... Badger sniffs and touches and looks close up. Given a message - spoken or written - I am working with the unsaid, the invisible writing, the implied and the conspicuous by omission - in Badger's world everything Does What It Says On The Tin.

Being around Badger reminds me to be in the moment, that I don't have the full picture unless I stop to sniff the world around me, and that sometimes it's ok to believe that someone means exactly what they've said.

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Blogger Badger said...

*Feels special* - I would panic if things did not do what they said on the Tin. In the laws of my world that makes me confused and then I get scared because hell what could possibly happen next! If everything came with instructions and people had a list of ingredients I would know where I am.


02 April, 2007 20:34  
Blogger Caroline said...

Tear bringing beautful.
I am nearly lost for words.

*whispers: I want to live with Badger*

02 April, 2007 21:15  
Blogger Random Reflections said...

There are many, many things I could say about this post but I shall continue my theme of showing restraint.

I like people who you know where you stand with them, it seems to me that Badger falls into that category.

It's also good to like people for both the things you have in common and the things that you don't - I guess that is 'respect' which always has to be a good thing in a friendship.

Ticks to all the shared values too. The only one I might be slightly reticent at is the chicken cleaning one though. But once I got on to first name terms with a chicken I might be ok with it then.

I think we could all do with a Badger about.

02 April, 2007 22:41  
Blogger Stray said...

Badger - People with a list of ingredients - genius! :)

Caroline - Thanks :) I said to Badger, with a touch of sadness "Caroline says she wants to live with you ... but she doesn't want to live with me!" and Badger pointed out that I was reading between the lines again and that saying that you want to live with Badger just means what it says on the tin! Yey!

Random Reflections - Thanks for your self-control. Yes - having specific chickens to clean is different from chickens in general. And you're right - we need more Badgers! Thank goodness they are a protected species :)


02 April, 2007 23:33  
Blogger The Moon Topples said...

This is a really beautiful post, Stray.

03 April, 2007 02:45  
Blogger Stray said...

Thank you Maht, I had good subject matter,


03 April, 2007 09:57  
Blogger brumcunian said...

So badgers cats dogs humans and chickens can co-exist in beautiful 'blogmony'

03 April, 2007 12:33  
Blogger Clare said...

You have a real gift of expressing yourself, Stray, and of describing the nuances of people and situations. I've really enjoyed reading your posts since I found them. I don't know you and Badger, but I feel lucky to know you both through your writing and photos. Thank you.

03 April, 2007 18:02  
Blogger Stray said...

Thanks Clare.

I love your poems - especially the little ones :)


03 April, 2007 19:28  
Blogger Caroline said...

But you live with Badger ... so I'd be living with you both.

03 April, 2007 19:32  
Blogger Stray said...

Well that's ok then Caroline!

I thought maybe you would have my room and I would have to live in a tree.

But, yes, if you're just joining us, then that's excellent! I think the chickens will like you very much.


03 April, 2007 19:43  
Blogger Badger said...

Dont let Stray fool you Caroline. She would LOVE to live in a tree. Like a litte tree squirrel. The chickens would like you indeed, they would probably squeeze a magical egg out just for you.

03 April, 2007 21:03  
Blogger Ms Melancholy said...

A beautiful post, Stray. We have so much to learn from each other, don't we? What is normal for me, is entirely strange to you, and neither of us are right. My son's best friend has Asperger's, and they help each other to understand the world. So good for each other.

By the way, is there room for another little one in your house? I think I might quite like it.

04 April, 2007 10:21  
Blogger Stray said...

Badger ... yes, actually a tree dwelling would suit me just fine. Maybe when they knock this place down we should do that? Go live in a big oak tree ... :)

Ms Melancholy ... we have a wonderful spare room which is octagonal with a vaulted ceiling and a huge skylight through which you can watch the stars at night. Will that suit? We would love to have you ...


04 April, 2007 10:39  
Blogger Ms Melancholy said...

Ah yes, I think I have seen Badger playing Guitar Hero in it! Badger....get out of my room....!

04 April, 2007 22:54  
Blogger Stray said...

Ms M - yes, that's the one! It has already been fitted with Guitar Hero for your entertainment. I'm afraid you also have to share it with my computers during the day, but they are very friendly. Badger is just getting it ready for you.


04 April, 2007 22:57  
Blogger PurpleSparkleBright said...

I wish I had a car! So that I could come over and see you both in your trees. Lovely post, spot on description stray :)

05 April, 2007 10:40  
Blogger swimmer6foot4 said...

Beautiful post. My friend with Asperger's pointed out that the thing about a spectrum is that everyone is on it.

If you go live in your tree house, does that mean I could come use your Heelys? Pretty please?

07 April, 2007 03:01  

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