Sunday, 7 July 2013

Boor on Bloor

During the first week of my stay in Canada, I was witness to one of the most disgusting displays of insensitive behaviour it has been my misfortune to have witnessed. My wife and I had gone out to dinner with these friends of mine (also Indian). We must already have raised a few eyebrows as we went down the street where my hotel was located, with me on my small mobility scooter, and the (fairly evidently autistic) son of our friends, as he kept making a continuous string of noises; when they got too loud and people around started to look uncomfortably at him, the father of the lad made appropriate soothing comments to him which would result in at least a temporary reduction in the decibel level of his soliloquy.

Anyway, we eventually made our way to a Chinese/Thai restaurant on Bloor Street, after the boy's mother had first taken care to ensure that they would not mind if she brought in some french fries for him to eat (this being one of the few dishes he could be counted on to eat). Anyway, the staff at the restaraunt had set out some of those disposable chop-sticks, fondly hoping that at least some of us would eat with them. I myself tried gamely for a while before the mechanics of eating rice with them finally made me accept defeat. This boy Karun had, meanwhile, found a more original use for them – using them on his plate not unlike a drummer uses his drum-sticks on his drums.

Suddenly, our little dinner party was rudely jolted by this beefy white guy at the next table leaning over to tap Karun on his back and say`Hey, stop that noise'. Karun's mother gently asked him if something was the problem, and he said `yeah, he is bothering me!' So she asked Karun to stop – which he did – and explained to us that Karun should also realise that h can't always do what he wants to do!

But my take on the scene we had seen was different. Anybody who had been hearing the sounds emanating from Karun for some time – and this guy had been sitting at the next table for a good ten minutes before he erupted – should surely have been able to surmise that Karun's behaviour was the result of some problem as against just poor bringing up! In fact, if he hadn't lived all his life in a cave by himself in the fifty-odd years of his life, the word `Asperger' must have occurred to him, and a little consideration for the parents of the lad would have stopped him from behaving like the Boor of Bloor Street.