New School is a forty-five minute drive, so we have to entertain ourselves. What that really means is, I have to entertain The Boy.
There's a section of the show where I improvise with the audience. I see these car journeys as training ground for that. A chance to try out new material. And it's quite similar to the experience of doing the show - sometimes it goes well and every line gets a laugh. Other times it feels like trying to talk with the world's chewiest toffee stuck in your mouth but you muddle through.
This morning, it's safe to say, I died on my arse.
The Boy decided from the outset I wasn't funny. And nothing I could do would change his mind. I thought I'll forget the new stuff, and just do my tried and tested material. I tried the whole back catalogue. All the stuff that always gets a laugh. Beeping the horn and waving to random strangers to see if they'd wave back. Nothing. Pretending to hit cyclists on the bum as they went past. Nada. Giving funny voices to people walking by suggesting their hands were glued into their pockets. Zilch.
I should have left it. But like the comedian desperate for the laugh, I pushed and pushed. In the end I just wanted a reaction. Any reaction. Anything is better than silence.
I told him that lemons scream when you cut them.
I don't know where it came from, it just came out of my mouth. I saw the hint of a reaction, so I carried on. I even created a back story... "That's why Dad says 'stop screaming like a lemon' sometimes". I thought I'm on a roll, I'll get a laugh out of him yet. "See those strawberries I put in your lunchbox. They squeal when you cut them. You have to listen really closely, but they do squeal." His mouth opened slightly. I was in my stride now. "See those grapes for your morning snack. They make little whimpering noises when you bite into them...."
I noticed the crimson tide rising up from his neck first. Then the anger filled his face. Pure, unadulterated hatred. I said a reaction would do...
"STOP TELLING LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" he screamed. Like a lemon.
I'm sorry Mr Teacher for what I left you with this morning. Tough crowd.
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.