The last blog post (Money can’t buy me love) described an evening of virtual spending, where The Rose sent texts donating to good causes but with no regard for how that money would be transferred – or indeed how it actually existed.
I promised to try and describe the fiscal void and resultant chaos from that evening in my next post. This is it. People with Aspergers aren’t all genius mathematicians.
I suspect that The Rose’s line of thinking isn’t a line at all. Most people tend to learn sequentially joining up info and using experiences from one thing to apply to a second thing.
The Rose appears to have her experiential information filed in random dots in her mind. Collected in separated bundles, which she is brilliant at accessing but only if relevant to an EXACT experience she’s had before. Add to that the fact that accessing vast number of packets of segregated info is time consuming and stressful – I am constantly amazed she is as gloriously joined up as she is!
She used to receive Maths tuition from a wonderful, patient, retired ‘old school’ Maths teacher who loved her. He commented that when he explained a concept or theory in maths she grasped it instantly and could answer questions based on that theory speedily and accurately. However if they paused for a cuppa or moved onto another topic, when they came back to the previously brilliantly performed exercise, he had to teach her from scratch all over again. Nothing was retained unless it was to answer the exact same question. Even if it varied a bit – she’d be lost.
Added to this the fact that numbers are an abstract concept providing no immediate satisfaction even if puzzles are resolved they carry no reward or consequence so as a result The Rose couldn’t have cared less.
So how weird then is money?
Ok the cash thing is at least tangible. The coins add up to a figure that can be exchanged for a lip gloss or Bruno Mars CD, but money is about to become virtual.
The Rose could have a credit card, cheque book, on-line shopping account in six months time.
I feel sick.
So – in order to prepare her for this monumental leap of fiscal faith I justify her pocket money by getting her to clean our house for a couple of hours on two days a week.
Well, when I say ‘cleaning’ what I actually mean of course is smearing a choked vacuum cleaner over a few dusty rugs and spraying cans of wood polish on the cooker – but it at least it nods towards a fair days pay for a fair days work.
I have tried to coach her in this skill of cleanliness and hygiene but she accuses us of:
“Having old, flaky skin”
And “disgusting loose toe nails”
PLUS “you ought to buy a nicer house with smooth places and no old crap in it!”
She hates it but I think I am instilling something – I’m just not quite sure what yet.
Anyhow – this means The Rose ostensibly has £10 per week of her own. She doesn’t go out, she has a fashion taste limited largely to ‘value’ baggy T shirts and sparkly necklaces, but she never manages to save.
This is because Tesco chicken wraps, Frijol milkshakes and packets of hoola hoops – are life choices. Whatever I make her to eat just doesn’t hit the spot – she’s locked in to their consistent taste, texture and look – but it’s expensive. I buy for her where I can but she loves the independence and freedom of getting these things herself without needing to ask anyone. It’s wonderfully reliable and predictable freedom. She’s 17 it’s her choice.
So let’s get back to where we started and what I’m trying to explain.
The Rose has donated money to charity using her phone texts – a total sum of £38 to Comic Relief.
I pay that phone bill. The Rose cannot understand that the donations appear in the bill. She thinks they are actual coins that will somehow get to Africa.
I am cross because she doesn’t understand the value of the amount she’s given or indeed how it is fulfilled. I am worried that this basic financial principle means a whole host of future scary debt – but I accept that she has been very kind and considerate and that I am proud.
Dilemma – I’m sending mixed messages to her. How can I be cross AND pleased? What to do?
I decide to split the bill – tell her I’ll pay for half, thinking she’d be pleased ….HALF?
“HALF? Bloody’ell Mum you think I’m mean; mean and selfish don’t you? I want to donate the whole flippin’ lot not HALF”
Regroup. OK how will you pay £38?
“I’ll pay you from my wages”
Ok I say, but that will mean no wages for three weeks. (“Four” she says and instantly hates me!)
Stupidly I suggest that I won’t actually pay her but will keep the money back to meet the bill.
Noooooooooooo again – because “How can I pay you if you don’t give me any money?” – she’s gone puce. I’ve gone too far. She’s shaking like a grumbling volcano.
I attempt to save the situation and avert the lava flow by drawing a diagram.
Yeah right! That’ll save us all.
“Shut up you horrible woman. You’re saying I don’t love African children or poor children and that I’m mean because all along it’s YOU who is paying. Well it’s not YOU it’s me. I gave that money to them so BUTT out and leave me alone, I don’t want you near me ever, ever, ever again.”
She’s right of course. I should have known. I apologised when she was eventually calm and let me near her. She wrote me a note back.
“Dear Mum. I am so sorry about shouting. I am horrible and you aren’t. I don’t know what to do but I will give you my money and buy you a holiday just as soon as I’ve saved like £50 or something”
Ah yes my lovely love. Money CAN buy me love.