Epilogue: 2 AM, Jon and Jesus

IMG_0329I was at a fast food restaurant until 2 am this week and posted it on Facebook, partly for fun and partly out of sheer boredom because there’s nothing fast about fast food when you’re with Jon.

Someone commented on that post with this question:

“Wow, what does he do for so long? Just look around or walk around?”

So I thought I’d fill in the details for those who have never had the pleasure of taking Jon out on the town. Well…no…can’t say that. It’s not really going out on the town because we never make it to more than one place, even though we’re gone for hours!

Here’s how it went down on Wednesday:

4:45 pm – Jon comes out of his room with his shoes on. Oh, oh! A sign he wants to go someplace. He has a stuffed animal and a plastic grocery bag full of ?? (whatever’s) in his hand. He has a string tied around his ankle and shorts pockets bulging with items he has selected from his room. He walks very slowly toward the laundry room which leads to the garage, which leads to the driveway where our cars are parked. Walking slow  may or may not (or any variation thereof ) = taking five steps then stopping for three to five minutes, then five more, then stopping, then…OK, you get the picture.

5:10 pm – Jon is now in the laundry room where he changes his clothes. I keep most of his clean clothes in baskets on the counter in the laundry room because if they are put away in his room they end up piled on the floor with everything else and I can’t tell if they’re clean or dirty. This solved a huge problem of what’s clean and what’s not for us.

5:35 pm – He’s in the garage. The motion alarm we had installed out there a few years ago keeps beeping so I know he hasn’t gone outside yet.

5:45 pm – I open the door between the laundry room and garage and tell him, “Jon, Dad and I are going to church tonight so we can’t take you out. You’ll have to wait until MS (caregiver) comes and see if she doesn’t mind. She will be here soon. By now he’s added three cleaning cloths from the laundry room cabinet, another clean shirt and a clean pair of socks, to the items he’s bringing on this outing and is sifting through a pile of cardboard and paper in the recycle bin, collecting junk mail – brochures, magazines and flyers – we have thrown out. He scowls at my announcement and turns his back to me, which means, ‘What you just said does not make me happy’.

6:05 pm – I go in to change for church. The motion alarm is still continuously beeping. He’s still in the garage.

6:10 pm – I don’t hear the motion alarm now so I go out in the garage to check. My car was left unlocked and Jon has the back door open, his feet on the driveway and his body is bent inside the car, and he’s arranging all of his items on the floor and backseat. He has added a bottle of water and juice from the garage fridge to the mix. I walk out and lean over the open door, “Jon, don’t bother putting all your stuff in my car. I can’t take you out. I’m leaving for church soon. Please wait for MS (caregiver) to come and we’ll ask her if she minds taking you someplace tonight.” I see him scowl and he stops fussing with his stuff. I go back in the house.

6:30 pm – MS arrives. Mike and I have now checked on him multiple times. He has since removed his stuff from my car and is trying to get into Mike’s. MS comes in and says, “It looks like Jon wants to go somewhere” (she knows him by now). “Do you mind taking him out tonight?” I ask. She doesn’t. So it is agreed she will text me and let me know where they land and I will come to where they are after church so she can leave.

6:40 pm – We go back outside. Jon is standing by Mike’s car with all his stuff piled on top of the trunk. “MS says she will take you out,” I tell him. “Go put your stuff in her car.” He slowly starts to gather his things. I go back inside to get some money for MS so she can pay for whatever Jon decides to do. I go back outside and give it to her and remind her to put the garage door down when they leave.

6:50 pm – Mike and I come out to leave for church. MS is in the driveway waiting for Jon to align all of his stuff in her hatchback. We say “Bye, have fun.” Jon doesn’t look up.

8:15 pm – I check my phone. MS text says they are at McDonald’s. Jon has just ordered and has finally sat down. I text back and tell her I’ll be there in 45 minutes or so.

8:45 pm – We arrive home. I go inside, grab my iPad and a library book, say goodnight to Mike who goes to bed at 9:30 on work nights, and leave for McDs.

8:55 pm – I arrive at the restaurant. MS and Jon are sitting at a booth right in front of where I park. She is looking through a book and he is sitting quietly in front of a tray full of food which he has not touched yet. I go inside. MS fills me in on how long it took him to get out of the car and how much Jon loves the new self-order kiosks (he always loves a picture menu). He ordered his own food and she showed him how to pay for it. She also tells me how patient and kind the manager has been to him. I order a snack wrap and a cup of tea for myself (see previous blog post about the drunk guy who pays for my food). She stays and we talk several hours. Jon sits across from us, but does not join our conversation even when we try to draw him in.

11:00 pm – MS leaves. At this point, Jon has only downed his French fries and half of his chocolate shake.

11:10 pm – Jon grabs his extra shirt and one of the cleaning towels he brought and walks slowly to the bathroom. I get up from the booth and sit on the windowsill where I can see all the way to the back end of the building. He checks both doors and almost goes in the women’s but after glancing at me and seeing me shake my head, ‘No’ he enters the men’s. I sit back down and continue reading my book.

11:30 pm – Four teenagers come in, three girls and one guy and sit in the booth in front of me. The youngest of the four, who couldn’t be anymore than 16, is so drunk she falls over in the seat. Her ‘friends’ try to get her to sit up and she vomits everywhere. One of the girls pulls her up and takes her in the bathroom. I ask the young man if she’s been drinking and he says yes. “You’re all to young to be drinking.” I say. “Who’s driving?” The girl who looks the oldest shakes her keys at me. “I am. They called me to come pick them up at a party. I had no idea she was so drunk.” I reply, “And you brought her here? Like that? You need to take her home, Now!” And to the young man, “Go tell the manager there’s a mess to clean up here.”

11:45 pm – I realize Jon’s been in the men’s room a long time, which isn’t unusual, but feel I need to check on him. There seems to be a lot of drunk people out this night. I knock on the men’s room door and crack it open. “Anyone in here?” I ask. No response so I go in, knowing Jon won’t answer. He’s in the handicap stall standing in front of the mirror, the shirt and towel draped over the grab bar. He scowl’s when I open the stall door which isn’t locked. “Jon, you’ve been in here a long time. I just wanted to make sure you’re OK. Someone else might need to use this so please finish up and come out. And don’t forget to bring your things with you.” I leave the men’s room. About ten minutes later he appears with the other shirt on and the towel tied around his waist (Don’t ask. I don’t know either 🤔).

12:00 pm – We’re seated again. The teenagers are gone and the manager is mopping up the mess (poor thing). I chat with her as she cleans and she informs me there’s been more than normal, drunk underage kids in lately. Lots of graduation parties going on. I ask her if she gets paid more for cleaning up their mess. She laughs and says, “I wish.”

12:20 am – I have finished my book. Jon still has a half eaten hamburger and a small glass of orange juice on his tray. He gets up and goes to the kiosk to order more food then takes the receipt to the counter. I hear the girl tell him, “That will be $16 and 38 cents.” They stand there and stare at each other then he turns around and looks at me. I grab my iPad and purse (don’t dare leave those sitting around) and go to the counter. “Jon you haven’t finished what you got yet. Go sit back down and eat the rest of your first order please. We are not spending $16 on more food.” He moves over and pouts. I tell the cashier to cancel the order and to cancel any other order he might create at the kiosk. “He really likes playing with that and it gives him a sense of independence to be able to order his own stuff but he doesn’t think about the cost and who’s paying.” She smiles. “No problem.” I go sit down and leave Jon pouting at the counter.

12:45 am – Jon is sitting again. He finishes his burger and drink. I’m streaming the latest episode of, “Born This Way,” on my iPad. I tell him. “OK Jon, it’s time to go home. I’m getting really sleepy.” Throw away your trash and I’ll go get you some fries to take home.” I get the fries and come back to the table. He is slowly collecting wrappers and empty ketchup packets to throw away and organizing all the things he brought with him on the seat. I sit down and he gets up. He picks up the tray and goes to the bin, dumps his trash and takes all the trays on top to the counter and waits for an employee to come get them. The manager thanks him then he walks to the drink machine to fill up his cup. He goes back to the counter and stands there watching everyone work. To hurry our leaving process up a bit, I start carrying some of his stuff to the car. I know if I bring it all he’ll be upset so I leave a few things behind. It takes me two trips and my backseat looks like a yard sale.

1:15 am – I’m back inside sitting on the windowsill. Waiting. He is walking around the dining room looking for stray trays to bring to the front, then goes to the condiment station and puts a few napkins, straws and ketchup packets in his pockets. He walks back to the booth to get his remaining items. “Come on Jon, we really need to get home. Let’s go.” He walks toward the door opposite of where the car is parked, that exits to outdoor seating. I wait for him to go outside then go out the front door, start the car and move it over to a parking space that puts him in my line of sight. He tries to go back inside but the side door is locked (Hallelujah!). A woman is sitting outside drinking a coke, talking on the phone and smoking. He watches her for a while then leans against the side of the building, puts a straw in his mouth and pretends he’s smoking.

1:30 am – I’m sitting in the car streaming the rest of the episode I was watching and keeping an eye on Jon. He heads around the building in front of me and down the sidewalk toward the front door and I say out loud to myself and Jesus, “Please don’t go back in. Oh please!” He doesn’t. He walks past the door, picks up a paper off the sidewalk and shoves it in his pocket and FINALLY comes to the car. He opens the back door and spends the next ten or more minutes arranging all his stuff on the floor and back seat, then gets all the way in and sits down but doesn’t close the door. He sits perfectly still for at least five minutes with the door open. Mosquitoes start buzzing around my ears. “Close the door Jon, mosquitoes are coming in.” Nothing. Now I feel myself getting annoyed and raise my voice a few decibels. “Please close the door now so we can go!”

1:45 am – He closes the door. “Thank you. Put your seat belt on.” Nothing. “Jon, put your seat belt on so I don’t get a ticket from the police on the way home. If I have to pay a ticket because you won’t wear your seat belt we can’t afford to come back to McDonalds.” I hear the belt click into place. “Thank you,” I say again.

1:55 am – We pull out of the parking lot and drive home. It’s pitch dark out. No moon and very few streetlights in this place where we live (I’ve never lived in a city without streetlights until we moved here. Weird).

2:10 am – Pull into the driveway, shut off the car and put the garage door up. Jon sits still. “Come on Jon. Please don’t take forever to get out of the car tonight. I want to go to bed. It’s late.” He sits. I start taking stuff in the house. The motion alarm is going off constantly and I’m thinking it’s going to wake Mike up. I shut it off. The cat comes out and sits in front of the garage screen. Jon doesn’t like the cat and won’t come in if she’s there so on one of my trips from the car to the house I pick her up and put her out the back door onto the pool deck. I go back in the garage and Jon is out of the car, leaning against it. Most of the items he brought are piled on the roof. I go back inside, put my purse away, hang up my coat, brush my teeth, turn the light off in the kitchen and the light on in Jon’s room.

2:25 am – I go back to the garage to see where Jon is and he’s in it! Praise Jesus! I put the garage door down, tell him I’m going to bed and to turn the laundry room light off when he comes through. I decide to leave the cat on the pool deck for the night, lock the sliding door and turn the nightlight on in the hallway so Jon can see.

2:40 am – I turn the motion alarm back on and finally crawl in bed. The alarm isn’t going off so I assume Jon is inside the house. Whatever happens after that, I don’t really care. God’s in charge now and I tell Him so before falling asleep.

So there’s the answer to your question Sarah. And FYI- it’s like this everytime we go anywhere. Hope that clears things up for you. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Epilogue: 2 AM, Jon and Jesus

  1. Judy Wagner

    Since I have been out with you and Jon in the past I can testify that what you wrote is truth. I think we spent over 4 hours in Steak & Shake on one occasion. We had the opportunity to chat a lot. I know your life is not easy Diane. I admire your strength, patience, and dedication to your son. God must have a special reward for you when you get to Heaven. Jon is blessed to have you as his mom. Love you.

  2. Sarah W

    Thanks, Diane. Amazing how much patience it must take to deal with this day in and day out. I guess it leaves a lot of time to read and write. 😋

    1. diane.connis@gmail.com Post author

      Yes. That’s a benefit. So is patience learning and realizing much of what Americans think is important, isn’t. Lots of lessons learned every day. Thanks for reading!

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