In other news, Patrick's friend at Ralphs (we shall call him Jack) has been transferred to a different store.
I met Jack a couple of years ago when he was a bag boy. While it was several months later that he mentioned to me that he has Asperger's Syndrome, he may as well have been wearing a scarlet A...at least, as far as I was concerned.
The first time I ever met Jack, he was waxing philosophic about his trip to Australia to the person in line in front of me. That person paid and went on about their business, and Jack just kept going, finishing his story with me as his new audience.
Since then, he befriended Patrick, and whenever he leaves on one of his trips -- traveling is his Thing -- Patrick misses him greatly.
So today, he asked where Jack was. Turns out Jack was transferred after an argument with a bag boy, who was fired. That suggests to me that Jack was not at fault and was probably being picked on.
In fact, I suspect I even know two others who instigated it -- I asked last weekend, and the checker and bag boy -- both guys barely out of high school -- snickered and said they thought he'd gone to another store.
What irks me is that Jack is a perfectly nice guy who happens to go on ad nauseum about a topic. He likely does not understand or process others' social cues that they're done talking about Australia...but that doesn't make it okay to harass him.
We still have a long way to go. The "r" word is still far too acceptable. People make disparaging remarks about "the short bus." In fact, I was reading a story in my grandpa's New Yorker which used every derogatory term for people with cognitive disabilities in the book.
It's not okay. It shouldn't be okay.
And I shouldn't be too chicken to tell friends and acquaintances that I don't like the words "retard" or "retarded" or any of the suddenly chic variations ("fantard" being prominent in online fandom at the moment, but I've also heard "r-tard" and various others).