Thursday, 29 October 2009

Tom Spicer's heroes, first installment

I rang my Mum last night, and spoke to Tom to try and persuade him to extend his holiday til the weekend so I can see him. Tom and I usually spend a lot of time saying goodbye on the phone, it's not because Tom is sad to see the back of me, more that for some reason he just will not be the last to say bye and put the phone down. So we play goodbye ping pong with pauses while one of us waits for the other to brutally put the phone down, when no click comes another big round of bye byes come around.

Anyway, none of this yesterday, Tom was off for dinner with one of my Mum's neighbours, Franco, a man I call the Howard Marks of Ashburton. Franco rides a very fast motorbike, is a true eccentric, his girlfriend is an ex-groupie from the seventies with some very amusing stories. Franco's done two turns in jail for being caught in Canadian waters with around 10 tonnes of hash, that he and others had sailed over from Pakistan. He wrote a cookery book in jail and looked after the library. He works as a builder now, but if you stop for a chat when he's up a ladder the conversation soon turns to philosophical matters.

Tom absolutely loves Franco, he fits the template for a Hero of Tom. Into music, fast modes of transport, confident, big, big characters, indisputably MEN! Lars is not the first of Tom's heroes, but he is the longest and most persistently spoken about. I hope I can introduce some more of Tom's heroes because, dude, some of them have been insanely unique characters. Don't get me started on Big Al.

Anyway, Franco and Jo had asked Tom round for dinner, without my Mum. Tom said they were going to be eating "chicken" but it came out "ch'n", eventually he got a k in there, but it took me a long time to understand the word chicken. (Am really hoping on the road that I'll get better at understanding Tom and that his speech will improve. It does go up and down, much like my mood and conversation does too.) He had a bottle of wine to take. I know that Tom would have been absolutely made up about this dinner.

And there it is, the guilt again. That very often Tom doesn't get to do the fun things we all take for granted, even though he loves and appreciates them just as much. I think about how much I love him, and how I want to do this roadtrip with and for Tom, but I also want to encourage more people to think about the learning disabled having a jollier and cooler place in our shared world.

Still, let's not get too well-meaning and earnest, I don't want to lose my 'cold' image.

What it's really all about is...

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