So we moved to Lawrence, had a week to move in, a week of training, and a week of shadowing. Boy how I would go back to those weeks if we could. Excuse me for a moment of wishful thinking...
Anyway, week 4 was our first week on our own in the house with the guys. We felt like we had done really well with beginning to build relationships and getting to know their routines. One of the guys is very structured and likes each day to be pretty much like the one before. Lowell and I were doing most everything together at this point to ensure that neither of us got stuck in a situation we couldn't handle. And boy was that a good thing!
We drove out to the local gas station where we go every morning to get a "pop" (but when we go back to Arkansas, we will still say to go get a "Coke"). When we arrived, we were quickly and loudly informed that this particular day, this guy did not want to get his pop from that location. After he told us verbally, he proceeded to rip the rearview mirror off the windshield, open his door and toss the mirror across the parking lot. (We've since been told that the rearview mirror is "always the first to go.") We got out of the van and immediately called our supervisor - who by the way is absolutely great - and she told us that someone would be on the way to help and just try to keep him calm and safe. After several more outbursts, a squeegee or two and a Diet Coke thrown, he decided that he wanted to go home and promised to "be good." We responded that we would take him home but he would have to ride in the back of the van. He complied easily, so we thought, "Wow, that was crazy, but I guess it's all settled down now."
Have we ever been more wrong???? As I am driving down Iowa Street (a rather large and busy five lane, that I might compare with Cantrell or Chenal for all my AR friends), I see out of my peripheral vision (not the rearview mirror, mind you) that he is not longer in agreement to remain in the backseat and is quickly headed our way. I pull over at the same time as he reaches the door, slings it open and hops out. Lowell gets out too, and realizing I am stopped on a busy street, I drive around to a side street to watch the action.
For a few minutes they remained on a sidewalk safely away from traffic. But I guess that got boring, because they soon were in the street. Lowell was doing his best to keep a close eye on the guy to ensure he was safe (as safe as he could be IN the street) while at the same time directing traffic around him. We were amazed at the fact that you can stand in the street and people do what you want them to. The two of them took a little time in each lane of the street and at one point, the guy even sits down on the side of the road with his legs stretched out while Lowell remained in the street continuing to direct traffic. I guess I don't need to say that at this point the guy was completely irrational and there was no just asking him to comply and get out of the road. Finally, after what seemed to us like an hour, but was probably only a few minutes, one of the long-time behavior analysts for the company drives up, the guy is happy to see him, gets in the car and waves bye to Lowell.
The next thing that happened still makes me laugh. So Lowell is on one side of the street and I and the van are on the other. Lowell hollars out to me that he is going to walk down to the crosswalk and that he'll meet me in a minute. I guess the irony of him standing in the middle of a busy street for 15 minutes directing traffic and then worrying later about jaywalking just struck me as really funny at the time.
When we all arrived safely home and were telling Joshua about the good times on Iowa (which we have now termed "Initiation Street") he just laughed and said, "Well, I guess that's one way to meet people in a new town. Just stand in the middle of a busy street and wave!"