NSPPD! DO YOU HAVE IT TOO? by Madeline McEwen

June 20, 2017
Another damned Syndrome? Haven’t you heard about this one yet? Great, don’t worry, you’re reading about it here–we’re nothing if not cutting edge.
*
What does it stand for? Glad you asked. Non-Specific Periodic Personality Disorder, a.k.a. “Sitting on the Fenceism.” It happens to the best of us. First I experience a knee-jerk reaction to something. And then I have second thoughts. After third, fourth, and fifth thoughts, my brain hurts, and I’m unable to determine if I have an opinion, any opinion, on the subject. I remain perched on the fence of indecision.
*
An example?
*
I listen to, read, and watch the news headlines early in the morning with a growing sense of outrage and disbelief.
*
“A 12-year-old boy attempting to drive across Australia by himself drove more than 800 miles before police arrested him.”
*
Sadly, the name of the youngster is unknown, and there’s no photograph–preferably a school portrait–of the rascal to tug at my heartstrings.
*
Questions flood my mind: twelve? Are they kidding? Where are the parents? What the hell were they doing? Didn’t they know the whereabouts of their vulnerable offspring? What about his school? What is the point of having roll call? Why didn’t they report his absence? What kind of child protection system do they have in Australia? Didn’t anyone spot a little kid behind the wheel of a family car, driving alone? What did he eat or drink? How did he cope? What took the police so long, why did they arrest him, why are they going to charge him and with what offense? Reckless endangerment of kangaroos?
*
Could it be false? Fake news abounds. It might be a ruse. I check the source to see if it’s true.
*
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/boy-drives-across-australia_us_58fcd410e4b06b9cb917a79e
*
No, it actually happened. I double check the facts with a more reliable, mainstream source.
*
Second source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-39663424
*
What could be better than the BBC? Now I know it’s true, especially because they report kilometers rather than miles because precision is paramount when it comes to determining distance.
*
But still, niggles of doubt flutter through my tortured conscience. How did his feet reach the pedals? How could he see over the dashboard? He must have stopped now and again, how come nobody noticed or intervened? Is this yet another example of man’s inhumanity to boy?
*
On further investigation, other facts emerge: his parents immediately reported him missing after he took the family car.
*
Okay, so maybe the police and parents acted promptly and appropriately. After all, Australia is a vast country. The USA and Australia are similar in area, but America is far more densely populated with 35.14 people per square kilometer to Australia’s 3.1 and most of them are squished into sprawling conurbations. How do you find an individual boy in a family car in the Outback?
*
On one hand, why shouldn’t a youngster take off for an adventure? Don’t we want our children to leave their electronic gizmos and get out into the non-digital world? Why the double standard? Would we censure a modern Holden Caulfield?
*
On the other hand, additional facts cloud my initial reaction: tall for his age: 1.8 meters (nearly six feet tall), mistaken for a young man, maybe 19 or 20-years-old.
*
Right. That’s sobering. Would I notice a tall young man driving alone in a family car and if I did, what (if anything) would I do about that? How many drivers, passersby, and other members of the public failed to appreciate what they witnessed?
*
Even so, having him safe, well, and unharmed, why not celebrate instead? Why consider pressing charges? Wouldn’t impulse control therapy be a better option? Is spontaneity bad?
*
But then, there’s the damage to the family car, evidence of an accident, and a troublesome trailing license plate. Did they find any hit-and-run victims by the side of the road–people or ‘roos?
*
The boy may be charged under the Young Offenders Act in connection with three offenses, including failing to pay for gasoline and driving without a license, police told The Guardian.
*
Appearances, perceptions, and premature judgments. Straddling the fence, I can’t formulate a finite opinion. So instead, on this topic, one of many, I sway back and forth in a dither of indecision. Are other people also torn between fact-gathering and decision-making? A diagnosis and accompanying label are within our grasp. Although, no foolproof test is available yet.
*
However, at least I only have the Periodic version of NSPPD. How much worse would it be if I had the differential diagnosis, that being Permanent?
*
Yours, with a surfeit of ambivalence,
*
Madeline

******************************************************

Madeline McEwen is an ex-pat from the UK, bi-focaled and technically challenged. She and her Significant Other manage their four offspring, one major and three minors, two autistic, two neurotypical, plus a time-share with Alzheimer’s. In her free time, she walks with two dogs and chases two cats with her nose in a book and her fingers on the keyboard.

Tags:

Comments are closed.

Editor’s Ramblings

New Look, Same Magazine

In the immortal words of the Brady kids:

When it's time to change, then it’s time to change
Don't fight the tide, come along for the ride, don't you see
When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange
Who you are into what you're gonna be

With the help of writer and webmaster Ian Shane, we have given ourselves a makeover. It was surprisingly easy and relatively painless. On the inside, we are still the same magazine. On the outside, we are slightly more fabulous.

Praxis takes pride in featuring established and up-and-coming writers. We are always looking for new material and fresh voices. Check out our submission guidelines to get an idea of the kind of work we are looking for, and peruse our stories to get a feel for what we like.

We update our content regularly, so read voraciously and check back often.

Cheers!

Andie Ryan
Editor