Q31: Adventures in the Mainstream

Q 31)

 “Ned has one month more of state-sponsored, high school-organized, vocational training.  After that he’s on his own, ready for whatever the world has to offer him, and what he has to offer it.  I’m just not sure that he now has or ever will have the ability to seek, find, and benefit from those world offerings.


Just as frightening right now is a contemplation of what he is to lose.  In a month Ned walks away from most of the social contact that has been so important to him for the last fifteen years…


And except for chance meetings in public places, starting a month from now he will never see most of these people again.  I don’t think he realizes that yet.  When he does, it might break his heart…


For Ned, however, the opportunities to meet others won’t include college, the military, or PTA meetings… Everybody will be his pal from 9 to 5, but the intimate dinner party with coworkers is unlikely to include Ned Palmer, the retarded guy on the loading dock, in the mail room, or sweeping up the sales floor.  And when the boys from sales gather at Joe’s house on Sunday afternoon to watch the Seahawks game, are they going to ask Ned Palmer to drop by and bring some brew? Not likely…


I’m wrong.  It’s not going to break Ned’s heart to lose all that.  With any luck he’ll do what he has in the past.  He’ll accept the situation, take from it what he can, and move on.  It’s my heart that’s going to break, because I know what he is losing. The last bus is going by, and he’s back at the side of the road.”  pp 150-159


How did you feel about your loved one finishing school?  Did he/she leave at age 18 or stay until 22?  Did you feel the same angst about diminishing possibilities for friendship that Palmer did?

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