Do you remember the old Coneheads skit on Saturday Night Live? It involved a family of aliens from another planet who were trying to assimilate on Earth. Whenever they did something that was clearly not typical human behavior (like, drink battery acid) and were met with puzzlement from their human neighbors, they would explain it away by saying "We are from France," as though any American would instantly understand that the French are just different and no further explanation would be needed. And it never was.
Well, "France" has been shorthand in our house for "autism spectrum disorders and related syndromes, and other autistic-like behavior" for a long time - before, in fact, Bud had a diagnosis. For example, when he was just a toddler and we'd have an adult friend over to visit whom Bud liked, he would take them by the hand to the floor in front of the couch, where he would have lined up his Teletubbies dolls, face down (because they were sleeping, we think), and (without using any words) pull our guest down until he or she was prone on the floor next to Bud, both of their faces buried in the Tubbies. It was a rite of passage clearly reserved for his inner circle, and it left our friends amused but bewildered. It was at times like those that one of us would look at the other and say, "He's from France."
It is now a part of our everyday vocabulary and on several occassions I've found myself making similar references in this blog that I've had to edit out. I think it's just easier to set the context and free myself from needless editing. It's honestly gone far beyond "He's from France." Actual conversations in our home include statements like this:
"Bud met a fellow Frenchman at the park today."
"I think their daughter might be from France. Or maybe southern France. Or at least an island off the coast of France."
"Bud had a really French day at school."
"Wouldn't it be nice if the people moving in across the street had a child from France? Or, at least, one who was fluent in French? Or even interested in foreign exchange?"
So, you see how this gets pervasive (and then we wonder where Bud gets the perseverative stuff... actually my husband is quite sure he's got a lot of French blood himself.)
I do need to say that these comments are never made in a mocking sort of way. We embrace Bud's French heritage; we admire his panache; we revel in his joi de vivre; and we always have the utmost respect for his je ne sais quois.