Date with Catherine
On 31 August 2014, Chris went on a date with Catherine, his then-(fake) love interest. Accompanying the two was Catherine's friend Cousin Al, who alongside her manipulated Chris into believing he was on a date with Catherine. The conversation was released to the CWCki Forums by Cousin Al.
The date took place at an Applebee's at Charlottesville. Cousin Al claimed to be tagging along because he needed to chauffeur Catherine, as her car was in the shop. For nearly three hours, the trio engaged in a pleasant chat which covered topics such as Chris's Cub Scouts experiences, high school bullying, his legal issues, and Barb's teeth. Since the topic of marriage had previously been raised as a hypothetical, Chris was questioned about how, in a practical sense, he intended to juggle wife, children, mother, hoard and vidya as an ordinary family guy.
After lunch the trio took a brief tour of 14 Branchland Court, and ended the afternoon with a visit to the rental house.
- Chris fails to notice Catherine waving at him when he enters the restaurant, and gets seated separately.
- Chris gives Catie the "Three-Quarter Woman" CD and some artwork.
- Chris tells the story of why he changed his name.
- Chris says that he got his "kilt" at Goodwill.
- Chris explains his gender to Al, stating that he's only "three-quarters woman" because he still has a duck.
- Chris tells Al that he is interested in an "open relationship" with Catherine, and that they've been contemplating marriage.
- Chris says he's trying to overcome his hostility to homosexual men in order to feel comfortable as a new member of the LGBT community.
- Chris struggles to explain his religious beliefs, saying that everyone believes in the same god, and that God is "neutral."
- Chris states that his house fire was caused by an extension cord looped over a door which had been abraded by the action of the door opening and closing.
- Chris also states that one of his two cats died in the fire.
- Chris doesn't know if his father served in World War Two or the Korean War.
- Chris says that he was kicked out of the Cub Scouts for his failure to control his anger.
- He also discusses the early treatment he received for his autism while he was mute.
- Chris knows nothing about health insurance matters, or whether his wife would be covered by his plan.
- Chris demonstrates that he doesn't understand the basics of Spanish pronunciation.
- For Catherine's benefit, Chris plays up his British heritage, especially the links to royalty.
- Chris states that essentially the only time he has left his house during his entire life was a weekend in 2004.
- Chris explains how the trolls stopped him from drawing Sonichu. Catherine and Al try to persuade him to start it up again, but he is clearly uninterested.
- Chris brags about reading an entire Wikipedia article.
- Chris wears Bob's wedding ring in his memory.
- Chris's duct tape wallet, inspired by Mythbusters, is falling apart.
- We discover that Barb is estranged from nearly her entire family.
- Chris still believes that Michael Snyder bribed the police to have him and his mother arrested on 28 October 2011. He believes he did nothing wrong, even though he has no idea what his lawyer's defense was.
- Chris is adamant that Catie move in with he and Barb after they get married. He thinks Barb can take care of any children. Her health is improving because he is happier.
- Chris voted for Barack Obama twice because he felt he could personally relate to him better than his opponents.
- He thinks the trolling started because they thought his artwork was "childish."
- Chris explains why he had to ride on the handicapped bus in high school.
- Chris believes he started playing video games on his father's Commodore 64 at six months of age.
- Chris also believes his high school gal-pals recently abandoned him because the trolls told them he was gay.
- Al tells Chris he'll have to shape up if he wants to marry Catie.
Below is the combined audio file for the date, originally released in nine sections.
|Catie Date Conversation|
|Stardate||31 August 2014|
|Featuring||Chris, Catherine, Al|
|Saga||Tomgirl, Catherine, Sonic Boom|
[Part 1 00:00]
Catherine: Hi! Hi sweetheart, we're sitting over here. [garbled]
Chris: Oh, I'm sorry.
Catherine: I’m sorry, we’re sitting back here. Sorry, I thought you saw me and ran off [garbled]. Why did you sit down over here?
Chris: I’m sorry, well, um…
Catherine: This is my cousin Al.
Al: Yeah, Catie, uh, her car was in the garage so I gave her a ride, so, yeah.
Catherine: Come sit down.
Chris: You got here ear-, I thought you were going to get here, like, ten minutes…
Catherine: We thought so too, but we ended up spending less time at the mechanic’s than we thought. We have to drop my car off, so he's my lift.
Catherine: It’s nice to finally meet you.
Chris: You’re here!
Catherine: Yup, I’m here.
Chris: I’m so glad.
Catherine: I’m glad to meet you as well. I like your earrings, they’re very pretty.
Chris: Thank you. I like your earrings too.
Catherine: Oh thank you. [garbled] How have you been?
Chris: I’ve been doing very well, thank you.
Catherine: Yeah, we got here a little earlier than I thought.
Catherine: You’re acting [garbled]
Al: Oh yeah, I’m fine. Yeah, I haven’t eaten anything all day, so I’m just, yeah.
Catherine: Sorry, we didn’t get you anything to drink, because we didn't know what you would be drinking.
Chris: This is for you.
Catherine: Is this what…? Oh my goodness, this is amazing. He, He’s made me a mix CD.
Chris: Yeah, and there’s a story that goes with it, plus the printout about the details of your birthday. And the two drawings I drew for you so far.
Catherine: That’s so amazing. Nobody’s ever done anything like this for me before. I’ll put it in my purse, so it doesn’t get hurt on the table.
Chris: Well I think this date’s going pretty good so far.
Catherine: I should hope so.
Chris: (to Al) Oh I’m sorry, what was your name again?
Al: Oh, I’m Al.
Chris: Al. It’s nice to meet you.
Al: You can call me Big Al, but, yeah.
Chris: OK. Well, I say for us you’re a lifesaver for bringing her here.
Chris: (to waitress) Yeah bring me a sweet tea, and do y’all have cream here?
Waitress: We have half and half, and one percent milk.
Chris: Yeah, half and half. Yeah, and bring me some half and half cream please.
Waitress: With uh, I’m sorry, what did you want to drink?
Chris: Just sweet tea.
Catherine: Can we do two separate checks please?
Chris: Yeah OK, well that’s fine, I mean...
Catherine: Sorry, we did, I thought we agreed…
Chris: Yeah, we did agree, yeah.
Chris: I just…
Catherine: I’m just making sure, I don't want to upset you.
Chris: Yeah, no upset, no upset.
Al: So, Chris, is your name Christian or is it Christopher…?
Chris: Uh, yeah, my legal name now is Christian, but I was born Christopher. Yeah, I had, yeah, there’s a fun story behind that name change. There was a bear band over at, uh, Regency Square in Chesterfield County. Shopping center? Yeah, it was kind of about when I was ten or eleven. We went over there, my mom, my family and I did, and uh, the guy behind the bear was English, so when I told him my name was Christopher, his, he misunderstood and he called me Christian.
Chris: Yes it did.
Al: Cool. So that was it? You just changed your name all like that?
Chris: Well, yeah but, yeah, but yeah, we changed my name and then had legally changed after we moved to Richmond, for prob, for probably middle school and education and all that. Yeah.
Al: So have you ever lived anywhere outside of Virginia then, or…?
Chris: No. Uh, no I did uh, go to, my mom and I, we went to California one time to see my half-brother Joseph Cole Smithey. And actually, you know what, without the glasses, you look remarkably like him. He has videos on line.
Chris: Yeah, he’s a movie critic. He has a website, ColeSmithey.com.
Catherine: I nearly brought it up, I'd kind of forgotten about it. [garbled]
Al: OK. You seem like you have pretty important family. It’s something you should be proud of.
Chris: Yeah, well, my father was a retired engineer from General Electric. He designed the controls for quasi motor machines, steel mills and all that. So without him, you wouldn’t have these plastic glasses.
Catherine: I think they’re glass.
Chris: Oh. Well, I’m sorry…
Al: Like Plexiglass, I don’t know, so…
Catherine: Yeah, I’m not a glass expert.
Chris: Well anyway, he helped in the progress of that. That’s pretty much all that matters there.
Al: But you like, uh, of all the places you’ve been, you like Virginia the best then, or…?
Chris: Yeah, pretty much, uh, I mean, yeah, I like Virginia very well. It’s my home state and everything but I’m very much looking to travel with Catherine.
Catherine: Yeah, I thought it would be…Yeah, if I had the money I’d be, I’d be really excited to travel like that. If my gig at the library fell through, I’m back to uh, I’m back to square one again, I guess.
Chris: Well, I’m sure, uh, you know, you hang out, stick with, stick with me, kid, we’ll get you a gig [pronounced “jig”] at a library yet.
Al: Yep. So Chris, do you eat here a lot, or…?
Chris: Um, not, not very often, sometimes.
Catherine: I mean, I’ve been to Applebee's before, but this is… I’ve been here ages ago with a friend of mine, that's how I knew it existed, that’s why I suggested it. I haven’t been here in a really long time.
Chris: Yeah. Uh, I try to remember what it was I usually like to get, the one that comes with the spinach-mushroom cap.
Al: Eh. You know what, I’m on a diet, but I’m just thinking like, fuck it, you know, gonna eat what I want, so…
Catherine: Mind your language.
Chris: It’s okay, it’s okay around me.
Catherine: We’re trying to get back down to uh, the original way, so…
Catherine: “Trying” being the key word, I think.
Chris: That’s reasonable.
Al: I’m just pretty outspoken, Chris, I speak my mind, you know, so…
Chris: That’s fine.
[The waitress comes. Phone vibrates again.]
Chris: You have a straw for me there? Thank you. [To his date:] You know, lately when I’ve been drinking sweet tea from McDonald’s, and gettin’ the half and half in there, I feel uh, my leg[?], uh, I feel the taste of it going down, you know, I think of, I wr, I sr, I think of you and...
Al: If you want to order you can go ahead, I’m still looking for the moment, so...
Catherine: Can I get the turkey bacon and avocado sandwich please?
Catherine: I feel weird ordering alone.
Chris: That’s OK. Yeah I guess I’ll have the Clubhouse Grille.
Al: You know what? Um… [Laughs] I think, um, do you have any appetizers or anything?
Chris: Oh yeah, look at the front of the menu, there’s appetizers. Oh, and anything with an apple beside it, that’s healthy good.
Al: Let’s just get, let’s get the appetizer, uh, sampler. Sure.
Chris: Sounds like a good idea.
Chris: If you don’t know what you want, sampler’s always good.
Waitress: And would you like your wings mild, barbecue, sweet and spicy, or hot?
Catherine: [?]…so whatever you guys want is fine with me.
Al: Um…What were the options again ma’am?
Waitress: Mild wings, barbecued, sweet and spicy, or hot.
Catherine: At least you get a little bit [?]
Al: No, no, [mumbling between Al and Catherine]
Chris: Anyway, yeah, my van’s good to go, so I can drive you anywhere as well.
Catherine: Hopefully [?] because it was a long drive. [?] The check engine light came on; it could be anything.
Chris: Yeah, it could be anything. I’ve had that happen before a number of times.
Understanding the whole tomgirl thing
Catherine: I see you wore your, um, tomgirl best today.
Chris: My best? Yes. Kilt.
Catherine: Oh yeah. Yeah, you are wearing a kilt.
Chris: Or at least kilt-patterned. It was the only thing I could find at the Goodwill there, that fit, that fit me. I think there was anudder one, but I think it was like, smaller.
Catherine: Yeah. [garbled] limited sizes.
Al: Chris, I’m not trying to be offensive or nothin’, but what’s, what’s this whole “tomgirl” thing? I just, I just don’t understand.
Chris: Oh, it’s essentially where I’m uh, it’s like tomboy, where women are interested in boys’ things and high activity, I’m in, I’m into more feminine things.
Al: So, you’re like a cross-dresser then, or…?
Chris: Yes, I’m, yes, you can call me a tranny. I accepted that. Lesbian tomgirl transgender may-ul. So I’m three-quarters woman.
Chris: The only difference is the, uh, is the body. Heh. [Chuckles]
Al: Yeah. You certainly have a unique fashion sense, I’ll say that. So.
Catherine: It is fairly unique.
Chris: Fairly unique, but I’m sure I could be shapened up a little more sophisticated or whatever.
Catherine: There's always room for improvement for everybody, I think.
Chris: Yeah, I think so.
Al: I dunno, I’m not in transsexual, tomgirl, tomboy, I just, yeah, I’m not into any of that, so I just didn’t know, so…
Chris: That’s OK.
Al: I’m just curious. So.
Chris: I’m guessing you, you have your own girlfriend then, huh?
Catherine: He's between girlfriends.
Al: Yeah, at the moment, yeah, I’m between girlfriends.
Chris: Well, don’t, if you don’t break one’s heart, uh, you gotta make sure you pick the one that makes you feel more happy.
Al: I, I prefer not to get tied down. I just go from girl to girl really, so…
Chris: Eh. Oh boy, regular heartbreaker here. Heh heh.
Al: Yeah, well, what can I say.
Chris: Regular heartbreaker on the road, driving the General Lee. Huh huh.
Al: Shit. No, I try not to be too mean about it, you know, I just…
Chris: Well, that’s OK, we’re all reas-, we’re all reasonable adults.
Al: I just prefer, I just prefer not to get tied down, you know? It’s like, hey, if I’m with a girl, you know, somebody cuter comes along, not serious, you know what I mean? So…
Chris: OK. Well, as long as you make it clear that it’s not serious.
Al: Yeah, I do. I do.
Chris: OK, well that’s good.
Catherine: I’d hate to be treated like that. [?]
Al: Golden Rule, you know? Treat other people like you like to be treated. So.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah, I agree with that as well. I like to be…
Catherine: It’s the Golden Rule, do unto others.
Chris: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Catherine: You know it!
Chris: Yes I do.
The relationship and its future
Al: So Catie, how did, how did you and Chris meet?
Catherine: Oh that’s right, I haven’t told you yet. Um, we met on a dating site.
Catherine: Yeah, OKCupid, we met. Actually it was while I was overseas.
Catherine: While I was at [?].
Al: So you move, so you get around a lot, so the online dating thing, it usually works for you as far as…
Catherine: Yeah, well, it sort of did after, well, after I moved to [?] I didn’t know anybody.
Catherine: So. Well I knew the roommates, but that doesn’t really count. So. It was just sort of [?] and then you got in touch with me again when I was overseas.
Catherine: You said you were scared of responding.
Chris: Oh yeah, because of the internet trolls and cyber-bullies. I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with them. Eh, I don’t want to get into that too much right now.
Al: Fair enough.
Chris: You know, I responded to her, and she responded very kindly, and we kind of got to know each other. Hooked [pronounced hook-ed] up very well, hooked up emotionally and everything, right?
Catherine: Yeah, for the last few weeks, and we’re finally getting to meet.
Catherine: You seemed pretty excited about it; you said you were hopping all over your house.
Chris: [Laughs] Not all over, but I did jump, I did jump up and down.
Catherine: Yeah? Were you really excited about it?
Catherine: Were you really concerned I wouldn’t be here?
Chris: Yes, I was concerned at points, but I try to keep pos-, I try to be optimistic. I mean this thing has been so real so far.
Chris: It all comes to fruition.
Catherine: I’m real, so…
Chris: And I’m real too.
Catherine: So it all works out.
Chris: Yes it does.
Al: Yep. So what, what are your goals, plans, whatever? You guys gonna get married or what?
Chris: Well, we might.
Catherine: We might do one day. It’s going pretty well so far, so...
Chris: Yeah, I think, I’m thinking we would probably be together more often, I hope.
Catherine: Yeah, I mean, you were talking about wanting to get married too, so…
Catherine: You said you wanted to be in the next five years or so.
Chris: Yeah, within the next five years. I mean, that, but that’s up to you, though, when you, when you feel ready to get married, I’ll be, I’ll be there by your side, at the chapel. Heh heh!
Catherine: I should hope so.
Chris: Me too.
Catherine: Well you said, I want my marriage to be forever.
Chris: Yes, me too, I want permanent thing as well. And you know I am, and I’m still full supportive of who you are as well. Remember?
Catherine: Yeah, the um…
Chris: Open relationship.
Al: So you got open relationship?
Chris: Uh, yeah, I, yeah, I fully support her, you know, you know, as a bi, I’m sure.
Al: So, you’re OK with her being with other women?
Chris: Yeah. If that… I have other ideas…
Al: Does that include other men too?
Chris: Um, well, optionally for her, uh, but, for me I would, I would definitely, I would, if I felt up to it it would be with anudder woman definitely. But, she’s expressed her interest in other women as well. I mean, I don’t want to go too much into that, it sounds a little bit embarrassing.
Al: Chris, Chris, you love her, right?
Chris: Yes I do, I care about her.
Al: So, why would you be OK with her having sex with other men?
Al: I mean, that’s a fair question.
Chris: It’s a fair question, yes. It’s more like, uh, if I can’t satisfy her, if she feels lack of satisfaction, I’m, I made it very clear for her that our relationship would be honest and loyal to each other, so, as long as she, as long as she lets me know that she f-, if she feels like she needs to see somebody else, then that’s fine. I’ll let her go and uh…
Al: So sort of like an open marriage thing where each of you can see other people?
Chris: Mm. Well, we’re not gonna marry other people…
Catherine: Oh no…
Al: So just like, see other people.
Chris: Yeah, just like see other people. It’s like to take a break from each other as well. Because I’ve, I’ve learned a lot from a lot of television about how, where marriages end up bad, because one cheats on the other? Yeah, but this way it’s an open relationship, so we’re being honest with each other, and I just f-, I’ve come to terms with that being a part of a hap, of a, of a healthier relationship. I mean, you know, even modernly, sometimes the couples, the married couples will sleep in separate rooms if they felt need to.
Al: Sleep in separate rooms? Like after a fight or something, maybe, or…?
Chris: Essentially-- if they get married and they decide,...
[Part one ended]
The relationship and its future CONTINUED
Chris: ...it’s like, they don’t, one doesn’t feel comfortable sleeping right next to the other, so they end up with separate rooms, but they still love each other and care f’ each other. In fact, it broadens the relationship better that way. It’s healthier. It gives, it gives them more room to breathe.
Al: So that, have you had relationships like that then where you’ve been at a distance…
Chris: Um, no I haven’t, well, I haven’t had too many relationships, really. Um. But yeah, there was uh, one where sh-, where one, where one, there was one girl who definitely, definitely wanted me to keep my distance from her. She thought I was getting too close to her. [sigh] And that’s where I learned how to restrain, to keep my hands to myself for a while. That…
Catherine: I suppose you feel very strongly about respecting a woman’s boundaries.
Chris: Oh yes, I do. I mean, I was kind of, I was just so excited, mm, to see you and everything…I was just, I just jumped up and hugged you like I did there.
Catherine: I tried, I tried to wave to you in the entrance so you saw me.
Chris: Oh I’m sorry, I was, um, that’s part of my, where my eyes wander in other directions, that’s the autism. Autistic people typically tend to have trouble making eye contact. Eh, but for me, it’s kind of like, yeah, I have to, my eyes wander and then I have to regain my grounds in my head and, you know, just try to reestablish eye contact as quickly as possible.
Autism, LGBT, and God
Al: Yeah. So you’re autistic then?
Chris: High functioning autistic. Yeah.
Al: So what’s, what’s that like, you have trouble making eye contact?
Chris: Well that’s one thing. It’s also with uh, communication skills. I did a whole LittleBigPlanet seven-part, well six-part plus bonus, animation talk about autism and my perspective, so…
Al: What? I don’t even know what that is.
Chris: LittleBigPlanet, it’s a PlayStation 3 game.
Chris: And then there’s LittleBigPlanet 2 which that’s, where it gets, it gets more into you’re able to animate. Yeah, you create your own custom levels and, within them, in LittleBigPlanet 2 and so on, you get to create your own mini-movies.
Al: So it’s like a video game then.
Al: OK. Cool.
Chris: And then, and then you upload them to the, uh, internet, from the PlayStation Network you can also pretty much videotape record them.
Catherine: Sorry, my hair is…
Al: Oh yeah, no problem.
Chris: That’s OK.
Catherine: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…
Chris: I w-, I wanted to tell ya, I wanted to tell you this in person but, I really love your, I really like your red hair, the way it is.
Catherine: Thank you.
Chris: It makes, it makes me think of strawberry jam. It makes me wanna jam.
Catherine: I’ve never heard that one before. That’s an interesting descriptor. I’ve never actually considered that one before.
Al: Yeah. Well you’re wearing a red shirt, so at least your shirt and hair match…
Chris: Yeah, I like, I like wearing, I like wearing bold colors.
Chris: Yeah, that’s pretty much where I’m trying to reestablish, being more comfortable being LGBT—Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans. And wh, their pride parades and everything.
Al: You said now that you’re more comfortable, so is that like a recent thing with you?
Chris: Yeah, it came, yeah, I pr-, yeah I became, I became more comfortable with it recently being part of it, and let my, and let myself become part of it and supporting the equal rights, equal rights. I signed up with the Human Rights Campaign, and bought a few things off their store.
Catherine: You said, oh I didn’t know you actually bought something. I thought you were just thinking about it.
Chris: Yeah, yeah, pur-, yeah, purchased them, purchased them like, um, I think, sometime between last Thursday or Saturday. It takes about, it takes about up to ten days, uh…
Chris: I feel like I’ll get back to them maybe early next week.
Catherine: Probably when I was traveling then.
Chris: I picked a lovely, yeah, I picked out a lovely shirt for you too. I showed you a picture?
Catherine: You did. I hope it fits.
Chris: I hope it fits too, you know, it’s XL versus two X. That’s uh, one X. Heh. I saw the number and, I saw the two X and I thought and remembering it later one X. It turns out that’s XL. I hope it does fit.
Catherine: It probably will.
Al: So you said the LBGT, what is it, LGBT?
Catherine: Yeah, LGBT.
Al: LGB, whatever.
Catherine: Lesbian, gay, trans…
Al: Lesbian, gay, trans, yeah OK. So you said that’s just something you’ve became comfortable with? So was…?
Chris: Become, become comfortable being part of. Yeah, I had, I pretty much had my mental backdrops with uh, the homosexual males, especially. Especially since the majority of the trolls and cyber-bullies were homosexual men.
Al: So basically these gay guys were all bullying you, or…?
Chris: Yeah, a lot of them were bullying me, pestering me, sending me these lewd…images, imagery, and...
Catherine: [?] getting a lot of that.
Catherine: I mean you mentioned it, but you didn’t really talk with me about that.
Chris: Yeah, I haven’t really gone to, into depth about all of that, but…
Catherine: I figured there was somebody in Ohio talking about, the other day.
Chris: Oh yeah, that was like, uh, essentially somebody in, that’s the higher force about, uh, yeah everybody, everybody has names for god, Emanuel, Buddha, whatever. But essentially it’s the one same elemental force, probably that guy up in the stars that Matt Groening best describes as that star cluster in Futurama that Bender talks to.
Al: What guy?
Chris: Heh. Yeah. “Are you God?” “Possibly. I go by many names.”
Al: So you’re saying something about Ohio? God lives in Ohio then?
Chris: No no no, higher force.
Chris: He's above us, is like in the stars, so that’s why, that’s pretty much what I consider we call “neutrally” as. Like, like, like yeah, I guess it’s the one, you know, I guess God would definitely be more neutral and more accepting since everybody knows that word.
Chris: I even made like a bit about that when I got, when I’m watching this, I let all the uh, bullies and trolls at one point. I talked about the higher force and messing with our heads and, I did bring up that he is, that that is God essentially, I would think. I mean, I, I mean, somebody who looks like, I mean, people portray God as like being human, pretty much. But then, there’s that joke in that episode of South Park, the Millennium episode where the man looked like this cluster of animals. He had a hippopotamus head! But yeah I…
Al: You watch South Park?
Catherine: I don't watch South Park. You watch a lot of television, though, don’t you?
Chris: Yeah. “TV! We talk TV! Do you talk some TV?” Heh heh.
Catherine: I don’t know what that’s from.
Chris: Oh that’s from the Transformers movie. The original animated.
Catherine: I haven’t seen it.
Al: You sound like you’re a big film and cinema and TV fan.
Chris: Oh yeah. My fam, my family raised me on music and musicals and television and whatnot, so, and then pretty much, uh, I was inside a lot and by myself, uh, I really wasn’t as sociable as I’ve grown up to be much more better at.
Chris: Yeah, so I pretty much had time for watching movies and television.
The house fire
Catherine: Oh, I did mean to ask, how is your uh, I remember you were having some trouble with your landlord in the rental house.
Chris: Oh yeah, my, Debbie our uh, Debbie our uh…
Catherine: How’d that go for you? Did you manage to get all that figured out?
Chris: Claims, yeah our claims agent made the call. Yeah we got our lease extended until the end of November.
Catherine: Oh you got that in stone now then?
Chris: Yes, we’re good.
Catherine: Oh, that’s good.
Chris: And also they’re gonna start working on the renovation of our house, uh…
Al: Are you guys like remodeling then or something?
Chris: Oh no, we had a house fire last January.
Al: That sucks, man, hey, I’m sorry to hear, dude.
Chris: Thank you.
Al: That sucks.
Chris: Thank you, Al.
Al: No problem, man. But what, what happened with the fire?
Chris: Oh yeah, we…
[the food arrives]
Al: Oh boy! [laughs]
Chris: Wow, now that’s a sampler!
Al: That’s what I call a sam--, you want anything, Chris, or…?
Chris: Well, we’ll see how I feel after I have my sandwich.
Catherine: Thank you very much.
Al: Yeah, no problem. Wow.
Waitress: Do you guys need anything else right now?
Chris: I think we’ll be OK.
Catherine: Alright, thank you very much.
Chris: You want ketchup for your fries?
Catherine: Um, yes please, I’ll start in on them a bit later. I’ll be alright.
Chris: I’ll just put it back here then. Uh, so anyway, the house fire, it was electrical. We had just, I had just plugged in a coffee brewer, Kruger, Keurig brand? Yeah. Yeah anyway, the extension, there was one plugged in extension cord that was going into the bathroom, the [paper?] was outside on the top of the, top of the dresser in the hallway. Pretty much the way the situation was, was it was in there, the door to the bathroom was j-, was kept open? So I, and uh, cord was shorter than I thought and I ended up having to loop it over the door, and that part just where, it’s hard to get up to where finally get there, it starts, and that’s pretty much how the fire started on the top.
Catherine: I don't think you ever told me why you have a coffee maker in the bathroom.
Chris: Oh, yeah, No, no, it’s not in the bathroom, it’s out-, it was outside the bathroom.
Chris: Anyway, that’s how the fire started, and we all got out safe.
Catherine: I don't know why you'd have that plugged in there. That seems like a really odd place for a coffee maker.
Al: Yeah I always put the coffee maker in the kitchen or something.
Chris: Yeah. Well, we do have a coffee, we do have another coffee maker now and that’s in the kitchen. And I can brew tea in it as well.
Catherine: I mean [?] aren’t designed to do that.
Chris: Yeah. Well anyway, we all got out safe ‘cept for one of our two cats, which that was a shame. We buried that cat in the backyard, uh, after the cleaners found it.
Al: So your cat died then? Or one of them?
Chris: Yeah, one cat. We have another, we have, the other cat was safe. She got out safe. Both of our dogs. We have beagles. Purebred beagles. Their names are Snoopy and Clover. Yeah, you know…
Catherine: Did you adopt them from the shelter?
Chris: Oh no, we went way out of our way to another part of Virginia to pretty much go to this puppy farm. Yeah. [baby voice] There were like three little beagles and they were all so cute!
Catherine: A puppy farm’s not good then.
Chris: Uh well…
Catherine: Don’t they just like breed them in boxes?
Chris: Um, no, they were, they were let out a lot of… Yeah, they had them out-, they had the three remaining puppies outside in a small wire gate. They were just  little puppies, but I’m sure, I’m sure it’s [?]
Catherine: I always heard that puppy farms were a bad thing, [?] all the time and [?] I’ve heard, it’s possible that I’m wrong, but I’ve heard that…
Al: You went to a puppy farm? Where it’s just that grow puppies to sell them or something?
Catherine: Yeah, like that.
Al: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know anything about it.
Chris: Yeah well OK well, I know a little, a little about puppy farms, especially also this place, that’s where Snoopy came from, the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. Uh, not our Snoopy, Peanuts’ Snoopy.
Catherine: My parents, they got a dog called Snoopy.
Chris: Yeah, and then, I’ll tell you a story behind Clover. There was, in generation two, of My Little Pony, of My Little Pony Tales, there was a pony named Clover. I pretty much liked her among the main cast during that, during that season. I felt like I could relate to her, so… plus also…
[clapping in the background]
Chris: Yeah, somebody’s having a birthday.
Al: Yeah, I’d say that.
[birthday noise continues]
Al: So Chris, you’re saying that your house fire got started by some appliance, that Keurig…?
Chris: Yeah, the Keurig coffee brewer was plugged into the extension cord plugged into the bathroom wall, and the fire happened at the arch where it was over the door frame, over the door.
Al: Oh, I was gonna say, if it was the, the coffee maker, I would have sued the hell out of them, those bastards.
Chris: Yeah, but, yeah but we thought for, for a while that’s what we’d sue the coffee brewer, but the… Unfortunately, it turned out to be the extension cord after the fire inspector confirmed that.
Chris: My uncle, my uncle Tom Ashby, who married my, uh, aunt who was actually, uh, my blood aunt, uh, so you know, uncle, in-law, sort of, but anyway, Tom Ashby is a retired fire inspector. And they live over in Chesterfield County now. They recently moved out of the house, moved into like a condominium.
Catherine: But why was it plugged in there? Your coffee maker was plugged into the extension cord, it's an electrical thing [?]
Chris: Uh, we didn’t have one that was closer.
Al: Well maybe how…
Catherine: [?] house?
Al: When was your house built? Do you know?
Chris: [stress sigh] It was built before I was born, so, before my parents got married, so before 1980.
Al: So I’m saying a lot of those older houses, there’s not enough exten-, like, outlets, so they gotta run extension cords to get to places. Was that it, or…?
Chris: Uh, yeah, pretty much. Of course also, the nearest plug socket that we had was behind a really big, where the coffee maker was, the closest one there was behind a really big dresser. And the house was cluttered, it had lots of stuff. My father, as old as he was, he died September of 2011, two midnights and a quarter hour later, after he turned 84.
Al: Uh huh.
Chris: He had heart problems.
Al: That must have sucked.
Chris: Yeah. And we still had all these narrow hallways, everything was cluttered. And my mom made uh, has impulsive issues, goes to Goodwill sometimes and didn’t [?] much either, but you know, that is like, God is telling us, “Hey Barbara,” – that’s my mother’s name, Barbara—“Uh, hey Barbara, I’ll make it easier for ya. There you go –fire, get out of the house. You go save what you are able to and I’ll take care of…”
Al: Wait, who said that?
Chris: Uh, my mom, my mom came up with this, it’s like, God was telling her, “Hey Barbara, I’ll make it easy for ya.” Yeah, cause she was concerned about all the clutter as well and didn’t know where to put it.
Catherine: Is that, is that how she’s coping?
Chris: Uh, that’s one way she’s coping. She’s coping in a lot of ways in her head. She’s, I mean, she can tell you a lot, a lot of stories and interesting facts.
Al: So your mother thinks that God was telling her to move out of the house? So he, God burnt it then? Is that what she believes, or…?
Chris: That’s, that’s, that’s one idea she has. Another theory that my mother ha-, another belief my mother has about God is that uh, the energy inside us is God. So it’s like, you know, millions of gods around the world.
Al: So you, you believe in some sort of higher being then. So your mother, so are you a pretty religious guy, or…?
Chris: Well I, uh, I'm fairly religious. I just, uh, I just, I just take all the good about from, I learn at least a little bit about every aspect of religion.
[Part two ended]
The house fire CONTINUED
Chris: And uh, just, and I took it, and then my father said, “Everyone believes in the same God.” So, I was thinking to live with that and I leave it with you know, the one higher force and just…
Catherine: Your dad said that?
Chris: Yeah. Everybody…
Catherine: Other people believe in different gods.
Chris: Yeah well it’s, yeah, but it’s essentially the one same god.
Al: So you’re saying it’s like different versions of the same god, different incarnations of the same god?
Chris: Yeah, pretty m-, yeah, let’s go with that, yeah.
Catherine: Fair enough.
Bob and Chris's early years
Al: Your father sounds like a very worldly man. Did he travel a lot?
Chris: Mm. [Chris is eating.] That’s a tasty sandwich. Yes he, he has traveled the world some. He was stationed in Seoul, Korea during World War…Two, in the Signal Corps.
Al: World War Two?
Chris: Well, civil, [stumbles and slurs]
Al: The Korean War happened after World War Two.
Chris: OK, maybe the Korean War, I don’t know. Anyway, he was, but anyway, he was stationed in Seoul, Korea.
Al: And what did he do in the army?
Chris: He was, he was in the Signal Corps. He uh, helped maintain the satellite feeds and uh, all the mechanics over there.
Al: Like the communications and stuff like that.
Al: So how long was he in the army? When did he get out?
Chris: Uh. [sigh] I’m not sure I remember. I have in a keepsake box he kept some of his, he kept his Boy Scout badges that he earned. I’m not sure from when he was, from when he was a boy, or… He was a Scout troop leader at one point in his life. His Scout, his Scout troop, his group, his Scout troop made a wallet for him. And he wanted to be sh-, he wanted to be, he wanted to be buried with that wallet but he wasn’t really buried. He’s in a mausoleum up on the uh, Monticello Memory Gardens, up on the hill on the way up to the Monticello.
Catherine: Were you um, were you ever in the Boy Scouts? I know…
Chris: Oh yeah, I was in the Wolf Cub Scouts uh, for a while in my life but they booted me out.
Catherine: For what would they do that?
Chris: I think it’s probably something from my autism, when I was being, I was being, like I was being, I was being outbursting and loud for something, or misbehave-, I don’t remember.
Catherine: So they kicked you out because you’re autistic?
Chris: Yeah, I think so.
Catherine: Did you, did you ever get in touch with them? That’s illegal.
Chris: No, uh, I don’t even remember who the Scout troop leader was.
Catherine: I don’t suppose that matters, does it. You can actually sue…
Chris: Yeah, it was, yeah, it was like, I was like five, six, seven.
Catherine: Five, six, so that would be twenty-five years ago?
Catherine: I suppose the statutes have passed with that.
Al: I'da said today that would be illegal. You could sue ‘em, get a lot of money.
Catherine: For that sort of thing.
Chris: Well, I might, I don’t know, if I remember it.
Catherine: Well I don’t, I don’t expect you can any more. The statute of limitations would be…
Chris: Yeah, I, too much, too much time has gone by. I wouldn’t even worry about it.
Catherine: Well that’s sad. Was your, was your dad upset?
Catherine: I expect if he was a scoutmaster, that he would've been…
Chris: I think my, I think both my parents were upset. Uh, they were quite upset when the, uh, disputes with Greene County with the uh, yeah, the way they received my reactions in the fourth grade I was in, pinned me down on the floor and they wanted to record my screams. That was abuse right there. But anyway…
Catherine: What happened?
Chris: Eh, Teachers and counselors, they pinned me down quote-unquote, they wanted to audio record my screaming.
Catherine: For what??
Chris: [stress sigh] I don’t know. That was, eh…
Catherine: Where was that?
Chris: That was Nathanael Greene Elementary, in…
Catherine: The fourth grade?
Catherine: You would have been, you would have been nine?
Chris: Yeah, uh, I guess, I don’t know. I don’t remember, it was so long ago.
Catherine: What made that happen?
Chris: Uh, I don’t remember. I think they, the t-, yeah, from what they, my parents told me they, the tea-, they did not understand children with autism, way back then either.
Al: Well that was a long time ago.
Chris: Yeah, but anyway, they wanted to put me in a mental institution but between court settlements my family decided to move, that’s why they moved to Chesterfield County in ’92.
Catherine: To get away from that?
Chris: Yeah, plus...
Catherine: Did they have a good autism program?
Chris: Yeah, and a better education, between Providence Middle and Manchester High.
Catherine: So did that have... I don't think I ever asked. Did they have like, um, special education or an autism program?
Chris: Uh, I was pretty much mainstreamed.
Catherine: So you didn’t have any extra…classes?
Chris: No, actually, I have uh, no, not, no, no extra classes, uh, well, unless you want to count coping skills.
Catherine: I suppose.
Chris: That’s kind of a special ed class.
Catherine: I suppose that’s really…
Al: So did you have any like special counselors or anybody who could help you in high school?
Al: Anyone special that you saw?
Catherine: Anyone specialized with kids or any-
Chris: They um, I believe they offered them to me, but I don’t think I ever really sought counseling like that, that much. I mean I probably did, but…
Catherine: Well if it was available to you, it was your right to use it whenever you liked.
Metabolism and long distance relationships
[waitress shows up]
Catherine: Sorry didn’t mean to stop you.
Al: Yeah no problem. The food is great.
Al: Your sandwich good?
Chris: Yes, the taste of it, of this so far... It is good.
Catherine: Just nibbling.
Chris: Yeah, me too. Just nibbling.
Catherine: Are you nervous?
Chris: Uh, a little bit. I, I g-, I’m a bit of a soda jerk, I drink a lot of soda throughout my life, so I got a shaky leg also.
Chris: That’s one thing my mother complains about, when it shakes the house also.
Catherine: Your shaky leg shakes the whole house?
Chris: Well, when I’m standing, uh, not as much when I’m sitting down.
Catherine: Is that like your old house or your rental house?
Chris: Uh, well, everywhere. It’s just whenever, I mean, I’m shaking right now here.
Al: So it’s, you’re just like, your leg fidgets a little bit, shakes like that?
Al: That’s actually, with people who fidget like that, they burn more calories. So that’s like, a forty percent less chance of them becoming obese as they get older.
Catherine: Well I did not know that.
Chris: Me neither.
Al: This means you have a high metabolism. It’s good.
Chris: That’s very good.
Catherine: Well now I feel weird because I don't [? - relating to not fidgeting]
Chris: Mm. Well don’t worry about it.
Chris: Maybe live with me long enough, you’ll pick up on the habit. Huh! Just kidding.
Catherine: I don’t know about living together.
Catherine: It’s like I said my dad’s very traditional.
Al: Well that’s another thing, another obstacle to relations, sometimes if you travel a lot, so there’s long distance so you can’t see each other, that’s the challenge, so.
Catherine: Yeah, that hurt. But I mean, I told you that I have long distance before and it did work.
Catherine: It takes effort.
Catherine: It takes a lot of effort.
Chris: And I am willing to put in the effort.
Catherine: Well I live at Culpeper, so it’s not that far away.
Chris: It’s not that far away. Plus you can always move in, when me and my mom felt, when you felt comfortable, and then, yeah, we’ll find you a library here that’ll hire ya.
Chris: I mean, ‘cause up in Culpeper it’s just the one library.
Catherine: Yeah, it is the one, that’s why I was so happy to get the internship, but then it didn’t pan out. So how is your art business going?
Chris: Uh, fair. I’ve got, yeah, fair, I currently have, like, over $120 in my PayPal account.
Catherine: That’s good, you can work on your mother’s teeth that way.
Chris: Well a little bit, yeah.
Catherine: Well does she need them?
Chris: Oh yeah, she needs them. But it’s like, she needs six of them and it feels like I’ve got to raise the whole six hundred, so that would take a while.
Al: So is your mom, she needs new teeth, you’re saying?
Chris: Uh, yeah, she needs like, uh, she’s got cavities in six of her teeth.
Al: How old is your mother?
Chris: She’s 72. She was, yeah, she was born in 1941.
Al: That’s not young. Yeah.
Al: So is her health good then? Is she OK?
Chris: Um, I’d say her health is fair. She uh, doesn’t get as much energy in a day, so she, as she used to, so she ends up, uhhh, resting, resting more often.
Al: Yeah. But you’re saying it’s six new teeth would be what, six hundred bucks?
Chris: Yeah well…
Al: That’s cheap.
Chris: Well, well actually it’s, actually it’s for, ehh, it’s, it’s a lot more than six hundred. It’s like, in order for me to be able to help with that I gotta give her a hundred dollars per tooth. And as she takes care of her, as then she, she is able to take care of the remainder after that.
Al: Yeah. Dental, dental work is very expensive. My father has bad teeth actually, and he got a couple of those worked on a few years back, and it was like five thousand dollars for just two of his teeth.
Al: Yeah. Do you guys have health insurance then, or…?
Chris: Yeah, I guess we do have health in-, I guess, yeah we have insurance. I’ve just never really understood it.
Catherine: Ah, so you do have health insurance. That’s good. What sort of insurance do you have? Like where do you get it from? Do you buy it yourself?
Chris: Well, well I know we have, uh, Medicaid and uh, and the Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Al: So if you get, so if you marry Catie would she be on your insurance plan, or…?
Chris: Uh, my mother would be able to, be able to answer that question better.
Chris: So I don’t know.
Catherine: I guess you don’t…
Al: So Chris…
Catherine: I mean, I know, I know how that works for mine.
Catherine: But if I married someone they’d go on mine, so…I guess that’s just something I feel I have to learn.
Chris: Yeah. At least, at least it’s beneficial mutually. I mean, especially if we end up on our health insurance that way.
Chris the artist
Al: Yep. So Chris, you’re basically like a freelance artist then?
Chris: Mm. [he’s eating]
Catherine: I never did ask, how long you’ve been doing that. Like, how long have you been making your living from that?
Al: Is that something you decided to do after college, or…?
Chris: Mm. Yeah, essentially after college. I mean, yeah I did, uh, I originally did drawing the comic pages and whatnot for fun and then the trolls got to me and I just had writer’s block from really devastating emotions for years.
Al: Comic pages? Are you like, you had a comic book or something?
Chris: Yeah. Sonichu.
Catherine: Yeah, you didn’t tell me very much about that.
Al: What’s Ssssonichu?
Chris: Electric hedgehog Pokemon.
Al: Oh, so it’s like a Pokemon thing.
Chris: Yeah. And then he looks like, and then it looks like Sonic. Uh, his girlfriend, Rosechu, it’s like, looks a lot like Amy.
[the waitress shows up]
Catherine: I think we’re doing good.
Al: Oh, we’re doing great!
Chris: Yeah, we’re doing good, thank you.
Al: But yeah, yeah, so they’re like, Pokemon things, or…?
Chris: Uh, yeah. I mean…
Catherine: Don’t you need permission to distribute that?
Chris: Uh, no, since they’re parody, since they’re parody-like characters, it’s OK, I mean I have not gotten any complaints from Nintendo or Sega or anybody.
Catherine: I suppose they can’t…As long as you’re careful they can’t give a cease and desist to everybody.
Chris: Yeah I mean, I mean I’ve been working on Sonichu since uh, 2000. I’ve uploaded a few images onto my PokeSite, and then I started working on my comic book, the first one, in 2004. And then I made like, ten books total. Well ten and a half, I got part way through the eleventh one. That’s about when…
Catherine: Would you ever pick it up again?
Chris: Yeah, I probably would.
Catherine: Because you mentioned wanting to draw, in the email you sent me about how coming across your evil twin or something.
Chris: Sorry, coming across…?
Catherine: Your evil twin.
Chris: Oh. Um, well that was uh, that’s an idea I just had as a fresh idea.
Catherine: Fresh idea?
Chris: Yeah, well it’s essentially it’s where I meet up with, meet up with Reldnahc. That’s his name. It’s essentially “Chandler” spelled backwards.
Al: And he’s like what, your evil twin or something, or…?
Chris: Yeah. Just essentially everything opposite me, because he would be totally gay.
Al: So what you’re saying: He is opposite, so he would be gay, but aren’t you a tomgirl now? So wouldn’t he be a…tomboy or…? I don’t know… How would that--
Chris: Yeah, I… [stress sigh] I know it’s complicated when you think about it. But yeah. Essentially just consider this: I have, I feel like I have a woman’s, a female soul in me. And the female soul is lesbian. And since I’m a, since I’m a male physically…
Al: OK, so basically you’re a lesbian trapped in the body of a man.
Al: OK. I can understand that. Yeah.
Chris fails at Spanish
Al: Hey Chris, you want any of this? I mean I’m not, I’m on a diet, but these barbeque wings are really good and then that’s a cheese stick, now that’s a quesaduhdah.
Chris: Dilla. [pronounced “Deela.”]
Catherine: Dee-ah. OK.
Chris: Quesadilla [Kay-sah-deela.]
Catherine: Isn’t the double-l…?
Al: Quesadilla [pronounced correctly].
Catherine: The double-l, is that a y-sound?
Al: Quesa-dillah, quesadeela, whatever.
Chris: Yeah, it’s tomato, tomahto, potato, potahto. Let’s call the whole thing off!
Al: OK. Yeah but come on Chris, get... get, get some, get some grub, man. [trying to push food onto Chris]
Chris: Yeah I mean, I’ve got grub right here.
Chris: I mean we’ve been talking.
Al: Catie, you want anything?
Catherine: I may actually pinch your cheese straw.
Al: Cheese straw! [Chris laughs]
Catherine: Stop it.
Al: It’s a cheese stick!
Catherine: Stop calling me foreigner. I don’t like that.
Al: Friggin’ British people, Chris.
Catherine: [mumbles] You call me all sorts of things.
Al: (sneers) British.
Catherine: You’re lucky I like you, alright!
Al: That’s debatable, but we’ll stick with that for now.
Chris: Mm. You’re fair that you’re one of the few males that I’m, that I’m feeling comfortable around, especially with, especially with Catherine here.
Al: Yeah. Well I…
Chris: Yeah anyway, I take, I take a bit of offense to the British comment because I’m part-British.
Catherine: I think that you shouldn't pretend you've ever been to Britain.
Chris: Yeah I haven’t been to Britain.
Catherine: Because I’m not British at all.
Waitress: You want any dipping sauce for that?
Chris: Yeah. You're not British. I’ll be good there.
Chris: You’re just like a born-in-British kind of thing, or sort, something like that.
Al: I apologize Chris, I didn’t know. I didn’t know you were British, I didn’t mean to offend you.
Chris: Oh, well that’s OK, I mean.
Al: I take it back.
Chris: I’m a lot of mixed breeds, between my family, French, English, British, some, I think some Ir-, I think some Irish, maybe a little bit of Italian. I’m not one hundred percent. That's, that would, my mother knows better. And for, she’s, cause her...
[Part three ended]
Chris's Heritage CONTINUED
Chris: ...family came along the, came along shortly after the Mayflower because Daniel Weston borrowed for, bartered for the Mayflower but that uh, didn’t get aboard at the time.
Catherine: Have you ever done research, like gone back and look at the passenger roster? That sort of thing is available to the public.
Catherine: You go to em, libraries and online databases that will find. Because in the old days you would have to sign a, uh, a passenger list, [Chris: “Yeah.”] if you were traveling, so you know, there’s all the names of all the people that have ever come over.
Chris: The [bay?] that boarded the Mayflower.
Catherine: Yeah, there’s a hundred and twenty-odd people that boarded the Mayflower.
Chris: Yeah, but my mother, but my mother, she did the research between library books and she feels, she is very positive that Daniel was not aboard the Mayflower. Yeah.
Catherine: Back to square one. You'll have to find it eventually.
Chris: Yeah. Just like I’m still trying to find a link between Richard Will-, Richard, Richard Weston, which preceded Daniel Weston, first Earl of Portland, to Mary Boleyn.
Catherine: Yeah, that would be um, related to the king.
Catherine: Well, sister-in-law to the king. He did have an affair with Mary but it’s not... It’s all very convoluted.
Al: Yeah. (to Catherine) You gotta go to the bathroom, or…?
Catherine: Yeah, I need the ladies.
Catherine: And can I, can I trust you here with my handbag? Can you just mind it for a few minutes
Al: I won’t touch it, no problem.
Catherine: Yeah, I know you won't touch it. Oh never mind, I thought I had [?].
Just the boys
Al: Oh, okay. (to Chris) So how long have you and Catie been talking?
Chris: Essentially last mid-July.
Chris: Or, yeah, I think it was last mid-July. We had been talking a few weeks on end of July to mid-August. I kept track of the first twenty days of communication between OKCupid initially, and then we tacked, and then we talked through Skype. Via instant messenger, plus the one time, uh, two times, we, she was able to borrow a microphone for her friend. I believe Sarah was her name?
Al: Ah, I don’t know, I don’t keep track of her friends.
Chris: Well at least I paid attention to the two names that were mentioned. I’m having a hard time remembering the bride’s, the bride’s name now. That’s the other name she mentioned, the bride. I think it started with a B or an I.
Al: [completely bored] Yeah. Eh, you seem like a pretty cool guy. Yeah. I just, if you’re gonna marry Catie, I mean, you’re marrying into the whole family, so it’s just, I figured I’d get it out of the way and meet you now, so. Catie called me up and she needed a ride, so I figured hey, so I gave her a ride here.
Chris: I appreciate that.
Chris: And yes, you can rest assured my family is pretty much wholesome.
Chris: I mean, my fa-, um, my father was 52 upon my conception. I’m living with two senior citizens, well, one and a ha-, one and then one later became a senior citizen, my mother.
Chris: For all my life, so…
Al: So you never, you never moved out of home then?
Chris: Yeah never really, yeah never really moved out of home. Um, one weekend I went to an anime convention and stayed at the hotel by myself. That was kind of fun.
Al: Really, when was that?
Chris: Oh, that was a few years ago. Ah, Anime Mid-Atlantic.
Al: Anime Mid-Atlantic?
Al: So anime is like the Pokey-mon… and the comic characters.
Chris: Uh, anime is Japan animation.
Al: Ah, cool.
Chris: Anything that was originally from Japan of animation. And of course that includes Pokemon. Also includes shows like Dragon Ball Z. And uh, let me see if I can remember a few more…um, Sonic X, um…
Al: But you went to the convention all by yourself?
Al: Alright. So what’d you do there? Did you like, meet other people in anime, or…?
Chris: Yeah, I sort of, I mingled a little bit, um, but I mostly kept to myself, really. Because I wasn’t, cause I wasn’t really as extroverted as I am now.
How the trolls defeated Sonichu
Catherine: [returning] What were you boys talking about?
Al: So where was the, where was the convention that…?
Chris: Uh, it was over in Kroger Hotel in Midlothian.
Al: Oh, outside Richmond.
Al: So you spent the whole weekend there yourself?
Al: That must have been pretty cool.
Chris: Yeah. It was fun. (to Catherine) I was, I was telling him about how I went to the anime convention.
Al: Yeah, he was saying he went to some anime convention a couple years back outside Richmond. He said, um, I was, he was like, “Hey did you ever,” he was like, he never left his parents’ house, moved out from his parents’, so like, and then he mentioned a convention he went to, so, that seems like it’d be pretty cool.
Chris: Yeah, finally I’m trying to remember the name of the bride of the wedding you went to.
Chris: OK. Yeah. I thought so at the time. I’m sorry, I started, thought it started with an I or a B. That’s N Nanette.
Catherine: Yeah, it’s kind of an old name from my family.
Chris: Yeah, and then I remembered Sarah you borrowed the microphone from.
Al: (to waitress) Can I get a refill on the diet Mountain Dew?
Catherine: (to waitress) Um, can I get herbal tea as well please? Thank you.
Chris: And I’ve been talking a lot! Huh huh! S’why I haven’t been eatin’.
Al: Ah, no problem Chris.
Catherine: That’s alright, we’re trying to learn about each other.
Al: Yeah. The whole point of this is so that we get to know each other. So.
Catherine: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah.
Al: But yeah, uh, what were you saying?
Chris: I lost the train of my thought. I was talking about the anime convention.
Al: Um, OK, so what have you been doing since, you’ve been doing artistry, artwork, stuff like that?
Chris: Uh, well, I recently decided to do art commissions for money so I made listings on eBay. Plus also, free drawing of Sonichu and Rosechu artwork that prolly sell as well. I had, I mean, the fan club started as early as 2004. And then the trolls, [Catherine says something] Yes, it was an online club thing, so errybody around the world can become a member of the fan club. And then the trolls joined the fan club and really knocked me for a loop. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t tell the difference between troll/bad person or fan/good person, and so I just opted, so I just opted out.
Al: So basically like, you had this cool fan club and you had this comic book, and then there were a bunch of assholes that basically ran down the whole, basically were assholes.
Chris: Yeah, they even hacked into my web, hacked into my web sites, and then put up all over the place the…lewd…male pictures.
Al: Like what do you mean, lewd male pictures? Like, gay guys and stuff?
Chris: Yeah, and uh, dick imagery as well.
Al: Yeah, that…
Catherine: Why would they do that?
Chris: Well it was like he just said, they were assholes. And they uh, essentially for the sake of hatred as, that was anudder term I learned.
Al: So they were gonna make fun of whatev…Sunny-chew? Sonichu, whatever.
Al: Sonichu. Sonichu.
Chris: And the creator. They found, they considered me to be weak and I was, I was mentally more weak back then but I’ve gr-, I’ve grown more immune and tougher, so.
Catherine: You're good at spotting them now.
Chris: Well, more or less. I, uh, have uh, I’ve grown an immunity to their bad words now.
Chris: Sort of. It still hurts me a little bit. A little bit. But it’s like, I just brush it off.
Al: Yeah. So where, where do these people come from? What are they like? All around the world?
Chris: Yeah, but I think most of them are like, within the United States, like within California. And I…
Catherine: Why California? How did you gain that information?
Al: Yeah, why, why California?
Chris: Well, they, they uh, have initiated, they have made it known to me at some points that some of them were from California. And then also there’s some over in uh, [sigh] I forget which part of Europe. Um, it’s like um, it’s something Great Britain? Uh, I think, uh, India as well, I’m not sure. Singapore…
Catherine: How are you getting all that information?
Al: How’d you find out where they were at, yeah?
Chris: Fan mail.
Catherine: Fan mail?
Catherine: So wait, they were sending you, they, they were sending you fan mail even though they didn’t like you?
Chris: Yeah, yeah that was, they definitely did not like me. They sent me lewd drawings.
Al: So it was like fake fan mail then.
Chris: Yeah, some of it was fake, and…actually of a lo-, actually a lot more of it was positive mail, fan mail. I kept ‘em, I kept ‘em in binders. The fan mail.
Catherine: Is it at your house?
Chris: Yeah. I have most of ‘em. Yeah.
Al: So are you still doing Sonichu then?
Al: Your comic book thing, your…?
Chris: Yeah, more or less. I’m getting, trying to get back into the groove.
Catherine: I think you should do it, honestly. It seems like it makes you happy.
Chris: Yeah it did make me happy, but then I lost, with the trolls coming I lost track of the storyline and what I wanted to do, and then I ended up, as I drew furder I end up falling into writer’s block. And that’s, oh, and anudder thing about autistic people—we’re kind of ritualistic as in, as in we tend to fall into habits of what we normally do.
Catherine: If you got into the habit of drawing the comic you’d probably be able to…
Chris: Yeah it’s like, it’s like, it’s like riding a bicycle. Um, uh, yeah, one time I was able to. It mostly depends on my mood and how I’m feeling. Yeah one time I did manage to get one book drawn in a month. But most of the time it took me more than a month.
Catherine: Do you get distracted or something?
Chris: Uh, yeah kinda, and anudder thing about autistic people, the attention deficit disorder is part of it, as well.
Catherine: I thought they were two different things.
Chris: What’s that?
Catherine: I thought they were two different things.
Chris: Uh, well there’s a l- there’s a lot of things linked to autism, yeah, OCD, ADD…
Al: I suppose one person could have two different disorders at the same time.
Catherine: I suppose.
Al: Or conditions, whatever you call them.
Al: Chris, there are a lot of artists out there in the world, and even some of the greatest artists out there who have published, have millions of fans—they still get criticism. Because with every, all art, there’s gonna be someone who doesn’t like it. And you know what, those artists, they can just ignore the criticism…
Al: …and they keep on publishing. Because even if some people don’t like it, there are gonna be people that do like it.
Chris: Yeah, well, I mean I w- I would have appreciated your input dere, like, five years ago.
Catherine: Well the best thing you can do is just get back on your horse.
Catherine: And show them that it’s not gonna bother you, that they can’t keep you down.
Catherine: That would drive them crazy, and it would get you doing what you love.
Al: Yeah, if there’s something that you can do, with these bullies or whatever can’t affect, and you keep doing it, that will drive them nuts, it will piss ‘em off.
Chris: [meekly] Yeah. Well, I should, well, especially right now I feel like I’m getting the more positive help.
Chris: Uh, inspiration.
Catherine: Positive help is a good thing.
Chris: Yeah. You’re my muse.
Catherine: I’m your muse? I like that.
Chris and learning
Al: You should draw her into the comic.
Catherine: That would be cool.
Al: Make her like a super-hero or something like a jet backpack and like a Batman suit or something.
Catherine: I would love that.
Al: This is like anime and Pokemon, right, like Batman or Superman aren’t really anime.
Al: You could do a parody of Batman or Superman.
Chris: You know there was actually a, there was a DC Universe/Spiderman cross-over, I learned. Where Spiderman wanted to learn, he wanted to learnt to, come into the Justice League, but Batman would not hear of it.
Catherine: I’d love to be a comic character.
Catherine: I think that would be fun.
Catherine: I’ve always wanted to be like a cartoon character or something, like, I don’t know, I don’t know why. But I love cartoons, and I’d love to be a cartoon character.
Al: I don’t really read…I’ve read some of the original Marv-, Marvel comics when I was a kid, you know like Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, stuff like that. So. Not so much anymore.
Chris: I got into, I got into DC and Marvel original TV cartoon shows.
Catherine: Yeah. So do you, I guess you don’t read a lot then, do you?
Chris: Oh I do, I do read, I do read some like, I read that Wikipedia article, the whole thing: “History of Lesbianism in America.”
Al: So you read Wikipedia a lot then?
Chris: Uh, no, not, I haven’t read it often, but I mean, I felt in the mutual interest here. I felt compel-, I felt compelled to, and it definitely was very interesting. I shared what I learned from the page with everyone.
Catherine: Yeah, you did learn from it.
Al: Yeah. So you basically, when you become interested in something, you look up information about it and learn about it?
Catherine: Learn about as much as you can?
Al: So, would you say most of what you’ve learned through your life comes from yourself, do you educate yourself? Or would you say it comes from school and college?
[something about the restaurant is bothering Chris]
Al: Something spicy? You sound like you’re really hot. So…oh, the light.
Catherine: Oh, the light.
Catherine: I guess I’m far enough down that it doesn’t matter.
Chris: Yeah. [stress sigh]
Al: But now you were saying, like, do you learn more from studying things yourself or do you learn more from school?
Chris: I think I think I have learned from studying things myself. And taking the good from life from the bad from what I learned everywhere, and errywhere else.
Al: Taking from the bathroom? What?
Chris: No, taking the good from the bad.
Al: Oh, I thought you said bathroom. I just, I didn’t understand you there.
Chris: [sigh] That’s the perception right, right there. Individual perceptions.
Al: OK. But you said taking the good from the bad? What were you going to say?
Chris: You take the good from the bad and then you put it in your own common sense and ideals, and then you figure out what’s best from all, from all perspectives there.
The eBay business
Al: Yeah. So. So do you, you said you get paid for these comic commissions, right?
Chris: Well, there’s, I’m doing drawings…
Al: Art commissions, whatever.
Chris: Yeah. I’m doing it on eBay. I’m charging like, twenty bucks for an autographed photo cause I’m so famous. And I do fifty dollars for a commission I draw fully, like with a background and foreground characters and everything.
Chris: But I don’t color it. And then for a hundred I will color it in. And then for two hundred, I’ll give a certificate of authenticity hand pers-, personally hand draw-, hand written, and then I laminate the piece and frame it.
Al: So have you been getting a lot of business, then?
Chris: Um, I’ve done a good amount, a fair amount of business. [Chris is still bothered by heat] I feel like I wanna...
[Part four ended]
The eBay business CONTINUED
Chris: ...say dang that lamp! Huh huh!
Al: It’s pretty hot? But…
Catherine: Let’s see about the air conditioner.
Al: Yeah. Yeah. It is a little bit warm over here, yeah.
Al: So, do you do art just because you enjoy it, or is it just like a money thing? You know what I mean?
Chris: Well, well I do it for mostly for my uh, for when I feel inspired and my, kinda, and my…and help me feel a little better, yeah.
Catherine: So, is it passion, or is it more a business?
Chris: Yeah, I’d definitely say it’s more of a passion. When I, it’s like, when I get to the drawing stuff and I set my mind to it, I definitely get in the zone. But also, you know, I’ve had a good deal of repeat customers. I give them a small upgrade on the drawings and you know, the second time around they go, “I paid fifty dollars for a black-and-white, I’ll buy a color.” Or for the uh, color, I’ll add lamination and the certificate. No frame.
Al: So Chris, you said you’ve got a pretty decent amount of business. Are they…fans of your comic book?
Chris: Yeah. Yeah, it was, I was really happy in the beginning, like uh, last, like, last July, throughout, throughout the month. I started, I think I started like the end of June, when I put all that onto the Ebay. Yeah, it was really pouring in, and maybe over $2000 a month.
Al: That’s pretty good money.
Chris: Yeah. But then, but then uh, the [?] went down, and interest kind of slowed down a little bit, so I didn’t make, I’m not making as much this month. Yeah.
Catherine: Why do you think the interest went down?
Chris: Um, essentially because everybody got a piece of me now, between a photo or some hand drawing.
Chris: And then for an international cus-, customers, you know, outside the US, ‘cause they have to pay a little more, I’ll give them a single character drawing, where I just draw a character.
Catherine: Oh that’s nice of you.
Chris: Yeah. Or you know, I could, I could also draw like some, I could draw like headshots of their friends or celebrities. Like, this one time I just drew of, this was recent, I drew a friend of this guy who looked like uh, he was bald and had a big beard and everything, he…[the waitress arrives]
Waitress: Can I take these plates for you?
Chris: I think I’m, I think I’m good too.
Waitress: You sure?
Chris: Yeah, I feel sure.
Al: Chris, you want the uh, quesadill-, quesadilla with barbeque?
Chris: Nah, I don’t think so.
Al: Come on.
Chris: I feel pretty, I’m not gonna make me…I’ve been dieting myself, and I feel full. Well at least I feel, you know…
Catherine: (to waitress) Thank you.
Chris: …satis-, I feel, I feel satisfied.
Chris: I mean, it’s not growling and I’m not, and I feel like I’m nearing full, so I don’t want to go overboard.
Catherine: Oh. Yeah, that’s a good thing.
Chris: I mean…
Catherine: So you care a lot about staying in shape.
Chris: Uh, a little bit, yeah. I take a walk daily.
Catherine: Oh that’s good.
Chris: Yeah at least like um, half an hour or so.
Catherine: Well that’s good. So do you walk about your um, shop over here?
Chris: Yeah. I take, I take laps around the Target. It’s air conditioned in there and uh, so it’s a better neutral place for any weather.
The Apology Letters and Rings
Catherine: Well that’s good. Did you get those letters sent that you told me about?
Chris: What letters? Oh, oh, yes, yes, the letters to…
Al: [clears throat] Excuse me.
Catherine: Have you gotten any response?
Chris: No, I haven’t gotten a response yet.
Catherine: That’s a shame.
Chris: Uhhh, I was banned from like, two stores. Uh, well…
Al: What happened?
Chris: Well in Fashion Square, right over here…
Al: Oh, the mall?
Chris: Yeah. They uh, I made loud outbursts and plus it was, it was like the early days of my Sweetheart Search, in early 2000 [?]. They thought I was soliciting. But I was not.
Al: What were you doing?
Chris: Yeah, yeah, I was, I was trying to meet people the best way I could. Before I was still very shy and paranoid. I had this, I had this idea in my head about every woman being paired up, and I didn’t know how to tell a difference aside from a wedding ring. Oh this is my father’s wedding ring, by the way.
Al: Oh, I didn’t know that.
Chris: Yeah. I’ve been hanging onto it since he passed away. The reason I had it in like the, 20th anniversary Optimus Prime figure behind the grill, but since the fire and uh, he had a little bit of melting, it was like, what if it had left this, what if it had gotten worse and I couldn’t have gotten the ring out?
Chris: Yeah, and this is my class ring. The class of 2000. And that’s my birthstone, amethyst.
Catherine: That’s pretty!
Al: That’s pretty badass.
Catherine: Did you know, this is uh, in the old days, you know, like way back in the 50s, if the boy and the girl were going out, the boy would give the girl his class ring. That’s how they, that’s how people knew that they were together, because she was wearing his class ring.
Al: Yeah, that’s right back in the 50s and 60s.
Catherine: I mean, my dad was really cheesy, and it was in the 60s that my dad did it for my mum. [?]
Chris: Well, I’ll tell you what, give me some time and, maybe I’ll let, maybe I will let you wear it.
Catherine: Oh, that would be sweet!
Catherine: That would be so sweet. I’ve never had jewelry from a boy before.
Chris: Really, you never had jewelry before?
Catherine: No, not from a boy. I mean, I’ve had my own, but…I’ve hardly got anything on at the moment at all.
Catherine: Just my earrings, and [?].
Al: Too damn hot to wear jewelry, really. [belches]
Catherine: Oh, right, that sounded like [?]
Al: Oh yeah, I’m fine. I just got a big stomach.
Chris: I have a [sweet?] too, you know, you know the big reason why men belch is because, because they’re stressed. I know exactly [?], yeah.
Chris: What happens is, I just belch so loud, and I’ll [?], it just sounds as if I’m throwing up, I’m not.
Chris: Yeah. Quite bad.
Catherine: I’ve never heard that stress leads to belching.
Al: Yeah, people have different reactions to stress. So. So Chris, how, how old are you exactly?
Chris: I’m 32 years old. Pisces, February 24th.
Al: OK. So you, after you said you went to Manchester…
[waitress asks about dessert]
Catherine: Um, I’m fine about dessert, and you?
Al: Ah, I’m, I’m pretty good, yeah. Chris, do you want anything for…I’ll get you something if you want.
Chris: Uh, no that’s OK, um...I guess you could bring another sweet tea.
Catherine: Thank you.
[waitress brings checks]
Catherine: Thank you.
Chris: You know, I think we’re OK on that.
Duct Tape Wallet and Math Skills
[pause as everyone deals with the checks]
Chris: (to Catherine) I like that. I think that must be like a 3DS case.
Catherine: Oh, no, it’s a wallet.
Chris: Oh, it is a wallet.
Catherine: [?] Yeah, I got it from uh…
Chris: Yeah, it looks big.
Catherine: I don’t even remember where I got it from, probably a friend’s house.
Al: (to Chris) Did you build that wallet yourself?
Chris: Oh yeah, inspired by the Mythbusters. [clears throat] Excuse me. Uh, yeah, Mythbusters, uh, in the very first duct tape special, Adam shows off his wallet made out of duct tape, and that’s what inspired me to do it. I based it off of a wallet I was using when I…. And…
Catherine: Does anyone have any singles? I haven’t got any singles with me.
Al: Ah, I can loan you a couple. Damn, Chris, how long have you had that wallet?
Catherine: Oh my goodness, that’s falling apart!
Chris: Eh, well, it’s, it’s infinitely…
Al: [interrupts with a question for Catherine about the bill] How much do you need? Three?
Catherine: I think I’m gonna leave a tip, so it’s three, four…
Al: Three bucks…I got, um…I got some quarters.
Chris: Yeah. Me too.
Catherine: Oh no, wait, I found a dollar.
Al: Oh, OK. That’ll work.
Catherine: That works.
Chris: Eh, I’m trying to figure out my tip now. One-three-six…
Al: [interrupting] So what do you usually tip? Is it 10%, 15, 20%?
Chris: Yeah, yeah, I figure fifteen, I figure fifteen percent. I can do percentages in my head fairly quick.
Chris: [mumbling about the tip math]
Chris: Yeah. I’d say 68 cents…well…well, round up by a nickle. So 73 cents and then uh, the dollar, that total brings it up to six bucks.
Chris: That’s anudder good thing, that’s one good thing about autism, we uh, do fairly well in our mental [cognitives?] Uh, I’m fairly skilled…math was one of my favorite subjects.
Al: So you did pretty good in that in school, then?
Al: That’s pretty impressive then. I mean, ‘cause you said, you’re what, high-functioning autistic?
Al: So you did pretty good in math in your regular classes, then?
Chris: Yeah. I’ve uh, yeah I’ve got-, I’ve gotten like As and Bs a long, a long time. I’ve been on, I was on Honor Roll throughout middle and high school. Made the Dean’s List at PVCC.
A Futile Discussion About Getting a Job
Al: So you went to college at Piedmont, Piedmont Virginia Community College, then?
Chris: That’s right. [?]
Al: So do you have a degree from there, or…?
Chris: Oh yeah. Yeah. I got a degr-, I got a degree and a certif-, and a certificate for Computer Aided Drafting and Design.
Al: So do you get a job from that then, or…?
Chris: [pause] Jobs were scarce.
Al: Yeah. So you just never really found one in that area, then?
Chris: Plus I’m on uh, plus I’m on income, so, if I got, so if I got a job I’d have to make like up to $900 a month.
Al: So wait a second, you said you’re on income? What, what do you mean?
Chris: Sssocial Security.
Al: Oh! So you’re on welfare, then?
Chris: Yeah, because of my…autism.
Chris: Knock in the head, that’s the old brain problem, there.
Al: Yeah. Well that sucks, man, so.
Catherine: Oh well.
Al: My understanding that, what, what type of Social Security, is it Social Security Supplemental Disability income, then?
Chris: That sounds, that sounds right.
Al: Yeah. Well I actually worked with a guy at Wal-Mart one time that was getting that as well.
Al: I don’t know if he had autism or something, but it may have been something similar to that. And he worked there, and the thing is, is he got, he could only work a certain number of hours a week. I believe it was like 25. Because with that you can work a certain number of hours, but as long as your income from the job doesn’t go above a certain amount…
Al: …you still keep all the Social Security income.
Chris: Yeah, plus I had, yeah, I had so many inputs here and there and everywhere, I just, I just uh, couldn’t really get into the….I, I, I tried applying a number of times, but I never got a call back.
Catherine: Well that’s just the way it is, I mean.
Chris: After my, my mom and I, we get moved back into our house, I’ll, I’ll look for, I’ll go applying…
Catherine: What stops you doing it now?
Al: I mean, you don’t do anything aside from the, what were you saying, going for walks and the comics…
Respect for the Elderly
Chris: Well, I’m take-, I’m taking care of my mom. Also. Yeah, ‘cause uh, she needs, ‘cause we need each other, essentially. Um, well she needs me to uh, help, help keep her, help do things for her sometimes…
Catherine: (to waitress) Here you go.
Chris: OK, yeah I got the uh, tip. Bring me back six dollars, ‘cause I had, only had a twenty.
Al: So Chris, if your mother’s uh, disabled then, uh, shouldn’t she, shouldn’t she be put in like a…elderly home, or…?
Chris: [interrupting] Oh, oh no, we’re not, we’re not doing that. They treat, they treat you very badly in there. She, she would, she, she, she would never want me to put her into a home, and I would not do that.
Al: You’re just very independent, then?
Chris: Fairly, yeah.
Al: Yeah. My, my uh, grandparents were like that too, they just never, on my dad’s side of the family, they just never wanted to be in a home. So.
Catherine: Yeah, I understand that. You just want to stay in your own home as much as possible.
Al: Well still, though, it can be dangerous. Like at the end, their eyesight started failing, and their bones, my grandmother, she slipped and she got, she broke her, her pelvis. Towards when she was, when she was older. So, it’s just, you gotta look out for your mom’s health, you know what I mean?
Chris: Yeah, I had, yeah I definitely have lots of respect for my elder. Respect for the elderly.
Catherine: So she can’t even be without you for four hours. [?]
Chris: Yeah well, well she can be without me, she does, she can can do OK by herself, but it’s like the uh, few things, and I’ll never know when they’re gonna come up. But yeah, I w-, but yeah, after we get moved back in, ‘cause if we, if we, if the house has, if the house could get up and to be finished any time, they’re actually getting started on that now.
Catherine: So the rebuild’s going really well.
Chris: Yeah, it’s, yeah, it’s, yes, it is progressing.
Al: So, there’s gonna be a place for you and Catie to live, then.
Chris: Oh yes. It’s a big house, uh, about three rooms wide, two rooms…thick?
Al: Do you, do you know the square footage?
Chris: Um, no, not really. I’d say, the house uh, that we’re renting right now is about two-thirds the size of the original house. And plus we have like uh, back porch, but uh, that’s still cluttered. My mom and I, we really need to unload a lot of stuff, so we’re gonna be sorting through everything we got boxed up and…
Al: So, what’s…I mean, if you need to unload it, what’s stopping you?
Chris: Uh, it’s pretty much uh, my mother’s input, ‘cause…lots, there’s lot, she has a lot more stuff than I do.
Al: So, she doesn’t want to get rid of it.
Chris: Yeah, for some uh, reasons or whatever. It’s like, she’s got, she would, she’s got like, mountains of fabric, ‘cause she thinks she’s gonna get back into sewing and whatever.
Catherine: She could make some money doing that.
Al: She could, yeah.
Catherine: If she started a business with that, she could make some money.
Chris: Uh, yeah but she’s still like, lack of energy. She only gets like, a certain number of hours of energy per day.
Catherine: But if she’s doing her own business, she could uh…
Al: Do it at her leisure, yeah.
Catherine: …only do it when she knows she can, so if she says, you know I need this, you can say I’m afraid I can’t do it.
Al: I just, I wanna make sure if Catie’s gonna be moving in with you, I’m concerned….We’re blood. She’s my family.
Al: So I wanna be sure she has a safe and clean location to live.
Chris: Yeah, I, I, I would like her to be, to move in with me, if she feels comfortable with that.
Catherine: Someday, maybe.
Waitress: Thank you.
Catherine: Thanks very much.
Barb and her family
Al: So Chris, you said your mother needs to be taken care of, I mean, are you the only one? I mean, isn’t there anybody else in the family who could take care of her for you?
Chris: [sighs] Errybody else on the Weston side of the family is...
Barb and her family CONTINUED
Chris: ...pretty much close minded to her nowadays.
Al: Are they assholes?
Chris: Yeah, essentially, I would say, I would say that, yea. They uh, yea she grew up in Red Oak. She was born in Red Oak, Virginia and uh, within the Weston family there they spread rumors about her. Sort of things like, she’s a slut. That sort of thing.
Catherine: What would make them say that?
Al: Yeah, why would they… talking bad about someone in your own family, that’s just like harming yourself.
Catherine: That’s just bullying.
Chris: Yeah, I would say either their assholes or they’re just stressed with their own lives. If they would do it when they were younger I would definitely say “assholes”.
Al: Was it just misconceptions or rumors?
Chris: Yea, I would say definitely misconceptions and rumors. Uh, even, even Cole who was born of my mother there uh…
Al: Oh yea Cole, that guy you mentioned earlier.
Chris: Yeah… uh anyway, he’s got a chip on his shoulder against my mother as well because uh, of things that he’s been told about her from things, from the relatives, and his father in law, even his birth father.
Al: Wait. Cole, your mother is his mother too, right?
Al: That’s mother and son.
Al: And he doesn’t want to take care of her when she’s sick?
Chris: Yea, he’s like, he just doesn’t wanna do a thing with her.
Al: What’s he been told? What are these people telling him?
Chris: [sigh] Yeah, well my mother, she could tell it better than I could.
Catherine: I mean, did he tell you at all? It seems like something brothers would talk about.
Chris: Well, uh, well actually all of my half-siblings are all distant, cuz I was child when they were all adults.
Al: There’s an age gap there.
Chris: Big age gap.
Al: So that makes it harder to communicate with them then?
Chris: Yeah, even more difficult when they don’t even give you the information themselves and you have to try to look it up on the interne- through whatever and then you, then you send em a letter or email multiple times and then they don’t respond.
Al: So wait, you didn’t even have their contact info, you had to look it up online?
Chris: I had to look up Cole’s information online, uh, from my father, he had two children Allen and Carol. Allen is a, a alloth- an optomologlist [meaning ophthalmologist] in Chestfield County. David Allen Chandler, doctor. Anyway he lives over in ??ville. My father knew that, he did. umm… as for Carol, he, we have no idea where the Hell she is and Allen would be able to know where she is definitely and Allen still doesn’t want to do a thing with me or his mother in law here.
Al: So, how long has it been since you’ve been in touch with him?
Chris: Well, my, well, my father and I before he died uhh, earlier summer two thousand ‘leven, we tried to find him at his house, where he’s living at but they were out. They might have gone on vacation uhh we had an idea, we had an idea ?without any notice? but we had uuuh had like a couple of gifts for Allen and his family cuz he got married, has a daughter named Savannah.
Chris: Yeah, so anyway, uh so we left the presents with their next door neighbor.
Al: So you drove to their house then or wherever they live?
Catherine: Just drove there and they weren’t there?
Al: What did you get for them, what presents?
Chris: My father had like this stained glass bird he wanted to give that too Sava- yea the gifts were for Savannah really. Yeah he wanted to give her the stained glass bird and for a little while I collected Squinkies.
Al: Squinkies? What’s a Squinkie?
Chris: They’re the cute little animal-type plastic squishy things. You can put ‘em on pencils or pencils and pegs and they’re like, they're like little various characters...
Al: Oh like, those little erasers you put on the end of pencils sometimes.
Chris: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but these are not erasers.
Al: Oh, they’re like decorative.
Catherine: I never even heard of that ????????
Chris: Yeah they came out like within the past decade.
Catherine: I guess, yeah I would’ve been overseas then.
Al: So there’s no… your father’s side of the family there’s no… on your mother’s side of the family there’s nobody either?
Chris: Nobody on my father’s side of the family, they’re all old as well. And pretty much my father, he has siblings but they’re all half siblings as well and he never really got close to them either, they, they never really got close to him.
Catherine: So you and your mom really don’t have much of a support network.
Chris: Yeah, kind of up a creek with a wing and a prayer… [pause] I didn’t want to say without a paddle, because we did sort of have a paddle so that’s why “with a wing and a prayer.”
Al: That… that sucks man.
Catherine: Yeah. That’s terrible. I mean, we haven’t always been close but at least we have family.
The Game Place incident
Al: So what are your long term plans, I mean, where do you see you and Catie five years from now?
Chris: Well, hopefully uh, more organized and all that and uh… definitely would like to be married.
Al: So are you gonna be living with Catie then or are three going to be living with your mom?
Chris: Yeah I think, uh, I think uh, i think we’re uh, all going to be living together. Yeah cuz I don’t want to leave my mother behind. I’m sure all of us will be living together.
Al: So do you plan on doing this Sonichu thing, comic book thing or continue with the art?
Chris: Yeah, I’m thinking I am going to continue with the art.
Al: So have you thought about getting a job at all though? I know the economy's bad right now.
Chris: Yeah, I’m gonna apply… I’m apply for a part time job after uh, yeah after we move back in, uh but I guess part time, I guess I might be flexible. I might try beforehand but I'm still not certain about that when the house will be completed.
Chris: And we have to move everything back to the house - we’re renting a storage unit as well.
Al: You don’t have like a, like with the applications for job checks or anything, one of the things that can make it harder is if you have a felony on your record. I mean, you don’t have any crimes on your record, do you?
Chris: [sigh] No, not really, but the trolls...
Al: You never got arrested or anything like that?
Chris: Yeah, my mother and I we have been arrested… upon a trap set by, set by the guy who pressed charges against us.
Al: So was he one of the trolls then, or one of these internet bullies?
Chris: Yeah I say he was among the trolls I say everybody and the police around here are amongst the trolls as well. I mean, it’s not confirmed but my mother and I we end up speculating there.
Al: So was it these...
Catherine: So you and your mom both think...
Chris: It’s the impression we get from, from, when we were talks with the police while we were under their custody at the time, or when we were going to report something, like we reported the trawwwllls and their ? have been going on and nothing got done.
Catherine: There’s not always a lot they can do about that. What made you think, like apart from that, what made you conclude that trolls were in the police?
Al: Yeah, what made you think that the cops were trolls?
Catherine: Yeah what had you...
Chris: Essentially it was within the attitude and the signal- the body language and subtle signal.
Catherine: The attitude and body language, like how so, what specific?
Al: Were the police not very professional then?
Chris: Yeah they were not, they were not very professional, they’re more brutish - more like shoot first, or arrest first, beat ‘em up, ask questions later.
Catherine: You got beat up by the police?
Chris: Yeah we both did that time.
Al: So were you physically injured? You could’ve sued the police if they abused you.
Chris: Yeah we were completely injured, my mother was too.
Catherine: What happened? Did you break a bone, did you need stitches?
Chris: Uh... no bones were broken, but they broke my glasses.
Al: Well that’s still damage to property, it’s not physical injury, but, so did they pay for your glasses then?
Chris: Uh [sigh] no, we, my mother and I we were already going through our own stress from the court dates and everything. Fortunately we got settled, we got stuck with a felony charge, mother and I, but that’ll be cleared up next June or July.
Catherine: Next June, so do you have a court date?
Chris: Uh, I don’t think there is a court date, I’m not sure.
Al: When was this? What happened?
Catherine: Yeah, when did this happen?
Chris: Yeah this was October 2011. [pause] Michael Snyder, the Game Hobby place I had been banned from there cuz Michael hated my guts April 2008 and uh he was definitely a total asshole.
Catherine: How was he an asshole to you?
Chris: He was just very mean, uncaring, he wouldn’t even give service when I went in one time before that, that just, uh ask him OK everything's past everything and he’s like “no” he’s like “no” and he was gonna call the police on evidence so I left.
Al: So wait a second, you went into the store one time and you talked with him and what happened?
Chris: Yeah, I tried to reason with him. Like I was like uh [sigh] I had it audio recorded and I uploaded it for the reason I had at the time...
Al: Wait a second, why would you record it and then why would you upload it? Where did you upload it to?
Chris: Well, because I, because I [pause] well it was because, you know, so I could prove Michael was as mean as he was. Had he had not been mean I wouldn’t have uploaded it at all, but I mean it was audio when I had a digital camera in my pocket and it recorded the audio.
Al: And when was this?
Chris: Uh this was like um, two thousand nine, or ten.
Catherine: OK so it was a few years ago.
Al: So he was just basically an asshole?
Chris: Yeah he was just, it was like every time it was just like every time I got half way through sentence he was just like “nope.” rah blah blah blah “nope” blah blah blah “nope.” Just a minute, “nope, nope, nope.” bipbipbibpbip “nope” -
Al: So Chris, that was in two-thousand and ten then?
Chris: Nine or ten I don’t remember exactly.
Al: And you said you got arrested in 2011.
Chris: Yeah because it was a trap essentially. My mother and I, we were in that part of town and we saw a sign on a store window that said “under new management” so I figured Michael was gone, right, but no he was the new manager of the place now and he had the police on call, ready right there at the people, at the Staple’s store to, to be like witnesses and everything and mom and I we tried to make our escape but they, but nobody would let us and then like, Snyder paid the police, told “beat the crap outta ‘em and arrest ‘em!” something like that.
Catherine: He bribed the police?
Al: Why would he do that? Why would he hate you so much?
[pause for obnoxious birthday song in background]
Al: Why would he do that? He sounds like a really cruel guy?
Chris: Yeah, he was really cruel.
Catherine: How’d you find out he bribed the cops, did somebody tell you?
Chris: Yeah, well, pretty much my mom figured it out, essentially and you know it’s like com- it’s like common sense to put two and two together and he figured that he would profit from me and my mother, he thought we were rich but we were not so rich. We had- it was a lot of money we had, but Mr. C, my father had left us and it paid the court and lawyer fees.
Al: So what were you charged with then? I mean, it sounds like you didn’t really do anything.
Chris: Yeaaa we were charged with trespassing.
Al: Well you mentioned a felony too. It doesn’t sound like trespassing would just be a felony.
Chris: There was also uh… There were...
Al: You said you tried to make an escape, did you run from the cops?
Chris: Uh a bit… yeah.
Chris: Yeah, they were blocking, they were try to block our path out but we made it out but then they cornered us at the nearby court building in the back parking lot, behind the building.
Al: Chris, I’ve had to deal with cops myself, and I’ve gotta say, you never look forward to dealing with the cops but they’re still the police. You gotta treat them with respect. Even if you don’t agree with them you still have to show respect.
Chris: Yeah… that’s…
Al: It’s just important to do.
Chris: Yeah, that’s still the process I’m trying to get to. ? uh giving the good from the bad from and I’m still seeing bad in a lot of ‘em because with the bribery and everything they can be corrupted. Cuz you don’t know what’s going on in their heads.
Catherine: You realize that if you find actual evidence, like if you could actually put a case together for that you can sue them and you can...
Al: Yeah, if they slip up and you get evidence that they’ve been bribed or that they maltreated you...
Catherine: You could get the charges dropped and it’ll be off your record completely and it’ll be like it never happened.
Chris: Yeah but... yeah…but that hardly… My mother thought that at one point but we we’re so stressed and everything we couldn’t really act on it.
Al: It can be hard to find evidence of that, yeah.
Catherine: It can be hard, but if this is all true, if this is really what happened then goodness knows what else has been happening.
Chris: well... yeah, yeah.
Catherine: So you could be able to help a lot of people if you did that.
Al: Yeah if the police around here are acting like that you might not be the only victim. They could be doing that to other people.
[Part six ended]
The Game Place incident CONTINUED
Al: What happened then, did you get a felony on your record, or…?
Chris: Uh, yeah, ‘cause uh, there was a little bit of a…yeah, I mean we, there was a bit of a fight on the way out and…
Catherine: A bit of a fight?
Chris: Yes, yeah, something like, and uh, Snyder, he pretended to be like hit by our van, but he did not, but the van was stood still. He like hit the bumper and faked falls. Twice.
Al: Wait, he what?
Chris: He stood in front of our van. He did not want us to leave. And he pretended to be like, he got hit by the van. He kicked the bumper and faked his falls.
Al: So he walked…so the van was not moving. It was, he walked up to the van and then like, fell back?
Chris: Uh, well, he stood there like uh, shoot, what was that uh, the, the general who, Stonewall Jackson!
Al: The Confederate general.
Chris: Yeah. Like stood there like [stupid voice] Stonewall Jackson! Yeah. And then, like I said he…I’m not going to repeat myself, I’ve repeated enough times. He hit the bumper and fell.
Al: Yeah. But yeah, so basically he filed a bunch of charges against you then?
Al: And the cops helped him out?
Catherine: Did you have a lawyer?
Chris: Yeah, we had Rob Bell.
Catherine: I don’t know him.
Al: So how…
Chris: Yeah he…
Al: Who’s he?
Chris: Uh yeah, he’s uh, he’s Rob Bell. And he’s an attorney. Uh, I forget what he specializes in. His office is in the downtown mall area. Uh, he ran, he ran for Congress. He’s a congressman among there. Um, but the way he handled our case, he was kind of like being, he was kind of like chicken about it. I mean, it’s like, yeah it was like…
Catherine: How so?
Chris: Like, he was, he, he wouldn’t, he wouldn’t assert us very well in the way he presented everything. Uh…
Catherine: Like what was his, what was his argument? What was his defense?
Chris: Uh…I don’t remember all the details. Um, um, but mom, but yeah my mom’s had more observation of Rob Bell than I would, than I was able to.
Al: It, it sounds like you were innocent, [Chris: “Yeah.”] so were you found innocent then?
Chris: Uh, well we, well, he advised us and we went along with it to plead guilty. Yeah and then, and then all the char-, and then, uh, pushed us to multiple trials. We uh, had the, uh, shoot…the… First you go, you check in with?
Catherine: Parole officer?
Chris: Uh yeah, but indirect. We did not have to have a parole officer all the time so we just checked in with the person who was helping us there, being the parole officer.
Catherine: It’s usually a parole officer who [?].
Al: Yeah. So how long did you spend in jail then before the trial?
Chris: Uh, yeah, we spent overnight in jail from like, seven a.m. to like, three to six…I mean, seven, seven to nine, it felt like it was from seven p.m. to the following, uh, three to six…
Al: But it was overnight. So it was like one day?
Catherine: It was overnight, [?].
Chris: It was like overnight, but I was really upset. I was, I mean, when you upset an autistic person it’s just really bad.
Al: So were they not, did they not know you were autistic then, or did they not care, or…?
Chris: They did not care. And, and I…
Catherine: How did you know that?
Chris: Uh. Uh, I couldn’t really think of it, I was just too darn upset. They were arrest-, they were arresting my mother and all I could do was just scream.
Catherine: [?] your fault.
Chris: Yeah, they, I didn’t, I ended up try-, I could not find peace while sitting in that jail cell, and not knowing where my, where my mother was and everything. Nobody would talk to me in there, and for hours, while I was stuck in there, so stuck in there, because there was no clock anywhere in sight. I actually thought it was like 7:27 pm on Friday, October 27th.
Catherine: That sounds really terrible.
Al: Did you sleep at all?
Chris: [stress sigh] After we got back home late, after we got back home then, in the morning, yeah.
Al: So you stayed up all night?
Chris: Uh, yeah. Yeah, I was just worried, worried, worried.
Chris, Catherine, and Barb, united in holy matrimony
Al: So did you have anybody who helped you, or…? I mean you said you don’t keep in touch with your family, so who…?
Catherine: Did you have anybody in your corner? Anybody helping you?
Chris: Uh, well, yeah most, well there was one, yes, that’s my uh, Aunt Harriet and Uncle Tom. My mom talks to her weekly nowadays, at least every Saturday.
Chris: And uh, that’s pretty much it, uh, they haven’t uh, they haven’t invited us over to their new condominium.
Al: Oy, where do they live?
Chris: Yeah, they’re living in Richmond, in Chesterfield County there.
Catherine: Oh, that’s not that too far away.
Al: So maybe, maybe what, could your mother maybe she could move in with them…?
Chris: Uh, we don’t…
Al: And you and Catie could live together. Would that work, or…?
Chris: Uh, no, because uh, we do not know their address and they have not invited us over. All we have from Harriet and Tom now is their phone number.
Catherine: Haven’t you even been by for a visit? How long have they been living there? You say it’s new, so…
Chris: I think it’s been like uh, one, two, three years, at best.
Catherine: OK. So…
Chris: Yeah, but anyway, but anyway…
Catherine: I’m just not sure how I feel about…I understand you’re close to your mother, but I don’t know if I want to be married and also doing that. Does that make sense?
Chris: I feel that makes sense but uh, I don’t think…
Catherine: Because it’s not an usual arrangement.
Chris: Yeah. Uh don’t, I don’t think you have to worry about that.
Catherine: You don’t?
Chris: Yeah I don’t think so.
Catherine: You mean you don’t think it would be a problem?
Chris: I don’t think it would be a problem.
Catherine: So like, I mean like, what if we one day had children? There would be children in the house.
Chris: Well, we would be in the big, we would be back in the bigger house long before then.
Catherine: Oh yeah yeah, no, I’m talking about after that, after you’re back in your, your real house. Like what if we have children, there’s children running about? Would your mother be able to handle them?
Chris: Yeah, she would be able to handle them. She’s been able to handle the dog-, our little puppies, our dogs.
Catherine: Dogs aren’t children, though.
Al: Yeah I mean, you said that she was having only a limited amount of energy every day. Are you sure that she could handle a couple new kids?
Chris: [stress sigh] Yeah, I’m sure she could handle children.
Catherine: Has she, have you talked about, is this something you’ve talked about?
Chris: Yeah, we, yeah, we talked about it before.
Catherine: What did she say about that?
Chris: Uh, she said, she shed she’ll be, she’ll be able to help out.
Chris: Yeah she’s just, I think uh, what really eased her, ease her to be able to stay awake longer is motiv-, is the motivation and the drive and she’s been feeling a lot better because I’ve been more happy lately, cause of you.
Catherine: Well that’s good.
Al: So she, she knows about Catie then?
Chris: Oh yes.
Catherine: What, what all does she know about me?
Chris: Um, I showed her your photographs. Um, I told her you were part Scottish and Italian. Told her a bit, told her a bit about your father and stepfather. And uh, about your mom. I, uh, just went into that detail there and [?] and everything. I’m not, I’m not gonna go furder because I don’t want to upset you.
Catherine: OK yeah, cause I’m not sure. I mean eventually she will find out that…
Catherine: I just don’t know how, it’s like, it’s like [?] about tomgirl/lesbian thing.
Catherine: So it’s sort of…in due time, I think.
Chris: Yes, in due time. Everything in due time, but I did tell her a lot of things that we shared, talked about.
Catherine: That’s good. And she’s, she’s happy with that?
Chris: Yeah she’s happy and she’s…
Catherine: I know for a bit she was a little bit concerned because she’s, she’s afraid I was going to take you away.
Chris: Uh, no no no, I don’t think so. Yeah I think, if anything, she would, well, hm. I don’t know yet, but I def-, I definitely would not leave her behind if we moved into a new house.
Catherine: OK. You must be really attached to her.
Chris: Yeah but, it’s not like, it’s not like Bates Motel or anything like that.
Catherine: What’s Bates Motel? Oh, that…
Al: What the hell is Bates Motel?!
Chris: The movie Psycho.
Al: Oh, like the Alfred Hitchcock.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah and they also made a TV series based off that, of before his mother died.
Catherine: Oh, I haven’t seen the show.
Chris: It’s on Netflix. Check it out sometime.
Catherine: I’m scared of everything, so.
Obama, Anna, and the trolls
Al: Yeah. Uh Chris, you said earlier that I was one of the males that you get along with well?
Chris: Oh yeah, it’s like I don’t get along with most males around the world originally, and I have a little like a few male acquaintances, friends, that I get along friendly well with, and I have to respect the president. Uh, and I guess pretty much to say, my mind, my mind is fixed so far. I voted for Obama both times.
Al: So why’d you vote for Obama? What made you decide?
Chris: I, well, it’s like you know initially the first time he ran against uh, sh-, I forget his name.
Chris: Oh yeah, McKinney. Yeah, I would have, and I would have definitely voted for Sarah Palin if she had stayed in the running. But anyway, uh, I felt, I’ve watched both a-, both A&E biographies of McCain and uh, Obama, and with the way he was uh, raised and everything, in uh, poor countries and at distant from his parents and whatnot, I f-, I kind of felt like um, with my mental stabil-, with my mental problems and whatnot, I felt like I could similarly relate to him? I felt more related, felt more relatable to him in that sense than McCain was. As he was the, uh, prisoner in that other country he insisted, he did not want to be released early. He wanted to go out with the r-, with as s-, at the same time as errybody else. Uh I mean, that is, that is admirable [he pronounces this word all wrong].
Al: So why’d you vote for him the second time then? Did your uh, did your reasons change, or…?
Catherine: Or was it just the same thing?
Chris: I’d say it was pretty much just the same.
Catherine: You felt you related to him more.
Catherine: So is that like, is that like a continuing thing for you, like you have to feel like you have to relate to an authority figure?
Chris: Uh, not necessarily all the time, but I felt like uh, if I wanted, if I felt like I wanted to make sure that I had good reason to decide from the change and having a first black president. Aside from that, cause if I had done that, if I had done it on just that alone, that would have been racist.
Catherine: I suppose that makes sense.
Al: Yeah. So Chr-, who else do you hang out with? I mean, aside from males, girls, do you have any friends?
Chris: Uh, I don’t have too many friends. Uh, I have, I have gal-, I have two gal-pals, uh, female friends, uh, yeah one of which lives in Utah. That’s Anna. And the other one lives around here with her boyfriend Philip, that’s Kim. Uh, but we don’t hang out much. Well we do talk like over instant mess-, over instant message for, and emails.
Catherine: Well that’s good.
Chris: Yeah. Plus I have uh, Anna’s phone number, so I call Anna [all] the time.
Catherine: Well that’s good.
Catherine: [?] talking to you as a friend, like?
Chris: I feel like, I feel like it is important for me to have friends, but because of, because uh, uh, yes. I’m…yeah, but, yeah, for the past, since 2007 I’ve been, and definit-, kind of since two thou-, since after the trolls came in, it definitely has gone downhill for me. I became more paranoid of people now.
Catherine: Yeah. And you were a little bit paranoid of me for a bit.
Chris: Yeah. And I feel better.
Catherine: Yeah, [?] real now.
Catherine: OK, good. I didn’t, I didn’t want to upset you.
Chris: Yeah, you’re not upsetting me. Uh, in fact, in fact you’re doing the opposite. The only thing that’s upsetting me right now is recounting the uh, some of the past times.
Catherine: I’m sorry.
Chris: That’s OK. I mean, it’s, I mean as long as I can find a punch line to go out good with, that pops up random in my head.
Catherine: Well if it pops up you let me know.
Catherine: [?] to me.
Al: Yeah, so Chris, how did all these trolls or internet bull-, how did it all start?
Chris: [sigh] Because I uploaded whatever I felt like onto the internet, essentially Sonichu and Rosechu and I had a, before then I had a Pokemon website cause I was more interested in Pokemon at that time, plus also I was a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog since Genesis. [dumb voice] SAY-GAH!
Al: So they just saw all your artwork and then they were just like, hey, let’s fuck with this guy?
Chris: Yeah. That’s, they saw my artwork as childish the way I drew. Anyway yeah, that’s a word association—you mentioned the fact of Genesis, I’ll say, SAYGAH!
Catherine: Word association.
Early video games
Al: Yeah. So you play a lot of video games?
Chris: Uh yeah, I played a lot of video games.
Al: So do you have any favorite video games, or…?
Chris: Uh, some, uh, yeah, I definitely like the, uh, I definitely like uh, anything with Sonic in it, but, but my favorite Sonic game would have to be Sonic CD.
Al: Cool. So how long have you been playing video games?
Chris: Uh, pretty much all my life. My father also raised me on video games also.
Waitress: Would you like more drinks?
Catherine: No, I think we’re probably [?]
Chris: Yeah, I think we’re good, thank you.
Catherine: Sorry, I didn’t mean to [?].
Al: Yeah. So he introduced you to video games?
Chris: Yeah, he, yeah, shortly before I was born the Commodore 64 computer came out, and he bought it and got it for me. The monitor, the keyboard, the whole hard drive in that, and the floppy disk drive, even the printer.
Al: So what’s your first video game that you remember playing?
Chris: Uh, I can remember, I can remember a few from the, amongst the floppy disks I had, there was a Muppets video game, and uh, Ch-, and the Peanuts Charlie Brown video game with, about letters. And uh, and then among the floppy disks there was also Pitfall, Q-Bert, uh, Pist-, uh, Piston P For-, uh, Formula 1 Racing, um, and then there was a Donald Duck video game that I lov-, that was kind of delightful.
Al: So how old were you then when you started playing? About six, seven years old?
Chris: Uh, yeah, musta been like, uh, I’m gonna have to say as long as I can remember. Um, maybe at least one or, maybe at least six months to a year or two.
Al: From when you started school, or…?
Chris: Uh, started playing video games, started on the Commodore 64.
Catherine: At six months?
Chris: Well, I don’t know. I don’t remember, it was soooo long…
Al: Wait, a year old? Like, you can’t even walk at a year old, dude.
Chris: Well, maybe, well, OK well, maybe, well, OK well…
Al: Maybe like two or three years old?
Al: It was a long time ago.
Catherine: [?] you started to say, [?]
Chris: Yeah, that makes more sense, one or two. Two or two.
How Chris conquered autism
Al: So you, when did you find out, when did you find out you were autistic?
Chris: Oh yeah, it was wr-, about within the first two years of my life. I said my first word, “monkey,” at about six weeks. I was trying to say “mommy.”
Al: That’s very impressive.
Chris: Yeah, and then I, and then I came up with new words as I went and uh, then I just finally stopped talking at about a year and a half.
[Part seven ended]
How Chris conquered autism CONTINUED
Chris: Yeah, and then I, and then I came up with new words as I went and uh, then I just finally stopped talking at about a year and a half. And my mom was very, my mom and dad, especially my mom was very, uh, what’s the word I’m looking for?
Al: Wait, you, you stopped talking for a year and a half?
Chris: Nah, I stopped talking at one and a half years.
Catherine: So you [didn’t…?]
Catherine: Is that common with autistic people?
Chris: Yeah that’s one thing that’s common among autistic people. Yeah they either, yeah they stop talking and they probably like never talk again, or like my mom had all her positive influence and whatnot, never stopped hugging me.
Catherine: What sort of positive influence?
Chris: Yeah, hugging. Love. And like, you know, floor time, playing with me.
Catherine: Yeah, that would do it.
Chris: And talking to me. Ah, I started talking again at seven.
Catherine: Sounds very devoted.
Chris: Yes. Very devoted, they both were.
Catherine: That’s good.
Al: So they, they knew you had autism, then?
Al: So, uh, what did they do, like what sort of treatment or special stuff did they do for you aside from just like, loving and caring for you?
Chris: Uh, uh, I don’t remember exactly.
Catherine: Did you have any kind of therapy at any point?
Chris: Oh yeah we went to, we went, we went and saw, we saw people; we went up to the Coogi [?] rehab center. Krugi? [Neither Chris nor I know the name of this place.]
Catherine: I don’t know [?].
Al: I don’t, I don’t know.
Catherine: I haven’t been here that long.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah, and I’ve been, I’ve uh, learned about robotics and computers there as well. [Catherine: “Hm.”] Yeah, that must have definitely been after two years old. Uh, I think I was three, four, or five when I went to, went to…Krugi.
Chris: Yeah, and uh, went up to, and then also sessions over at James Madison University.
Catherine: OK, since that’s a different sort up there.
Chris: Yeah, yeah, and a few times over at UVA as well.
Catherine: Well that’s good.
Al: Well yeah, I mean, obviously you’ve learned how to talk, so that’s good.
High school years
Al: So do you still talk, you said school was pretty rough for you growing up. Do you still keep in touch with anybody from school?
Chris: Oh yeah, oh yeah, I tried to get in touch with my gal-pals in high school. Uh, high school, the best years of my life there. My, my closest gal-pals were very nice to me, very good. But then I found out that they were hired to be my protectors because my, my father had set up with the prin-, uh the principal and uh, and uh, [sigh]. Lost my train of thought.
Al: Hey, well your father had, your father had what with the principal?
Chris: Worked, you know, talked with the principal. Set up…friends for me to hang, for me to hang out with.
Chris: And, and like, you know, protect me from bullies.
Catherine: Were you bullied really bad?
Chris: Uh, I was bullied a few times, yeah, considerably, uh...
Catherine: So it must have been really bad if your dad went to that length.
Catherine: If he thought that that was what he had to do. I mean, how bad was it? What happened?
Chris: Uh, uh, well, it, comments made, there was kids who were teasing me, shouting, “Sonic’s dead.” As in Sonic the Hedgehog.
Chris: Yeah. And uh, then there was this one time on the regular school bus in my freshman year…
Chris: Uh, I got beat up by, I got beat up real bad, kid punched my glasses off. He wanted to be the first off the bus.
Catherine: Was that, he just, he just pushed you and [?] your glasses off?
Chris: He, he like, like…
Catherine: Punched you in the face? What happened to him? Did you tell on him?
Chris: Uh, yeah, I did tell on him. I’m sure he got punished, I don’t know exactly, but anyway…
Catherine: Well for something like that…
Al: He just punched you in the face for no reason?
Chris: [gets agitated] Well there was a reason: he wanted to be first off the bus!
Catherine: Well that’s, if something like that happened now, somebody would be, you know, get all kinds of detentions and stuff.
Catherine: But nobody did anything?
Chris: I’m sure somebody did something. I, I feel certain he got punished. But any, but anyway, yeah, uh, broke, knocked, knocked a lens out my glasses then as well. Ugh. But anyway, the sad part for me is the remaining years of my, the remaining high school years, I had to go there on a handicapped bus.
Chris: [stress sigh]
Catherine: Why would you do that?
Chris: Because they feared, uh, they feared, uh, me getting bullied by somebody else on the bigger bus.
Catherine: So they just… That seems like an extreme action.
Catherine: Was that your parents’ idea or was that the school?
Chris: Uh, my parents idea. I believe my father’s. Uh, but I, but I feel like it was the worse idea cause I ended up sitting, I ended up being randomly, ah well, I don’t know if I’m… Depending on how he felt, there was this very mentally challenged guy who was a little bit taller than me. He was like “bdeh, bdeh, bdeh, bdeh, bdeh.” [Chris blows three raspberries.] He had an older brother that helped him out. But, yeah, but he often one time just whapped me on the back of the head. A few times he did that.
Al: So you rode on the bus with him?
Chris: Uh, yeah, I rode on the handicapped bus. So.
Catherine: Did you have any classes with him [?]?
Chris: I had no classes with any of, with anyb-, with anybody on that bus.
Al: So he would hit you in the back of the head for no reason?
Chris: Yeah. Yeah, for no reason.
Catherine: That sounds awful.
Al: That’s awful.
Chris: I would, I would tend to think uh, it might be, from his perception, of maybe something like uh, [dumb voice] “Hey, high five! I said high five! This guy’s head is a bit like a fist so I’ll give him a high five!” Whap!
Al: He just didn’t understand.
Catherine: He didn’t understand.
Catherine: I guess that can’t be counted as bullying then, I don’t think, because he…
Al: Yeah, he didn’t understand what he was doing.
Catherine: He didn’t know better. Yeah, you can’t hold that against him.
Chris: Yeah, I’m not, yeah, I w-, I’m not, I’m not gonna hold it against, I have not held it against him then except for the fact that it hurt.
Chris: But his fath-, his brother told him that and made sure he understood and then, and then he stopped, but I still felt very uncomfortable sitting within that radius of him.
Al: Yeah. So what made high sch-, you said you were bullied a lot; what made high school so good?
Chris: Yeah, I got bullied a lot less in high school.
Catherine: So then what made high school so [?]?
Chris: And then, and then I had my cl-, and then I got to have my closest friends in high school, my, my gal-pals.
Al: But who were they?
Chris: Uh, yeah I can name them: Kellie Andes, Miranda Mitchell, Sarah Bevel, Tiffany Gowen…uh, for God’s sake, I can’t, uh….Did I say Kellie or Miranda first?
Chris: Uh, Miranda Mitchell. Molly Quarles.
Catherine: OK. So that was your, like, group of friends.
Catherine: But didn’t you say that something happened and they all decided [?]?
Chris: Yeah, yeah, it was like, yeah it was like, it was like sometime after graduation. Yeah, we got separated, uh, and then I found, and then I found most of them on Facebook.
Chris: And I tried communicating with them, but then they replied, it’s like, uh, they didn’t want to do a thing with me, and then this also ended up being a factor after the trolls came in and made a mess of my once good, made a mess of my good name.
Catherine: So, what do you think the trolls had to do with that?
Chris: Oh yeah, yeah, like uh, yeah they found out, they got to them first and told them everything, everything about, everything from their perception that was considered bad about me.
Catherine: What did they tell them?
Chris: Oh, I’m sure they told them like, [deep voice] “Christian’s gaaay.”
Catherine: But if you’re a lesbian, then technically that would be…
Chris: Well no, yeah maybe, they didn’t, it was, they, they were mislabeling me as a, as a male homosexual there. Or otherwise that I was just plain stupid. Well anyway, then uh, all the things that they blackmailed me, tricked me into doing, I went into some of that with…
Chris's history with the trolls
Al: Blackmail? Do you have…?
Chris: Yeah, like, like I had my Playstation account on, in their grasp. Under the troll…
Catherine: Did they hack it? Your Playstation?
Chris: Yeah they hacked, yeah they hacked it.
Catherine: So wait what, and then what happened? Like, what did they do with that?
Chris: Uh, they uh, ended up giving it back to me sometime, but I never realized I got to call Sony and then uh, reset, uh, get them to reset everything and then I get back in my…
Al: Reset the password?
Catherine: Reset the account.
Chris: Yeah. But they also, the, the trolls, they also changed the email address associated with the account, so that was a big, that was a bigger screw in the hole.
Catherine: That’s quite a lot of effort they went to.
Al: So, why would they…they’re that, they wanted to fuck with you that bad?
Catherine: They’re that dedicated to messing with you?
Chris: They’re OK with messing with me, messing with him, messing with her, everybody they see as weak, cause they’re all stuck, they’re all stereotypically stuck in the basements of their house with their mother, with their parents being all overweight or whatever, yelling, shouting at them and everything, when they got all their high-tech equipment set up, and they just wanna fuck with errybody.
Catherine: So have you, like, met these people, and that’s how you know they’re like that?
Al: Yeah, how’d you find out who they are?
Chris: Well, I, they pretty much revealed themselves.
Catherine: Oh did they?
Chris: Yeah, and uh, I’ve actually met a few of them in person. Once, once or twice.
Catherine: Really? How did you, how did that happen?
Chris: Well one was had like a set-up, uh, where, with a f-, where I thought I was gonna make a, I thought I was gonna make a new girlf-, a girlfriend there. My father was with me that one time. But it turns out there was a camera recording, and hiding from somewhere else recording everything that was going on in that conversation.
Chris: Yeah. And then uh, then this other guy came in dressed in a pickle costume!
Catherine: A pickle costume? That’s funny!
Al: A costume?! Why would he be dressed in a pickle costume?
Catherine: I swear I was looking at you, that’s just so absurd.
Chris: Yeah I know it is absurd.
Catherine: Why a pickle costume?
Chris: Uh, because early, early in the s-, early in the Sonichu comics, uh, I drew Sonichu eating lunch with Rosechu. He uh, he was eating a sandwich, he was eating a sandwich and he had pickle, it had pickles on it. Uh, it was like, “I hate pickles!” Ungh!
Catherine: And that was it?
Al: So, this Sssonichu character hated pickles?
Chris: Yeah, but I made it clear more recently that uh, he was allergic to pickles.
Catherine: OK. And that, and that…
Al: Like, some people are allergic to peanut butter? Your Sonichu character in the com-, your Sonic guy is allergic to…
Al: Why did you make him allergic to pickles?
Chris: [stress sigh]
Catherine: Why pickles?
Chris: Yeah, because, because I don’t like pickles either.
Al: Oh, OK.
Chris: Uh, I tasted them and I’m not really fond of the taste. I like cucumbers, though. I guess it’s more the pickle juice that…
Catherine: I suppose it’s just the pickle [?] preserving process.
Al: Yeah, what they do is they get cucumbers and they put vinegar in it to make…
Catherine: Vinegar and other [?].
Al: Yeah, yeah, other preservatives to make the pickles, yeah.
Al: So. But no, um, you were saying, uh, so why’d they break off your gal-pals? Why did they break off contact with you after high school?
Chris: Uh, they did, they just want, they just did not, they just essentially did not want me being happy at all.
Chris: No, I had not done anything to them.
Catherine: So why did they, like what made them change their minds? Presumably they were fond of you in school, like they liked you or something.
Chris: Um, well I’d say everything that the trolls told them. Um, but I think, I would say the trolls, they hated me initially, but then they wanted to find more stuff to hate me with, so they sent me emails and whatnot, uh, on the internet. Internet communications, since two thou-, since 2007. And uh, and I answered some of their questions publicly on the, I had a wiki-style website, Wikipedia-style. Not Wikipedia. It was called…
Al: Cool, so you had your own Wikipedia then?
Chris: Yeah but I, it was just…
Catherine: Like a famous person.
Chris: Yeah, it was called “CWCipedia,” cause my initials C.W.C., Christian Weston Chandler. Saying the initials it sounds like the word “quick.” Zzzt!
Catherine: Like Sonic is quick, yeah.
Catherine: So you had your own, what happened to your website? Is it still up?
Chris: No, they hacked it. And I just, I was like, they kept hacking it, and I was like, I was tired with it, I don’t want a website anymore.
Catherine: So you just gave it up?
Chris: Yeah and I, and I shut, I shut it down, pulled the plug.
Al: So you just gave up and let them win?
Chris: [stress sigh]
Catherine: That’s sort of sad.
Catherine: You let them win, then that shows that they can bully you.
Chris: [stress sigh] Well I was s-, I was, that was years ago. I think it was like, 2008 or 9 that I pulled the plug on all the websites I had.
Al: That was a while back, yeah.
Catherine: So, you could probably do it again, though.
Catherine: Just to show them, like to get up there and show them that you are proud and that you are strong [Chris: “Yeah.”] and they can’t pull you down.
Chris: Yeah, it’s like, you know, even when I try to make a new relationship, uh, especially among the theoretical rex-, exes I had, I still could not tell which was which…
Al: Wait, what do you mean, “theoretical ex?”
Chris: I was saying we never met in person. And then we communicated essentially online.
Al: So theoretical ex is like, fake ex, or…?
Chris: Uh, it could be fake. But it’s like, uh, it’s, it’s a theory: I’m online, I’m talking to a woman, and then, likely, probably, on the udder guy’s [?] of a woman it’s a dude…pretending.
Al: Yeah, that’s not cool.
Catherine: Yeah. That’s, well obviously I’m not a [?] woman, so…
Chris: I’m very happy about that.
Catherine: Excuse me, I’m burping a bit.
Al wants Chris to get a job
Al: Yeah. So what, looking to the future, um, so your plan is pretty much move back into your old house and maybe Catie can move in, and…?
Chris: Uh, yeah I think so.
Al: So, how are you gonna take care of, uh, Catie then? And your mom? How do you, what’s your plan for that?
Chris: I think we, I think we’ll be able to pool our resources and, and finances, and do good. I know that doesn’t sound so swift, even I’m feeling that, but I mean, I just feel, I just feel like uh, we’re, we’ve been getting along very well and I don’t want to be alone forever.
Chris: And, and you know, couples do work better together as a team, pool everything, you know?
Al: Well Chris… [lets Catherine speak] yeah.
Catherine: I think Al is just concerned cause our family is so traditional.
Chris: Yeah, that’s understandable.
Al: It’s just, you know, you’re marrying not just her, but you’re marrying into our whole family.
Al: And we have high standards.
Al: And you need to take care of my cousin well.
Chris: I’ll sh-, I’ll take care of her the best I am able.
Al: OK. And if you, you just need to show her some respect and take care of her, and I’m not sure, I don’t know you too well yet. Right, so…
Chris: I, I promise you I will show her a lot of respect and I will do my best to take care of her.
Al: OK, well. We’ll see then. If you can prove that to me then you can prove that to me.
Catherine: Don’t be such a hardass.
Al: Oh, well, yeah.
Chris: It’s alright, I mean, I understand. I’ve seen a lot of the si-, I’ve seen a lot of the type on the, uh, telly.
Catherine: He’s just looking out for me.
Al: Oh yeah, if you, if you can treat her with respect, and you can maybe get a job, bring in some money, or continue this art thing?
Al: Cause, it’s just, I think, eh, Cate would be happier if she was with someone who was doing something productive.
Chris: Yes, I…
Al: Kind of like, getting into the art, maybe start up this comic thing again?
Al: Or maybe get a job and stuff like that?
Chris: Yes. Yes I will.
Al: Because when some people stay around the house too much, you know, it’s too much time to get, like you’ve got to get out and like, do you take walks?
Al: Like sometimes, when I was living with my mother and my brother and stuff,...
[Part eight ended]
Al wants Chris to get a job CONTINUED
Al: ...I would go to work as a way to get away from them, you know?
Al: Just have some stress-free time at work, so.
Al: But yeah.
Chris: I understand.
Attempt to escape
Catherine: (to Al) What time is it? We’d better go back to the mechanic’s before they close.
Chris: It’s uh…
Al: Yeah what time…?
Chris: It’s ten after three.
Catherine: Oh it’s ten after three, yeah they close at 4:30.
Al: OK, well we’ll, we’ll wrap it up here in a few minutes, so…
Catherine: Yeah. Because they’ve got, they’ve got my car, I gotta find out what’s wrong with it.
Al: So Mr. Chand-…
Chris: OK, OK yeah, so they got your car over there.
Catherine: Yeah, that’s why Al had to drive me.
Chris: Oh that’s OK. I can, I can…
Chris: Where, where, where, where was the mechan-, where, where is the garage then?
Catherine: I’m not sure.
Al: Uh, we don’t know the…you don’t know the street address? No, we don’t, you, we don’t have the street…
Catherine: It’s, it’s in your GPS, I’m not sure…
Chris: Well, OK, well I’ll, I’ll just, I’ll follow y’all.
Catherine: Well I’ve gotta go, he’s got…
Al: It’s a pretty long way to the mechanic’s. So.
Catherine: Yeah, it’s, it’s near my place. You’ve gotta drop me off and then I, he’s gotta go back home for work. I’m sorry.
Catherine: Mm. I’m really sorry.
Catherine: If I had my own car…
Al: And this is, and the date here has dragged on a little longer than we thought.
Chris: Well that’s OK, I mean, I like, I like, I like talking. Conversing.
Catherine: OK. And I’ll see if I can make rye bread for you.
Catherine: Two weeks?
Chris: That’s on the thirteenth.
Catherine: That’s two weeks from now, I’ll try and see if I can make sure that [?] walking dogs and uh…
Al: Well you can always talk with Catie over Skype, right?
Chris: Yeah that’s, that’s another thing, I, yeah, did wanna get her, I did wanna help her out by getting her set up with a, um…
Al: Yeah now do you have like a webcam or is it just a audio microphone, or what?
Chris: Uh…[apparently whips it out] I have an iPhone.
Al: Oh, well you use Skype on an iPhone. So.
Catherine: Yeah, you can do that.
Catherine: I’ve got it on my computer at home. But I’ve actually got a, a phone line. I’ve got unlimited text now. So.
Chris: [surprised] Oh you did?
Catherine: Yeah, I got, I got an upgrade, so I’ve got unlimited texts now.
Chris: Oh. Hm.
Catherine: I can give you my number if you want it.
Chris: Oh yeah, give me your number.
[Part nine ended]
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