Monday, February 06, 2012
My boyfriend is dyspraxic. When I first met him, I assumed this was a fashionable term for "clumsy" coined by parents who'd decided that dyslexia was a bit last year. As someone always picked last at games, it seemed a bit unfair that they've now come up with a phrase for "can't catch" that actually gets you out of everything but Cross Country (oh, if only they'd told me at school "if you run round this field a few times you'll be able to sleep with people at university not in the Young Conservatives..." Ah well).
But no. My boyfriend is severely dyspraxic. At first I thought it was thrillingly romantic that whenever we hugged he'd fall on top of me, but it turns out that he has absolutely no sense of balance. Or co-ordination. Or where his keys are.
Most of the time, I find this very endearing. Occasionally funny. But not last night.
We were in a Thai restaurant, and my boyfriend and I were eating with chopsticks. Thanks to once having a brilliant Australian-Chinese flatmate I am fluent in chopsticks (but my grammar is appalling). But, after years of practising, my boyfriend isn't - although he's perfectly happy steadily teasing the food from his bowl ("It stops me wolfing it down without a chance to enjoy it," he says, casting a significant glance at my empty plate).
However, his slow-paced manouevering was not good enough for out waitress, who, after a minute descended helpfully. "Do you want a fork?"
My boyfriend waved her politely away.
It's when she came back five minutes later that I got cross. "I'll show you," she offered, snapping a fresh set of chopsticks open and started making hand movements.
"It's very easy - like this."
We shook our heads.
"He is dyspraxic," I said, tightly, noticing that my boyfriend was staring tightly at his food.
She nodded. "Go on, try! You can do it!"
I guess this is the dyspraxic equivalent of asking someone in a wheelchair to ginger up and damn well walk.
Giving up, she returned with a fork, and my boyfriend took it, sadly.
"We're not coming here again," he said.
"Quite right," I said. I was cross that he'd been humiliated, even by someone very well-meaning. But the food was good. My chicken stir fry was excellent and his vegetarian tofu looked stunning.
"Um," He paused and held his fork up. "You don't think this tofu looks a bit like... chicken, do you?"