Toby races through the building
and I’m supposed to keep up.
That’s the way it’s always been.
He gets a two, three minute head start
if I’m helping lift Jean-Paul
or still assigned a lunch table
and if I don’t track him down quickly
and he grabs stuff off someone’s desk,
or marks up the bulletin board
or gets Sophie upset patting her head
then I’m to blame. We do it this way
so other staff don’t have to deal with him.
That’s not fair for you to say my boss would tell me
and I suppose she’d be right. Nowadays,
most everyone treats him perfectly okay
and if they do get upset it’s because
they feel it’s not fair to the others
who do follow the rules, or because
they have more than enough to deal with already.
So I use the TPS – the Toby Positioning Sensor –
and ask which way did he go? And walk quickly
down the hall through the cafeteria and into FLS or PLS,
back through the kitchen and towards the conference rooms
and when I find him I smile and say, when you’re ready…
we can brush your teeth. Usually I get him to do
three out the four things by the end of the day.
Last week Toby heard “I Can See Clearly Now”
on the boom box in Practical Life Skills
and shook his finger and rocked his body
and sang gonna be a bright, bright, bright
sunshiny day… in his own way.
Later he disappears and I find him again
in front of the boom box, doing
bright, bright, bright sunshiny day
and the staff person in the room says, he asked me to put it on,
which cheers me up immensely because
usually people don’t understand what he’s saying
and just go along with him singing “This Old Man”
over and over again. But he can do more than that.