What happens if you keep someone living on the Autism Spectrum (AS) from following their special interests?
I don’t dare speak for all my fellow AS travelers, but I can for me: WWIII
If someone or something is standing in the way of my special interest, for instance, my electric scooters, it would be, more or less, the equivalent of taking a pacifier from an infant, a favorite toy from a child, a cell phone from an outgoing teenager, and the remote control from a couch potato.
I was separated from one of my e-bikes, a charger for another e-bike, and two chargers to my Segway scooters. They were hostages in the backyard shed. How did that happen? My fault. I lost the shed keys.
My last memory of the keys was putting them in my t-shirt pocket some time before I took my bike for a ride in a neighborhood park. Panic immediately set in after my ride and there was no key in my pocket. A possibility was they were back on the park trail. I had taken a tumble at the park on the grass when I took a detour off the sidewalk trail. I didn’t land on the ground but I was bent over the bike for a few seconds.
After running out of places to look at home, I went back to the park with a flashlight. By then it was pitch dark. I was so desperate that I went out by my lonesome! It wasn’t a smart thing to do but my “special interest” – scooters and bikes – were grounded without their chargers! The park wasn’t a ghost town with there being a fair amount of folks still hanging out after dark. Unfortunately, no sighting of the keys.
I messaged a friend to please ask her husband if he had any advice. I figured he being a retired engineer would know how to break a lock. His advice was that the least expensive option to break into the shed was to use bolt cutters.
Since I didn’t have a pair, it meant a trip to the hardware store. Home improvement is NOT one of my special interests. I seldom ever enter such a place. But desperation called for desperate measures! With fear and hope riding in my soul, I took the bull by the horn and dropped in on the neighborhood mega-hardware store.
After desperately roaming around with no sighting of cutters, I approached a middle-aged guy who was busy stocking a shelf. I had to ask him twice before I got his attention. He said I could find cutters in the tool department just passed check-out number 4. I wouldn’t have minded him escorting me, but he didn’t offer and it isn’t in me to ask.
Although the tool department wasn’t as large as other departments, it was big enough for me to feel lost in. So many tools in various sizes and shapes. I browsed the many package labels in search of the phrase “bolt cutter”. I would have been there no telling how long if it hadn’t been for a senior citizen who noticed me and figured I was out of my element.
He asked, “Can I help you?” Music to my ears at the time. He not only escorted me to the cutters but asked what I needed them for. If he hadn’t asked, I would have bought the cheapest of the lot and it would have been for naught. The size of the padlock one wants to break must have a pair of cutters big enough to do the job.
When I got home, I was so tired! Emotionally exhausted! It was no small thing for me to go to a place where I was totally out of my element. And, above all, to ask for help. But I did it because I had to do whatever I could to rescue what the equipment I needed to pursue my special interest!
I felt such relief when one of my brothers broke into the shed with our new cutters. My bike and the chargers to the other bikes were a sight for sore eyes!
I also felt tremendous gratitude for the senior citizen who saw me, didn’t look the other way, and asked questions I would have been afraid to ask if I had been in his shoes.