If you’re living on the autism spectrum like myself, chances are good that there’s been at least one time in your life that someone said to you, “You ought to socialize more.” I’ve lost count the number of times myself. I wonder if being told that has prompted one to become a party animal or close to it. I’m not saying it is bad advice. I just haven’t taken it yet. HA!
A quarter of a century ago, when I was living in the Washingon D.C. area, a friend urged me to go on a blind date. She was so persistent that to get her off my back, I relented. If I had known what I was in for, I would have found some way of stonewalling her.
The blind date lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. We talked on the phone and I learned immediately that he was a Civil War buff. I don’t know if he was living on the spectrum, but he sure had a strong SINGLE interest and it was the War. Although he was a native of one of the northern states, he was a southerner at heart. The way he talked you’d think he hadn’t gotten the memo that the South lost.
With my reluctance to speak up, I went along with our first date being at the Manassas National Battlefield which was pretty much the halfway point between where we lived. In case you didn’t know, this was where the First Battle of Bull Run was fought in 1861 and the Second fought in 1862. It was also the first battle where Confederate General Thomas Jackson would earn the nickname “Stonewall”.
Since we had never laid eyes on each other, my blind date came up with the idea of his standing near the statue of Stonewall Jackson on his horse. That worked because upon arrival, I didn’t see anybody else other than this one fella standing near Stonewall.
We took a hike on this beautiful Virginia countryside. I do mean a hike! I think to this day I saw more of the battlefield than Stonewall did. HA! At one point during the hike, he stopped and said, “I think we’re lost.” I said, “You think?” I was worn out from walking and from saying “really”, “that’s interesting”, or “you don’t say” ever so often while he gave me a blow-by-blow account of both Bull Run 1 and 2.
I understand now with hindsight and a diagnosis why conversations about things I know little to nothing about and have no desire to be educated about is just static noise to me.
Fortunately, he picked the direction that took us back to the visitor’s center. I was feeling a sigh of relief until he said he couldn’t wait to see the film, “Manassas: End of Innocence”. The film was just about to start when we got back to the center. I was not a happy camper of seeing a film of what I had just hiked over. I wanted to call it a date because I felt a foot blister coming on, but I suffered in silence. It didn’t occur to me to use the “I got a headache” excuse.
My blind date at Bull Run ran its course and we didn’t cross paths again. Now he was a nice gentleman. There’s nothing wrong with being a Civil War buff. Or, a history buff of any kind. I’m a big buff on presidential history myself. I truly hope he eventually found a companion. Maybe someone who wasn’t entirely convinced the South lost either.
As for my well-meaning friend, she never even so much as said the words “blind date” to me again.