In the Eyes of a Child

When the usual family members come for Sunday dinner, I hide out in my room playing with one of my adult toys like a computer, laptop, or one of my robots to name a few. My grandniece and nephew leave the dinner table first and dart to MY room. I could say it is because they want so badly to see me, but truth is, it’s the objects of my autistic passions (electronic gadgetry) that draw them to their Aunt’s room. Oh, and they adore me too.

On a Sunday, my 9-year-old grandniece had a curious look on her face when she looked at what was residing in my closet. “You have a pantry in there?” Well, that’s true. A microwave and small oven with food items above on the shelf would qualify as being such. Isn’t that what a kitchen is for? The kitchen is my Mom’s territory. I eat in the bedroom and my meals are completely and totally a solo affair. It’s just easier to cook my meals in my own room.

What really had my grandniece curious than just a food pantry in a bedroom closet was why I just had boxes of cereal and oodles of sodas. I told her I had Autism. She didn’t know what that was and I figured as much. I told her when she learned what the word meant, then she’d understand why her Aunt Sashi was that way she was.

This is another bright side to my Autism. If I was a neurotypical, I dare say it would not be my room that my grandniece and nephew darted off to on Sunday afternoons.

What happens if you keep an Aspie from following his special interests?

I answered this question that someone asked on a website. The question brought all sorts of words to mind. Some I wouldn’t repeat. I settled on:

WARNING – be prepared for WWIII!

If someone tried to keep me from 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.

It is my special interests that are the bright side of living on the Autism Spectrum (AS). I call it compensation for AS’s dark side. If there was a bottle of pills that would take AS away, I would not take them if I had to give up my compensation. I’d give my bottle to those who have AS who are unable to live independently and take care of themselves.

There is an exception. If one is pursuing a special interest and it is a threat to themselves or others, then intervention is a must! For example, I gradually increased my exercising from 6000 to 30,000 steps. This occurred after I bought a Samsung Gear watch that counted my steps. Walking became another obsession and I went overboard. How much? My doctor told me to reduce my exercise because I was losing too much weight. I agreed to rack it down to 8 to 10,000. Most days I stick to that. Most days, that is.

A Tire on the Rocks

The attached picture was my once-beautiful car I had bought only six months earlier than the date this picture was taken. As President Trump often adds to the end of his tweets, “It’s sad”!

This incident is one example, among many, of how I, living on the Spectrum, handles an anxiety hair-raising emergency of my own making.

This happened while I was dogsitting for my brother and sister-in-law.  They moved to their retirement home which is located in a remote area out in the country. It may not be remote to them, but it is to me who has resided in suburbia all my life.  Now I drove all the way from the big city on a major freeway, a major expressway, and an interstate highway, for three and half hours without a hitch.  The same driving back. But my driving score dropped a few notches while attempting to cross my brother and sister-in-law’s backyard. I stumbled with my steering wheel and one of my car’s front shoes landed over the rocks.

I turned over some of the rocks that encircled around a patch of dirt. It used to hold a garden until my sister-in-law gave up since not much grew and what did died.

Did I immediately call for help? I dare say all those people I know, family and friend and acquaintance, would have been on their phone immediately calling their closest kin or neighbor or anyone who might come to their rescue. Not me! I don’t ask for help until it is a LAST resort! I didn’t want anybody to know. At least, not until I got my car off the rocks.

I racked my brain of what I could do to put my car’s tire back on firm ground. I won’t go into all the things I tried because some of my attempts would be downright embarrassing.

Finally, I called my brother since I couldn’t think of anything else and I was truly exhausted. I was resigned that I couldn’t get myself out of this one. My brother suggested a few more things that didn’t work. I asked him if he and my sister-in-law had any friends since they have many more of them than I do. Compared to them, I live in solitary confinement. HA! He called his pastor who promised to come over the next morning.

After calling my brother, I called my Mom and told her my stuck over the rocks predicament. She hollered, “WHAT???” I don’t get into ordinary jams. I often feel like my “oops!” episodes resemble “I Love Lucy” episodes.

Unknown to me, she immediately called her baby brother, my Uncle, who lived about an hour away from my brother. He’s more like a big brother to me since he and I are 5 years apart. When he got out of his car, he could NOT contain his laughter while my Aunt did, at least, in my presence.  HA!

As my Uncle was coming up with a “free-Pree” (Prius) plan, he asked me where my brother’s septic tank was.  He didn’t want to run over it.  I answered truthfully and loudly, “How in the world would I know?”  I wouldn’t know a septic tank if it bit me. I wasn’t raised where cows roam and hens lay eggs.

It took a backhoe, my Uncle’s big pick-up truck, my Aunt assisting with signal maneuvers, two long silver planks, and a chain to free Pree from off the rocks.  My Uncle did need my assistance which considerably raised my anxiety because he was giving me verbal instructions. This is not something I do well. He said things like “Steer to the right just a tad”, well, just what is a tad? I just watched his facial expression knowing that would show if I steered his version of a tad or went over or under one.


Pree’s shoe that took the hit had a bulge in it.  I’m glad my Uncle pointed it out because I would have been clueless about it. I know a lot about electric gadgets, such as computers, because that’s my passion. Auto mechanics is not! If he hadn’t told me the tire was sour, I probably would have needed rescuing again on the side of a road with a blown-out tire. I got it replaced easy enough at a tire place that knows my Uncle really well. All’s well that ends well.

My Uncle told me afterwards he had taken the damaging pictures and already e-mailed them to my Mom. I wasn’t surprised he did that since one of his joys in life is to tease the person who made him an Uncle for the first time. At least, my Mom only showed them to my other brother. My Uncle doesn’t do Facebook or Instagram and so I didn’t have to worry about these photos going out to the hinterlands.

I had taken pictures and texted them to my brother since he needed to see what was going on at the time. Although my brother does do social media, he promised not to post them for all to see. After all, a dog sitter for a home way out in the middle of nowhere is hard to come by.

Just Wondering

Back in my youth, long before I learned I was living on the Spectrum, I would have that familiar feeling of an “alien being” when I saw:

People…

…hanging out with their friends

…going to prom.

…going out with their friends to party.

…sitting, talking, laughing with their friends.

Although I occasionally did such things, except for the prom, I wondered what it‘s like to enjoy such things. After five decades, I still don’t have a clue.