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Monday, August 8, 2016

Postscript to the Last Three Stories

Each of these last three stories illustrates a different aspect of life on the Autistic spectrum, as well as behaviors that would be completely normal for a neurotypical at the same time.

In Backflop!, there is nothing abnormal about using the high diving towers or even wanting to show off my diving abilities. What is unusual for that age is the single-minded focus apparent in diving again and again until I was able to perfect the technique and then never getting tired of doing the same dives over and over again once I had perfected them. A very high tolerance for sameness and routine in the things we enjoy is a very central part to being on the Autistic spectrum. Most neurotypicals will eventually grow tired of the things they enjoy if they experience them too many times without a break in between. This would seem to apply to almost everything. For example, I like to think I am a fairly good cook. I know I make a mean eggs benedict - we're talking proscuitto, tomato, fresh croissants, copious amounts of rich lemony hollandaise sauce, and capers on top. I usually like to serve this with a nice glass of lemon spritzer or orange juice. Sounds pretty tasty huh?Back when I was married to my second ex, I used to make eggs benedict on weekends, which she and my son really seemed to like - for about a month. After that time, the next time I made it, my ex looked at me and said:

Kay: "Can you please never make that again?"

I know she didn't mean it literally, but she was just that sick of it. As I turned to look at my son, his head nodded gently in agreement with his mom. But I am sure that I could eat eggs benedict every Saturday morning for the rest of my life and never get sick of it - die from heart disease perhaps, but not get tired of it. I have also noticed that I can listen to the same 5 or 6 music albums while I work, every day for months. I kid you not.

The Party, illustrates the most normal aspect of being a teenager; the overwhelming desire to be accepted by one's peers, and how far most of us are prepared to go to gain that acceptance. Most of us will go very far, even if it means snubbing those who are actually more like us than those we wish to be accepted by. I included this story because I just couldn't resist the part about Mike peeing out my 18th floor window, and because it does illustrate that while I was very different from my peers in a lot of ways, there were some ways in which I was very similar in the end. I was not always a victim of prejudice - I could also dish it out as well. I am not proud of that, even all these years later. However, it is how I was at the time, so I have to be honest about it.

Ronnie, Next President of the United States, shows an example of how I can completely fail to recognize that a person is kidding, take them literally, but react in a manner that is not socially inappropriate - a pure fluke of sorts. In this story, I laughed at the prospect of Ronnie being President, which was how most people would react. Yet Ronnie sensed that I was reacting that way for the wrong reasons and decided to pull my leg by pretending to be serious. The rest of the story is really just about three very normal 16 year old young men enjoying a night on the town in an area that is really the stuff of legend now. I hope I described it in a way that lets the reader really see what those streets looked like, and allows them to experience the atmosphere in those bars. It was really quite unlike anything I have experienced anywhere else and it was one of the memories I have of Hong Kong that I have come to cherish oddly enough.

All of the stories so far are very simple stories, but told with a lot of the extraneous details, all of which I remember very clearly, even though many of these stories were of events that happened over 30 years ago. I have always taken my memory for granted, and assumed that it is nothing special. But my partner Steph has told me that this kind of memory is not normal at all. I still remember the first and last names of all my teachers since kindergarten, and she says that this is extraordinary. I'll take her word for it, but I never thought so for all these years. I cannot comment on whether or not this is another aspect of being on the spectrum, or whether it is just one of my attributes.  I still have many stories left before I get to writing about the first of my three lives: my marriage to Lea: I have not yet written about Australia, where I lived from 1983 to 1985, and I still have a few more stories about life between 1975-1983 and 1985-1991. However, the stories so far hopefully give a good indication of who I was and what my issues were as I came up to the night I met Lea on June 30, 1991


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