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Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Stormy Night in April

After exchanging some texts with Emily yesterday my memory was refreshed and I wanted to share this story that clearly illustrates the, "I do therefore you should too" rule.

In was the middle of the evening in the month of April back in 2002. I was busy working at the video game store preying on unsuspecting customers getting them to buy things they may or many have not needed (I was an amazing sales person. I thank all the years of playing Monopoly). Being in a windowless store in the mall I had no idea of the storm that headed into town.

When it became 9PM we closed and on this night we were out the door at 9:04! This third key manager simply didn't care about accurate close down procedures and I was fine with this because Emily was going to come over and I believe we were either going to watch "From the Earth to the Moon" or play Scrabble.

As I got into my car I could see the lightning to the West and as I got onto the interstate I was truly scared because I have never seen cloud movements so drastic before. The clouds were moving almost straight down ahead of this storm and as I took my exit the bottom fell out of the sky and it rained like I had never seen rain before.

The rain was blinding so my trip was going slow. I had called Emily to let her know when I was leaving work and she said that she would be leaving 10 minutes after I left the store, so I still was going to beat her to my house by 20 minutes.

The rain let up and I started driving at a normal pace, but has I turned onto a road near my house I hit a huge patch of standing water. Instantly I lost all electronics and the engine died. I barely avoided a light pole and managed to stop my car before ruining someone's yard.

This was my first experience with a dead car. You may think that all I had to do was use my cell phone and all would be better, but I didn't have a cell phone at the time.

I was about 3/4ths of a mile so I kept trying to start my car, but my car ignored the fact that I was turning the key. I knew Emily would be getting to my house in 10 minutes so I got out of my car and ran to the road that I first showed her how to get to my house.

As soon as I made it to the intersection where I thought she would be it started to rain just like it did at first. A soaking rain would not give my experience justice as it was a drowning rain. If that wasn't bad enough the sky started having streaks of lightning across it.

Minutes crawled by. "Where is she" I said aloud hoping that my words would be heard by someone, anyone. These roads usually had traffic on them, but with the weather and the time the roads were empty. I walked back into the street to look at my car which was about 1/4th of a mile away and I thought that maybe I should try restarting it.

I ran as fast as I could to my car always looking back to see if I could see her car, but no car was seen so I put the key into the ignition and... nothing.

I ran faster now to the intersection where I expected her and waited... and waited... and waited.

There was no way for me to tell time, but it seemed like I had been playing at the intersection of Wherry and Neosho for longer than should legally be allowed by law. Home was a g=half mile away, but I couldn't bear to leave this spot even though by this time I could not get any wetter from the rain.

Eventually I gave in and figured Emily had a horrific car wreck, or just forgot about getting to my house (she was typically late, but no this late). As I started walking towards home the rain, somehow, became heavier and I was starting to get cold, angry, and irate.

I got close to home and as I neared the crest of Nottingham Ave I saw her black car sitting in front of my house. Emily was at my house, but how? I had a stakeout a police officer would have been proud of.

I climbed the steps and looked into the house to see my mom and Emily having a nice conversation with no worries on their face. I then looked at the clock and saw it was 10:30!

Happiness was not in my vocabulary as I walked into the house and the two of them seemed to not care that I was doing an impression of a dripping sponge. "Does anyone know where I have been the last 70 minutes?" I asked with no response from them.

After explaining my story in detail I found out Emily had decided, because it was raining, to take a different way to my house. "Why?!" I asked, "If you go one way one time one should always go that way!" I was not diagnosed at the time, and I wish I had been and understood this about myself because I could not get over the fact that a different way was taken.

I don't take different routes. If I take a road the first time it will be taken the second, third, and hundredth time. At this point in my life I expected everyone to follow the same rules I did. This led to a heated debate as I could not understand and I became angry vocally towards her because I simply could not understand why she wanted to take the "wrong" way to my house.

An hour later, I was finally dry so Emily drove me to my car. As luck would have it, I put the key into the ignition, turned it, and it started up with no issues. To make matters worse Emily asked me, "Are you sure you were turning the key before?" I didn't respond and probably it was a good thing I didn't.

So that's the story of the storm night in April back in 2002. This story is a great illustration of Asperger syndrome and perhaps I understated the amount of ire I felt that night. Because I didn't have the diagnosis and never thought about it I did think everyone lived by my rules. This story has me thinking on just what my life might look like if I had been diagnosed earlier. Perhaps the negative emotions I felt, or at least the level of them, could have been reduced and maybe my mind would have been more open to the fact that people may take different roads. And then again, why would someone want to take the "wrong" way? Okay, I still don't get it.

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