I had 3 days to fret about being on video. It's something I'm going to have to get used to, but I still couldn't calm the nerves.
The day of the taping arrived and I left with Ron Ekstrand, CEO of Touch Point Autism Services, who would be the primary person being interviewed.
We arrived in Columbia about 45 minutes before the time they wanted us in the studio so we stopped at the Chipotle acorss the street. I never ate at one, and never tried any Mexican food at all outside of Taco Bell, but I also had never been interviewed on camera so I tried it. Let me tell you that their hot suace is VERY hot; almost as hot as the jalepeno pepper I bit into at the Big Texan on a $20 bet (I should've asked for at least $100. It was thay bad!).
Walking into the journalism wing (is it a wing, or hall, or what? I don't know anything about college lingo) and finding our way downstairs towards their version of a green room was very nerve-racking. Once we got settled and were told we'd be on in about 12 minutes my nerves started to calm.
The room we waited in had the essentials. There was an overhead projector that was showing what was being filmed right then, there were 4 Apple's (the computer, not food as this was good because my mouth was still burning) with video editing software and what room isn't complete without a Nintendo Wii?
Seeing what was being videotaped helped a lot because it sort of was a prediction tool. I could see what the set looked like, I could see what the host was wearing, and could gauge his style of interview. Quickly, I learned that that my fears of ambush journalism were irrational.
It was time. Sink or swim, stutter or flutter, checkers or wreckers; whatever it would be would be in just a few minutes. The walk to the studio seemed like a mile when in all reality is was just down one hall and at the end of the short hall to the right and down three stairs.
We were quickly introduced and had about 3 minutes to talk with the host before the taping would commence. Mr. Pepper was amazed that I was on the spectrum and when I tried to explain what exactly Asperger's is a stage hand bumped over the cabinet you'll see behind Paul and made a very loud racket.
"Uh oh" I thought, "I'm frozen!" and I was. The noise was so loud and unexpected I could've passed as a human statue. I missed the window that I could've better explained what Asperger's is, and also tell him a quick 20 second summary of my book, but the window was lost at before I knew it he was giving his opening speech.
I knew the taping had begun because in front of me to the left was a clock. It started at 8"00.00 and began to countdown sports style. The show is only 8 minutes and this clock is to keep track. I looked at it once and became transfixed with it so I had to avoid looking at it because watching the tenths fly-by was very visually stimulating. You might be able to see that I never look to my left (your right) during the interview.
Paul went right to me to begin with and I wasn't quite prepared for that question and I started an internal debate while answering that led to me not answering the question. Honestly, I don't know if I did or not or do I know what the question was. The only thing I do know, and I hope the camera wasn't on me at the time, was that I made a quick facial expression at my dismay of fubling the question. Please oh, please don't use that KBIA! I will not watch my interview (I can't stand to hear my own voice. When I hear it, it makes me never want to talk again, "I sound like that?") any how, I will never know if this is on.
The minutes flew by without a second thought. I had to intensely follow the conversation between Paul and Ron because it is hard for me to follow a multiple person conversation. I usually will fall behind trying to piece together what a certain word or sentence meant and I will have no idea what is being talked about right then. Also, I was worried about seeing the monitor or making eye contact with the camera (I know I am going to look really stiff and I wouldn't be surprised if the only thing seen of me is the side of my face!) so I either focused on the host, or some guy that was off stage left.
The conversation flowed onward and then I got asked a question on what I would want to tell parents of those who are on the spectrum. This question was not prepared for and caught me off-guard, but thanks to my fast reflexes I don't think you'll see. I got my points off and said that there are methods and most of all there is hope. I don't use the word hope very often (I never used it once regarding me from about 2004-2009) but from what I've seen in the parent training course of Touch Point there is hope and lots of it!
In an amount of time that was less than what we waited in the Wii room it was over. 8 minutes can seem to crawl by when one is in a traffic jam, but when being interviewed 8 minutes is nothing. Truly, it seems as if it's over before it begins.
I have no idea how I did except of getting the word 'hope' out there. I know I didn't mention this blog, or my book, but maybe this wasn't about me. Maybe this was about hope, and that it is out there and if just one family or parent heard it then I think I'll accept the lack of personal promotion.