Yesterday I rode in the USAC vehicle headed to the Pocono, PA area and the drive was over 10 hours long. That may seem like a long while, but for myself it's a day filled with a feeling of normalcy.
I had a chapter in Finding Kansas about travel and how much I loved it for the fact that, when in a vehicle, things are different. For one, socializing with random people doesn't happen. Secondly, everyone is a captive audience over a prolonged distance which makes the understanding of timing easier to understand. Timing is one of the biggest things I've struggled with but if I feel comfortable with those around me and I understand their usual speech patterns it makes it easier for me.
And this is the thing; I've traveled great distances with the same people now over and over and each time it gets easier and easier for me. One person told me, "Aaron, I never would have suspected you had Asperger's." This comment always leaves me with an odd feeling as I must be doing something right but I feel I am just me.
Another thing that makes this easier is the fact that we are all race fans which gives common ground to talk about. It is so important to have a common ground as, for me, I feel it gives a wider margin of error. Margin of error? Yeah, I'm in a fortunate spot right now because when I'm at the race track I have plenty of people that know about racing and don't mind hearing me go on, and on, and on about the topic. At presentations it's the same thing about the autism spectrum; the audience, teachers, or whomever I am speaking to doesn't mind hearing me go on, and on, and on.
This all is why travel has been so important in my life going back to when I was little. The annual drive to either Panama City, Florida or Gordon, Nebraska from Indianapolis was 1,000 miles and to most kids this is a daunting time but the drive was my favorite part of the trip. I don't know how I would have handled the technology we have today in terms of DVD players and the like as the ride itself is where I learned about the world and started learning the are of conversations. I always was inquisitive as to how the world works, whether it was the logic of road signs and the colors, mile markers, and any of the millions of things a young child can see when traveling across the country.
Today things are different; the questions aren't asked, but the time traveled is just as important. The title of this post is, "mile after mile or normal" which to be honest I don't know if there such thing as "normal" but that's the feeling I have when traveling. In a car on the interstate everyone is the same, everyone is strangers; just a traveler amongst travelers trying to reach his or her destination wherever that may be. I find this concept so beautiful because, after my diagnosis, I felt at a major disadvantage and became overly aware of my social shortcomings but in a car on the interstate? All were equal!
This weekend will be another USAC .25 race and when the all the races are over and the final checkered flag is flown it will be time to pack up and head back to Indianapolis and then onward to home in Saint Louis and once again, on this journey it will be mile after mile of normal, no, mile after mile of growing.