Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finding Kansas Revisited: Quest, and two others


Quest

          This chapter came to me in a flash and an interesting sequence of events set my brain to come up with this. It was June 10th, 2006 and was a Saturday. My dad and I had planned to go across the river to Illinois and watch the midget races at Belle-Claire speedway, but also that night the Indycar series was racing at Texas Motor Speedway and was always one of the better races of the year. We decided to stay at home but before the race started I entered this free poker tourney online. Thousands of people entered, close to 8,000, and the top 18 people won a prize for free. Hours went on and I remained, and when we got down to about 50 people I didn’t have many chips left and I was dealt pocket 10’s. I pushed all-in and I came up against pocket aces. If you don’t know poker this meant I was dominated and I will only win about one in eight times. After the flop, or the first three cards of five that come out in Texas Hold ‘em, I was even in worse shape as an ace was on the board. I now only had a .1% chance of winning the hand and that was if two 10’s were the next two cards and sure enough the impossible happened and I stayed in the tourney.

            Later on there were 19 people left and I was in 10th and I was dealt two aces so I went all in. This was a bad move because whether you got first, or 18th, the prize was the same. I should’ve been patient but this guy, and I still remember his username to this name, called with two duds of a card, but he won, I was eliminated, and I sat there in shock. Then, out of nowhere, this chapter popped into my head. It was an impossible sequence of events and if just one thing had been different the ultimate chapter of not just Asperger’s but perhaps what it means to love, wonder about love, and to be human never would have been written. As you can tell from my lead in I remember this chapter extremely well. If anything, as other chapters were building the groundwork for my future, this was the sending off party.

            In this chapter I don’t shy away from my fears, I don’t make mincemeat of the issue, and I tackle the subject of love head on. A person can change a lot in a decade and in my future books I explain a lot more about love.

            When I started out on this chapter I was afraid I was going to state, “it is impossible for me to love” but I hit a major point that is my belief today that the emotion is so powerful that I try to deny it. I wish I could skip ahead to my 5th book and the views I share in that, but without the context it wouldn’t work.

            At the end of my presentations I sort of give a nod to this chapter. I don’t state the word love, but I state that, “anytime a tragic event happens with the autism spectrum there will be misguided experts that get on the news and proclaim that people on the autism spectrum ‘have no emotions and are incapable of caring.’ Never listen to them. We have all the emotions in the world and that part of our brain where we experience to where we express it is like a clogged interstate with more accidents and brick walls than you can imagine, but trust me when I say the emotions are there.”

            Yes, I have grown since I wrote this and this was the dawning of wondering what makes a human a human. What is love? Is it a myth? Is it what the media teaches us? There’s so many confusing messages about it that how can I know that my emotions are normal? And on top of all that, emotions are overwhelming to begin with so how can I be sure I even feel what I feel when I try not to feel? I’m thankful this chapter happened because I don’t know if I’d be where I am without it and not only that, this chapter set off a quest (fitting, considering the title is named the same) that hasn’t ended, but isn’t this what being human is? The pursuit, the chase, the bewilderment? Would this mean that these questions, while stated in a book about Aspergers, is simply normal?

 

Tomorrow Is an Eternity Away

            I mentioned this several chapters back, but it’s rather odd to agree with myself so passionately, but the words within this chapter were true then and they hold true now. I do believe my concept of time is different and this occasionally will come up in the Q&A segment of a presentation. It is a hard thing to explain because what does this mean? Students from 3rd graders to seniors in high school, to even police officers, take notice at presentations and ask, “Aaron, just how good is your memory?” I can be asked a question I’ve never been asked and give an answer I’ve never been given because I can access the memory and it’s like it happened right now.

            This is a gigantic strength and can be a big weakness as I put forth in this chapter and if you have my book this may be another chapter that, at first glance, may not seem all that relevant but the words within that chapter are highly vital and could be a key as to what’s going on underneath if a person can’t simply “move on.”

If I Were Dying of Thirst Would I Ask For a Glass of Water?

            This chapter was inspired by the events of being in Marshalltown, Iowa on the weekend of July 21st, 2006. One side note about that weekend, I had one of the oddest red flag situations on the practice day as deer overran the back straightaway. Deer aside, the stories from that Sunday are prime examples of, “I think therefore you should know” which I didn’t have that quote then, but this concept of not asking for water if I were dying is due in part to, “since I know I need water than you do to!”

            There’s two other examples of this, one was with Greg, the kart shop owner, at a race in Michigan. We were loading the trailer and I was pulling the karts in and he was pushing. We got to the end and my back was against the shelves but he kept pushing not realizing. This hurt extremely badly as I had 600lbs of equipment being pushed into me but I didn’t speak up. I was stuck in “1,000 Outcomes” in that, if I spoke up, how mad would he be?

            Even after I started presenting, I was working a race in 2010 and it was dry, hot, and windy. A perfect combination for dehydration and in a break someone drove by and asked, “Hey Aaron, you need a break?” to which I thought about it and said, “No.” Why would I say no? I needed that water, and my book title prophecy was very much trying to become true, but I said no because since I knew it he already knew it and he simply didn’t give me the water. Several minutes later I broke the prophecy and I did ask for water, but I use this example in presentations to teachers because if I need help then you already need it. As with other chapters this may seem like a simple chapter, but read it again to get under the surface and understand the elements in play.

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