Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Aspie Traveler: Japan Day Four: The Darkness in the Day


As I ventured into the noodle shop earlier today there was a slight mist falling from the sky. It's good to know that 0% chance of rain in Tokyo means just as high of a chance of rain here as it does home because I've seen it rain on more days at 0% than 80%. That said the mist slowly tapered off when I got back to the hotel but once I finished writing the previous post it was now raining to the point that I was relegated to staying at the hotel.

Staying at the hotel wasn't that bad to begin with. I talked to my mom using Apple's FaceTime and chatted with a few friends over Facebook Messenger. Also, I have a great view of Tokyo from the 13th floor (seriously, still, 13, really?) so it wasn't that bad. Then the dark of night hit. Here? Oh no, not here but rather home.

Try to think back 20 years. I know it's hard because there was no FaceTime, no Messenger, and I'd hate to know what a long distance phone call to here from home would've cost. Technology has come a long way (that was my obvious statement of the day) and with that it has connected us even further than ever possibly imagined. This has made socializing easier for a person like myself because I can socialize when and how I want with people that can be a thousand miles away.

When I'm home I usually have at least one person somewhere that I can chat with via xbox live, Facebook, or over the phone. Even though I am typically alone in Saint Louis I am never truly isolated because, if I want, I can find a way to chat with someone. If worst comes to worst I can hop on a game on xbox and at least here a person. Now whether or not I'll enjoy what that random person is saying (for example if you're playing Halo... Yeah, the word "interesting" or "obscene" comes to mind) is in question.

Now, with all this technology talk what point am I trying to prove? Right now it's 4 in the afternoon and I am alone in a city with tens of millions. All the technology in the world isn't going to help me right now because at home it's well past midnight. Everyone I know is sleeping. It may be light, and raining here, but in my world it is darkness.

It's hard to feel alone in today's world. Some say that with more and more technology we are becoming more isolated and I disagree, at least having Aspergers because I am able to socialize via these means. Are face to face conversations decreasing? Maybe, I don't know, but the ability to share thoughts, ideas, and even emotions have been made possible through the medium of the internet and typed words and right now there's no one to read them.

This is a bizarre feeling. When I went to Amsterdam, the way the hours were, I didn't have this but here, being 14 hours difference, it really is a situation of night is day and day is night and this feeling, right now, takes me back, well, let's say 20 years because even though I'm among other people; I mean I can leave this hotel right now (if I wanted to get soaked mind you) and be among people. However, I can't speak the language and the people here won't understand me. If you've seen my presentation or read my book then you'll know this is how I sort of explain my years in school. 

To be isolated in a crowd, or a throng if you're talking about the population of Tokyo, is an unique feeling and one that, unless you've felt it, is hard to translate. It's one thing to willingly put myself in this situation. I wasn't forced to come here, and I knew that I'd feel more alone than I had in years, and I was right. On one hand I must put the disclaimer out there that it is somewhat of a relieving feeling, but only for a while. The feelings of yesteryear, though, were something that I didn't think I'd feel.

A lot of chapters in my book revolved around isolation. I also blogged about it a lot in my first two years. Thinking of those posts I must state the duality again; when I lived at home with my dad I craved the middle of the night when I could be the only one up. I craved this sense of being alone but I still had people I were talking to online and if something happened I could wake someone in my house up. However, I did feel alone in terms of understanding at that time. I felt no one could ever understand me so I put up very high walls which this creates a self-fulfilling destiny.

In a few hours the sun will set and rise at the same time. As my day comes to a close I'll have a brief time where I will have the ability to say hello if I want, or chat with someone. I've seen ads on tv with the premise being trying to be completely. It off from friends, family, and work. Perhaps this idea has a bit of romanticism in it and seems majestic in nature, but living in the society we live now it's something that isn't as great as it sounds. Yes, the sun will set here but as the sun rises I'm the west so too does my knowledge that I am not alone. That's one thing we all want, autism spectrum or not, right? To know we aren't alone, isn't it? Technology has done a lot of things and for many on the autism spectrum it is the medium which conversation may happen. It may not be conventional, and the definition of "friend" is constantly being redefined, but think back to 20 years ago and just how many more way an individual can socialize. It may be just three hours until the sun rises back home, but in that time it'll be like flash forwarding to the present from 20 years ago.


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