Saturday, April 17, 2010

Another Q and A Friday delayed as other stuff happened

I was hoping to have a post much earlier than this, but my day didn't unfold like I had hoped for. I was really hoping that my plane would have Wi-Fi, but was out of luck. That was okay as I figured Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix would, but after US Airways forced us to sit on the tarmac for 75 minutes I did not have the time to sit and write as I had to run full blast from terminal B to A in under 10 minutes.

I was planning on doing an article on a question I get asked a lot, "What got you into flagging?" as this would be apt as I am currently in San Rafeal, California for the SKUSA Pro Tour race at the Jim Russell Kart Center track at Infinion Raceway at Sears Point. This though would be a long article and it's late, and a lot happened today so I wanted to cover that instead.

I also received a question today in the comments and will cover that at a later time as I have wondered that myself and think that I can work it out through writing.

My day though started at 4AM Central and as I look at my computer clock I see I've been up over 20 hours. Most times I would be a zombie, but I am too relaxed to sleep. Yes, my day started at 4 and I ate breakfast at the Courtesy Diner. This event to most anyone else would be a non-event; just a breakfast, but for me it is a major event because as I sat there and ate I was filled with pride. I was going to California!

Traveling is the best medicine for me. Not that I was down, but traveling elicits emotions and feelings from me not otherwise experienced.

I am plagued by routines and now, each time I leave on an airplane for a race early in the morning, I am going to have to stop at that same diner. I'm fine with that though. After breakfast, though, I am free. Totally free! I'm not free from people I know, or the wacky weather of Missouri, I am free of myself and the routines.

I wish I had a routine for the 75 minutes in Phoenix though. It takes a lot to get me mad, but I was furious. With each passing minute I knew I was going to be late. If I was late I would have to figure out how to get from Oakland to Sonoma. A task I did not want to even think about let alone have to carry out.

I surely would've medaled in my terminal dash had it been an Olympic event. I made it and was out of breath and then was harassed by the ticket lady for having three carry on items. I had my suitcase, my computer bag, and the most important item of all, the bag of flags. I got furious again as this ad not been a problem in Saint Louis, so thinking quickly I put the computer bag in the suitcase, only to break one of the zippers in my frustration.

Instead of breaking the other zipper I carried the suitcase down the ramp and when I got to my seat I took it out and was back to three items. That will show them to make me wait 75 minutes!

I arrived in Oakland without any other issues and found the rent a car place and rode with my ride to the track.

My day at the track was uneventful as I am only flagging the two race days so I just walked the paddock and soaked in the awesome scenery of the track. From the finish line one can see all the way to the San Rafeal bridge and sort of make out what looks to be the Eastern extreme edge of San Fransisco. Truly breathtaking.

I recognized a lot of faces of the Supernats (the race I flag each November held at the Rio in Las Vegas) but was unable to really have a conversation. Alias mode was not in effect and I could tell it. Words came labored and slow as I had to think out my words. Confidence? There was none.

On racedays I stand with confidence and always know what to do with my body in the space that I am in. I noticed today that I was constantly trying to figure out what to do with my arms and hands. Do I fold them? Do I hold my hands, perhaps behind my back? I couldn't figure out what to do and it was turning painful.

Thankfully the day ended and SKUSA held a big barbecue for the drivers. During this time the Jim Russell Audi Driving Experience was holding a free ride along for anyone over 21. I got in line and signed the waiver and waited.

It wasn't that long of a wait, and when I was next the man who was going to put me in the car tried to have a conversation with me and I could see the confusion in his face. Why confusion? I made no eye contact and had trouble answering his questions. Of course he started with the feared, "How are you?" so several seconds passed and I answered that I woke up in Saint Louis and USA Airways held me captive in a hot plane in Phoenix for far too long then I had to sprint across the airport. Yes, I am a master of conversation.

The ride in the Audi R8 was spectacular. The car can stop on a hair (I would say dime, but that would be selling is short) and the acceleration slams the occupants into the seat. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't freeing like the lake story I shared as this was almost scary. This was the epitome of "scary fast". I want one now.

My day ended with riding back to the hotel with the ride I had from the airport. We ate and in the course of the evening I opened up like I typically do in a one-on-one situation. I think back to the awkwardness of the guy who worked for the Audi experience and the confusion I saw out of the corner of my eye, and then to see how I am able to function one-on-one.

If there's one thing I will take from today it is that the contrast of Asperger's is downright frustrating. To go from soaking in the sights to being unable to answer a simple "how are you" correctly to having a two hour conversation about racing with a person over twice my age is hard.

My life is either full win or full loss. Think about that. Think about what it would be like to be fully functional to the point of being exceptional, and then to be uncomfortable in any position down to the details of what to do with one's hands while standing. If you haven't felt this I don't think you can appreciate the agony that this causes, and the anxiety of thinking about when it could happen again.

Now though there is no anxiety; just anticipation. It's late and I've been up 21 hours, but I can't sleep as tomorrow is race day. No anxiety at all. It's race day and it's time to shine.


I may have an update tomorrow. It will depend on when I get back to the hotel as it is $9.99 a day for internet. That being so I hope you enjoyed today's post. It better have been worth it :)

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