Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 3: The Drive to Indy

After finishing my article on TouchPoint's parent training course (see right bar and the TouchPoint logo if you are interested in reading it) I left the office to head to Indianapolis.

I wasn't expecting too many exciting events to happen, well none really, but quickly things turned serious in Illinois right as I got onto I-70.

Over a crest I saw one car on the left shoulder and the doors came flying open, I slowed and saw an overturned car in front of the car that had stopped. I slowed and pulled over to see if I could assist in any way.

By the time I got out all the persons in the car were up and accounted for (which is a miracle, the car was squashed) albeit it sore and shaken. As I heard that news I turned to my car and noticed that semi-trucks were still doing 70+ past the accident scene missing my car by inches and the family who had been in the wreck by 6 feet or so. Being the race director and flagman I am I decided to put a stop to it.

I ran back to my car and unlocked the rear doors and got out my trusty green bag. Inside the bag I unrolled my racing flags and, because I was in a rush, I kept grabbing the wrong one (I actually have nightmares of being at a race and constantly grabbing the wrong flag) but on the third try I got my yellow flag.

Once I had the yellow flag in hand (if you don't know auto racing the yellow flag means slow down as there is a dangerous situation on track) I walked to the back of my car and started to waive it. I can waive a mean flag but I didn't want any drivers to suffer target fixation and drive into me (that's happened before with a kid kart) so I just lightly moved it to catch their attention. It worked and the cars started to move over leaving the whole right lane free of vehicles.

The person who stopped in front of me walked to me and asked me if I was from "911" (must be the glasses) and I, still in experiment mode, looked away. I couldn't help it. I know I have stated it, but it is a reflex, a complete reflex.

After saying that I wasn't from 911 traffic started to slow down a lot as people looked in awe of the upside down car. Once the ambulance arrived the cars were barely rolling so I figured my job as flagman of I-70 was done. I also didn't want to be yelled at by any police officers for directing traffic. I may have been the a presenter at a police academy but I don't think that qualifies me to actually do their job, but those cars had to slow down.

After the odd start I continued on and stopped at Steak m Shake in Effingham, IL. Once again a place that serves food would be in play.

I walked in and had to wait to be seated. The hostess came and said if there was just "one of you" I could sit anywhere. I was frozen. My experiment on eye contact was thrown aside as I tried to envision where the best place to sit is.

Every Steak n Shake looks the same now and I have memories tied to so many tables. Those thoughts went through my head and I couldn't decide. The hostess asked me again and I finally said, "you pick or I will never decide".

When my waitress came I gave my robotic like answer and didn't look at the menu which meant no social interactions. I meant to order something different, but I was still thinking about flagging commuter traffic as well as tomorrow's quarter midget race so I goofed and eye contact was not made.

So here I am now, in Indianapolis, getting ready for bed. Tomorrow will be a day to remember as I flag on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This may not be the Indy 500 but it still is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That track is the ultimate Kansas ( Definition of Kansas; Kansas, noun, That area of interest or activity that a person with an ASD is fixated on to the possible exclusion of other things) for me and is considered to be as holy as a place can get without being a religious place.

My day is long tomorrow so there may or may not be a post in the morning, but I will post tomorrow evening after the first day of racing.


  1. Three days and it is still hard to make eye contact because you habitually look away. You might have to extend your experiment another month just to get used to breaking your habit of looking away. Good luck!

  2. I actually think you are doing amazingly well in trying to change the habit of a lifetime. Something like the car rollover is so far out of the normal, which will throw your day right off track.
    I have only just started reading your blog, but thank you for opening up like this, my son has Aspergers and I believe I am getting a better insight into his world through your eyes.

  3. I am impressed by your cool headed thinking after the accident.