Tuesday, September 21, 2010

iRacing, a confusing answer, and a black flag

While this subject line may seem to have no relevancy to the autism spectrum I assure you it does and looking back on it I can laugh because it is just a classic example of the, "I think therefore you know" line.

I joined iRacing last year after many years of racing on the Xbox. iRacing is a PC motorsports simulator that is a near exact replica of the sport of racing. It's so realistic that iRacing has a method for a person to protest another driver! Gaming has never been so intense!

So, last year my first several races were in the Legends car which race on ovals. The rules are pretty cut and dry as there are two warm-up laps and then the race starts and you keep going until the finish. There are no yellow flags in that series so there are no confusing areas.

After some races on the oval I decided to try the road racing rookie series which is a Pontiac Solstice. This is where our story gets interesting.

During all my first races I was using Xbox Live to communicate with Ryan who was giving me advice by saying, over and over again, "just don't wreck!". As the start time for the Pontiac Solstice race got within a minute I asked a very important question, "Can I jump the start?"

Never before has a simple question led to so much debate. Ryan told me, "No, you can't jump it". How did I take that answer? In a lot of video games it is impossible to jump the start. As the red lights turn on in some games the driver can go full throttle in gear and the car won't move until the race has started. So, from Ryan's answer, I took this as fact.

In my Solstice race the red lights turned on, I shifted into gear and floored it... and instantly rammed the car in front of me. On top of that the spotter in the game notified me that I had been black flagged for jumping the start.

I was furious. "Ryan, you said I couldn't jump the start!" He responded with something along the lines, "I told you that you shouldn't jump the start.

See the issue here? My question was somewhat vague, but I knew what it meant. Because I knew what it meant everyone knew what it meant. The end result was a crumpled front end of my virtual Solstice and a penalty.

This story has been repeated so many times in my life. I will ask a question that can be taken two ways, but I know what it means and whomever answers it usually gives the wrong answer. In my defense Ryan should have said, "Yes you can jump it, but you will get a penalty." In Ryan's defense I should have just known that jumping was possible because iRacing is made by the same guy who made my favorite game ever, Grand Prix Legends.

So the debate continues on. I still, from time-to-time, will still jokingly blame Ryan for that bad race. What needs to be learned from this is that I should ask more precise questions and others should give more precise answers to me. If left in that middle ground I will usually not ask for clarification and I usually take the wrong meaning leading to hijinks and crumpled up virtual Solsti (What is the plural of Solstice? Solsti sound cool, but is porbably incorrect.)

As with most events in my life I am glad this happened because it sheds just a little more light on this thing called Asperger Syndrome. Have I made the same mistake since? Yes, but at least I was able to identify it and explain it whereas before I had no clue, but now I can simply state this is another example of, "I think therefore you know"


  1. Yes [of course you can jump the start]!

  2. Hey Aaron, every had 2 people with Asperger's playing the 'I think therefore you know' rule out against each other? I had. With my (ex)boyfriend (situation is unclear at this moment) to be precisely.
    We get in a lot of confusion, because we think very differently. He is logical minded and I'm emotionally minded. But we both have Asperger's, so we both have the tendency to assume the other will understand what we mean with something, causing a lot of misunderstandings!
    It's interesting and annoying at the same time in a way...

  3. That was a very good story Aaron. I've met alot of people with Asperger's Syndrome and I understand perfectly well what happend. Keep on racing mate!