Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"So you know where you are going?"

Today's story goes back two nights ago after my arrival at the Tan Tar-A resort. It was two-something in the morning and I was tired from the day and the drive of dodge em possums. The only thing I wanted was to lay down and go to sleep, but first I had to check in.

Due to an error of one sort or another the check-in process wasn't smooth. Eventually a room was found and the lady got out a map of the complex and asked, "Have you been here before?" I responded with the fact that this was my fourth time. I was expecting to be staying in the same building as I had every prior time, in fact I think I have been in the same room every time, but this time was different as I was told I would be in a different building.

The front desk lady started pointing out things on the map such as the best place to park and where my room was. She was talking but I wasn't hearing because my mind was stuck on the fact that I was going to be in a new building. The entire time leading up to this I was prepared to park where I normally park and stay where I normally stay. On the outside it may ave appeared as if I was intently listening on all that she as saying but on the inside I was a storm of thoughts thinking about what would happen next despite the fact that the lady was telling me just that.

What happens when my mind is deep in thought and I am being spoken to? I agree with everything that is being said to me. I was a broken record of head nods and "yup" and that continued up until the point in time when I started to walk away and she asked, "So you know where you are going?" I turned around and said, "Certainly!" with the thought in the back of my mind saying, "Not really, but how hard could it be?"

I got into my car and turned towards the area I thought it was in. I passed the turn off that went to the place I normally parked but obviously things were different this time. I did have an idea though on where I was going as all I had to do was find building C. this was something that I thought wouldn't be that difficult, but at 2:30 in the morning on a black night, well, I followed the signs but there were too many buildings. I was really hoping for a bright neon sign on the side of the building that said "C" but that would have made things too easy.

After passing all the buildings I followed the road and I was right back at where I began. The words of the lady came back into my mind and I was wondering why on earth did I say I knew because I had no earthly idea. None! This has happened so many times in my life and was a big hindrance in school because I would always decline help. Why? Often times in conversations my only goal is to end it. Perhaps my mind is elsewhere or perhaps the art of conversation at that point in time is too much. Whatever the case may be, in those times, I want the conversation over with ASAP. What's the fastest way to end a conversation when a question is asked? The answer is to give the answer of least resistance and to decline help is the way to go about it.

Oh, how I wish I would have paid attention and oh, to have just been given one little extra heads up as to where to go. Eventually I just parked my car and I got out hoping to find my room on foot. I walked towards a building and when I entered I was elated because there it was, the elusive building "C". Now to find my room of 209... Easy, right? Ha! I saw a sign that read "Rooms 201-207 ----->" and another that read "Rooms 210-217 <------"

My anger level was now escalated to a, well, angry level. Where was my room! Why hadn't I heard every word the front desk lady said? Then, I did remember that she said, "You can park on this stretch of road because you don't need to enter at the main entrance." Okay, what did this mean? I didn't have to enter; this meant, maybe, my door to my room was on the outside? I walked outside and found room 208, but where was 209.

I was tired of walking, tired of being lost and I just wanted to go to sleep. There was no way I was going back to the front desk because that would be admitting some form of defeat. I trudged on and then I rounded a dimly lit corner and I almost took a fall, but there in front of me, in all of it's dark glory, was room 209. I had made it.

As I said, this is something that has played out in my life many, many times. At school, in the workplace, and in life this has played out and, as mentioned above, the reason why is that the conversation, such as being asked if I knew where I was going, can be too much for me and at that point in time it is easier to say yes and when I do this I am not thinking about the issues that will come later. The only thing that matters is ending that conversation. Then later when I am lost or struggling I will often struggle in silence because having another conversation is too much.

So that's the story from two nights ago. I hope in the future I will learn from this but I'm 29 and haven't yet so next time you ask me a question like this just be aware that my answer might be the answer of least resistance and I might actually have no idea where I am going.


  1. Naww *hugs*. Not knowing where you have to go is terrible, especially if you can't get yourself to get help anymore either.

    The people at the hotel where they hold Abunai (the biggest Anime/Manga event in the Netherlands) saw that they weren't getting through to me, and simply drew the route to my room on the map of the hotel, and gave that to me the first time I was there. This was very nice and considerate of them.

  2. That is very interesting Aaron. I've felt the same way because I'm too tired to think after traveling for such a long time and I get irritated with change as well. Then I'm not good in general at directions so that irritates me. I have had to finally admit when I don't understand something and realize that's okay. For me it's feeling like I'm not as intelligent because I'm not understanding their directions right away and I'll be laughted at if I say I don't know. Today I have learned that I am not unintelligent and i am deserving of respect too. It's just i need it explained maybe more than once when i am tired or like Issha having a map is a helpful tool. Now when I'm tired I just say "I'm sorry please say that again, I'm just tired and did not understand exactly what you said". It's amazing though how similar we all feel in some ways..

  3. I so understand where you're coming from. I experience this when someone is angry or impatient with me. I don't hear a thing they are saying, I only hear their anger and impatience. Love your blog. Thanks

  4. Pat.

    Thankyou for your post, it will help me understand my 21yr son better now.

  5. Aaron, can you help me? I have an autistic son and I would love to know how CAN I check he understands me? What would work for you? I ask him to repeat back what I've said and that helps, so does writing things down, using maps/pictures and using "first, then...". Do you have any other tips for me?! He's still young, so there's time for me to learn!

    Thank you - your blog is very useful for me!

  6. Tired or not, when someone tries to give me directions to a place, their words just spin around my head and never settle in. Like you, I nod and say "sure-right-okay-mmhmmm-yes-got it" then thank them and walk away planning how to find it on my own. When I ask them to draw me a a map I can take with me--the problem is solved! It's SO hard to ask, but I'm getting better at it. No one has ever refused.

  7. Tan Tara is adventure in itself. I've had my own navigational challenges there, too. I can't imagine my autistic son try to get around there. Just moving around in the building thinking "I know I saw a Burger King somewhere around here"... not finding it, then after finally getting there trying to find my way back to the rooms that my next session was in. Of course the paths I took all lead me back to ... Burger King. I burned off my calories before the next session started.