Monday, April 7, 2014

The Case of The Not-So-Perfect Stopwatch

In my duties with USAC as the chief starter I keep track of practice times meaning that I start the session and if it's a two minute session I keep track of that time. I used to have a great stopwatch and used it for a long time, but when this video was made, which you can clearly see the stopwatch at the 1:22 mark, I used it to tie some paperwork to the flagstand and, sadly, I left the stopwatch there.

I had to buy a new one which worked great for, let me think back, um, two events. After that the start/stop button wasn't 100% accurate. I'd have to press the button with different degrees of pressure or rapidly click it to sometimes make it work. I grew accustomed to this and most of the time it would only take a second or two to make it start timing and eventually I didn't find this to be that big of an obstacle at all despite how frustrating it could be at times.

After my first event this season I finally had given up on this stopwatch and when I was headed to the track in Phoenix on Friday I asked if we could make a stop to get a new one. When I took it out of the package and hit the button and it worked the first time it was a bizarre feeling. And, when practice started that night, it was even odder.

Why was it odd and how does this relate at all to the autism spectrum? I think back to certain eras of my life and this is a perfect metaphor. I had become so used to having a massive struggle to do what should have been an easy task, such as starting a timer, and accepted that it would be a near impossible task. So, when I had a stopwatch that actually worked, it actually became more difficult as I kept over thinking the process of keeping time. I had gone a season and a half with a not so perfect stopwatch and now I had something that worked.

I had become so set in my ways of having something that wouldn't work that I simply accepted it. At any point in time I could have bought a new one but I accepted the struggle and thought nothing of it which I wish you could have seen some of the struggles I had with the old stopwatch because sometimes I'd have a frantic battle trying to start, stop, or reset the time.

By the end of race day I still was not acclimated to a stopwatch that worked. As I mentioned, this makes a great metaphor because I've had the same sensation when it comes to all things regarding anything social. I am so sure a social situation is going to be difficult or a disaster than when things aren't they prove to be more difficult because I am accustomed to things being challenging. Call this the fail-set mindset, in a way, if you want but whatever it is I know my explanation of this incident of the not so perfect stopwatch can't give justice to the odd feeling of enduring a faulty stopwatch for two seasons and now having something that works that doesn't require the right touch, or right luck, to make it works.

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