Random stream of consciousness writing so that I can save this somewhere.
I meant only to go to into Portland for a therapy appt this afternoon, but hoped I would find other interesting things to fill in the time. It was too windy (like extremely windy, hurricane force almost) so I didn't want to walk anywhere, even to the gelato shop. But I ended up finding some very interesting connections right at the public market, and later at the Jewish Film Festival that was at Salt.
I met a woman on the bus whose workplace gives her a significant bonus for walking as part of a health plan, and it was the first time I have ever seen that bus driver (who seems very friendly but can't really be engaged in longer than a 2 sentence conversation) engage in a prolonged discussion with anyone before. I went to the public market and while I was hanging out there waiting for my therapy appt and not wanting to go anywhere else because of the wind, I met this woman who Sarah at the coffee shop greeted very fondly, so it perked my interest. When she sat down next to me, I engaged with a comment about the weather than turned into an hour long discussion. She was very vibrant and full of positive energy. Although I must say her political and social beliefs most decidedly did not mesh with mine, although thankfully it took until the end of the hour to find that out. I will never understand people who protest at abortion clinics, let's just leave it at that. Had I more time, I still would have probably tried to engage with her in a discussion about it though, because she was respectful and interesting despite being blatantly anti-everything I believe in. Once, anyway. She apparently remembered meeting me before, which I did not.
Then I went to said therapy appt, and on my way back to the public market I saw Salt, the documentary institute, and a flyer about the Maine Jewish Film Festival. I did not think there were any that appealed to me that were not at the Nickolodeon, but this flyer stated that there was a film that night at Salt. So, feeling brave after my three days of rest, and wanting a challenge, I suppose, I walked in there to explore. I was given a flyer about the movie, and deemed that the viewing area looked likely to be tolerable, although not definite. The movie was about an artist with ALS and disability issues so I thought that might be interesting. It was 430, and the movie was at 6. I wanted something to do, so I thought, why not? Why not try it.
When I got back to the public market, though, I was drawn into a different conversation at the coffee shop for a while. There was a college aged guy talking very passionately and emotionally about his college teachers at USM, who were apparently fired and it's a big crisis that is in the news and etc. I was drawn more to the quality of his speech and his emotional expressiveness than I was to the topic, so went over to ask him more about it. Surprisingly, he greeted me warmly and in a familiar fashion and said "Hey! I really liked your poem." Apparently, he had seen me speak at one of the open mic nights. Who would have known. We ended up talking about philosophy and connection and things of that nature for 20 minutes or so until he had to go, but I really liked him. It is not very often I find people my age I really like. We exchanged phone numbers and emails and perhaps will get together again.
So at that point it was almost 530, and I realized if I was going to go to the film, I had to get ready. (But first I ducked into the library because the newspaper said there was going to be some disability related thing there, and I wanted to see if it was any better. It was not happening, though.) So I went to the film, and met Alanna there, and it was a very good film. The chairs were very uncomfortable though, so I spent the hour moving between standing for as long as I could stand it (ha, pun) and sitting for as long as I could stand it, very thankful that it was only an hour and that the film was interesting, and quite compelling.
I commented in the Q&A session about the use of humor in the film being a distinctively Jewish trait, due to the fact that Jewish humor evolved over the years as a way to cope with difficult situations and to further one's survival. The director liked that very much because he said he had struggled to define what made it a Jewish film, and had settled upon something like that (I think, I didn't hear all his words). I later made a comment about how the film very eloquently portrayed the struggle to find meaning in one's life that seemed to be well received (although the quote from Martha Beck's "Expecting Adam" could have been a little over the top, it is hard to know.)
After this, I was drawn into a couple short conversations, nothing too substantial, where I was praised for having made "insightful comments," but the speakers did not stay for long. My face blindness came out when I didn't recognize the director when he came to greet me, but oh well. I didn't think that I was going to get a ride home (but knew I could call Rob if I had to), as everyone seemed to be from Portland, as it it's a pretty localized event. But then at the last minute, after all the conversations were over, after I had asked everyone else who it seemed appropriate to ask, I stood with a small group of women and one guy who was a reporter for the paper by the door. I asked them if anyone was going to Falmouth (thinking that more likely than Yarmouth) and not surprisingly, they were all from Portland. But then one woman said, "Wait, why don't you ask him," referring to the reporter who I hadn't felt comfortable enough with to ask. It turned out he was from Cumberland. Very close to where I grew up. And he immediately offered me a ride to Yarmouth. So, yeah, I'm getting good at this. The last three rides I've gotten haven't even been fragranced at all, knock on wood, and I've met some very nice people.
It was quite an enjoyable conversation we had on the way back (and I REALLY like that we live half a mile from an highway exit because it is *so easy* to tell people where I live. I still have no idea how to get here, but all I have to do is tell someone it's right off of Exit 15 and they know where it is.) I told him about my presentation, but naturally and organically and not forced, and he seemed interested. He knows Ani at the Jewish museum so said he'd ask her for more information. Daniel someone I think. We are both writers and had many similarities in our thought processes.
So, then I got back at about 830. Tired and annoyed at my aching jaw but happy to be doing something that brings meaning into my life... just as the painter in the movie continued to paint even after he had very little function left in his body, so will I attempt to connect with the world despite my challenges.
One line in the movie I liked was something like, "But I didn't want to paint a house on the ocean like everyone does. I wanted to paint something different." (And he did.) Maybe being different isn't so bad - if Van Gogh or Andy Warhol etc had tried to conform to what others did - if all of the greats of our time had conformed - where as a society would we be? Society would have lost many great and inventions and contributions. So food for thought.
Time to get ready to go to bed so I can go out tomorrow and try to make some more connections. I hope.
If you like this, please be sure to visit my other website, Accepting Asperger's. A lot of my older writing is stored here, including an editorial I once wrote for the Baltimore Sun. Click here to see it: Accepting Asperger's.
What's it really like to be a 20 something with Asperger's? On this blog, I hope to explore that question. But this blog is not just limited to an audience of people in their 20s - this is for anyone who ever wanted to know anything about autism. I plan to delve into the nature and experience of autism, and examine it from as many angles as possible. I would like to start a conversation between people with Asperger's or autism, parents of kids with autism spectrum disorders, and anyone who just wants to know more. Let's explore what autism means, together.
My goal is to start a discussion on and build a community of people affected by autism - parents and adults with ASD - so feel free to leave your two cents in the comments section of any post. If you're too shy for that, however, or want to speak to me personally, you may feel free to email me at KGoldfie@gmail.com.
Asperger's Book for Sale
Common Scents: Adventures with Autism and Chemical Sensitivity" is the story of a young woman's search for physical and emotional safety as she journeys through the mountains of the Cascades, small coastal towns on the Oregon coast, and out-of the-way towns in upstate New York. Along the way, she experiences things she would never have dreamed possible had she stayed in her Maine hometown, and begins to learn the power of human connection.
Common Scents is the story of the last three years of my life. It gives a gripping view of what it is like to experience the world as someone on the autistic spectrum, and some would say, is an entertaining travel story as well. Because of chemical sensitivities, I engaged on a three year journey for a place I could call home.
Comments from readers:
"The Asperger's element is remarkable. I feel that I understand my son better, so much better. I laughed at this part.... because I've stared at my son in the same way for the same thing." - mother of an Asperger's kid
"Your writing style is SO engaging and interesting. It brings me right into the subject and I always experience a little emotional punch towards the end. In other words, this is the third time I've teared-up reading your work. Kate, you've highlighted ALL the problems with how social skills are usually taught." - mother of ASD kid
"I stayed up entirely too late reading the first 14 pages. I can relate to so much of what you write. I really think you are expressing the true experience with MCS and autism in words that convey the experience." person with chemical sensitivity (MCS)
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