This New Year’s Eve was quite memorable for me. In fact, it was the first year my plans were not completely lame or totally revolving around family. I ended up hanging out with my best friend *Justin*! Our lives have taken us on different directions, but we have sustained those bonds of friendship even after we stopped having too much in common. Actually, I renounce that last sentence. We have A LOT in common beneath the superficial differences. We appreciate each other’s struggles and the symbiosis from those days of yore.
Justin set me up on my first blind date when I was far too shy to even talk to a woman. He also asked a beautiful woman out to the junior prom on my behalf. (She said yes and actually showed up during a time when a woman seemed more likely to jump out a two story window than stand there to accept my invitation.) Justin was never meant to go to college, but had the intellectual prowess to see my abilities when so-called “intelligent” individuals failed to show the same mercy. I would like to believe this courtesy was returned with favors, such as advocating to his girlfriend’s family after she unsymbolically dumped him (a well-meaning attempt that promptly resulted in an angry phone call from the young woman’s father and the threat of legal action.) Without a doubt, I was excited when he called to announce an unexpected visit for New Year’s Eve and Day.
Our adventures took us to a restaurant called, “The PC Paddock.” It is that rare place where everybody knows your name and I am exonerated from draconian consequences if I dare to say something really weird once in a blue moon. I brought a blind date who also had Asperger’s in an attempt to finally heed my friend’s advice of pursuing other young women with the same condition. But it did not take long to realize we were not the best match considering I don’t smoke pot on a regular basis. (Please note this does not make me better than her. Just different with dissimilar interests.)
We took the party over to a sklozy, (I mean…cozy) nook of a bar across from Vassar College. The place was inundated with plenty of my high school peers who did not display malice, but at the same time never really accepted me during most of my childhood. But I was accepted that night as all of us belted out Karaoke tunes regardless of any innate singing talent. The night for me was particularly poignant because I do not believe in letting go…ever! The act of letting go is perhaps the Practice of the Devil…
Over the years, I have learned to overcome the worst of my Asperger’s syndrome by putting issues on a backburner, compromising, and “backing off.” But letting go has always been an elusive thing and I do not believe in it. It took at least a few years to get to the point of “putting things on a backburner” as far as high school is concerned. There were other peers who were unable to let go of their high school nostalgia shortly after graduating and even visited their old teachers from time to time. But I attempted to prolong the dance far longer than anyone else. College did not immediately embrace me with acceptance so it made sense to go backwards. Sometimes it IS necessary to take a micro-step backwards before we can even think about taking a much larger step forwards. I felt like acceptance has finally been granted amongst the majority of my high school peers and closure has finally arrived.
Our night ended in the most ordinary and banal of ways. We sat in my house the last half-hour of 2011 consuming beers and watching Dick Clark host his 40th show. In our relentlessly-changing, youth-obsessed culture…it is refreshing whenever there are some celebrities who may not have Asperger’s, but display the AS trait of refusing to stop even when some composite doofuses in the public are encouraging them to sit down. And finally, let 2012 show more mercy for the Asperger’s population and all those affected by abuse!