Do you remember the Academy Award winning movie "Rain Man"? Dustin Hoffman won an Academy award for his character of the autistic Raymond Babbitt. Well I am not as bad as that, but I do have Asperger's syndrome. For the most part, I am just like you, just a bit quirky. All right, a lot quirky.
Us "Aspies" cannot decode social cues. Most people understand that if the person they are speaking with is yawning and looking at their watch, it is time to go. People with Aspergers are unable to make that connection. We are very literal, logical, and methodical. You all know a person with Aspergers syndrome, we are that computer nerd, the rocket scientist, the geeky programmer, think Sheldon from the 'Big Bang Theory' TV show.
I am pedantic. As a CNN commentator once wrote, we usually have no expression on my face or in our speech. I cannot look you in the eye. (I've learned to look people in the mouth or nose.) I cannot have a conversation of more than a few words with you, but I can lecture you ad nauseam on U.S. atomic bomb tests, the Pittsburg Steelers, Doberman puppies, or medieval society
We are good students in school because we always follow the rules. We also make good employees if given specific tasks and goals, but generally we are lousy bosses or managers. ("Why do you need the whole week off for the death of your Mother? The funeral is only one day.") Yes, your boss may not have been a total A-hole, just an 'Aspie'.
My parents died when I was young, but I was a constant source of amazement and confusion for my grandparents. They had raised 6 children, but none that kept them constantly in the principal's office as I did. This was due mainly to questions I raised in class, such as:
"If this week is Anti-bullying week, what was last week?"
"How come in case of fire we have to line up quietly in a single file line from smallest to tallest. Do tall people burn slower?"
"Why is black History month in February, the shortest month of the year?"
While I was an outstanding student academically, and never in any real trouble, even getting a scholarship to college, my grandfather would often shake his head muttering.
"Something just ain't right with that boy."
I never dated in High School, being unable to figure out the mind games and mental gymnastics that girls subjected teenage boys to. Instead I read everything and anything. Grandpa being a practical man as well as an old Navy hand, bought me a prostitute for my eighteenth birthday. I enjoyed the gift like any teenage boy and made a standing arrangement with the young lady whenever I had funds to afford her "charms".
No good deed goes unpunished is how my first big romance came about. I was filling my fuel tank outside a local mall before I began my Meals on Wheels route for senior citizens. No, I am not some goody two shoes, it was a community service requirement I had chosen as part of my scholarship package. I picked Meals on Wheels as I did not have to deal with any other workers. Once I was doing it I discovered the people were an interesting group. These senior citizens had weathered the Great Depression, fought a World War, and defeated both Fascism and later Communism, while building this nation into the biggest economic powerhouse the world had ever seen. I loved to listen to their stories about everything from " ... making moonshine and bathtub gin while running from the 'Probies', to storming the beaches at Normandy, and fighting for Union rights." It was like my own set of living history books, but even better, because they were interactive and I could ask questions. And it was just as big a deal for them; they loved to tell the stories to anyone willing to listen.
Anyway, I was paying the clerk for my purchase, when a young girl ran by being chased by two guys. One was a big dude and the other one a smaller guy. A "Mutt and Jeff" combo if you will. The trio circled my car a few times, which was still parked at the pump. Suddenly the girl jumped into my car and locked the doors. "Mutt and Jeff" were cursing her while pounding on the hood and roof of my automobile.
The store clerk was on the phone with 911 as I walked quickly to the altercation.
"Hey you two!" I said to the guys, who still yelling at the trapped female while making significant dents in my cars body work. "Get away from my car."
The smaller man I mentally named 'Mutt' looked up at me. "This your car?" he declared authoritatively. When I did not answer 'Mutt' continued. "Open it up asshole, so we can get that bitch."
"I will do no such thing." I answered. "We will wait for the police who are on their way. I need a report for the insurance company. Plus I will need your information as you both are responsible for whatever deductible to repair the damage to the body. I will have you know that was my Grandmothers car and she kept it in perfect shape. It had not a single scratch and I washed that car every Saturday at 5pm with premium wax called Mothers..."
"Shut the Fuck up, you jack off," the bigger guy 'Jeff" interrupted, than pointing at himself, he continued. "The Police are already here. So unlock that junk heap NOW!"
I looked over 'Mutt and Jeff', they were not in any uniform, and no badges were in view. "May I see some Government Identification, or a Badge, please."
The smaller 'Mutt' moved toward me. "We ain't got time for this shit" he muttered to his partner as then grabbed my arm, trying to twist it into some kind of arm lock.
At this point I need to regress a bit. You see children with Asperger Syndrome are often bullied and picked on as our physical coordination comes late, making us the last choice for any team in gym class. Add in the incapacity to respond appropriately to teasing and sarcasm ... well you get the picture.
To combat this I was enrolled in Martial Arts from an early age, both to help my coordination and self-confidence and to handle bullies. It took a few classes before they found a modified version of Aikido was the best discipline for me to study. This was because the Aikido I was taught was based mainly reacting to your opponents moves. The fear was I would underestimate, or overestimate a threat, so it was drilled into me I could not respond unless someone physically touched me. I liked this "line in the sand", as I generally did not like to be touched. It also suited my Asperger's black and white view of the world. Thus words, taunts and such were to be ignored, but physical acts I could respond to. So three times a week and Saturdays, I was a fixture at the local Aikido establishment, so much it became like a second home.
Now back to the present as 'Mutt's' face registered surprise when I countered his arm lock with a move I had practiced a million times in Aikido class for well over a decade.
Dropping to one knee I turned under his arm and deftly used my weight and his momentum to throw 'Mutt' over my shoulder flat onto his back, knocking the wind out of him.
Popping back up into a standing position I declared. "You touched me first, please do not do it again."
The girl in the car shrieked "WATCH OUT!"
I turned to see the big guy 'Jeff', rushing me with open arms, his head down, and shoulders hunched, readying for a classic football tackle.
"Wow this is like my last belt test" I thought as 'Jeff's" massive fingertips began to close onto my arms. Swiftly I fell backward, while raising my foot to plant into 'Jeff' stomach. Latching onto his outstretched forearms, I pulled his upper body down while continuing my backward fall. As we continued our downward movement I pushed up with my foot still planted on 'Jeff's' stomach. He was flung upside-down into a gas pump. I rolled into a standing position.
I heard female laughter, and saw the girl my car had the window rolled half down. "Ha Ha Ha! You two big shot dicks cannot even take down one pudgy kid. You need to go get some more of your asshole buddies before you get hurt." This was followed by more of her laughter and taunts.
But I was not laughing. These guys did not give any indication that they were going to stop touching me. In fact the big guy 'Jeff' jumped right back up, pulling out what looked like a taser stun gun. I could see the blue sparks between the dual prongs and hear the electronic crackle.
We had never practiced in class against a taser stun gun, but I decided to treat the taser like a pointed weapon. Ducking and weaving, I avoided "Jeff's' thrusts with the taser. When I finally maneuvered him into the correct position, I moved to his right side and tapped the underside of his elbow up, while sliding the wrist holding the taser downward.
'Jeff' screamed as his hand grasping the taser plunged into the bucket containing windshield wiper fluid and a windshield squeegee.
I do not know the exact chemical properties of the windshield wiper fluid used at that gas station, but apparently it conducts electricity. Over 1,500 volts of electricity from the taser was transferred to 'Jeff's' exposed wet skin. As the electricity surged thru his body, 'Jeff', was unable to release his grip on the taser, and flopped to the ground, his arm still stuck in the bucket as his torso and limbs shook violently.
Turning in time, I narrowly missed being hit by 'Mutt' wielding a collapsible baton of some type. I jumped over 'Jeff', still convulsing on the ground and pulled the wooden handled squeegee out of the bucket. 'Mutt' must not have used that baton a lot, because it was pretty easy to counter his strikes. His lost his grip on the baton when I used the T bar of the squeegee to hook his ankle, pulling up, causing 'Mutt' to lose his balance and fall on his butt.
.... There is more of this story ...