Aspergers and a What If romance that did not happen

Yesterday I had dug in a box expecting it to be some of my long-ago stuff but found a bunch of books apparently my mother had saved for me, and that was a bit interesting too. One of the books was my Junior year (Gallup, NM) High School yearbook, "Zill Ho Zhuni 1953"

and I took a photo of the page which had my photo on it.

And looking at that photo this morning, I saw where I missed a chance for maybe a successful romantic relationship back then. She had signed her photo in my yearbook, she on same page as I was; her name was Peggy Brown. I also noticed elsewhere in that yearbook that she was one of the school cheerleaders - which I was not aware of back then - and those photos of her look cute. I ponder a "What if…." I had dated her at the graduation prom instead of Jean M. how different my life might have been; presumably much better.

Thinking back of those high school years, I can see how intensely Asperger's Syndrome I was experiencing, not just the easy schoolwork and craving for knowledge and reading an average of a book a day besides doing my schoolwork; but at the same time I was extremely unaware of my classroom surroundings. Such as, Peggy Brown being there in the classroom.

I now remember a few more details of the very embarrassing event I endured in High School, and how Asperger's affected that. I remember sitting at my desk in the classroom when suddenly Peggy Brown came to me and urged me to follow her. Wow, she wanted me to go with her and I eagerly followed, noticing the classroom was empty except for me, and her of course, as she apparently had specifically come to get me. Empty room. That was odd; but I had not noticed that, before. Anyway Peggy was explaining that all the students were outside registering a complaint about something; it was unclear as to what the complaint was.

Then I found myself in a sea of people milling around; Peggy had vanished and I was dazzled by all the commotion as I strained to figure what it was all about, but I felt pleased to have been asked to participate.

Suddenly a huge man appeared, red-faced with rage; I recognized him as the Physical Education teacher, a subject I did not do because of asthma. His name was Mr. Cox, and I noticed he seemed aimed at me and in an instant he had plowed through the crowd and grabbed my arm and was dragging me through the sea of students milling around, and I found myself sitting in the principal's office, apparently getting blamed for the riot going on. Presumably I got it on my school record that I was a something, a bad person, the only one disciplined because of the student body group complaint. I have no idea what it was all about, even to this day.

And so I can now see better how severely my Asperger's social dysfunction affected me back then; the term "Asperger's Syndrome" did not exist then, and I sometimes was called "a brain" as the characterization of what is now called Aspergers, who were also sometimes called "genius" too. But the extreme lack of awareness of my surroundings, particularly what the people were doing and why, is now getting my attention as I think back on those times.

I probably associated Peggy Brown with that severe embarrassment and is why I did not think of dating her. Could also be that Mr Cox, the P. E. teacher & football coach had spotted the cute cheerleader with me and so pounced on me in jealousy.

Those details might be important, but the main thing for me now is the recognition of my very weak awareness of my social surroundings, combined with a hunger to be involved in the fun things that others seemed to be doing. I am dimly aware of those traits I have even now, but the desire to "be involved in the fun others are doing" also comes with the many memories of the unpleasant results of my efforts to "participate" and so am also now just resigned to living isolated, even lacking a woman in my life.

An insight, that my ability to rapidly assimilate knowledge from books, was related to my "ability" to block out awareness of what was going on around me socially, otherwise I might have been too constantly interrupted by distractions to be a knowledge sponge anymore. Starting in my Freshman year in college, intense distractions were constantly overwhelming me, such as the constant severe tinnitus that started that year. And so far, has never quit distracting me.

And I think about Peggy - who wrote "Love, Peg" in my yearbook, what she looks like now. No longer that cute cheerleader, no more than I the nice looking young man of that yearbook page's pictures. And - the "What If's" are but dust blown away in the winds of time and events, gone to entropy.

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  • Hi Jim,
    I just wanted to tell you that I had similar experiences.

    When I was about 3, I used to read the newspaper to my father while we ate bananas and watched TV. He worked at Boeing and relished his days off. I had always enjoyed reading encyclopedias and dictionaries as a child, so when high school came along I never really studied that hard. I was always distracted by new things and ideas.

    While riding the bus to and from school, I found myself the target of some harassment. Someone put tacks in the brim of his cap and would strike me with it. This was on a regular basis, but I was told no fighting by my parents. Of course, when one can get away with such behavior, the rest will follow. I still carry some of the scars on my hands to this day. It got to the point where the anxiety from just going to school was enough to turn my stomach. When I turned 16, I got my first job and bought my first car, which I drove to school until I graduated.

    I also had a "lost love". From the moment I saw her, she captivated me. She had beautiful long golden hair and beautiful eyes. But it was her smile that got me, it was (and still is) magical. I tried to spend as much time with her as I could get away with, but there were... complications. I've loved her since I saw her 33 years ago in the lunch room, and I will until I die. Like you, I wonder "what if". What if she had seen me not for who I was, but who I could become.

    I thank you sir, for having Dia and allowing me to share her company.

    By Blogger My Biocosmic Essence Of Being, At 4:06 AM  

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