Thoughts and illustrations on living on the autism spectrum.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Conversations with Wolves (Willing, Part II)

My message buddies keep me busy these days. Fascinating conversations with diverse individuals, both Aspies and NT’s. Both, I’ve found, are enthusiastic about permission-based messaging, otherwise known as the New Friend Quickie Mart.

This week I talked with two friends, who I’ll call the Desert Wolf and the Midwest Wolf. Two very different people from different walks of life. We talked of many things. And curiously, the same theme came up, independently, in different contexts.

I talk with the Desert Wolf about travel, adventure, and nature. Anything from animal totems to her desire to drive the Google street view car. Eating is a form of adventure, I say, citing a dinner I cooked with kelp and seaweed – a health food heaven with the addition of quinoa, bok choy, and tofu. Such a nutritious concoction should give me super-powers, shouldn’t it? But so far, not.

Did I forget any ingredients? asks the Desert Wolf. Some mineral or altered meat source? Kryptonite? Genetically enhanced spider?

Oh, yes, *facepalm*, I’ve left out the mutant spider… Well, what super power would I want if I had one? I think I would like to be able to teleport. I could travel anywhere in the world, without booking a flight, or renting a hotel room. Just pop up anywhere for the day and pop back home when I was done.

I’d like to fly, says the Desert Wolf. To see the world, and cruise through space like Superman. Maybe drop in on the International Space Station crew. Yes, flying would be good too. I wonder if it makes one tired? It doesn't seem like many muscles are involved, at least after take-off…

I talk with the Midwest Wolf about dreary workdays, chance encounters, farmer tans, and pretty much anything under the sun, provided it’s in small caps without regard for spelling or sentence structure. The Midwest Wolf likes to throw out deep questions, like, what do I wish I were doing with my life? And, what’s my fav thing about myself? One day it’s, how would I change the world?

I don’t pretend to give it serious thought. Less stupid people… more flavors of ice cream. Problem solved.

My lackadaisical friend is surprisingly thoughtful for a change. “But how do you get rid of the stupid people?” he presses, then puts forth his suggestion: Spread more love. Give the kids a good education; teach them better rather than make the test easier. And of course, ice cream for everyone, and a super secret soldier group to create peace and avert disasters.

Yes, of course! We need The Justice League! How epic would that be? And who would I be if I could be someone from the League? Green Lantern, perchance?...

And so it was, that two disparate conversations each turned to super powers. In between our exchange of the tedious happenings of our day, our likes and dislikes, our life lessons and our regrets, our thoughts turned to flying and saving the world. Fantasy is so much more enticing than reality. It was true when we were young, and perhaps even more true now that we’re grown-ups. There’s a reason why those superheroes are so popular, says the Desert Wolf.

Because we’d all like to have super powers, and the truth behind that is in the non-fantasy content of our conversations. We’d like to be able to put our sleep schedule back on track. We’d like to be able to say magic words to get out of retail and go back to school. We’d like to be blessed with all the knowledge of how to survive an earthquake and a hurricane. We’d like the power to let go of our disappointments. Now those would be real super powers.

But measly civilians are what we are. And what more appropriate reminder of our average-ness, as we sit at our computer screen late at night, typing text to a stranger in a message box, interspersed with the random yellow smiley? At least there is the comfort that we are not alone in being mere mortals, with our all-too-human flaws and worries. And when the Send button casts out our daily ramblings like a bottle into the ocean, another bottle will surely wash up on our shore tomorrow night, returned by a fellow insignificant human.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Name the Giraffe Contest

He needs a name.

The giraffe is the first new character I created for Dude, who did not come from my childhood cast of characters.

The giraffe is the facilitator of an Aspie support group. He fields many tough questions. Sometimes he has great ideas, other times he is clueless, but he means well. Kind of like real life, no?

You might wonder, why a giraffe? Continuing my long history of audience participation into my character development, I took my question to the Twitter, and there you have it.

The contest winner will receive a custom avatar of your choice drawn by me! (130 x 130 pixels)

Stretch your creative muscles, folks! You have a high standard to live up to. Consider that our current lineup of characters includes a dog named Dinky Doughnuts, a bird named Squishy, and a Fuzzysnussle. “Bob” the giraffe is not gonna cut it.

Enter in the comments below, on Facebook, or Twitter. Entries will be accepted through 8 PM Eastern on Wednesday 8/31. Enter as many times as you want.

So stick your neck out, and name that giraffe!