"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Friday, March 28, 2008

In Which I Go Public

Public apology
Sorry about that last post. That temper tantrum, rare as it was, should've been kept private. It does raise the question, though: how much of one's personal life should bleed into a public blog? I'm finding that, to continue this blog, I have to reveal more of myself than is comfortable.

Public image
Some have guessed that I don't post photos for reasons of privacy. Actually, it's because my photos aren't like yours and that's because my life isn't like yours. Your photos are of places you've gone, things you've done, people and things that are important to you. Mine are shapes and colors without subject, alien landscapes devoid of people; I don't try to do that, it's the way my brain works.

For one thing, I have virtually no visual memory. For example, I don't know what color the interior of my car is (the exterior is blue and I know this only because sometimes I have to tell people which car is mine). If we've met, I won't recognize you by face, but by the way you move or by your voice. If only that were my biggest oddity!

Public revelation
I'm autistic. Now that every socially awkward child is diagnosed as autistic, I should say that, excepting that I talk (and I said nothing yesterday, and nothing so far today), I am profoundly autistic. I go to meetings at the Autism Society of Minnesota to help others with the condition, but they generally are much less affected than I am; some autistic people have "splinter skills" (most people think of Dustin Hoffman's "Rain Man" and his ability to know how many toothpicks were in a box by the sound when they get dumped out) and mine seems to be the ability to disguise my autism. There's probably no way that I should be able to get by the way I do, but I do.

Partly, I get by because I learn extremely quickly. My IQ is extremely high (if you want to know what it is, you should know the difference between Stanford-Binet/Wechsler, Terman and Cattell scales first). My memory is also remarkable; having cared for a parent with Alzheimer's, I'm terrified that it's not as good as it was when I got an engineering degree without cracking a book.

Why is this important to the blog? Well, for one, it explains the extreme detail and tight focus of some of my posts. I collect facts, spin them around in odd ways in my head and then post them. It also explains the rather detached demeanor that some find off-putting.

Why I run
I like it and I'm pretty good at it (I'll finish 8th to 10th at Chippewa and be quite happy about it), but there's more. It relieves stress and repetitive motion is therapeutic for me. It gives me something to wear (!); I discovered at a young age that I could go most places in a running t-shirt, jeans and running shoes and not look completely out of place - and it gave me an identity, "Steve, the runner" and people would ask about the race on the shirt, which relieved me of the awkward burden of trying to make small talk.

Why I ranted
I'm never going to have a life like yours. I'm never going to come home from a day at the office to a family. It's never happened and it just won't. Usually I'm okay with that, but recently it's been hard.

You see, I've fallen in love. I'm working at about a schoolboy infatuation level with the social skills to match. And it's embarassing at my age, like a mid-life crisis without the life. I feel doomed from the start, so I'm not doing anything about it and that defeatist attitude makes me angry at myself.

And I remember her face! You can't imagine the emotion that goes with that. You really can't. It's like she's always there (I expect that doesn't make sense to anyone else). Part of me wants to forget, to go back to the comfort of the little world without other people in it. Part of me wants to take a chance, but doesn't know how. It's maddening and someone unexpectedly set me off.

Back to running from here on.


phillip said...

Geez, Steve . . .
I thought this was going to be a boring Friday filled with all of the normal challenges . . .
then I read your post and the 'other' one preceding it.

You win the award for the single most entertaining blog on the internet, hands down.

I truly believed you could run every Ultra in the Fab 5 Fifties Ultra Series, but now you're REALLY motivated. You may never stop.
All you have to do is promise, if you 'win', that you'll say you won.
No names, this is all for fun anyway, right?
Steve . . . right? RIGHT?

keith said...

I think it was a great swedish band who once said "Take a Chance..." Ya just never know unless you do.

You haven't got splinter skills...you just plain...Have Skillz. You make your own sports drink fer the cripes sakes.

I find I am drawn to people's blogs when they post stuff about themselves. Kinda like great art, it's often the every day details that make it seem more real.

kurt decker said...

Great post Steve !! I do not always leave a comment but do enjoy reading them.

I always like to look at races as it is not important if I win or not it is how I run my race. I have not won many but have had many great races for me. In fact I take that into my daily life as well. I live MY life the best I can. After all it is MY life and no one's but mine.

Keep up the good running and see you soon on the trails !!

aharmer said...

No need for apologies in my opinion. I love the fire...much better post than me telling everybody I ran 8 miles yesterday.

phillip said...

The Rainman counted the toothpicks when they were on the floor, he didn't use the sound.
That's why he was able to 'count' cards in Vegas.
Of the books you're reading, which is your favorite?
Phillip Gary Smith