Hi, I’m Bart, and I have autism. Sound like an AA meeting? Well, it took some humility and self-admission on my part to say anything about autism to anyone. I’ve written before about my feelings at the time of my diagnosis; one of the self-imposed scripts that began to haunt me was, “Tell no one.” This blog has been helping me turn the corner on that — for my own therapy, and maybe to help or bless some of you.
It’s been about a year since I started this long Sunday drive into the blogosphere. I haven’t met all my goals, but I have had fun. My communication skills wax and wane based on my stomach, my breathing, my sleep, my bladder, and sometimes even the aromas in the air. I recently had to ask for an air freshener to be removed from the hall in my apartment complex.
(As my mother-in-law says when she’s started a subject, and wants to keep talking when the subject is complete – or incomplete: “Anyway…” She’s so precious – and she gave birth to an awesome daughter!)
“Anyway,” let me know if you have any feedback on my first year of blogging.
I need to do some research on my Mini. My commute is now 66 miles – one way – and I am pouring on the miles. I’m not going to cry; I can be a big boy about this. But I wonder about the gray hairs on this car.
At 74 miles an hour, Holland (my pet name for this half-Austrian, half-British, driven-by-a-Dutch-descendent car) sits right at 3000 RPMs. If you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning, you know she is a stick shift. I have six forward gears, but sometimes I’m looking for seventh!
I can cruise to work in 6th gear, 95% highway driving, and I’m sitting at 3,000 RPMs most of the trip. I wonder if that’s healthy for this ’13 Paceman. It might be more fuel efficient if I went down to 70. But would it make my car last any longer? I know I’d be getting to work a little later than I want to. Like I said, I need to do some research. What is an optimum RPM reading for highway driving? The truth must hover around the idea that engine size and other performance engineering factors contribute to a wide amount of variance in this RPM query. I may have to refine my hypothesis and test it.
Recently, on one of the two-lane roads that constitute the last 11 miles of my commute, I got behind some slower vehicles. Frustrated at first, I decided to make it a positive experience and do an experiment with my RPMs. I backed off to a safe distance from the car in front of me and put the Mini in cruise control at 57 miles an hour. I noticed my engine wasn’t as loud and my RPMs went down to 2100. I probably did save some gas. But was it easier on my engine? Only the Lord and a lab beyond my reach can tell.
This type of thinking has given me hope amid this ASD diagnosis. My car is a corollary, or a type, or a parable, to my body. My engine illustrates to me how I need to pay attention to the RPMs in me. I want to last long. I want to be economical and purposeful with my energy. I want to go forward, but at a peace-filled pace. Society wants everyone to go faster and faster and faster, but I find that I enjoy my life more when I slow down. When I think. Rather, when I take time to think. When I stop and smell the roses. When I go outside and stick my bare feet in the grass for that purpose alone. When I actually listen to others as opposed to scripting my next statement.
Perhaps this blog has been my mindfulness venture. Now that it’s been a year, I should probably take a “retreat” and set some goals if I want to “advance.” Thanks for shiftin’ with me this past year, and I look forward to happy motoring with all readers in the future. Many sharp turns and gorgeous vistas ahead! [I really need to get back to the mountains. Oh, did I say that out loud? Breathe, Bart, just breathe.]