Rocketing through this thing we call life, we often forget to look out the window. We are transfixed on the path we have chosen and ignore the little things that would actually enhance our journey. It's taken me many years and possibly retirement to get a real understanding of this. I've written about this concept a number of times, but please indulge me, as it becomes more precious each time I recognize it.
Whether we are leaving our living room, walking anywhere, or driving, we often spend our entire time immersed in ourselves. Where we are going, what are going to do when we arrive, what's next, and what's in it for me. How long can I stay, What am I going to eat for lunch or supper. Me, me, and yes, me. I've written about slowing things down; throwing out the anchor, and smelling the roses, so there is no sense beating your head against a dead horse.
Due to an incident where 6 "youts" decided to come into my back yard, I had cameras installed all around my house. Since I spend a considerable amount of time working on my computer as well as repairing others, I witness a lot going on, on my street. What I don't see, my neighbor with Asperger's sees all. He and I have daily conversations and seeing he operates on a different plain of logic than I do, sometimes it is enlightening and often a source of humor for both of us. I've known the fellow for over 10 years and watched him go from a kid who hardly talked and wouldn't make eye contact, to a social butterfly who knows everyone who lives near us.
I think he knows everyone on a couple streets in fact. If you are not familiar with Asperger's, they can be a little spooky at first meeting because they basically cannot read expressions. Socially awkward is a good description. For instance, he will occasionally hug me for no apparent reason, or stand uncomfortably close while talking. His choice of clothing is at times bizarre, or he will walk around the neighborhood with no shirt on while it is windy and 50 degrees. Mind you, he is 30 years old and until recently, had a beard. This alone is a bit peculiar and add in the fact that he's often barefooted, it might just raise a few eyebrows.
This morning while working on this column, I observed him pick up and read my newspaper. He made himself comfortable spreading it on my shrubs and took his time reading it. Now before I put the brakes on in my life, I would have yelled at him. Not today. After about 10 minutes, he simply could not roll it back up and put the plastic sleeve over it, so he brought it to the front door. I explained that it is my paper and I pay for it and he shouldn't be reading it.
His answer was typical for someone with his condition. "I know that. I just wanted to read the comics!" I closed the door, as courteous goodbyes are not recognized by him, even though the exchange was friendly. A couple of weeks ago, I asked him if he had observed the lunar eclipse. His answer had me guffawing for a solid minute.
"Yes and I DON'T WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN!" I almost got the vapors I was laughing so hard. Yesterday, which was Monday, I checked the mailbox about 3 times and each time I did, he watched me. We have a small round table and 2 chairs in a flower bed in our front yard and this attracts him. He often sits in my flower bed, which I do not mind. He is after all, the street observer. I commented to him that the post office is running later than usual.
"Its President's Day, duh!" I burst into a fit of laughter and asked him why he didn't say something earlier, to which he logically replied, "Didn't you check your calendar?" Any time anyone on the street comes out of their house to wash a car, or work on something with the garage door open, it is going to prompt a visit from him and seeing we live across the street from each other, I get the lion's share. Do I mind? No, I do not. He comes and goes and often, when he is done talking, he simply wanders off. He has taught me that its the little things that matter.