It’s 7:30 am and already 80 degrees. I am trying to get an early start and take Idris/The Beast/Tardis Van up to the high desert where it’s expected to be 107 today.
I’m excited to be going to Hesperia, because I’ll be meeting the very first of my “we met online, I’m roadtripping, LMIRL” friends. To escape the heat with both us and our poodle in mind, she suggested a lake locally where there is a water play park. I hope that my H20 boy, (Ducky ended up being a far more apt nickname than could have ever been foreseen when he was six weeks old,) has a good time and stays hydrated. I hope our poodle is not only allowed but will also have fun and won’t get heatstroke. I hope I don’t faint. Anywhere. Or freak out getting there.
The road trip feels frighteningly real as I anticipate the haul. The grade we will be taking is being sold as having “Incredible Views” which I hear as, “It’s really high which means you will have four panic attacks before arrival!” We are going to visit the Cal Earth Institute this evening, getting a tour from my friend who works there.
I don’t like heights. I really resent writing that because I once adored them. I used to climb, jump, swing and play. Now I cautiously teeter and gasp a lot, feeling my heart pounding in my chest at the barest hint of a possible tumble. Once I sought out tall bridges over huge crevasses and would know that someday I would be bungee jumping off. Now, I need a blindfold and valium to get anywhere near the edge. This makes our Grand Canyon plans particularly interesting.
I’ve warned Ducky that there will be a heck of a climb and that I might have to concentrate more that usual. This is code for, “I’m nervous and may completely freak out on you at some point, so you’re likely better off staying buried in your book.” He has recently let me know that he is also scared of flying so our eventual joke of “let’s go to England” may require medicinal bolstering.
I picture going up the hill with white knuckles and shortness of breath, bitching and screaming every step of the way.
I hope we survive.
Recently, we were both reminded about our neurodivergence when something unexpected happened: The fridge door flew open after we forgot to secure it. I screamed in terror at the loud bang and promptly freaked out in full meltdown mode. This set Ducky off into a round of headbanging SI*; basically the two of us looked like a pair of loons ready for the Bin.
We were finally able to pull over and deal with things, both of us with tearstained faces and one with slight bruising. I apologized profusely while we secured the food/fridge and we went about our way. A few miles down the road I asked him, “Do you fear any part of this as being a bad idea? I mean for us. I think that there are people out there, you know neurotypicals who wouldn’t get crazy over something like [the door startling us,] who would say, ‘oh, well let’s pull over and deal with that’ all calmly and stuff.”
Ducky looked out the window silently for quite a while and then replied, “That’s not who we are. We are Autistic, and Bi-polar, we aren’t going to respond to things the way you think a perfect Mommy and son are, we are going to do what we do. And I really want to do [this trip] no matter who we are.”
He continued, “You said it’s okay to be different and that by doing scary things we are fighting our illness and…”
He is right. I’ve been saying it over and over again that this trip is a not only a way to get where we are going it is also to stand up and say, “We can do this too.”
We might not be calm. We might be prone to riot. I think we will be honest. I hope we will be brave. I know we will be optimistic.
After all, it’s who we are.