It’s gloomy outside today. I keep thinking it’s later than it is. I played with my Samsung VR (virtual reality) last night. After about an hour, I started feeling motion sickness. I played a game where I flew around, guiding my direction by tilting my head. That’s probably what did it. The drop from 40 feet didn’t frighten me at all. I tried from the top of a building in a large city, and a cliff. It was scarier to look down before the fall, but not much. This is a failing of the device, as I’m afraid of heights. In real life, I can’t approach the edge of a cliff while standing. I have to crawl. It’s a crawl of shame. So far, Arkham VR on Playstation 4 scares me. Swimming in a shark cage while a great white shark is initially an uncertain shadow, then suddenly like a torpedo coming at me from below, scares the shit out of me (and makes me scream) in VR. They’re huge! They don’t even need to bite their prey. It’ll die from the impact! VR is exciting overall, but Myst-like puzzle games are my favorite so far.
I used my GoPro to record my favorite running route, then tried watching it while running on my treadmill. It showed me I need to work on my form, for one thing. I got called out for b-bopping in the Army a few times. If you bounce when you walk in military formation, it’s visible from a distance and ruins the uniformity. When running, it causes wasted energy. It reminded me of my Jr. High Track Coach. He filmed me to show me how much time I was wasting by looking around rather focusing on crossing the finish line first. Then he made fun of me while we watched it as a team. It was hilarious because he was also the strict Chemistry teacher we didn’t know possessed a personality until that point.
It was funny to watch myself looking behind me while running. I had a huge grin on my face. Running fast is my only athletic trait. I look like I wouldn’t embarrass anyone on the basketball court, but in reality, I can run fast or dribble or shoot. Just not at the same time. People are surprisingly impressed by someone who can dribble the ball between their legs. It’s my most convincing move (that always leads to disappointment.) I want to play so I feel no shame in using it to get picked for the casual game in the park. (I save it for later when I accidentally score on the wrong basket or something.)
I just realized I’m talking about autism masking. Junior high was when my masking abilities became successful. Before that, it took about thirty seconds of observation to recognize I was the “special” kid in the classroom. I didn’t know it at the time, thank goodness. I remember the hours of studying MTV and copying the dance moves. Heather and I were both enthralled by breakdancing. Michael Jackson was an obsession we had in common. Teaching myself to dance hip hop was one of the wisest decisions I made in my pre-teen years.
It seems silly, but it was my key to inclusion by my peers for over a decade. It’s fascinating. It’s funny to me that dancing hip hop is behaving like someone with way too much energy and an unhealthy obsession with the beat. Of course, I’m all over it. I want to know about the brilliant things others did to mask their autism as a kid. Feel free to share in comments.