If you’ve stuck with me this far, I imagine that you either have AS, or you know someone who does. Regardless, perhaps this exhaustive introduction gives you some idea of how much of a struggle my life has been.
You will find that I wander a lot in the course of this writing. I am on a journey of self-exploration. I am seeking an answer to a lifelong question, “What’s Wrong With Me?” Part of having AS is this frequent desire to just get away from everyone. Perhaps that’s why I like hiking so much, being with nature, travelling with just one person that I am close to. I do love to share things of beauty with someone that I love.
In many ways my life has been rich, in many ways it has been poor. I have been many beautiful places and I have many more that I want to go to. I probably will not make it everywhere in my lifetime.
I have a degree in Petroleum Engineering and worked for several successful years as such. I gave public presentations, I worked in the Office of the Secretary of Interior. I’ve gotten divorced twice, gone bankrupt three times. I’ve been to prison, during which time I won two major precedent setting legal cases without ever having had a formal legal education. I’m proud of that, but it isn’t the kind of thing you can put on a resume.
The first of these cases is known as the good time ruling. It had nationwide implications. In short, it granted good time for time served in the county jail. The rationale being that someone who had the money for bail would spend less time in prison because they would receive good time for every day of their sentence whereas those who could not afford bail would serve more. I got out 6 months early because of this. Yes, you can spend a long time in a county jail. Perhaps one million people in the US got out of prison early because of this ruling. I have often remarked that if I had a dollar for every day that a prison term was reduced because of this I would be rich.
The other case I won was against the holding company for a large insurance company which in turn is owned by a large Swiss bank. In short, I served process on the holding company rather than the actual insurance company. The company argued that the service of process was invalid because the holding company was not a legal entity. While the holding company may not have any actual assets, they were incorporated, and they served as an umbrella for several companies. This may seem like a minor matter, but to corporations this is a big deal. It allows you to go after a much larger chunk of assets. I have had 3 attorneys, one from as far away as New York, call me and ask me how I did it. And it all seemed pretty straightforward to me.
The district court agreed with the insurance company and dismissed them from the case. I appealed to the state Supreme Court. I had no doubt that I would get reversal. I actually was surprised the company would not settle rather than run the risk of certain reversal and a very damaging precedent. And I actually did get a 5-0 reversal. Later, when chatting with the local attorney who represented the insurance company, I expressed my surprise that the company took this risk. He told me that the corporate attorney’s in Los Angeles didn’t think I would win. I then asked, “I won 5-0, are you saying that I am smarter than the corporate attorney’s in Los Angeles?” He answered, “Apparently.”
Much of my life has been a struggle, with myself. Many times in my life I found myself thinking that I had been born on the wrong planet. It was at the age of 59 that I discovered that I had Asperger’s Syndrome. It was a realization. It was also an empowerment. It wasn’t that something was wrong with me, it was that I was wired differently. I have come to understand something about the world of Neurotypicals, NTs as we Aspies call them. There is a good book on this subject, “A Field Guide to Earthlings.” A somewhat humorous title.
Part of being Aspie is the occasional desire to get away from everything, which I suppose explains why I like nature and hiking. When I made this revelation, it started me a bit of a journey of finding out just what this was, what it means to me. It isn’t something that has an answer, or, if there is one it is as elusive as a life blown by the fall winds. In the course of events, I went to an Asperger’s support group. I got the name of someone who could give me a thorough set of tests (including IQ). I also got the name of a psychiatrist. I had one session with him. During this he said to me, “I can give you something for the depression.” I answered, “I don’t have a problem with depression if I don’t have assholes in my life, so I don’t think I have a depression problem.” I think this rather surprised him. Most people would have just taken the prescription and gone to la-la land. But then characteristic of Aspies is to be blunt.
I know I’m wandering, but then this is part of the subject. At the age of 63, I got a small inheritance. I have tried not to squander it on trivia and to invest some. Although I don’t know much about investing. I got my second divorce shortly thereafter. In fact, I was quite surprised how fast and easy the divorce was. We had just finished paying off the mortgage on the house. I had put a substantial amount of the inheritance money towards that. It was supposed to give me a great deal of security, owning a house, knowing that I would always have a place to stay. But when I filed for divorce, I gave the house to her. I did not even ask for half of it. Much of that was because I did care about her. I also felt a sense of responsibility.