The Road Less Travelled

two_roadsWe all know them, there is a certain tribe amongst us neuro diverse people who speak of cure and curse what they might have been but for the ‘demon’ of autism that possesses them.

They tend to be resentful of others achievements and condemn there fellows at University as ‘shiny aspies’ as if we had a life in any wise different to theirs.

Well I shall play with that thought experiment of ‘what if there had been a pill I could have taken as a child’.  What might I be otherwise than I am now?

I can contemplate an alternative future, indeed the future I was supposed to have if my parents had had their vicarious ambitions fulfilled.  I would gone to law school, trained as a solicitor and maybe become a partner in a firm.  I would by now be a grandfather, with a doting wife (they are always doting for some reason) with two grown up children, equally successful in their chosen endeavours.

I would live in a comfortable home paid for by the profits of my other investments and I would be nothing like the Laurentius you see today.  I would have lost most of my regional accent, I would dress soberly (for business) play golf and go to the opera.  I might even belong to some important sounding society with letters after my name.

Then again it might not have turned out so sweet.  I might, even this perfectly amenable and tame non autistic and somehow intellectually superior me, not have been able to escape the consequences of an alcoholic and abusive father.  My wife may have packed up and leaved me.  One of my children might have died from a childhood cancer and the other become a teenage tearaway in constant trouble with the law I was supposedly expert in.

I could by now be a bitter old man, liver ruined by drinking, health otherwise compromised by failing joints not helped by obesity from too many business lunches.  My name might not count for much in the world at all, for I could be the butt of all the office jokes because of that slight common hint in my accent, and my failure to be a ladies man, never mind my secretary was pursuing an industrial tribunal for sexual harassment.

I might have been eternally regretful that I had seen my mum die in a nursing home (I had paid for) essentially vegetating, because I was too distant and arrogant to really care.  My dad would still have died early, boasting in the pub about his successful lawyer son, but regretting just as much that he had turned his back on his beginnings and shunned him.

In other words we simply do not know.  Life is attended by so many forks in the road, and not many of them lead to that ideal of bliss in the world.  That is to say other ghosts of my past, other things that occurred in generations before my Father and Mothers even.

It has been a rough week for me, as rough as could be wished on anybody, and for sure my autism has had a lot to do with it.

There is no point regretting the past, even the recent past because you can’t change a thing.  However even so my autism never stopped me engaging in the world of autism, much though some people may resent that it is not our business to be swimming in that pond.  My autism has not stopped me belonging to an important sounding society, with letters after my name, because I have been a person of influence in the community, a force for good.

I do regret I am not a doting grandfather, some things you cannot recover, but that is the way it goes.

Anyway to continue the Reggae theme, here is some more, mark well the words.

Laurence Arnold’s The Road Less Travelled first appeared at in regione caecorum rex est luscus and is reprinted here with permission of the author.

on 04/19/10 in featured, Society | No Comments | Read More

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