Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Odds: Eleven (Part I)

I’ve always wanted to play and win the lottery, but I never have. I was convinced that the chances of winning were so infinitesimally small that the perfect set of circumstances had to be in place for a win. You can’t win by playing over and over again, because each time you play, your chances revert back. Playing more than once increases your chances of winning one of them, but not of winning any of them. And so I waited. I continued on with my life without giving it too much thought, but it was still always in the back of my mind. I was not born with nothing, but could not simply have anything I wanted. I know how important money is. When I was nearly fifteen years old, my parents suggested I get a job. I’m not quite clear on the specifics of the law, but I know that I could have started working at least a year earlier, and I’m not sure why I didn’t. Looking back, I feel selfish for that. My father suggested I become a lifeguard but I don’t know what gave him that idea, but it would explain why he waited until I was older.
I have an extreme and overpowering instinct to protect people. When pedestrians are crossing the street, I slow down, not so that I won’t hit them, but so that I can keep an eye on them and make sure that no one else does. If I were to hear a bang, I don’t think I would hit the floor, I think I would look for people who needed help. Now, how effective I would be in a crisis is a different story, but my main concern is always others. Months ago, I was diagnosed with autism, and I’ve spoken briefly on this, but I didn’t really get too much into it. The word autism is from the Greek autos, meaning “self”. It is generally characterized by self-absorption, and a sometimes debilitating fear of interaction with others. Autistic people are all different—there are as many types of autism as there are people with autism—but one thing that seems to bind us all is social anxiety. This has led experts to believe that we spend too much time in our own heads, and that we are not concerned with others. But this is an insulting and ridiculous description that I take offense to.
The truth is that I don’t process information the same way neurotypical people do. I don’t ask questions, I don’t try to discuss, and I don’t even read as much as you would think. I learn best by seeing a problem and finding the answer through logic. Historical figure John Doe did this and this and this. Why? What was his motivation? Well, tell me the time period, his economic station, and his location, and I might be able to figure it out. That was not only an example of my thought process, but also of my expertise in tangent. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this is actually a tangent of a tangent. Mind blown?
When I’m in my own head, I’m not thinking about myself; I’m thinking about you. I’m thinking about what you want out of me; how I should respond to you. I’m thinking about the kinds of things you like and hate. I’m looking at how you dress, how you stand, how you look at me, how you look at others, whether you’re attractive, if you understand the value of a dollar, what movies you like, what you ate for breakfast, what your problems are, if you really hate me as much as I think you do, who you’re going to vote for, and if you’ve noticed how long I’ve taken to respond to you. And when we’re not in a conversation, but you’re in proximity, I’m thinking about whether you’re going to say something to me, what you’re going to say, and what I should say to you. I’m calculating every single possible scenario that could possibly come out of this, consolidated so they’re easier to manage. You might be mad at me, or you might be planning to give me a compliment. Or the world could end. It’s all possible, and I don’t really worry about which ones are the most plausible. I just throw them all in there.
All of what I’ve said is relevant because, since you didn’t know what I was thinking when you were around me, I’m not sure how my father could have known that I would excel at being a lifeguard. Even though I have this urge to help and protect people, I sure as hell don’t seem like I do. I would imagine that a great deal of people would think of me as kind of a dick. I don’t try to be rude, but I def come off as that, and it’s because my facial expressions don’t match my feelings. But that’s just me, that’s what my face looks like. You call it ugly, but it’s better known as bitchy resting face. Look it up.
I did well as a lifeguard, but it ended when I graduated from high school and went on to other things. I’ve had many jobs since then; more than I wish I had needed. And I’ve hated all of them, for varying reasons. I sometimes hated the people I worked with, and sometimes hated the work itself. But for the most part, I hated them because they ended. Looking for work has been the most stressful neverending experience of my life. I thought school was bad, but at least they let me in the door.
Both fortunately and unfortunately for me, I’m a writer. D’uh. And I’ve always had this idea that one day, I’ll publish a book, become rich and famous, and I’ll never have to work again. That’s not worked out so far, and so I’ve had to continue my search for work. But the fact that it may still happen—and I can never prove that it won’t—has always held me back. I’ve never been able to pursue a job search at full force, because it’s always seemed like a stepping stone. I didn’t think I would ever need to worry about a career, and I’ve just learned that I didn’t. But not for the reason I thought. I found money in a different, mostly unexpected, way.
Eleven. I was born with an extra finger on my right hand, which meant that I had eleven manual digits. It was surgically removed when I was eleven days old. Either because of the surgery, or just because, the rest of my fingers and jacked up. Goddamn ten. Eleven is a weird number, and I’ve always admired it for that. One is the loneliest number. It takes two to tango. Three’s a crowd. There are four elements. Five is a spiritual number. Hexagons are some of the most useful shapes. Seven is...never mind, that one doesn’t count. Eight ball. A cat’s nine lives. Ten is so perfect that everybody loves ten and fuck ten! And people like things that come in dozens—heh, gross. Nobody cares about eleven save musicians and physicists, and so I care about it. Nobody bases things in eleven. No one uses the undecimal system. No one organizes things in groups of eleven. Nobody likes it. It’s either more than you need or less than you think you deserve. It’s in the middle, it’s outcast, it’s dismissed, it’s teased and underestimated and thrown away. It’s me. I’m Eleven, and so that’s why I chose it as my first number.
Actual size.

No comments :

Post a Comment