24 july 2018

I never really had a period of my life where I was young, independent, and had the means to, like, travel or go out to restaurants or social establishments on a regular basis. I grew up in an area with sparse public transit, for one thing, and for reasons probably related to me being autistic it took me a good long while to learn how to drive properly. And then when I went off to college for the first time, I had access to this huge public transit network and lots of places I could walk to, but I was pretty broke. Couldn't land myself a job for anything, and while my parents did what they could I couldn't really afford groceries and stuff. I didn't really go out with people to restaurants or bars or anything, partly because of money and partly because most nightlife establishments would have been sensory hell for me. But the money turned out to be a bigger problem in the long run; by the time I dropped out after three years I wasn't eating very well for money reasons.

And then I came home, and I'd finally got my driving license in the meantime, but if I drove anywhere it was in my dad's minivan, and it really had to be just to fill out job applications at any store with a hiring sign or to go to the grocery store or the library or therapy (for which my parents paid the copays, thankfully) and even if I was only driving to those places I'd have to hear all about how I was using up all this gasoline I couldn't pay for myself. And then I finally got my first real job, stocking shelves and rearranging merchandise displays in the Boston area, and I only managed to do so with the help of some friends who let me sleep on their couch while I started the job. These friends became my chosen family, and the next couple years were largely a struggle to keep us all housed, to keep the electricity on, and to keep food we could cook with whatever assortment of appliances in our kitchen would actually work at the time, to scrounge up enough money for the minimum allowed delivery of oil to heat our apartment, to get us to a bunch of specialist medical appointments in a city where we sometimes could not afford to park our car &c. We became more committed to each other, more interdependent. We chose to have a child, who is now two years old. I went back to college when that child was about a year old, in a different major this time (computer science) and I've still got a couple years to go before I finish my bachelor's degree, and…

I'm sorry, this is the most boring thing I could have written. But it's something I have to explain to people all the time, when people try to connect with me over what bands I've seen live or what places I like to go out to or if I can recommend a really good place for dinner. I've never really lived that life.

I did manage to get a ticket to concert once before I dropped out of college. It was Andrew Bird. I didn't realize the concert was standing room only, and I was traveling with my enormous overnight bag, and I didn't have enough cash to check the bag when I got there, so I stood with it, back near the bar where I couldn't afford any drinks and didn't dare ask for water, through the show. I left during the encore because I was afraid I'd miss the bus back to New York.

Perhaps some people weren't meant to live alone.