Aspie Van

2015-07-03  Aspie Van (1)

 

Some time ago I bought this sweet 1984 VW Vanagon. It is an “L” model, which means no accessories or luxuries of any kind. It doesn’t have anything power, not even the steering, and it has a small 1.9 litter engine with a standard 4 speed transmission.

I always loved these machines for their simple shape and mechanical, so I’ve been in the hunt for a cheap one from a long time. Since they are now consider a desirable collector vehicle for VW enthusiasts, they can go really high in price, with ranges between the $4,000 to sometimes as high as $40,000, depending on the condition and accessories in it.

But for me it is not as much because of a collector vehicle that I love it, but rather because to me they are a very representative vehicle of what an Aspie is. In the outside it might look as not much; just a box on wheels; but in my eyes inside they hold a whole mind world!!

Since an Aspie (or at least in my case) doesn’t look like much in the outside, yet have a big inside mind world due to live mostly “inwards” as being part Autistic, this vehicle represents that, and it is what is inside what really counts. These vehicles can be passenger vans, cargo vans, campers, etc, whatever you want it to be, just by changing the interior arrangement.

So to me they are Aspie Vans; and I wanted one for me to be my number one car. So when I found this one in non running condition but as a solid body without rust, making it a perfect candidate for restoration, and all for just $ 500, I immediately grabbed it and started to work on it.

 

2015-07-03  Aspie Van (2)

 

Now it is in running condition, although not reliable because the engine was just activated but not repaired, so strange noises roam the engine compartment, which I know are from the engine and transmission together.

Still, a good surprise it gave me is that it is an extraordinary vehicle for off road exploration, mostly in part because of it high clearance, rigid suspension and (it seems) heavy duty shocks installed by the previous owner. With my son we went to try it in dirt roads and completely off road, and despite it is a rear wheel drive vehicle (not FWD or 4WD), it really responded extremely well. So that’s another point to restore this van.

 

2015-07-03  Aspie Van (3)

(You can see in the picture above how an Aspie feels while surrounded by people!!)

 

Yet it’ll take a long time and lots of work, so to fix now my problem of not having a #1 car, I bought the red van I mentioned in a previous post, just to have a vehicle while I work in this one.

I know it’ll take me probably about a year to do the whole restoration, but I think maybe by next summer (2016) it’ll be ready to hit the roads (and the off roads), while breaking the hearts of VW enthusiasts! LOL

I will post the progress in the restoration here as time goes by (and maybe even open a specific web site for it).

Raul

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Aspie World 32 – Perception

2015-07-01  Aspie World 32 - Perception

Analyzing how my brain perceives the world around, the best example so far I can think of, together with the giant TV screens all around, is that it feels like when you haven’t slept for a couple of days and are tired beyond yawning and tears, to a point where you feel like floating, like everything happening around you is a dream you are having and you are in it. So you walk around and do things like in a state of trance, talking to yourself in your mind and analyzing what movements you have to do, while the world around feels like a movie being played in front of your eyes, and there is no connection between that world around and you. Have you felt like that?

That’s the way I normally perceive the world; the way it is and feels for me when interacting with it, and so I don’t have a sense of pertaining to the place, or even being there physically. When walking, driving, talking to a co-worker, etc. it always feels like my mind is watching the surroundings but my body is not there. At all moments I’m interacting with the characters in the TV screens all around, and even though it feels strange, I do it because with time I’ve learned that that’s the way it suppose to be, so at the moment of interacting I’m doing something that is somehow unnatural to me.

That’s one of the reasons I named this blog Alien Ghost, because that’s how I’ve felt all my life; like an Alien creature that doesn’t pertain to the place; and as a Ghost that is watching what is happening around, but nobody can see me; maybe something like it is described as having an Out of the Body Experience.

Have you had an Out of the Body Experience? That’s how I’ve felt all my life by being an Aspie. I don’t know if other Aspies feel the same way since every Aspie is different, but that’s how I feel.

I guess this is just another bit of information I can give you, so you know more about what a freaking Aspie really is.

Raul

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Falling Fortress

2015-06-29  Falling Fortress (1)

So my fortress is finally falling! My trusted van, which became my refuge at break times while dealing with people at work, has started (a while ago) with all the collection of noises a vehicle can have, and leaking anything that can flow, and is usually found in a car.

It is no wonder that my beloved van is dying, mostly because it is 300,000 miles and a lot of hard work. Many times it was loaded with a ton of newspaper, rocks, bricks, cement bags, wood, trees, you name it, everything that can be loaded up in a vehicle.

So a hard working life, together with a long distance traveled throughout the years, finally are winning the game and my poor van is all rusted and worn out.

I could fix it since I have restored many cars, but with the really low prices of similar units in great condition, it really doesn’t make any sense to spend money and time on it, and better just get another one that is already running and in a lot better shape.

With this in mind, I’ve been searching for a van like mine that could be bought for a low price. Quick searches in Craigslists finally led me to a sweet machine like mine. It is 3 years older, but with less than half the mileage. A combination of red and grey can establish the identities between both machines, and a definite better shape can make all the difference!!

2015-06-29  Falling Fortress (2)

At a very low price of $600 due to a non properly working transmission I just couldn’t resist, and simply took it home with me. Now I have to fix the transmission though!! But the good thing is that I need to work in only one thing: the transmission, and the one in the green van is working properly, so most probably it’ll be just a transmissions swap. While my original, dark green van, requires work in everything it has (except the transmission, LOL)

You can see in the pictures they are basically the same type of machines, and only the color makes the difference.

Now, since this red van was located in Estes Park, some 50 miles up in the mountains from where I live, and the problem with the transmission is that it only runs forward in first gear (reverse works fine), I had to drive it all the way to home in first gear accelerating and coasting in neutral, accelerating and coasting in neutral, all in a cycle of about 3 minutes…for three hours, and in traffic!!

But the van is finally at home (after an about 3 hours drive), and just waiting for me to have free time to fix it.

As soon as I get it fixed and ready to become my number one vehicle and new fortress, I’ll let you know.

Raul

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Aspie World 31 – Hearing the World

2015-06-10  Aspie World 31 - Hearing the world

It is very surprising for people that for me it is easier to write than to speak, mostly because with them is exactly the opposite. I can’t deny it has always intrigued me why while for most talking is easier than writing (which is the natural thing considering that talking is the primary way of communication, while writing, together with drawing, are more complex ways), for me talking (and understanding when people talk to me) is the most difficult.

While for many years I thought maybe my hearing wasn’t good enough, lately I’ve been surprised at the number of different small sounds I can hear, which brought me back to the question why. I believe I’ve found the answer in my actual job.

Since it is working in a factory assembly line in a clean room, there are all kind of loud noises coming from the machines at movement and the supply of running vacuum and compressed air, but also there is the smock, hood, boots, sleeves, gloves and safety glasses we have to wear, so together with the loud noises, the hood covering my ears deny me of a complete listening capability, so my understanding when other people talk has become a lot more difficult now (and for the past 4 years) than what used to be before at other works I’ve held in the past.

Because of the hood covering the ears, together with the loud noises, it wasn’t a surprise for me I couldn’t hear well, but what surprised me was that other people, including immigrant co-workers who have a poorer knowledge of the English Language than me can hear and understand a lot better than I can.

My only conclusion is that my hearing range could be different from the one other people might have. But this implies more than just not being able to understand easily what other people say!

If my hearing range is different than normal (because I am an Aspie), then that means I have learned the language in a different way than most people did, so when I hear a word pronounced I hear something completely different from what others hear, and that must have led me to learn the wrong pronunciation of every single word I know!

No wonder why few people can understand when I speak, and it is so difficult for me to understand when they speak!! And then no wonder why for me it’s easier to write than to speak; by being an Aspie and living in a more solitary way I would naturally tend to have more practice writing than speaking, but also by having more problems when verbally interacting, unconsciously I probably retrieved even more to the writing area rather than the speaking one, making even worst the whole situation!!

Now, it is not just a matter of applying myself harder to the speaking area in order to improve in it since if my conclusions are true, my hearing range will always keep me in a different spectrum of pronounced words understanding and my own pronunciation.

Although, there are solutions by the means of hearing tests and audio-phonology works (which right now are out of my reach because of the costs), I guess at this time of my life (being 52), my main interests have shifted and rather than trying to learn to participate in the world, I have come to desire more to retrieve to a corner of it, and dedicate myself to the delightful pleasures of writing my observations of the human race and its rather strange (for me) behavior.

So happiness is back in place, being the previous just a simple observation of an old time question in my mind of another among thousands of “why” floating in my ethereal (and Aspie) mind.

Raul

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Aspie World 30 – Software and Behavior

2015-06-08  Aspie World 30 - Software and Behaviors

 

It always surprise me how people give a different face. For example, in a job, someone doesn’t like a co-worker, but when together they smile and chat like they really liked each other. I can understand the courtesy to be polite and educated, and to avoid unnecessary conflicts, but the way they talk is not just politeness but plain friendly, as if they really liked each other! To me it looks like pretending and being dishonest with the other person and with oneself.

I do have people that I don’t like at work and they know it! I am polite and say Hi when seeing them; I ask them how are they doing, and always say please and thank you when having to interact with them for work related issues, but I’m always with a serious, very formal face. I guess the message from my mind is clear: “I’m being polite while we discuss work related stuff, but I’m not interested in anything else with you

It seems logic to me, and while I can understand the concept of “keeping the party in peace”, and recognize that my way might be too cold and to an extreme, still it seems to me normal people go to the other extreme in this kind of situations, thus living in an environment where everything becomes relative and dependant on the last second reaction, attitude or manipulation, forcing the parties to continually keep guard in the situation. What unnecessary complexity!

OK, I’m an Aspie, and we Aspies don’t have the “human interaction software” uploaded in our brains. Maybe it is really easy for normal people to do this when having the proper software. But still it seems to me that it creates an environment of relativism rather than fact, promoting with it the slowing down of possible advancing in whatever the objectives of the job at hand may be.

My only conclusion in this very common behavior is that, in normal people the socialization software keeps taking over when two people get to the required close distance for the software to activate, and so it does, even if the other person is someone they might not like.

In other words, personal opinion or preference, by being a learned or recorded capacity, it is easily overridden by the brain software. Someone may not like another person, but his/her brain software is stronger than his/her personal opinion; while in my Aspie brain, by not having the socialization software, my personal opinion about another person can easily become “visible” at all the times.

Now, by being an Aspie, thus not having the socialization software, I’ve always put more emphasis in my personal opinion about another person over my (inexistent) need of socialization, while for normal people, it should be a completely natural thing to behave the way they do, especially because for them liking and socializing can be considered two completely different situations when interacting with someone else, making it the natural way to be, as it clearly is.

I can understand and accept that as a characteristic difference between species, and that is fine with me, but the problem that this distinctive behavioral configuration creates is that, in my personal case, by not having also the appropriate software for face and body communication reading, I cannot know if when someone is being nice and talkative with me, that is his/her real opinion of me, or just his/her socialization software at work, denying me with this the knowledge of where everybody really stand.

Raul

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