Autistic & Forever the Outsider

When I was growing up in Trinidad & Tobago, I moved around so much that I never made friends. The moving around didn’t matter, though, because even moments of residency I was still seen as an outsider. My vision was poor so playing sports was out of the question. And being mixed race didn’t help in neighborhoods where being black was the norm. I was once beat up by a kid for no reason, but in retrospect, it may have been my simple oddness, and aloofness, that may have set him off.

I didn’t receive glasses till I was 10, and when I did get them, they were so thick that kids said they were made from Coke bottles. I tried my best to avoid everyone by going for long walks on Mayaro beach, and that usually worked. It was just me and the wide Atlantic Ocean – pure tranquility. I could’ve done without that burning sting from a Portuguese man o’ war that had been washed up on the beach; still, it was preferable to being among my own human compatriots.

Fast forward to today, nearly 50 years later. Things haven’t changed that much. I still prefer to commune with nature than humankind. Yesterday, i went for two strolls through Magnuson Park. The first was through the sports fields and the second, around 5PM, was through the wetlands. Now that summer is upon us, the wildlife is beginning to flesh out around here. For the first time, and up close, I saw a hummingbird. It could’ve been a black-chinned hummingbird but I’m not sure. It’s back was an iridescent dark green but it’s chest was also dark, not like the white I’ve seen in pictures. I also saw a great blue heron. That was pretty cool. Close up they sure resemble dinosaurs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re one of the least changed descendants of the extinct wonders.

I think I know what my future is. I’ll be that eccentric old man (like billy barr, the snow guardian of the Rockies or Nikola Tesla, the electrical genius) who shuns society and speaks only to the animals. I won’t mind that, actually. Humans can be deceptive, corrupt, dishonest, abominable, frightful and just plain uncomfortable to be around. That’s too bad but it is what it is. Just give me wildlife anytime – just keep the big cats at bay, though. They make me nervous.

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