Friday, May 14, 2010

Chapter One: Der Kinden

Contrary to popular misconceptions, your memory develops well beyond adolescence and peaks when you are approximately 30 years old, i.e. your memory sucked when you were little. Indeed many things must have happened when I was little, but I wouldnt remember despite other people keep telling me, not that I wanted to, either.

Another theory is that you probably remembered everything, but because of an underdeveloped mind, you are unable to bring them up when you want to, and they only trickle back if you are lucky.

So I was born, on the 10th day of June, 1989 in a small town in my old country. It was my grandp's insistence that my due mother travel a few hundred miles and give birth in a dilapidated hospital with no heating near where they worked because, after all, it was the summer of '89, the year of much shenanigans in a year that is probably the last babyboom, this is go get back at me a bit later in life.

According to my parents my birth is not exactly uneventful. I simply refused to come to this cold, hostile world. After several shots of oxytocin the midwives lost their patience and dragged me out with forceps, I am glad that they are not allowed to do it anymore because it literally scarred me for life: to this day, I still had a prominent bulge on the occipital side of my head, similar to what they describe as "Neanderthal Cranial Types". I get teased a lot because of this, in a good way since it is usually associated with my purported intelligence. I eventually got used to it, however not without resent since it is probably the first reminder to me, that somehow I am different to everyone else who had a normal skull and normal life.

So there I was born, I was with my mom in that run-down part of the province till I was 6 months old and they get be back to my actual hometown, where I remained for the next 12 years or so, never been away for more than a couple of months. I grew up without incident, however I have to say that nothing much has been remembered. Apparently I was pretty close to my mom, refusing to be left at the kindergarten despite mom working not far from that place. The only other fragment I do recall is once I sneezed while being spoon-fed my lunch, and the result isnt the most pleasant. If I could meet that nanny again I'd apologise over and over again for what I did, which I did not mean to do.

I did not stay long there before being sent to a better kindergarten, where I found my niche: I learned to read from quite early on, well before everyone else did. While other kids had their stories read by parents before they went to bed, I read them myself. And to be honest, I rather enjoyed the status of the official story-teller of the class. I was probably also an over archiever too; my parents tells the tale of me breaking down crying because I am not going to a Senior class at the start of a new year, despite the fact that I am exactly one year too young.

So that was probably the most happy period of my life, made better because I was the Wunderkind. Everybody knows me and everybody likes me; only regret is that all ended too quickly.

Unfortunately, my nasty traits has also started to develop around the same time. For one, I was uncomfortable with the convention and mannerism of the old country. For example, the gifts of money and food or whatever you get from older folks, and to accept, you will have to initially (pretend to) refuse. Indeed I was confused about this gesture, does it mean that I am lying for the first time round, do I really want their gifts for the risk of lying(which is still a critical sin to me back then) in front of people who love me.

So my strategy was to refuse, sternly; and take great offense in case the startled people insisted that I should take it(How Peculiar!). Money is grabbed and ripped in the middle; food is thrown to the ground and stomped; anything else not so readily destructible are to be chucked away where I can't see them, and give everybody present a bad moment. One may simply label such behavior as childish stupor, however I doubt if anyone had done anything so deeply cynical back then. I was not normal, or I never have been?

On our last night we had a bonfire party and I was the designated speaker. To think about it as my high-water mark would be an overstatement, but I have never managed to recover that level of prestige and satisfaction ever since. Another thing that did not disturb me till very late is that, while everyone was signing yearbooks and exchanging phone numbers, I stood there watching. I did not understand the point: we were friends, we had a good time, BUT why bother hanging onto people when you all had to move on and possibly not see each other again in your life?

I did not think much of it for a long long time, until the revelation came that I may actually have some form of high-functioning autism, probably Asperger. It had not been the result of any recent changes, but a lurking disease that had been with me since day zero. My inabilty to understand social norms has been there, so deep that to this day I think of my own infancy as a huge shame.

I did not know, because I was too well protected by my popular aura and love of others. And it's soon about to change.