I went to Olive Garden for the first time ever because this guy that I know through this guy that I know through Debbie invited like forty people there for his birthday. "I'm inviting more people this year," he said. "I just don't want to go over a thousand, but last year it only came to about three-sixty."
When he wasn't around I asked someone, "How -?"
"His family owns oil fields back east," they explained.
There's something beautiful about a rich person with a heart of gold. Money can be such a corrupting influence and it's beautiful to see someone who resists that and shows that having a lot of it doesn't make you a bad person. Think Mitt Romney versus Donald Trump. I hope to be like this when I become successful as well. Anyway, I went to this thing with Debbie and she wore the necklace I gave her, and another girl complimented it, and that put to rest my worries that it wasn't something she would actually want to wear. Going with her seemed appropriate because the host thought, maybe still thinks, that we're dating, which is immensely flattering to one of us. She told him that we're not but he didn't believe her. So I guess he thinks that we're dating but that she's embarrassed about it. So we all went and filled up three tables and the manager came out and talked to us and said, "I assume this will be separate checks?"
And the birthday man said, "Nah, just one." It was awesome.
Then I went wandering at an activity and when I returned John was there and he asked, "Do you wander like me?" And then he started talking about "my disability". Of course, I already knew what it was and that it's the same thing I have, and I don't think of it as a disability, but that has nothing to do with positive attitude and everything with pride. So this word choice threw me for a loop but I immediately realized that of course something that impairs virtually every facet of my life qualifies as a disability. People who call it just a "difference", though well-meaning, are deluding themselves. Of course it has a few advantages. The two that I can think of are that it enables me to look down on most of humanity for the stupid and arbitrary societal crap that they follow, and that it gives me a unique writing voice. Being blind often gives one greater hearing, too, but that doesn't make it not a disability.
Sometimes I almost forget how hellish it can be until I hear or read someone else describe it. John talked about how he has no friends and no one who understands. I asked if he had any luck at dating, since I've heard rumors that some Aspies aren't forever alone and was curious whether he had discovered the secret. He's only been on one date and that was with a girl who asked him out first. "I don't think I'm ready for girls," he said. And I knew then that he was far wiser than I, because I had to learn that the hard way. Anyway, seeing him so vulnerable and stuff, I repented of having thought he was annoying. I decided to invite him to hang out with Debbie and her ilk after institute, because I knew that if anyone could help him, they could. I was like a shriveled, wilted flower before Debbie poured the sunshine and water and fertilizer of platonic love on me so that I could bloom in full splendor. She noticed my redeeming quality and brought it to the forefront.
So I invited him and promised that he would fit in and be treated like a person. I didn't mention his situation to anyone, not wanting to give them any preconceived notions before they met him. And I hoped that I hadn't made a terrible mistake. What if they let me down? What if he was different, and they would treat me that way but not him? Not that I thought they would be mean, of course, but I just worried that they would be less enthusiastically inclusive than I had promised. It did get off to a rough start when he asked Debbie a question and she didn't answer because she didn't hear him. My heart was stung on his behalf. Been there, done that. It shouldn't feel personal but it does. After all was said and done, though, he said maybe I could understand how much it had meant to him, that he had felt like he fit in better than for the longest time, and that he wanted to try again sometime. That was convenient because after he left but before I left, Debbie's friend who I really should get around to giving a pseudonym by now since he's my friend too, and shall therefore take to calling "Greg", asked me to see if he wanted to come next time.
I feel like I should have been doing things like this more often throughout my whole life, but I've typically been the one in need of support just to get by, and not in much of a position to extend it to anyone else. It's a nice change. Actually, most of my emotions are kind of dead at this point - foul play is suspected - so I didn't really feel much sorrow for him or much warm fuzziness after helping him out. I just did it because intellectually I knew it was right. I guess that makes it as purely selfless as a person can get, and there better be some huge blessings in store for me. Just kidding. Totally kidding.
The Mormon Section
I was astonished that someone was saying so exactly what I had thought for a long time. I assumed there was just something wrong with me for not getting this concept that other Mormons apparently consider so obvious they never bother to explain it.
She continued, "Then I took this institute class called 'Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel' and I finally understood."
So, based solely on that recommendation, I took the class. It's one of the new required classes for graduation but I didn't have to take it since I started the program before that. In fact I'm pretty sure I met the graduation requirements three years ago and just keep forgetting to do the paperwork. Anyway, this class fully lived up to my hopes. It ended last week and I found that not only was my Savior more real and tangible and personal to me than ever before, but I had regained a testimony of God's love overall, which I lost a long time ago and thought was gone forever. I couldn't honestly be more than an agnostic on that point, notwithstanding how crucial it is to the framework of everything. Anyway, it would be impossible to encapsulate everything covered in the class or convey the same feelings in this little space, so I'll just say that everyone who has the opportunity needs to take it.