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Natalie's Blog: On Driving

            In October of 2012, Sarah Brightman, an English pop-opera vocalist best known for originating the role of Christine Da'ae in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, announced from Moscow to the world that she would make the journey to the International Space Station in September of 2015. In her speech, Brightman noted that she was inspired by the moment when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in July of 1969. With Brightman flying in a rocket to the space station and performing there, this would be a milestone, which would make her the first professional singer to sing in space. Alas, as of yet, it did not happen as personal and family matters interfered with her achieving that goal. About a year after Brightman decided to postpone the trip indefinitely, something else happened. In an age when most people still think that autism is a death sentence to living independently and productively for those having it, the reality of an autie's incredible and miraculous potential is contradicting what families and others see as impossible for individuals on the spectrum. This concept can be applied to this following, particular episode.

            On June 4, 2016, I was about to do something unexpected. I was coming home from a picnic for special needs adults at Sts. John and Paul Church in Washington Township. Unbeknownst to me, there was construction between Campground and Van Dyke. I turned left and I found myself at the intersection. I figured that if I made the left turn there, I would be heading towards Stoney Creek Park, instead of getting back on 28 Mile to get to Schoenherr. Knowing that I would be on the expressway and myself not having much of a choice, I veered the wheel rightward. Then, I found myself driving on the M-53/Van Dyke expressway. Aware of the dangers that could arise, I feared for the worst to happen. At the same time, a little fun and laughing made me believe that all was not that bad.  I felt like I was on a roller coaster or any other swiftly-moving carnival ride that I rode. While all of this was happening, the idea of being brave was more optimal than trembling in response to the situation. I considered taking the exits; yet, as I figured that it would be challenging for me to use the exit ramps, I kept driving. The speed gauge needle oscillated as I drove between seventy, seventy-five and eighty miles an hour. Eventually, it was done all the way to Eighteen Mile, where I met the finish line. Thankfully, I emerged alive. There were no injuries or collisions and there was not much traffic along the way. Moreover, any physical kind of assistance was absent.

            Space travel is a remarkable human feat as well. Armstrong and Aldrin's lunar landing may be one of the most memorable moments in both the histories of the United States and the world. However, unlike that day when man walked on the moon, there were no cameras or reporters. Rather, there was merely a small audience of spectators and listeners, including the ones dwelling in the heavens, bearing witness to the events. As the world continues to turn, others will be watching others succeed in achieving wonders. As for Sarah Brightman...well, I wished that she would make that trip which she had so desired to undertake. Had she done so, this would make you and me the spectators of her space "act." However, in terms of dreams and aspirations, it seems that the Lord has other plans for her and for me. Finally, with time passing on, some would come to think that the idea of individual with autism has managed to drive alone on the expressway would be one great step for an autie and one giant leap for autiekind. 


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