So here I am, watching the washing machine go round.
I’m at a loss as to what to do with myself today. I did have a list of things to do but I exhausted those yesterday and I’m waiting for a few other things to happen before my next list can kick in. I exist from one list to the next, from one diary commitment to another.
I used to find school holidays really difficult and would be constantly asking my mum for things that I could do. She would proceed to list all my options (toys, friends etc) until I found the one I fancied doing. I’ve never had the facility in my head to think this through for myself and I still don’t. My brain does not know how to take the initiative and entertain me. I still almost always need that impetus and inspiration to be from somebody else.
In social situations I’ve never been very good at knowing how to behave. All behaviour is learned but those subtle social nuances have always eluded me. Sometimes I can do it and can be sure that I’m following the rules but this comes at a cost. I have had to put in an extra layer of thought process to regulate what I’m doing and ensure that I’m somehow ‘fitting in’ when I need to be. When I’m tired that simply breaks down and I get confused.* What rules? I don’t know what they are. People are always happy to tell me when I’ve broken them. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that… or said that… or been there… How am I supposed to know? Nobody seems to be able to write them down for me. Instead I have to make a mental note not to do this, or that, or something else. I’m always learning from when I’ve messed up rather than having a list of good stuff that I can actually use.
Clusters of people are a mystery to me. Social groups with small talk and gossip bore me. I have no interest in following the herd because I do not understand where they are headed or why they feel the need to move in that way. I have no understanding of the mentality of these groups; I almost pity them. Instead I find myself spending time with individuals who stimulate my interest and understand my ‘special’ needs. Still though, when I’m tired I take what is said very literally and again comes the confusion.**
I get the fidgets easily. I need to be kept interested at a mental and physical level. I need pragmatism. I need to be making, creating, moving. If I think of something that benefits someone else then I act on it almost instantly. If I see something that advances me then I have to act on it there and then. I can be rash and impulsive, but I can also be patient in waiting for something which I know is worth waiting for. My brain moves at the speed it moves. It’s not my fault that the world doesn’t seem to be able to keep up with me. I don’t deliberately set out to be eccentric but I know that’s how some people tend to see me.
I get more interest from textbooks than fiction. Any fiction I read tends to be Victorian or earlier – I think this is because the language is more convoluted and it stimulates my brain more than modern stuff. I haven’t even bothered picking up Fifty Shades… and when I read The DaVinci Code I found myself screaming at the book for spoonfeeding plot that was just blatantly obvious to me. I can’t settle when watching TV. I can get engrossed in movies or music but only when I’m in the mood.
As a result I overanalyze everything. This is why I’ve written 850 self-indulgent words rather than continuing to watch the washing machine go round. It’s why I have a book on quarks next to me. It’s why I find comfort in cutting layers and layers of paper to create art. It’s not my fault. I haven’t chosen this. I’m not a control freak. I’m not ill.
It’s just Aspergers.
*”See you later!” When? Later today or later tomorrow? When is later? What does this even mean? It took me years to let go of this one. Other local variations are more confusing – “See you after” is common here. After what? Clarify please? Dammit, I swear I’m Vulcan…
**Found an instruction label the other day which read “Care should be taken when opening zips to ensure no teeth get broken.” It took me 10 minutes to work it out. I know that the bits on a zipper are called teeth but I was tired and took the label literally. I was stuck trying to think about all the ways I could open this zip and confused about what could possibly happen which would mean that I would end up losing my teeth. Bloody ridiculous when I think back on it but when I’m tired that literalness is all I have to work with.