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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Postscript to the First Three Stories

These first stories each illustrate in their own way some aspect of what it was like for me living on the Autistic spectrum, though I do not think that aspects they illustrate are necessarily obvious. Maybe they are - I don't know. I am writing this post as a further clarification of why I decided to include these stories.

Firstly, I thought they were all quite humourous. I don't know if other people found them as funny as I did. If the majority of people reading them didn't think they were all that funny, then that may illustrate one pertinent difference between those of us who are on the spectrum and those of us who are not: while there will be quite a bit of overlap in the things we find amusing or funny, there are going to be things that us aspies find amusing or funny that most neurotypicals would at best consider to be not all that funny, and at worst may even consider either inappropriate, or in poor taste.

The first story is just a humourous example of my gullibility or impressionability at six or seven years of age. Now I know that being impressionable is normal at this age, but I can't help but think that most of my classmates, friends and acquaintances at that time would have heard those cuss words often enough  to know that they were being set-up by their older brother and to at least question what they were being told to say. But I didn't even do that. I just blindly repeated what my brother told me to say. There would be other instances in which I would continue to do the exact same thing, even well into my teens. Only by then it got me into trouble - sometimes big trouble. Because of this, I feel pretty confident that this incident did not happen just because of my young age.

In the second story, I was willing to go along with something I didn't really want to do, just because I wanted to belong. Not only was I willing to go along with it, but I was willing to place myself in a position, where to an outsider, I would look like the ringleader, since I was the one carrying the bag of water balloons, not my other friends. I was completely oblivious to this of course. Another aspect to my being on the spectrum is that until that police officer told us that he would let us go, I really had no idea of what was going to happen to us. The idea that my father and the officer could be building dramatic effect into the situation to teach Jamie and I a lesson never occurred to me. A neurotypical teen probably would either have had other friends who had gotten in trouble over minor teenage stuff or would have known enough stories of similar incidents that they would have been reasonably sure that nothing really bad was going to happen to them. I have observed over the years that most people look to learn from the experiences of others. I cannot speak for all aspies, but for me this has never been my strong suit. I have generally had to learn most things the hard way, i.e. through my own experience. Not always though. I can learn from others when their experience is explained clearly enough to me that I can see the parallels between their experience and mine, such that I can see the relevance of their experience to mine. But in my experience, most people become impatient at having to provide this level of detail in their explanations or respond to a multitude of follow-up questions from me. I suspect that this is yet another aspect to being on the spectrum.

The third story is included because practically everyone, from virtually any culture knows that it is not acceptable to fart in a public place. I had had a lot of training from my parents and other people over the years as to what was, and what was not acceptable behaviour, and yet, I managed to make it to 23 thinking that this was OK. I clearly didn't want to blow the interview because Lea and I needed the money, but I managed to right royally screw it up just the same. But, as I pointed out in the story, there was more than one layer to the fucked-upness of the situation, for not only was my present behavior disqualifying me from getting that job, but my past behavior was as well. One of the major blind spots that I had until my 30's was to vastly underestimate both the things that other people noticed in social situations, and how lasting their memories were. This will become apparent in many of the stories to come.

Not all the stories will be funny. The next one will be both sad and pitiful. It is necessary though to illustrate some of the largest issues that I struggled with in my teens and early 20's.

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