Tuesday, June 7, 2011

AoA: Telling Tales

I've always wanted to talk enthusiastically on topics to the point of frustrating anyone who was listening to me.  This was brought to my attention two years ago when I was visiting my grandmother up in Minnesota.  My (now grown-up cousin) was visiting with his new baby.  He said something to me about how I always used to talk about Rick Springfield when we were kids, and how it was kind of funny.

I launched into a description of Rick's latest activities, new albums, the book that was coming out.  My cousin said, "I'm sure he's a nice guy." in a calm voice, like he was placating a mental patient.

Sigh.  I'm just more comfortable talking about what I know.

I don't think I'm very far into the Autism spectrum.  I think I got it just enough to give me the sound and smells sensitivity, the obsessive behavior, and the difficulty in relating to people.  I don't have the perfect pitch, or the eidetic memory, but I can visualize horrific things I've seen on the news or *heard about* on the radio with vivid clarity, sometimes making me wince at what I see in my head.  I can't listen to the radio anymore.  My husband's alarm is set to a radio station, and one morning it woke me up with a news story about a little boy who was killed at a reception for his own baptism by his father who was moving the parked cars around so all the relatives could fit their cars.  They hadn't seen that the toddler had wandered into the front yard and gotten somewhere behind one of the vehicles.

The mental images that news story conjured up in my head can still make me cry when I remember them, and it's been four years.  It's as vivid to me as if I witnessed it.

At least my condition has made me rather safety-conscious.  If a tall, narrow dresser is against the wall, I can see it tipping over and hurting someone, so I anchor it to the wall.  If we're in the car bringing a large purchase home, I see us getting into an accident and the item hurting someone even worse than the accident would, so I rearrange our seating so that everyone is safe.  Sometimes these imaginings make me wince, as well, but I take steps to avoid them and feel much better.  Power strip too close to the water cooler?  Find an enclosed one or move it further away.  LAN cables running across a high-traffic area because the cable company can't get permission to install a new outlet in the other rooms?  Tape them down under an area rug.

In the past, when I've said something, told a story, or made a comment, I've often heard the response "No one cares!" in an exasperated tone.  Not all the time, but often enough.  I'm getting better at telling when people are bored with me, or irritated, but I'm not great at it.  I have to do a lot of self-monitoring now.  If I'm bugging you with something, I will not be offended by a simple request to change the subject, or ease off the behavior.  It will help me learn.


  1. You've never bugged me! I think our conversations are very organic and we both change topics with ease when we feel like it.

  2. Well if I do bug you in the future, just let me know. :D But I agree, we correspond well.