Since my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, I have joined forums where I felt right at home with my fellow “aspies” sharing our stories. Some write about their challenges of having a lack of common sense. “No kidding”, I thought. I have been a “no common sense” kind of gal for as far back as I can remember. I got told more times than I remember I’d forget my head if it wasn’t tied on.
Back in the early 1980s, I moved into my very first apartment. I thought I would get homesick from living with my parents and younger brother, but my homesickness lasted about 24 hours. I liked being by my lonesome. I didn’t know then it was an aspie thing.
I was totally naive about the do’s and don’ts of living in an apartment. I learned most of them the hard way. Such as preparing for my first visit by the exterminator.
I received a notice on my door a few days in advance that an exterminator would be coming to spray for bugs. The note told me to clear pantry, countertops etc. Aspies tend to take things literally and I did. Everything in the cupboards, shelves, etc. I moved to any place of refuge from the bug spray. I put some things on the living room table and covered with a table cloth. I ran out of table room so I put other items in the refrigerator and the oven such as plates, glasses, cups, etc. I started work on this as soon as I got the note. I never wait until the last minute. The sooner I got what was on my plate done, the sooner it was off my plate, and off my anxiety list. That may be another aspie thing.
The night before the exterminator cometh, I decided to bake some turkey for dinner. I must have been distracted when I put the turkey in the oven because I didn’t see and totally forgot about what I put in the oven days before. It all came back to me when I smelled the smoke coming from the oven, filling the apartment with smoke.
My ears were piercing. I mean piercing! Why? Smoke alarms do that.
I did have enough common sense to open the door. I feared the fire department would show up at my door with the alarm going off. So I called “911” to tell them not to bother since there was no fire. The embarrassing part is the police department was MY employer! The police dispatcher who took my call knew me. She knew my past history of having to call them when I couldn’t get my car hood down or when I locked myself out of my car with it still running. I bet she was thinking, “Oh, no, not you again.”
As I was talking to dispatch, the smoke alarm called it a day. I would later learn that it wouldn’t take much smoke for the alarm to go off. A hot, steamy shower could bring about the same results.
Now for the clean-up. I looked inside my oven and got the shock of my life. The two blue plastic ice trays and plastic cups had melted. The ice trays had turned into blue icicles hanging from my oven’s rack. The bottom of the oven reminded me of an abstract painting. It looked like it came straight from an art museum. I kid you not! My oven would have done DaVinci proud.
Now who did I call? Mom!
My Mom came over the next day and took the oven rack off my hands. She didn’t know how she was going to ‘defrost’ the blue icicles and decided to take it home to operate on it. She asked me for a bag to put it in. I asked her why and she said, “I don’t want to be seen in public with this rack.”
Maybe that’s why on Christmas that year my Mom gave me a microwave oven.