“This Better Be Important!”

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The girl with the curly hair and I have a lot in common.  The above posting hits me where I live on a daily basis.  Compromise and adjustment are necessary pains.  A vacation day without taking one is when my day’s routine is not broken and filled with activities related to my special interests.  If I have to compromise or adjust my plans for the day, it’s like taking a dose of castor oil.

I have been living with a few family members since I retired from working for Uncle Sam (U.S. gov.) six years ago.  It was a big adjustment since I had lived by myself for a quarter of a century.  After moving in, I created a new routine as I would after any move, temporary or long-term.

One of the daily hurdles to jump over is handling interruptions to my routine.  Since sticking in my room most of the day is a necessary part of my daily routine, I get interrupted when someone needs my assistance or has a question or has some news to share.  It’s not a hurdle when one calls my name when I’m not doing much of anything.  However, it is when I’m in the middle of one of my interests such as writing a blog like this one or playing video games or eating at my desk.  It is a higher hurdle when my name is called multiple times within the same hour.  I am not proud to say I throw a good imitation of a childhood tantrum for someone in their early 60s.  I usually manage to remember to put on my mask by the time I get to whoever with a smile on my face and a polite-sounding voice as if I didn’t mind the interruption at all.

After all, it isn’t their fault.  It would be worst if my name was never called and so no one needed me or wanted to converse with me.  Yet, I confess, if I had a mirror to my face, I suspect sometimes my discontent when interrupted shows on my face like a neon sign.






Guest Anxiety!

Image may contain: possible text that says 'People on House Hunters are always saying that they need room to entertain and guest bedrooms so family can visit. I need a moat filled with gators.'
A popular saying that fits me, an Aspie, pretty well:  I really do like people; I just don’t like being around them much.
Having guests means “social interaction” and so I don’t welcome it or seek them.   That’s why those who are guests in my Mom’s house usually find me in my bedroom.  That is if they care to look.  There is an exception.  I do enjoy the visits of the children in the family who think I’m the neatest Great Aunt in town with all my electronic gadgetry.
There are times when company comes calling and I know it would be a social ‘no-no’ to refuse their presence.  One of those times was when I did a two-week dog sitting tour for some family members who live out in the country in Eastern Oklahoma.
The sweet solitude in the hills of Oklahoma was interrupted by guests — a nephew, his girlfriend, and her Australian Shepherd dog.  Along with the dogs, I was sitting, we had four dogs under one roof.  It was a good thing I brought my sedative pills along with the anti-depressant I take daily.
The night I was waiting for them to arrive was one long night … and I do mean a long night.  I knew they were coming after they got off work.  They both work at the same place and since they get off late, it meant they would be arriving in the wee hours of that morning.  I couldn’t get my mind off of it and so I saw every half-hour on my Amazon Echo digital display clock.
One of the dogs let out a holler around 3 a.m.; not that she woke me up.  I looked out and didn’t see any vehicle.  I let the dogs out for a bit.  I even walked out carrying a big flashlight and didn’t see anything.  I later realized they parked their jeep in the garage and I didn’t notice it when I was roaming in the dark.  I noticed the dogs kept smelling around the guest room.  The mystery was solved when I saw someone switch the bedroom light on.
I gave up on any notion of sleep-eye.  Asperger’s and company mix as well as oil and water.  And, one being someone I had never laid eyes on fed my anxiety.  The three dogs I was sitting for couldn’t sleep either because they were itchin’ to investigate what they were smelling that was on the other side of the door.  Unbeknownst to them, one of the scents belonged to an Australian Shepherd dog.
The three dogs got their breakfast early at 7 a.m. since I didn’t have to get up because I was already UP!  The young-uns got up around 10:30 a.m.  Well, at least some people got some sleep that night.  After I talked to them a bit, I escaped going shopping by myself to get a break from socializing.  I dearly love my nephew being his favorite aunt, but it felt so good to be away by myself for a while.
My anxiety over the long night diminished as the day wore on since the couple pretty much did their own thing today.  They were the ideal “Aspie” guests!  My nephew’s sweet girlfriend had a brother who has hi-functioning Autism too.  She described him as a computer wizard.  Well, now he’d be somebody I’d be delighted to meet since I’m into computers too.  Her having a brother like me gave me something to connect to her with.
It was good to see them, but I admit I was in “recuperation” mode after they left.  I was back in my “comfort” zone when the house was back to just me and the three dogs.   
Image may contain: ‎possible text that says '‎ו' don't mind company sometimes, but there is still usually an overwhelming desire to be alone. I usually feel quite relieved when the interaction ends. A large pressure disappears.' Alis Rowe facebook.com/thegirlwiththecurlyhair‎'‎

Counterperson Anxiety

Most people have triggers that will raise one’s anxiety.  Such as if one walks into a convenience store and the person at the counter is not paying with cash but insisting on cash with a gun in hand.  That would do it for most folks.

One of my triggers is scheduling and keeping an appointment. Doctor appointments are the worse, but other kinds of appointments are not anxiety-free either.  It’s as much a battle of calling and making the appointment as it is in keeping it.  When I have to call and make one, I actually secretly wish to myself that no one answers the phone on the other end.

A necessary appointment to keep me on the road is a car check-up.   After all, a car doesn’t change its own oil or rotate its own tires.   The auto industry is working on cars driving themselves.  I’m all for that.  It would be even better if my car could get itcheck-up without my having to tag along. 

It isn’t the wait so much as it is interacting with the counterperson.  Most social interactions, formal or informal, are not welcomed by me.  On my car’s last check-up, my autistic trait of the fear of posing so much as a question to the one behind the counter increased my waiting time by an hour.  My car didn’t get any attention until a counterperson guessed I was the owner of the blue car just sitting by its lonesome in the car-waiting lane.  She asked if I had checked in with someone.  Sadly, I had been debating in my mind as I sat in the waiting room about whether I needed to check-in or not.  You see, I had made the appointment on-line.  Didn’t they have the information since they had the car?  Oh, well, I was at least grateful she didn’t admonish me that I should have done that when I first walked in.  I felt bad enough as it was.

A good week is a week without any appointments.  I have more good weeks since I am now retired.  When I leave the house, it is usually to go where I want to go.  It is nice to on those occasions when I am out and about with no pressure to interact with my fellow man.  Even shopping trips are not as much a strain since the arrival of self-service check-outs in my local stores.  

I can say there’s practically “0” chance of my forgetting an appointment.  Thus there is no danger of my being charged a fee for not showing up at my appointed time.  Why?  The anxiety of the appointment will start within a few days before the appointed time.  And, more likely than not, I will have a nightmare living through the appointment before the appointment.



My Friend in Cyberspace

WARNING:  Don’t get too close to me!

If there are words to explain how Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects my communicating with my fellow man, I don’t know them. It’s a mystery to me and I can only hold up my hands and say to myself, “it is what it is”. I relate to the above posting by Alis Rowe, author of “The Girl with the Curly Hair – Asperger’s and Me”.

I have a friend who knows more about me than those who’ve known me for most of my 61 years of living. The odd thing is we have never met in person. Our friendship is proof that one-on-one contact isn’t required.  An exchange of on-line messaging has been sufficient.  It works well for me since writing is my passion and social interaction is not!

My friend, who is long-distance, gets an e-mail update on “what’s going on with me” every Sunday without fail.  I do mean every Sunday; not Monday, or any other day of the week.  It is the “routine” thing that’s a common ASD trait.   If she didn’t get a message from me on Sunday, she’d know that I must be in utter misery on my backside or in a coma.  

Once upon a time, my friend and her best friend were on vacation and within driving distance.  She messaged me and invited me for dinner at a restaurant about halfway between my house and her hotel.  One would think I would want to lay eyes on someone who knew me better than most.  But instead of excitement, I felt utter panic.  It was as if she issued a threat instead of an invitation.  It was unexpected and threw me for a loop.  I racked my brain and came up with an excuse which is typically the way I respond to invitations. 

Why I didn’t just do it?  As I stated earlier, “it is what it is.”

I admit I don’t make a good friend in person.  I’m not a good choice to chat with, dine with, or take in a movie with.  But I make a good casual friend and cater to having relationships of those whom I am fairly sure won’t invite me over for whatever.  Most especially, the few in my life who get updates from me on a routine basis and above all, want them.