A Monologue I Can Do

An invitation to a gathering of any kind is a threat.  A cancellation, last minute or not, is a relief like Tums is to my stomach.

It is difficult for me to talk even to just one person unless it is on a topic I can gab about.  I am more confident talking about things I know my way around.  In fact, anyone who asks me a question about something I have a heap on my mind about is in danger of receiving a monologue from someone they thought was so QUIET!

Image may contain: text that says ''I find it difficult to talk to people unless it's about our shared interest. It's much easier to know what to say. I feel confident talking about those things because I am knowledgeable. I can give a proper opinion. I can learn from the other person. The conversation is quite narrowly focused so it is not confusing.' Alis Rowe facebook.com/thegirlwiththecurlyhai'

On a topic I am knowledgeable about, I don’t have to work so hard on when what the other person is saying because I can relate to their ideas.  A panic alert is when the topic is switched and it is out of my topic interest or knowledge zone.  It takes only a tiny bit to confuse or disinterest me when the topic is, more or less, Greek to me.

I prefer to chat with one person at a time.  If another joins us, I go pretty much mute.  I surprise folks turning into a chatterbox.  Just give me an inch, I’ll go 90 to nothing while thinking in the back of my mind, “I better stop before I lose this friendly ear”.  Delivering a monologue on a subject dear to my heart doesn’t happen often since I don’t know many people who share my interests and viewpoints. For the two or three I do, I am truly grateful for their interest and above all, patience.

Picky, Picky, Picky

My diet regimen is bizarre, I admit that.  In living with my Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), I am a picky eater.   I know from working in elementary school Autism units as a substitute teacher’s assistant, I am NOT alone in the Autism community of being picky with my food.

 

Image may contain: food, text that says 'Autistic people's 'picky' eating is usually related to sensory issues and revulsions. It is not about being 'fussy'. Probably the worst thing to do is try to force the child to eat something they are averse to. Yenn Purkis'

Sensory issues play a part in my pickiness.  I could do without fruit and not shed a tear.  But bread, rolls, cereal, crackers, etc.?  Perish the thought!  I will give in and eat cantaloupe if it is hard and crunchy; if soft, no way, no how!  The same with apples.   Although I like the taste of a banana’s flavor, I will not eat one because of its texture.  Too soft for my taste buds.

One of my favorite “picky eater” school stories was told to me by the mother of a boy with Autism.  Her son had a passion for chicken nuggets.  But not just any nuggets.  It had to be the McDonald’s brand!  His mother made the mistake of thinking he would not know the difference between McDonald’s version vs. another.  One day Mom decided she didn’t want to go to the trouble of a drive-thru every time her son had a nugget craving.  She cooked a bag of them herself and disguised them in a McDonald’s bag.  Her son took a bite of one and that’s all he took.  Mom never tried that trick again!

My first inkling that I was on the Spectrum was observing a 12-year-old girl in her class leave her class without leaving it.  Her behavior of pacing the floor in her own imaginary world was strange to her teacher even though she had seen her student do it many times.  It wasn’t bizarre to me.  I was a pro!  I just don’t do it in front of witnesses; although, sometimes I get caught in the act.  When I was sitting by this same student in the cafeteria watching her eat a hamburger, I realized we had more in common than I thought.  She uses the same three-step method that I do:  eat the bottom bun first, then the top bun, and save the best part, the beef, for last.

My Mom to this day still will try to get me to try this or try and it is on a rare occasion that I will take her up on her offer.  It may be years before I add or delete to my list of daily must-have items.  My meals are the same every day except for the main course.  The main entree of the day is usually the same day of the week such as Cici’s pizza every Sunday evening.

I maintain the supply of my favorite foods in bulk! I grieve as if I lost my best friend when one of my favorite brands is banished from every food store in the neighborhood.

NO SPACE LIKE MY SPACE

When I was a kid a half-century ago, more or less, there was no lock on my bedroom door.  But my two younger brothers knew there was a “line” and they delighted in crossing it.  I didn’t care if they crossed that line and entered my precious bedroom “SPACE”.  On one condition though:  that I was totally in the dark about it.  They would usually tell me though as if their crossing the line wouldn’t count as a victory if they didn’t tell me.  If I caught them in my space, it was sheer bedlam.  My brothers seem to delight in my agony; that is if I didn’t have one on the floor, with me on top, asking for my mercy.

A common autism trait is being protective of one’s space   I saw this trait played out many a time while subbing as a teacher’s aide in autism units.  A child’s meltdown over another child merely touching their desk, chair, pencil, and dare I say, toy, reminded me of my reaction to my brothers’ trespassing of long ago.

Since moving in with my mother after retirement, my space has cramped considerably.  I doubt you’d find many bedrooms like mine.  I don’t mean lacking in open floor space; although, it certainly does.  It is unusual by what resides in my space.  I’d only have to take a picture of my space for one to know if more people were like me, the Best Buy electronic store chain would never go in the red.

I confess of having three desktop computers, one sitting pretty on my desk in front of me, one to the left of me roosting on a wooden stand, and another one behind me.  I’m almost closed in!  If this wasn’t enough, I have three voice-activated gadgets on my desk and another one across the room.  They are a combination of Amazon Echo and Google Home products.  I have three TV’s with one of them situated on a bedroom wall.  Logically, I know I could get by with one computer, one Echo or one Google, and one TV.  I know how this looks, but it’s MY tech-cramped space and that’s all there is to it!

I’m as protective of my space as I was when I was living in this bedroom as a child.  My brother who is now in his mid-50s lives with us and is much better at not trespassing into my space.  I have had close “meltdown” calls when my dear, sweet Mom comes in to log on her computer.  She has more right than I have to go anywhere in the house since she owns it, including MY space.  But those moments when she comes in while I am fully entrenched into whatever passion of mine I am pursuing, I fill anxiety running through my veins.  Sometimes I just have to give up my space to her and find a place to stim to calm me down.  There’s no space like my space.  And sharing it doesn’t come easy to me.

My space is like a photograph of my ASD.  The multiple items that are powered by a half a dozen power strips reflect my obsessive with technology.  Recently, my 6-year-old grandnephew and 11-year-old grandniece came over to visit and immediately noticed my new computer…one of three in my space.  Whenever they  learn their great aunt has ASD and what ASD is, I imagine them thinking, “Now we know why she has all those computers.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Best Write it Than Say it

The words running through my mind are clearer than the words that actually come out of my mouth. It’s so frustrating, to say the least.

In-person, sometimes the more I say, the more I dig myself in a hole.

 

Image may contain: possible text that says ''I am always thinking but I am not able to express my thoughts very WeLl I have Lots of thoughts (sometimes (sometimes ஜ relevant to the situation I am in, sometimes not), but ஜ the thoughts just stay inside my mind whilst I observe and/or listen.' Alis Rowe facebook.com/thegirwiththecurghair'

 

I have success in sharing my thoughts when I write them before sharing them in an e-mail or post on social media.  I can draft my words, edit my words, and then spread my word to the receiver(s).

I am not comfortable in the slightest to be the one to initiate a conversation or bring up a topic.  It’s a gamble and I have often been on the losing end.  For example,  a moment where I dug myself in a hole after bringing up a topic happened around 30 years ago.  Yes, I still remember it like it was yesterday.  It is one of the many memories I wish I could delete forever.

I was working for Uncle Sam in the Washington, D.C. area in one of Sam’s libraries.  There were a few “walking encyclopedia” type folks who worked in the library.  I admired their wealth of IQ, but my conversation with them was limited to library business.

My work desk neighbor was one of those who I thought looked more at home in a college classroom than a library with his long bear and wire-framed glasses.  He was an avid book reader.  How much so?  When he proposed to his wife, he told her he would adopt her son if she took in his huge book collection.  As well as being an academic, he could carry a tune.  He was a member of one of Washington’s well-known and Emmy-winning choirs.  As for our relationship other than being office desk neighbors, we seldom conversed beyond that of work conversation.

I don’t know what possessed me to converse with him about a band that had “Orchestra” its name.  When I asked him if he had ever heard of them, he had not.  I should have stopped then and there!  But I continued talking about this group.  At that time, I had bought one of this group’s Christmas music CD.  I knew even while I was talking to him that I was like a player at bat who had struck out three times and was still on the plate not willing to go back to the dugout.

After the conversation, I whispered to a co-worker who was within earshot of the conversation, “I should have quit at the start.”  She nodded with an empathetic glance and said, “Yeah!”

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is one of my favorite bands.  They are terrific but I got the impression from my co-worker that they are not in the same league as his beloved Boston Symphony Orchestra.