So much fuss is made by social typical humans concerning proper social behavior that an Asperger feels pressured into following silly prescriptions for person-to-person interaction that are alien to our way of being. In fact, our instincts are much freer and more spontaneous than lists of demeaning rules that codify social class hierarchy and rely on lies and deception to discriminate against select human groups. Asperger social interactions are open to a wide variety of human beings, regardless of social status, wealth, class, gender, race or ideology.
My father was undiagnosed Asperger, but in hindsight he was a classic demonstration of an “alternative” way of being, especially in his social habits. In short, my father would interact with whomever he pleased, whenever he felt like it, and refused to change. This made my mother furious; she wanted him to socialize with “the right kind of people. ” In other words, to present phony interest in,and admiration for, the “correct class” of people from whom my mother wanted approval.
That’s it in a nutshell: Asperger individuals want to be around another person just because he or she is a “regular person” with whom we have something in common. A person who doesn’t regard people as objects to be exploited, who doesn’t prejudge and can respond to the content of the conversation. Someone who is present in mind and body and is not preoccupied with doing something ‘more important.’
I was reminded of this wonderful Asperger advantage yesterday when I went to a local bookstore to replenish a few books that have literally fallen to pieces over the years. The store employees showed no interest in helping me find what I wanted, but a customer stepped in; a large young man in rough clothing who took me straight to the correct section of shelves, saying that he knew the store better than the clerks. That was it – a conversation took off as easily as a tumble weed traveling in the wind and lasted nearly forty-five minutes. I found out that at present he’s an oil field worker, an extremely dangerous job, and a native of Wyoming, who grew up on a ranch about 100 miles north of here. If any social person had viewed the two of us yacking on and on – an old lady and a roughneck- no doubt their reaction would register somewhere in the peculiar mismatch range.
An interesting detail emerged: he had been diagnosed ADHD by the counselor at his elementary school, but his father had told her (in colorful language) that of course a 6-year old boy is fidgety. He wants to be outdoors, playing and learning and being a kid. That was the end of that. He’d clearly grown up to be healthy and intelligent and an avid reader and thinker.
The tell-tale sign that this type of impromptu social exchange suits me as an Asperger, is that despite a long period of conversation, I didn’t feel exhausted. I was simply happy at meeting an interesting person, whose appearance would have been rejected by a socially obsessed neurotypical, but I don’t have those prejudices. I interact with whomever I please, whenever I feel like it, and like my father, refuse to change.
Thanks to my Asperger Dad, I can converse with just about anyone, except social typical Pyramid People.