If Asperger people all got together and signed a declaration that says, “Yes, we’re terrible, anti-social deviants and we apologize for victimizing normal people, so please forgive us; we’re just lowly sub-humans who don’t deserve to exist in your perfect world,” would Neurotypicals leave us alone? NO.
Sun! There is sun this morning. I peek out from beneath my “tent” improvised from an old quilt and a lightweight sleeping bag.
Sunlight; red and amber bark edges the trees outside the window, and beyond, through streaks of flat gray clouds: Blue sky.
The dog is somewhere in the pile of warm coverings: I find her head and pat it: “C’mon, Old Lady. Time to face the wilderness.”
She’s not convinced. Why would an 80-year old dog want to be disturbed?
My feet hit the ice cold floor; bare wood with a dirt “hole” directly beneath. Years ago I set the thermostat to 62* at night, and left it there. I could reset it, but for some “Aspergerish” reason, don’t. I could wear socks or slippers; I don’t. Bare feet feel normal.
I shuffle to the kitchen; boil water and make a cup of instant coffee. A specific brand a “gourmet” instant that a cook friend gave me one day, to save me the trouble of using a percolator or other coffeemaker. I think she got tired of seeing “the mess” of grounds, spilt coffee stains and, “once again” a broken carafe in the trash. I’m still drinking the same concoction 35+ years later. She is long gone, but still present in my cold, primitive kitchen each morning when I take my first sip of “that awful crap you call coffee” as normal people with pickier palates refer to it. The sight and taste of the hot concoction conjures images from that long ago time; days of happiness. Why would I change?
The dog peeks around the door; is there breakfast in her dish? I divert her to the porch and open the back door; to the east, brilliant silver light washes the odd collection of “housing” in the neighborhood. Brilliant flares emanate from sagging power lines; telephone poles rise like relics from a failed attempt at civilization.
I have to literally shove the Old Lady dog out into the ice-frosted gravel yard. While she’s out, I fill her water bowl, and empty a big glop of that “manufactured from anything that will fit in massive grinder” canned food, into her bowl, which she never refuses to “wolf down”. In two seconds she’s back to bed; asleep in a moment; a big sigh. Life is good.
The sky is blazing blue above the roof top next door; another cup of “coffee extraordinaire” and I’m at the keyboard. What now?
My “unconscious mind” is already at work during the ten minutes or so taken up by my primitive morning routine, so some topic, or feeling, or question will float into focus; I can count on that.
This morning, I started laughing, while drinking my second cup of coffee: Why I was laughing took a few seconds longer to arrive. It’s like that: it’s automatic. A “cloud” may linger over my body – a gray amorphous feeling that something is wrong, or just the opposite: I’ll feel energized, enthusiastic, “delighted” by the ordinary look of the kitchen or the scene outdoors. No reason. “Normal” people jump to the conclusion that some “pathology, disorder” is in evidence: they are wrong.
My body feels thoughts long before my “word conscious processing” knows what’s going on. Like an old telegraph system sending Morse code. The “wires” are alive with the electrical signal that is being transmitted, well before the “little man” sitting at a desk hundreds of miles away, hears the tap-tapping of the telegraph key, and jots down the code. Anyone in the room at the time, may be pushing him: “What does it say,” but he still must translate the dot-dash code into “words” for the “neurotypical” bystander, who is pestering him to hurry up.
This may seem to be an inferior, archaic system in the judgment of people, whose foremost interest is in speed. They don’t care what the act of communication “feels like” – what the experience of “thinking” in pictures, sensations, or movements has to offer; how it enriches the “message” by connecting it to timeless “truths” or by revealing heretofore unknown patterns.
Neurotypicals want to know if their package from Amazon will arrive at 10:02 am as promised, and they want to know it now. Right now, because being demanding makes them “feel” important. And being “too busy to care about other people” is mandatory: at 10:03 am a “scheduled” text from the dog-walker is due, which won’t arrive until 10:05 am, providing the perfect opportunity to excoriate a “lesser being” on the social pyramid. And at 10:06, a phone call from the dog-walker’s boss, apologizing for the inexcusable 2-minute delay will result in further degradation of a “peasant”. WOW! How important can one human being be!
Meanwhile, back in Wyoming, I stop typing and open the refrigerator door. Breakfast? Yes, another boring same-old-same-old choice. Ham and eggs; sausage and eggs. Potatoes, ham and eggs; cheese on top? Or a banana smoothie made with yogurt, carrot juice, and something to “sweeten” it up? I like these foods for breakfast. Maybe a wild departure in winter for a creamy-hot bowl of oatmeal. No one to scream at; no subservient types to step on. I must be totally unimportant, unfortunate, disordered and disabled.
Why would I “force myself” to eat anything else, just to satisfy some imaginary “judgment” made by a gang of social typical busybodies who have decreed that a “lack of embracing novelty” has cosmic meaning? Oh – I forgot: To be considered “a normal human” I must take a “selfie” with a slice of watermelon, on an otherwise naked plate, and post it on social media with the earth-shaking declaration that I’m trying a new “slice of watermelon” diet. The goal? So people I don’t know, or will ever encounter in real life, will declare that I’m SOOOOO skinny already that I don’t need to loose weight. They must say this, even if I weigh 300 pounds. Like any proper neurotypical, I throw the watermelon slice in the trash and devour a tray full of “low fat” croissants.
That idiotic scenario dispensed with by a millisecond of thought, I scandalously “fry up” a mess of sausage; add eggs, cheese, leftover potatoes; make toast with gobs of real butter on top – add jam – and pour more coffee. Life is good. The Old Lady dog hears the usual morning commotion and wanders in. She stares at my plate.
Of course; I always share my food with her. Just the stuff that suits her canine digestive system. She loves vegetables; I don’t. She eats most of the vegetable matter that I cook. I drink carrot juice, and other vegetable juices. Easy, fast, efficient. Asperger.
Nearly forgot: What was I laughing about earlier? The fleeting realization, that superficially, I live like one of those “outdoor extremists” who (supposedly) are abandoned in the wilderness and forced to show off their well-honed skills for survival: no “cheating allowed”. By the book; ancient survival; burning up hundreds of calories and precious fluids by “doing things the hard way”. Burning daylight, creating emergencies, eating worms, doing stupid, high risk things – looks good for the camera and drives the repetitive clichéd plot, as if “being there” in stupendously beautiful and interesting landscape, is totally without merit. They certainly do work hard! The goal? A pre-arranged rescue: back to civilization. Totally phony – neurotypical “playing at” survival. Our wild ancestors weren’t airlifted back into town for a hot shower, fresh clothing, and a sit-down meal with friends. A soft bed, and a paycheck.
The difference between how I live, and these “romanticized novelty shows” made for neurotypical entertainment, is the GOAL: I don’t live “way out here” in Wyoming to prove anything. I have no interest in “testing” how close I can get to dying by hypothermia; or in showing the “audience” how “macho” my eating habits are (bring on the grubs, old shoe leather, and potentially deadly fungi). Or in getting lost, needing rescue, or any other “stupid” calamity that has a “magical resolution”.
It seems to me, that possibly, out of the vast wasteland of incomprehensible misunderstanding by social typicals regarding Asperger-type behavior, the negative judgment of our penchant for efficiency (which NTs interpret as “being boring, stubborn, lazy, self-centered, resistant to change, developmentally disordered, and disabled; weird, geeky, timid, fearful and unacceptable”) is the most insulting. The incessant yatta, yatta, yatta of every conceivable “incorrect explanation” for our embrace of simplicity is exhaustive, and exhausting. These pejoratives are indeed apt to be hurled at any “thinking person”, Asperger, or not.
Here’s a crazy idea: Maybe for some humans, “thinking” is civilized; it is society that is the dangerous wilderness.
Thinking is not some terrible affliction; it’s normal, pleasurable, exciting and rewarding. To be “free from social interference” – that is, free to learn about the “real planet earth“, and beyond, is to be free to explore the possibilities inherent in the “mental realm” (as neurotypicals must name it). It is to live in PARADISE.
The goal, for Asperger types (unlike appearing to be socially “dominant” in the neurotypical world, with behaviors that “achieve domninance” being of utmost value), is then, to experience the “joy of thinking”. What to social people is a terrible and deviant sacrifice (thinking) is interpreted in Aspergers as “magical signs of disorder, illness and evil”.
Here’s news! “Being a social human” is not new, novel, unique, brave, or original; it dooms the individual to perpetual dissatisfaction with one’s “place” in the social hierarchy and to endlessly repeating the conformity of behavior demanded by the social order.