This problem was solved, but the “process” is relevant for almost any Asperger female attempt to negotiate NT male behavior.
A week of dealing with vehicle problems has left me exhausted; it’s not organizing solutions and repairs, but the extensive conversations with people. Since I’m a “little old lady” and not a natural mechanic, nor do I have the familiarity with all things mechanical that some men have. Where I live jobs are not white collar, but blue collar mining and other resource extraction: I depend on energetic and honest “guys” for help, who are luckily, common in Wyoming. But…
Vehicles are life and death and absolutely essential for “work = money” in our “empty region” so, when I need help the “panic” factor is always involved. I have found that no matter how simple a problem may be, the world of vehicle repair is not immune to SNAFUs; the cost will always be higher than expected; obtaining parts can involve extensive searches, and I don’t do well sitting at home waiting for “call you back” calls that never happen. Being passive is HELL for me.
I know that the mechanic will never call: there is some “social ritual” involved. I don’t thinks it’s malicious, but “guys who can do real things” know that they hold power over everyone who can’t (college idiots). Plumbers, electricians, any practical skill – the best one can hope for is that the job is done correctly and the cost is less than three months worth of mortgage payments. But, as an Asperger, I know to ask thorough questions, even if a “stupid question” might be embarrassing. The mechanics in this case jumped on the “solution” of selling my other truck to them (the Dodge) to avoid an expensive fuel pump replacement, and gave a real low-ball offer.
Not so fast: a woman must remember that males can be genuinely helpful, but at the same time believe that women are inferiors in the social hierarchy and legitimate easy targets.
Asperger females do their homework!
It may take one day to resolve my current vehicle dilemma: it may take weeks. Once the Asperger brain starts an analytic process, time ceases. The optimum plan of action must be worked out in the intuitive arena. Right now I’m only at the opening stage of vacuuming up relevant info. Scanning for a scenario that makes sense. Of course, at times I’m terribly wrong in making decisions – usually because I’m socially inept and easily blindsided by behavior that I can’t comprehend! Like mean people choosing to be mean, just for the fun of being mean. Or a person whose job it is to screw up other peoples’ lives, everyday – and they love their jobs.
Ask, ask, ask questions. Men like to show off what they know, in case there is a woman alive who hasn’t noticed.
Being persistent means that you’ll succeed in 1. finding out if the “reality guy” knows his job. 2. His attitude toward women 3. Can he describe the specific work to be done and assign a cost to that work? 4. Will he write up an invoice for labor charges and parts before starting work? 5. Will he save the “bad parts” and show them to you? 6. Can he agree to do these things without going berserk?
It’s not that “reality guys” don’t do this “social ritual” with other NT men. Most men today know nothing about cars and trucks and are at the mercy of mechanics and high-tech design that forces consumers to pay outrageous prices for parts and repair. Case in point: New fuel pump 72 Chevy – $25.00. Estimate for the Dodge? $300. + labor. So, for my specific needs, can I get by with the Chevy – cheap and easy to repair – and sell the Dodge, which as it sits, needs a total of $1800. in repairs?
It all comes back to, how much $$ can I get for the Dodge?
Oh dear. The owner of the auto shop just called (surprise!). First dance: he wants the truck, but I’m not interested in his low-ball price, and said so. Then came the manipulation / negotiation: He wants to give my truck to his teenage son. I’m supposed to say, Awwww. I’m a sucker for kids; you are being a great Dad, so of course I’ll sell it to you for nothing and screw myself.
This is what I find exhausting! My decision-making style is disconnected from social typical “warfare” in which someone “wins” and someone “looses”. My brain goes blank; Asperger blank at this proposition. I hate having to negotiate in the coercive manner that is normal for social typicals. It’s demeaning for both parties. I don’t dislike this guy, but I know that even if he “likes” me, given the opportunity, he will “beat me up” over the price and do his best to make me “feel bad” about my end of the deal, (I got ripped off) and I won’t feel “good” about any part of this “social ritual”.
The next Asperger step? Avoid decision. Stall. Be a Mule. And these behaviors, while attributed by psychologists to a “defective brain” are simply a response to being hurried, pushed or manipulated. Aspergers are thoughtful and careful people who are exhausted by social warfare.
UPDATE: My neighbor bought the fuel pump for the Dodge and did the replacement in 30 minutes vs. the 5 HOURS estimated by the mechanic. Savings? $500.