Apparently, my nursery teacher once said to my parents something along the lines of “he’s a smart lad, but he’ll probably grow up to be a kind of absent-minded professor who needs someone to take care of him – you know, fold his shirts and stuff like that”.
While it somehow baffles me that she was able to make that deduction as early as when I was in nursery school, I have to credit her for spotting this. It probably turned out that had my parents not been warned of this, they may not have been able to cope with my erratic, borderline-autistic behavior.
Yeah, I don’t quite have ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), but I certainly exhibit a lot of traits that suggest I do… I was kind of “half-diagnosed”, shall we say. I find talking to people I don’t know well extremely difficult. I focus all my time and energy onto two things (Music and Doom). And I loathe change to routine – particularly in my diet. If I have to eat a different assortment of chips (or fries as you Yanks say :P) for dinner one day, I’ll eye them with a cosmic degree of suspicion that they’ll lunge at me and wrap around my neck like a kind of lethal, potatoey daisy chain before choking me to death.
Certainly social interaction is a bit of a challenge for me. I prefer being talked to, as opposed to making talk. Initiating conversation is a massive stumbling block, but once I’m in a conversation I can sustain it reasonably well – until I run out of steam, at which point I’ll sit in silence and quiver as the maddening awkwardness of the situation rises exponentially. The same thing happens with Facebook Chat, Skype or MSN, or any of the other instant messenger programs I use. It’s far easier for me to converse through internet forums – things are so much more formal and organized. Exchanges are permanent, so they can be revisited whenever desired. You can deliberate on how to phrase your reply (for hours if need be) before submitting it. If the forum is geared towards a niche target audience, you immediately know that you’ll share common interests with the people you interact with. And best of all, you can access them wherever you are in the world.
Girls, if you’re wondering why I don’t talk to you often, it’s because I frankly don’t know what to say. You’re wonderful people and you make for far nicer company than most guys, but my brain and mouth struggle constantly to conjure up anything witty or even relevant to the subject at hand.
Now, certainly I’m an introvert with very little social life. But I’m not saying that I’m entitled to be one just because I was half-diagnosed with an autistic disorder. I’m determined to someday break the habit of staying indoors and avoiding contact with the rest of the human race. I like a bit of solitude, but not too much. 😛
Although, to be honest, living in the UK alone is enough to make anyone think that staying inside is the best thing – our weather’s crap, for a start. In Australia the sun shines all year round, and people are encouraged to stay fit and live healthily with strict regimes pretty much from cradle to grave. Not over here. We have a massive aversion to exercise and dieting – and programs like You Are What You Eat and 10 Years Younger that bully their victims (not “contestants”) into looking better only compound the issue. For me, and for many Australians, I’m sure, a relaxed attitude is what’s called for.
…though, not too relaxed, mind you.