Now that things have settled down just a bit, perhaps I can get back to blogging.
My family and I traveled out of state to my father-in-law’s funeral during my last hiatus. I have posted before about the experience of attending a funeral from an aspie standpoint before, so I already knew I was in for a slightly uncomfortable time. However, I was also very aware that I was going to have a very important job at this funeral – my FIL’s death hit my wife pretty hard. She handled it surprisingly well, but she was still emotional. I was there to support her, because aspies are superheroes when it comes to lending support during emotional times.
Able to not understand what the big deal is in a single shrug.
There were times where I found myself standing around with nothing to do, so I started doing what I enjoy doing in these types of situations: I began to observe human behavior for interesting patterns. It didn’t take me too long to find one. I started noticing how people were standing and talking together. I noticed that when two people stood together, they almost never faced each other. They stood with their feet at an angle to the other person, like a conversation deflection of sorts – I’m not really interested in talking to you, but I don’t want to seem rude and ignore you, so I’ll meet you halfway. It was pretty consistent no matter the age or gender.
I decided that I needed to learn this move, post haste.
Even more interesting was how this dynamic applied when there were more than two people standing together. The “angled feet” behavior was still present, with each person angling themselves to avoid directly facing either of the other people. And as the group grew, the people adjusted their angles to fit the group’s size, often positioning themselves to form a social semicircle.
It was fascinating. Seriously. I felt like Pavlov, only my subjects weren’t drooling dogs.
And my beard wasn’t quite as bitchin’.
The most interesting thing happened when…
Wait a minute…
That’s totally Robert Duvall with a humongous beard!
Ok, where was I? Oh yeah…
The most interesting thing happened when two groups came together to form a large “supergroup” of sorts. Each group would open up slightly to accept the merging group, and after a moment or two of jostling, the people would fall perfectly into the angled feet position! The supergroup would often be a fairly large circle at this point, with nobody talking or looking directly at anyone else, yet they were all having a conversation with everyone at the same time.
From here, the supergroup would break up and the participants would float around the room until they joined up with others to form smaller group chains. And this dynamic happened over and over again. It was like watching so weird social cellular cosmos, with people aimlessly colliding with one another over and over again. It was cool to watch. It was even cooler not to join in. Instead, in between consoling hugs for my wife, I was able to let my mind wander onto other meaningless things. Such as….
See? Didn’t I tell you?
As an aspie, I have some real difficulties hanging in on a conversation that I’ve lost interest in. I can stick it out for a while, but eventually I get to the point where I’m looking for the fastest way out of a conversation. So what happens when the conversation just keeps going deeper and deeper, and DEEPER with no end in sight?
I explode on the inside, that’s what happens.
Yup. That’s me.
One of my coworkers just absolutely cannot tell a simple straight story. Every conversation goes off on tangent after tangent, and sometimes on sub-tangents of those original tangents, etc. I’ve actually thought to myself, “How the fuck did we get here?” and I honestly can’t figure it out. Just the other day she went from getting a haircut to the Bachelor to visiting her mom to gaining weight from eating too much popcorn to… you know what, to be honest, I completely lost track after that. There was some discussion about a French Press coffee maker vs. a Keurig at some point, but everything else I zoned out on.
The hardest part about dealing with all of this is that eventually she goes backwards down the path and picks up where she left off before the tangents. Which means each time she switches subjects, the conversation is guaranteed to be longer and longer, and L O N G E R……
Other than this one thing, she’s very nice. I just get to the point where I want to stand up and say, “Ok, I’m done. I can’t take anymore. Let me know when you get back to the part about watching the Smurfs with your cousin.”
Hey, that reminds me of this video I saw on the RedTube…
I just don’t get it.
I understand when I do something weird, like starting a conversation with someone in the middle of an idea. I know that’s strange, but sometimes I just can’t help it. It happens. I get that – you don’t know what I’ve been thinking of for the past 5 minutes, and you need a recap. It’s just hard for me to waste the time catching you up on what’s been flying around inside my brain.
But that’s not it. Here’s the thing.
The other day, my wife is talking about something that she and her mom were talking about. This triggers a thought in my brain about something my mom has been dealing with recently (which my wife knows about). So I ask her if she has heard anything about it. Her response:
“You know, you started that conversation in the middle again. I mean, I know what you mean, but do you realize that you did that?”
So, if my wife admits to knowing what I’m talking about when I start talking in mid-conversation…
WHERE IS THE PROBLEM????
If she gets confused thinking that I’m talking about her mom, then I apologize and start from the beginning. But I know that she will catch on, and I’d rather not waste my time with the other stuff. She should actually be happy that I think she’ll be quick enough to get what I’m talking about.
I deal with these things all the time.
Why don’t you understand?
What was that noise? You can’t hear that?
How was that supposed to help?
Why are you wasting time?
There isn’t a way to do this easier?
Doesn’t it bother you that you are wrong?
And, apparently, I am the weird one.