Sunday, May 04, 2008

More (Supposed)Asperger's Stories

In the run-up to my appointment in a few weeks, I've been trying to think back during these past 38 and one-half years to draw out a story about me and if it might be true that I have Apergers.

Change:Today, while chatting with the Associate at Lake Harriet, she shared that one of her sons who has ADHD, had a hard time in school. I remembered that some my worst years in school were in 7th and 9th grades. Seventh grade meant changing from elementary school with one teacher to junior high which had more than one teacher. It was a lot of change and it was hard to handle. My grades reflected that change. Eighth grade was a breeze. I was getting A's with relative ease and when I was tested for high school, I was placed in an Advanced Program called Honors Humanities.

But ninth grade was a disaster, especially in Alegebra. For some reason, I just couldn't pick it up. Again, it was a change and for some reason, I could not handle the change to routine. After that, I did pretty well grade-wise.

The thing is, these days, I still hate change, but I am able to deal with it a tad better. I remember when Daniel and I were first dating. He came to pick me up at work, and we walked several blocks to get to his car. Unbeknownst to me, he had booked us overnight at a swanky hotel in Minneapolis and I was kinda pissed. The reason, was that he had taken me away from something ususal. I was expecting a normal weekend and he surprised me, something that I don't like. Being a bit older and wiser, I was able to understand that Daniel did this because he loves me, but it was still a bit of a shock.

Literal: When I started my current position, I was never told when I needed to start work. So, I took that to mean that as long as I did my eight hours, then I was okay. I usually would try to shoot for nine, but sometimes I would come in later. The office manager would say something in a joking way about me being late. I could tell that she was somewhat upset about me coming in "late," but I didn't make too big a thing of it since there was no set time.

One day, I came in late because I needed to drop my car off to be fixed and get a rental car which took longer than expected. I came in and the boss called me in. She said that I needed to be in no later than nine to help the office manager with the phones. After that, I got the message. The thing is, there was no written rule that said "come in no later than nine." I had observed that there was no set time and took it to mean that I had a flexible schedule. But there was an unwritten rule that I was breaking. I've been told in the past that in my current position, I've not noticed when someone needed help until it is pointed out to me. Again, if I am not told plainly, I don't see it. As I've thought back, this has happened many times in my life.

Another example: Back in 1992, I worked at a bookstore in my home town of Flint, Michigan. A woman had purchased a book that I thought we had in stock. It turns out that we didn't have it in stock, so I ordered the book instead, expecting it to come in time. The woman shows up days later and I look for the book, which hasn't yet arrived. I tell her what I did wrong and that she would have to wait, even though sitting in the pile is the same book that had been ordered for another person. She saw that book and asked why I couldn't give it to her. I said that was for another person and that she would have to wait. Well, she got angry, I got angry, and it just spiraled from there. Another worker was able to give her the book and defuse the situation, though as she checked out, she had this look as if I had killed her firstborn.

Looking back, I should have just given her the book that was available and given the book on order to the person who had ordered it. I should have allowed for some flexibility, but in my mind, that book was for the person it was intended, not for her. Again, looking back at my life, I think that I have had a penchant for pretty rigid thinking.

None of this means, I have Aspergers, but it does lead up to something. More later on me dealing with the love.

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