I guess that’s all she wrote


No word from my stepdaughter Maya. I wasn’t expecting any, after what I wrote about her mom. I really do care about her; just can’t stomach her mom. I shouldn’t have been so open with her about my anger over the dragon’s behavior towards me.

No word from my lunch friend Karen. Again, I could see it coming. We don’t trade books and movies anymore. She was mostly quiet around me, looked uninterested in anything I said, and seemed afraid of me as well. She has no real reason to want to see me, and I think she’s been trying to find a way to tell me so.

Haven’t heard from the dragon/ex-wife at all. She has her house. She can’t really afford it on her own, but if she’s careful and can keep a job, she’ll have it free and clear before too long, thanks to the extra payments I made on it.

I am just sooo successful in my relationships with women. Perhaps it’s because they have family and social networks, and I don’t?

Perhaps I am myself insane? Or, I wonder if I could have Asperger syndrome, related to autism? I read this: “a pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by qualitative impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language. Intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, one-sided verbosity, restricted prosody and intonation, and motor clumsiness are typical of the condition…”

That’s a bit technical, but I found this explanation even more interesting:

“Individuals with AS experience difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or enjoy spontaneous interests or achievements with others, a lack of social or emotional reciprocity, and impaired nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture. Unlike those with autism, people with AS are not usually withdrawn around others; they approach others, even if awkwardly, for example by engaging in a one-sided, long-winded speech about a favorite topic while being oblivious to the listener’s feelings or reactions, such as signs of boredom or haste to leave. This social awkwardness has been called “active but odd”. This failure to react appropriately to social interaction may appear as disregard for other people’s feelings, and may come across as insensitive.”

Actually, that describes my friend Karen extremely well! I wonder if that is what I feel about her, that she is like me in that respect. I’ve never known anyone else like me before.

Sometimes it seemed the unhappiness I felt after the divorce had more to do with the change in my routine than anything else! The reasons I thought Asperger might apply to myself are:

Hans Asperger’s initial accounts and other diagnostic schemes include descriptions of motor clumsiness. Children with AS may be delayed in acquiring motor skills that require motor dexterity, such as bicycle riding or opening a jar, and may appear awkward or “uncomfortable in their own skin”. They may be poorly coordinated, or have an odd or bouncy gait or posture, poor handwriting, or problems with visual-motor integration, visual-perceptual skills, and conceptual learning.

Yep. That was me, clumsy as all hell – I still drop, knock things over, and break things more than anyone I know. My brother, a year younger, easily rode a bicycle, and I couldn’t get it. Once I did, I was fine, but it took me a long time to learn, same as driving a car. That took me longer than any classmate in high school. I just couldn’t get it all coordinated, even with driving lessons. The bouncy gait – my father pointed that out to me. He said he could tell it was me a long way off from that gait. I practiced walking like normal people for a long time, but sometimes I forget. My hips are often uncomfortable to me, and I feel twisted around, so I keep adjusting my clothes or position. My handwriting is legible, but I remember it took intense practice, and never became smooth or easy – it always takes strict concentration. All typing has to be checked and double checked for switched letters, switched words, extra letters, nonsense words, and missing words.

“…unusually sensitive or insensitive to sound, light, touch, texture, taste, smell, pain, temperature, and other stimuli…”

Yep. Me again. I often wondered about that. It’s not all the time, but anything above ambient sound at times is actually almost painful and I can’t stand it – makes me very uncomfortable. Same with lights or the texture of my clothes. Smells are often overwhelming. None of these things makes it impossible to function, but people have usually commented on them, especially people I’ve lived with.

“Stereotyped and repetitive motor behaviors are a core part of the diagnosis of AS and other ASDs. They include hand movements such as flapping or twisting, and complex whole-body movements. These are typically repeated in longer bursts and look more voluntary or ritualistic than tics, which are usually faster, less rhythmical and less often symmetrical.”

Me again. The hip movements are usually interpreted by others as being caused by pain, but I just get into weird ways of walking sometimes. Sometimes my shoulders just don’t feel right, so I’m constantly moving them around to get comfortable, same as my hands, hips, eyelids or other body parts. I can attribute some of this to stress, but not all.

“Pursuit of specific and narrow areas of interest is one of the most striking features of AS.”

That would seem to describe myself and Karen extremely well. How odd that we met and had this long acquaintanceship, but actually exhibit traits that are counterproductive to real friendship. Of course, if neither of us likes to change routine, that would explain the way we continue to see each other. Sometimes, she does drone on, happily, about Halloween or a specific series of stories, and I can’t get a word in. I don’t mind, however, since she gets so excited and smiles so beautifully. I’ve been like that myself, with my extreme focus on war, or politics, although I have learned to notice when people get uncomfortable, even though I often don’t care, like writing this long-winded blog entry.

“There is no single treatment for Asperger syndrome, and the effectiveness of particular interventions is supported by only limited data. Intervention is aimed at improving symptoms and function. The mainstay of treatment is behavioral therapy, focusing on specific deficits to address poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and clumsiness. Most individuals with AS can learn to cope with their differences…. Researchers and people with AS have contributed to a shift in attitudes away from the notion that AS is a deviation from the norm that must be treated or cured, and towards the view that AS is a difference rather than a disability.”

Well, I’m certainly different.

Here’s what a test for Asperger’s has to say about me:

I’ve calculated my Autism Spectrum Quotient as 40, which is very high. Most women score about 15 and most men about 17. Most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 35. However, many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger’s have no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives.
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