Sep 28, 2011 0 Share

Being an Aspie


Illustration of paper people excluding individual.
iStockphoto

John Scalzi wrote a long list of things of what it means to be poor. That was six years ago and it's still one of the most popular things he's ever written.

Hopefully now people who never thought much about poverty have an idea what it's like. Maybe I can give you an idea what it's like to be an Aspie. Of course, different parts of this will apply more to different Aspies.

Being an Aspie is people not telling you what's going on—but still expecting you to know.

Being an Aspie is everybody saying to you: “How can you be so smart and yet so dumb?”

Being an Aspie is people blowing up at you and refusing to even listen to your side of the story—and you're the first person they've blown up at, so obviously it's your fault.

Being an Aspie is the first time you find out about a problem being someone blowing up at you—either themselves, or complaining to the boss who then blows up at you. 

Being an Aspie is then getting told they didn't tell you about it before … because they didn't want to hurt your feelings. 

Being an Aspie is being cut no slack—after all, if you can discuss the fine points of Soviet military doctrine, 19th century railroad history, or modern art you must be smart enough to know better in general. Therefore, you must have pissed them off on purpose. (Especially teachers and others who don't like anyone disagreeing with them or knowing anything they didn't know.) 

Being an Aspie is cringing at terms like “drop it,” “common sense” and “obvious”. 

Being an Aspie is perpetual frustration when you ask a simple question of fact and get a complex story. And when you just ask a few simple follow-up questions like “Look, is class being held today—yes or no?” the other person gets upset. 

Being an Aspie is having your best laid plans blown to smithereens because someone feels like leaving a half hour earlier or later, or going to the museum before walking through the park instead of afterward.

Being an Aspie is only being able to wear a few shirts or pants without living in agony ... and family members being hurt when you don't wear their gifts.

Being an Aspie is having to navigate your day without touching metal, or paper, or even water, if those things are what set your nerves to screeching.

Being an Aspie is tiptoeing through a minefield every time you interact with people.

Being an Aspie is going through middle and high school, maybe even college and beyond, without a date or even an actual friend. 

Being an Aspie is thinking you have friends when all you have are people who say hi to you and don't spit at you. Maybe they also exploit you for money ... or other things.

Being an Aspie is an Ivy League education and maybe more ... yet the only jobs you get involve phones, food and/or service counters. 

Being an Aspie is continual frustration at how vague people are and how much they expect you to read their minds. 

Being an Aspie is simply declining someone's kind offer and having them get mad at you for insulting them.

Being an Aspie is loading up on all the facts you can research, because when it comes to feelings you're a fish out of water. Facts are all you have.

Being an Aspie is being afraid to show any kind of insight into someone's feelings, because if in the future you don't understand ... they may not believe you.

Being an Aspie is knowing that you don't escape these issues simply by socializing with other Aspies. 

Being an Aspie is wondering if you'll ever enjoy the friendships, love lives and jobs that everyone else takes for granted.

Being an Aspie means all that stuff about acceptance and diversity doesn't apply to you—if you just say what's on your mind or do or say something else that somebody finds uncomfortable, they get to complain about you and you're the intolerant one. 

Being an Aspie is wanting to change places with a terminally ill kid—because at least everyone likes him.

Being an Aspie is your parents wondering what will happen to you when they are gone.

Being an Aspie is looking back after all these years and finally getting a clue how annoying you were—and how far you still need to go.