Monday, April 18, 2011

Do you hear me?

So, Laura and I were doing our usual Monday afternoon at the shelter... and can I digress for a minute? I pet the nicest dog. She was a medium-sized black lab (mix?), 7 years old, named Cassie. She stood in my lap and put her head on my shoulder and just sat like that. She didn't smell bad, she didn't shed, and she didn't bark or even whine. I hugged her and kissed her and pet her and could have stayed there forever. Mom and I will meet a potential trainer on Saturday morning, and I want to ask him if he has dogs like Cassie...

Anyway. We were getting ready to leave the shelter, and my cell phone rang with a weird number. That happens about once a week, and it always says some pre-recorded message about "my credit card," which doesn't even exist. I almost, almost didn't answer. And then I did.

"Hi, Lydia, this is Andrew H. from American Public Media in St. Paul? I read your responses to our questions online about autism and employment and I wanted to talk to you some more... do you have some time?"

Somewhere in there my phone died and I relocated Laura and I to outside where there is service, and he called back. We talked about talents and weaknesses and barriers to employment and past jobs and bosses and all that jazz. When asked about weaknesses, I said something about communication, and he said, "But you sound so very articulate."

I laughed and asked Laura to remind me what it was I'd tried to ask my mom earlier when she cut me off and said, "Lydia... I have no idea what you're saying." So, I told him about that.

Then, conversation with Andrew over (I'll send you the link to the story he does whenever it's finished, k?) I got home and tried to relay the story about the interview to my sister. It was kind of funny, because once again, she was confused and I couldn't straighten it out.

See, the thing is that I make perfect sense to myself when I explain things. I guess I lack the theory of mind to figure out what exactly the listener does and doesn't know without me saying it. As I try to think that through now, I'm boggled by it.

I guess my autism could be described by awesome gifts coupled with surprising deficits. A lot of theory of mind-type things I can understand in theory (i.e., you and I can have opposite thoughts about the same subject), but in practice, I don't do so well with it.

Andrew did ask me to describe "where I am" on the spectrum... and I said well, kind of everywhere... I like to say usually-high-functioning-autism.

Here; that's where I am. I'm here.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, and you're "where you need to be".

    The St Paul-Twin Cities is quite a hub for autism journalism, and they are especially interested in the stories of autistic adults.

    (Do you in fact have a debit card? With programmable money for each spend?)

    Communication is not speech.

    Will look up more about American Public Media. Is it radio, TV, newspaper?