Aspie Dinner

Friday night I went out to dinner with the people from the asperger’s meetup group that I’ve been to a few times. It was lots of fun. Really nice people. I liked it way better than meeting at someone’s house. Less pressure somehow and I didn’t feel trapped like I sometimes do.

The dinner was to celebrate someone’s birthday. A lot of people came. We talked about random things, which is pretty fun with a group of people who each seem to have an unusually large number of random facts stored in their heads.

The best thing about it was that I felt normal. I know that going out to dinner with a bunch of people is normal, but usually it is very uncomfortable for me. I can hardly ever keep up with conversations and half the time do not understand what I am supposed to do. If I have something to say, when is the right time to say it? I don’t want to interrupt someone who is talking and I am usually not organized enough to talk right when the little gaps in conversation occur. There isn’t enough time to process the last thing that someone said in that small amount of time and by the time I do, the conversation has moved on.

It was different in this group. It is different every time I am with a group of autistic people. The rules are different, or at least they have more leeway. There is way less fluff (words with no real purpose being constantly chattered to avoid silence). There is more patience. It is easier to keep up. I don’t think it is because people were talking any slower than in any other conversation. Sometimes that is the case in groups of autistic people, but not on Friday night. I am not exactly sure why it is easier. Maybe because there is less fluff to filter out? Does anyone have any idea what makes it easier?

I think part of it is that there is no pressure to be “normal” about things like response times, and having trouble speaking is not such a big deal. It is such a nice change from feeling completely uncomfortable and wanting to leave! My head didn’t get loud like it often does in groups of people. Usually, all voices start blending into a mishsmash of sound like if you were changing radio stations very quickly. Being confused from the mishmash makes it hard to focus and then other distractions like light, colors, people, and a million other things get mixed in too.

I don’t know why none of that happened on Friday night. It almost always happens, especially when I am with people that I don’t know very well. I wonder if it is because I was less stressed because of not having to try so hard to keep up and fit in. Whatever it is, I liked it a whole lot. I feel like I got a taste of how the other half lives. The half that can just do things easily. I like my life a whole lot and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but I do get tired of so many things things that are supposed to be easy being so hard.

On the other hand, some things that are very hard for other people are easy for me. I guess it is a tradeoff. I hate when things are not logical. It drives me crazy. For real, not like the figure of speech. People are not always logical. On the flipside of that, I love to work inside of a logical framework. It brings me a kind of peace and gives me a break from all of the things that don’t make sense.

I spend a good part of every day coding; looking at hundreds of lines of words and symbols that make complete sense. There is no ‘reading between the lines’. It is what it is. When somethings goes wrong, it is usually because of an error in logic (or syntax) that can be found and fixed. In the words of the wordpress site, ‘Code is Poetry’. I think that is true.

4 thoughts on “Aspie Dinner”

  1. I wonder if part of the reason for your having a great time and an easy one is that the conversation was on your wavelength, so there was never a feeling that you were picking up the usual 50% or less of what was actually said. That would feel very good and quite natural – and possibly a novel experience with people, that is.

    OTOH, it could just be that the planets all lined up in exactly the right order and your senses never once got close to being overloaded:)

  2. I think it was a little bit of both, but the conversation was definitely way more on my wavelength than most are. I lasted at least a couple of hours before I started fading out. Usually it takes about 5 minutes.

  3. I find your report encouraging. I know exactly what you mean about the 2 hours versus 5 minutes. I can “fake it” for a long time, but I find it exhausting, and generally hate to be in groups for long periods of time. Even in a “geek party” with a lot of technical people I find myself the alien. I end up treating it more like a trade show, moving from group to group like I would from booth to booth, sampling the “product” the people are “selling”.

    Our get-together at the train place a couple years ago was so much easier in comparison. I’ll have to see if I can connect up again with the aspie group.

  4. Hey Ken 🙂 I had fun at the train museum too. We should do something like that again someday. Let me know if you ever want to go to one of the meetups. I think there is one this friday, but it is doubtful i will be able to make it.


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