I haven’t ruined it yet, so I decided to post it. I almost coughed on it (getting over a cold), but I remembered I was holding it. Drawing, doodling, and coloring all make me really happy, so I hit the happiness trifecta here. Still…..I hope it stays nice enough that I can deliver it on Thursday as promised.
by rick stein
Aspie is the term adults with Aspergers call themselves. Mari makes it sound as if it is difficult being married to an aspie. That is far from the truth. It is the easiest and sweetest thing I have ever done. It is the most important thing I’ve ever done. There is a lot of information out there about Aspergers, but I only know a little. I do know a lot about Mari so that is the aspie I’m going to write about.
Mari cannot and will never be able to drive. There is too much information flooding in all at once to be able to decode. Signs, such as ↑ mean straight ahead to most drivers, to a person who takes things literally it means up. Lanes going this way and that, people changing lanes, oncoming traffic, left turns, right turns its all too much. I would still do most of the driving even if she could drive, so she would never feel safe behind the wheel. Her driving has been a problem for her, it is not for us. Her driving would be a problem for everybody if she were on the road.
She feels uncomfortable in crowds, a lot of people do. It is not like driving, she can be in a crowd once we find a place to stay. We go to plays, movies, concerts, fireworks displays: she feels some discomfort getting there, hesitation before we go, but once we are there it is not a problem.
She will often walk behind me, she says it’s because I walk too fast, but I know she is following me just as she has always done in order not to feel lost.
She is very sensitive, to everything. Sensitive to touch, labels in shirts feel like thistles. She likes all her clothes to be soft. We call her the princess and the pea. Mari is sensitive to her feelings.and the feelings of others. It’s very easy to touch a wrong nerve with her. It could only take a harsh look, a misread facial expression, ignoring her, 0r scaring her to hurt her feelings. She’ll always give you a second chance, or a do over as she calls it. She doesn’t stay hurt or mad long.
There are quite a few things to learn about your partner, when they are the love of your life.
We simply fit together completely, and effortlessly. She laughs at my jokes, understands my unique perspective on things, loves me completely, takes care of me when I need it. She is smart as a whip, driven to succeed, the funniest woman I have ever met, the one woman I have ever fully trusted completely and totally with my heart. The one woman I know that has always got my back, always looks out for me. She always has new surprises and everything is a new surprise to her.
There is an entire book no one would read if I were to list all the reasons I love my aspie wife.
The reasons don’t really matter anyway. Love is beyond reason. It simply is that whenever I look at her, no matter what she looks like, no matter the mood she is in, no matter anything I see the girl I love.
Before we knew anything about Aspergers Mari had the same little quirks, it’s nice to have a name to call them, but it doesn’t make any real difference to me. It’s always te girl I love.
There are, to be sure, limitations that aspie’s have, but there are many gifts. Mari has a childlike innocence, which is a common trait of people with Aspergers. We should all wish for that innocence. She has a sweetness about her for everyone. She talks tough when she’s scared, speaks in hyperbole, can swear like a sailor, but it’s just woofing to warn the danger away. Everyday is fresh to her, she does not think in linear terms. Today is fresh, that friend from fifty years ago is fresh, A customer came into our shop one day that had been in one time ten years earlier, and didn’t buy anything. She did send other people in who we did do work for in the years since. She said, “you probably don’t remember me. I never would have. Mari did and told her what they had talked about, and what she was wearing.
Days don’t stretch out in a long line for Mari, when she remembers something it’s like it was always just yesterday.
I am and always will be thrilled to have such a willing partner in everything. She’s strong, courageous, honest, true, loving, fun, smart, sexy, interesting and interested. Who cares if she can’t tell her left from her right, or that she thinks an elephant can fit in a breadbox. Who cares that she can’t drive, I would drive her anywhere.
One of the stories we discussed from The Best American Short Stories 2014 was Long Tom Lookout. The child in this story was autistic. As we discussed the story, the group included a lot of opinions stereotyping people with Autism and people on the spectrum. I was genuinely upset with not only their strictly limited view of us, but their stubbornness when confronted with information that would cause them to realize that they were characterizing people, real people with their conveniently narrow views. I offered my card, perhaps not as sweetly as I might have, but neither was I rude. I finally GET IT … I finally understand what it is like to be a conveniently stereotyped minority. Not one single person wanted my card.
It does not seem an especially threatening card to me.
Luckily Friday My husband Rick and our friends Pam and Richard Hirte went to Final Friday at the Pendelton in Cincinnati
Speak LOUDLY until you ARE heard.
For now, that is easier said than done, but I WILL do it !
10 Ways I Can Spot an Aspie Girl
1. Deep, soulful eyes which perhaps dip down slightly and/or are very distinguished and large. There is someone in there with a story. There is truth.
2. An uncomfortable smile that cannot find a home which fluctuates between a chiseled, serious frown and the most amazing genuine smile, wherein the whole self and soul lights up—a childlike expression, too pure to be mistaken for anything else than authenticity.
3. Continual statements of second-guessing, checking for understanding, clarifying self, and offering out extra information in an attempt to be understood. Indications of never reaching a full conclusion, as there are limitless possibilities. Questioning self, harvesting advice, and then tossing everything out and starting anew. Having the kindling of multiple thoughts about multiple directions, all at the same time.
4. Fleeting, unnatural eye contact, that is either over-intense and attempting to linger or constantly…
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The way that Aspergers has affected my life the most is not being able to drive. This is a hard concept for people to understand. Everybody can drive.
“Oh, of course you can drive, everybody can drive.”
“You just lack confidence, once you get out there, you will see how easy it is. “
“You are so smart, of course you can drive, idiots can drive.”
And the worst, a conversation I had with a health worker when Rick was in the hospital. I explained that we would be waiting for our ride to take him home. “Well you’re driving him home, right?”
“No, I don’t drive.”
“Well how did you get here?”
“A friend brought me.”
“But you used to drive, didn’t you? You just don’t drive anymore, right?”
“No, I never drove, I have Aspergers Syndrome. I think every sign in sight is instruction for me. Sensory overload.”
“But you used to drive, right?” This time with a teasing smile.
“No, I did not ‘used to drive’. What part of Aspergers do you think is funny?”
“I don’t think it’s funny.”
“No, but you think I used to drive and you think I don’t drive now because I am afraid. Do I seem like a sissy to you?”
“That’s right, NO.”
I’ve had far too many variations of that last conversation I don’t understand how anybody can decipher the traffic sign code. Stop. No Right Turn on red. Wrong Way. Do not enter. Left Turn Signal. Yield. Wrong way. Wrong way. Wrong way.
It looks like this to me every day. Every single day.
A lot of spaces look like this to me.
Driving a 3000# vehicle powered by gasoline, on the road, in traffic does not seem like the smart move to me.
Not being able to drive has affected my life profoundly
There is no doubt that I would not have run away from home at 17 if i could drive; if I believed I had options. In 1965, there were no options that I could see.
I meant what I said, and I said what I meant, an Aspie is faithful one hundred percent.
I believe whatever anybody tells me, not in the carrying tales kind of way, but in the “you are my friend” kind of way. I never see personal treachery coming. SURPRISE ! It’s the guilelessness. So, unfortunately, sometimes I get hurt and shocked on a personal level, but today the subject is about auditory incredulity.
I take things literally, and I detest the sunza-bitchez who lie to me on the evening news, and the morning news, and on all the news. Before every commercial there is a quiz… a quiz on the news. Will President Obama send troops to Syria? Well, I’m sure I don’t know, I kind of expected them to know, though…you know them being in the news slot, on the news program, broadcasting the News. Newscasters no less. I find all of this extremely frustrating. I should know better by now, that this is not journalism, but it’s on the news, in the news slot, so it should be journalism.
When I was a kid, I always asked my mom about all these lies. “Why did that guy on tv just say I wouldn’t cheat you for all the tea in China.” I told her I knew he was lying, and asked “Why did he say that?”
“Take it with a grain of salt Marianne, take it with a grain of salt.”
Poor mom. That was just not helpful. She always said the ‘take it with a grain of salt thing’ shrilly, as though she was just ready to snap. I was a trying child, because then, pretty much like now, I want answers. Other people take these things in stride, so they must have the answers, right?
It was much easier when I was younger, because news was not quite so artful. The news was more straight forward; pretty faces reading near news and pseudo news have replaced journalists like Walter Cronkite. We felt we could trust those journalists. We looked forward to being informed by Uncle Walter. He was family, the smart one in the family, and we trusted him. We loved him. The news was worth scheduling dinner around. People ate before or after the news, not during the news.
The problem is not that the newscasters cast what they cast. It is that I try to understand it every time. Then, when I realize they are lying. Then I am mad, and I want answers!
It’s the same with commercials. For people who take things literally there are no grains of salt. Except the real grains of salt that I would use for seasoning. As for commercials, what does “the best room at the best price” mean? It means nothing. The best room where? In all the world? In the slums of India? Surely not the best price in the world. Surely not the best room in all the world everywhere, every day!
I just don’t learn, I hear it, accept it, start to move on, and then, invariably comes the what!? and with that ‘what’ comes the frustration.
It’s a big, noisy, frustrating world sometimes.
mari stein ….. sept. 2014