A Touch of Austism…

I have previously discovered that I have some characteristics that are identified with Asperger’s Syndrome which is part of the Autism spectrum. As a result, I have been more deeply studying the topic. I don’t call myself an Aspie as I have not been formally diagnosed with that condition but, I am certain  I have common traits with it.

I have recently discovered that there is a LOT of variation in what people say is the definition of autism. Here is a little more about that:

2016-07-18_17-22-29.pngPerhaps we could detach Asperger’s from autism and say that Aspies are different from other autists the way zoologists say that cheetahs are different from leopards. Let us stipulate the obvious: they are different species.

But in my analogy, naming them as different species does not erase the fact that they belong to a broader category called “big cats” or “predatory felines,” and giving Asperger’s a separate name does not erase the fact that there are large areas of overlap with what I call “deeper autism.”

The above was (I repeat) only an analogy. The point intended is to say: we can change our labels and create a more exclusive definition for autism. But the fact remains: the spectrum is broad because it is describing a fundamental reality.

Autism (broadly defined) is much more common than we thought.

Source:  Why is the autistic spectrum so broad and diverse? – Quora

To me, the classifying of autism is in a funk right now. No one knows just how to classify it. There is now a term labeled “Broader Autism Phenotype” (BAP) that describes people who are “sort of ” autistic but still highly functioning. I think that kinda describes me.

I know there are probably some people who have children with severe forms of autism that resent someone who is, for the most part, a fully functioning member of society using the label.  I can relate to that because when I hear that someone is “deaf” I immediately question if they can hear but not fully understand the spoken word. Many with that condition are labeled as “deaf.” when they are really just hearing impaired. There is a world of difference between the two and so I kinda, but really not too much,  resent them saying they are deaf.

Another example might be that someone proclaims they are a cancer survivor when all that entailed was to have a mole removed. To someone who is struggling with lung cancer that is demeaning of their condition.

I don’t know how this will all eventually work out. We can change our labels but as it presently stands autism is a very broad spectrum because it describes a fundamental reality that there are many of us who struggle with life’s social situations.

I will continue to proclaim that I have some Aspie type characteristics but will not call myself an Aspie. I hope I don’t offend those who struggle with this condition much more than I do.

Paoli Wall

For this artsy Saturday, I wanted to give you something simple yet beautiful. While I was coming back from a three day RV trip to southern Indiana I stopped at Paoli Indiana for lunch. After eating I decided to take a short tour of this three-street town and came across this picture.  It may not be symmetrical but I love the patterns that came through so well in the afternoon sun. One of my Aspie traits is to see and appreciate pattern where others wouldn’t. I  guess this is one of them.

Paoli Indiana wall.jpg

I Don’t Like Eye Candy..

This is going to be one of my Aspie themed posts or so I image but it also could be my almost total lack of exposure to women in my early years. Six of one, half dozen of the other I imagine.

Simply stated I don’t like eye-candy. Some of you might not know just what eye-candy is so I will explain it here.  Eye-candy is females who are on many TV shows and public events. About the only purpose of these women is to add a visual, and usually sexual, appeal to the subject at hand. Most often they are scantily dressed, wear seven-inch heels and tons of makeup and actually contribute almost nothing to the topic at hand.

2017-12-10_11-10-23.pngI have been to a few large car shows in my time and have seen eye-candy in bikinis draped across the hood of a car.  I usually just walk by to the next car. I guess there is something attractive for these women to make them take on these roles? Maybe it is the attention, maybe it is a validation of their sex appeal, maybe something else. Why in the world would anyone want to put themselves in this environment? It seems a breeding ground for possible sexual harassment cases.

To me, these kind of roles are an insult to womanhood. They are more meat markets than anything else. It is degrading instead of uplifting.

I just don’t like eye-candy..

 

 

You Have My Permission To Kiss Me..

This is an extremely hot topic that I want to pursue delicately if I can.  It just seems like the words “Sexual Harassment” has come to mean something quite different than I had imagined.  Having had limited opposite-sex contact even in my youth,  and my Aspie characteristics even then limited my experiences in this area.

canstockphoto41767487.jpgTo be honest, whenever I had even a casual contact with a female in my young adult years it was most often an intimidating experience. Not for them but for me!  I just didn’t know what to say or how to act. As far as I was concerned the female of the species could just as well be from a foreign plant.  I wasn’t immune from teenage hormones so, yeah I dreamed of the time when I would take someone in my arms and give her a big kiss. Part of that dream was not to ask permission before the encounter.  That didn’t happen in any of the movies or TV shows so why did it need to happen in real life?

I have been sexually harassed on two different occasions in my life.  The first was when I was a pre-teen and didn’t really know what was going on.  The second time was as a young adult when a girl, who I really didn’t know, came up to me and gave me a big sloppy kiss when I was least expecting it.  I suspect that the kiss was a dare from her friends as she rushed away giggling

Were things different in my days in the 1960s than they have been for the last few years?  Maybe you now need permission to kiss a girl and if you just come out and kiss someone without permission it is sexual harassment? Are you liable to lose your job thirty years later because of this “assault”? Maybe these kinds of contacts are even more difficult than I imagined?

With all that is going on now, if I were in the workplace and saw a woman approaching me in the hallway I would make sure not to even get close to her.  Maybe I would accidentally brush against her and she would take it in a sexual mode? For sure I would never dream of joking around with a woman now as something I say or do may invoke a sexual harassment charge. I don’t know, it just kinda scares me now. I fear that, as usual with many things, we are going to the extreme on sexual harassment. I hope it doesn’t turn into a “guilty until proven innocent” thing. Since most of these occurrences are a “he said” vs “she said” I just don’t know where the middle ground is?

Given where I am in my life right now, I don’t really need any answers to all this stuff but I am kinda curious. I continue to not really understand the female mind, or at least the female minds I have been exposed to in my life.  Women still tend to intimidate me on the first contact.  I know a lot of this is because of my Aspie characteristics and that fact helps a little but really not very much. 🙂

I just wonder what effect all of these current allegations will have on women in the workplace. Will employers who currently have a predominately male workforce now be even more hesitant to hire females. If he does will sexual harassment allegations inevitably follow? It just seems that this current flood of charges won’t help in getting breakthroughs for women in the workplace. Of course, there are serious sexual predators out there who need to be accountable for their behavior, but some of these current allegations just don’t seem to rise to that level.

But what do I know?

Writing is Recursive

canstockphoto25159365.jpgOften times in my life I feel like I am going in circles.  The same things seems to always crop up to mess things up.  I didn’t get married until I was forty so I had my share of dates.  But on second thought I really didn’t.  I knew I was not very good at it so I didn’t even attempt that often. Except for a very few occasions I just never could get past the second date.  With those kinds of experiences in life I knew I was different from many around me.

I would also later learn that I was just not very good at first thoughts and casual conversations. What came out of my mouth was often alarmingly blunt to many around me.  There were some that were brave enough to tell me so.  I didn’t have a clue until that happened. I said what I thought and I imagined everyone did that!

It may sound like I have the wrong title for this post but stay with me as I am coming to that point.  Many times after failed dates I would lie in bed going over our conversations in my head. I would often come to the conclusion that if I would have said this or that differently things might have gone better.  I would lie awake and keep trying to find that one sentence that, if I would have said it better, things might have worked out.

It just didn’t dawn on me at that age that I was not much of a extemporaneous speaker or conversationalist but I did know that I was a pretty good writer.  I always got an “A” in all my composition type classes in high school and college. What was the difference? Of course it was that writing is by nature a recursive task. Few writers can ever get it right the first time.  We constantly rewrite. Writing is recursive, at least good writing is recursive. I would finally discover that my sometimes strange characteristics were made for writing.

My Aspie characteristics make me a pretty poor speaker but a good writer and in the end I don’t mind that at all…

What’s It Feel Like For a White Man To Be A Minority??

canstockphoto22042668.jpgI know one of the reasons that we have the current incompetent in the White House is that too many white men are afraid of becoming a minority.  They are afraid of what will happen when their say is no longer the dominant one but instead one of many. For the most part white men have been dismissing minorities for decades and don’t want that to happen to them. They are afraid of many things but this is probably one of the major ones.

If none of the clues on RJsCorner have given you a hint then I will bluntly say I am a white man.  But I am a white man who has been in the minority most of my life.  I know what it means to be discounted in one form or another. I know what it means to be ignored.

Social Situations – All my life I have had characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome which is part of the Autism Spectrum. Since early age I have had difficulties with social situations that most just take for granted. It was always difficult for me to form friendships especially with females. I just couldn’t, and probably still don’t, understand what they want from a relationship.  Even friendships with other guys has been difficult. I simply can’t do eye contact so that makes me suspect to many first time acquaintances. I have always been a minority when it comes to social situations.

Being Deaf – I have been significantly hearing impaired since my teenage years and completely deaf for the last thirty years.  That puts me in about 1% of the population and thus a minority. I struggle on a daily basis against all the deaf stereotypes.  You would be surprised just how many people still believe in the “Deaf and Dumb” thing! Many basically tell me to go away instead of trying to accommodate me in any fashion.  In the old days I used to ask them to write me a note, but most won’t even consider that. I have always been a minority because of hearing loss.

I am an Independent Thinker – I frequently get into trouble because of this.  I was kicked out of a church for saying what I am sure 80% of the congregation thought. I questioned the “profession of faith”, that is those things I am supposed to believe without any real evidence to prove them. I am “Blue in a Red State” and that makes me a definite minority.  Being an independent thinker I am driven by logic in a very illogical world. Being an independent thinker makes me a minority.

As a result of all these things I don’t fear being in a minority. I am not afraid of the barbarians at the gate as I am one of them.  To all my friends out there I want to tell you that being a minority in some ways is a very freeing thing. It helps you relate to all those you once feared. It gives you an additional dose of empathy. It makes you a better Christian if that is your flavor of spirituality.

Happily join us and that alone will relieve much of the stress in your life…

 

A Story Behind Every Picture..

slice7.png  I have over 20,000 pictures in my current photo portfolio and there is a story behind every one of them.  Given that I am again reaching my breaking point concerning today’s politics I thought I would drop back into my cave and tell a few of those stories.  To that end I spent a couple of days this week going through my pictures of my life.

One of the criteria for this new category it that the pic needs to be “artsy” at least to a degree and the other is that I can describe a story behind the picture.  I don’t know how long it will take before I have the stomach to return to this maddening world but I won’t likely run out of picture stories for quite some time. So let’s get started. 🙂 

In The Beginning….

No I am not going to recite Bible verses here. That practice is way overused as far as I am concerned.  Instead I am talking about the beginning of my marriage. I know that since I didn’t get married until almost 40 that is not really the beginning but it did start a new and very different phase of my life. Anyway that is enough of the pre-story. Let’s look at a couple of pictures.

Honeymoon.jpg

I never dreamed I would ever get married let alone in the whirlwind pace that it happened.  My Aspie traits prevented me from having much luck with the dating scene. I just could not figure out what girls wanted. I had a few dates in high school and college but the relationships were all short-lived. After college I seriously tried to have a meaningful relationship for a while but again not much luck.

Then came that day in December 1985 when someone asked me  if I wanted to go with them to a company party. I reluctantly said yes. By that time I have  pretty much given up  the idea of a female relationship so I guess the stress was off. After the party we ended up talking until the wee hours of the morning. She didn’t seem to mind that I only occasionally had eye contact with her and that I was probably not asking the “right” questions.

After that night I just couldn’t get her out of my mind. I very often did not get to sleep until 3am or so.  We had quite a few dates in a short period of time and then things got serious. We were engaged three months after that first date and married about three months after the engagement!

We spent a surreal honeymoon in Hawaii. The pictures here are three of about 100 hundred that we took on the trip.  I’m pretty sure they were taken in Maui. The first two were off the lanai of our hotel room and the third was a volcano on top of a mountain.

Honeymoon-3.jpg

Honeymoon-2.jpg

I can’t say that our relationship in the 31 years since then has all been smooth sailing. We, like most others have had our spats. Some more serious than others.  I still struggle with my Aspie traits but at least my wife seems to understand that I really do love her even if I don’t show it as much as most husbands…

A.B.C.D vs Q.I.U.T.G

Some people live their lives one way and some another. Some think that for today they need to do A.B.C.D and then tomorrow repeat that sequence and continuing to do that the rest of their days. And then there are others who think that for today they need to do W.Q.E.T.Y and then tomorrow H.P.I.Y and avoiding as many repeats as possible.

I don’t know what makes some people A.B.C.D and some the opposite, but I know that my wife is of the former type and I am at the other end. Most of the adventures we have been on in our 31 years of marriage she was originally opposed to doing but now, at least sometimes, she looks back on them with joy. Our extended stay in Mexico for my job was one of them. Another was our 4-year stay in New Jersey. A recent one that I almost forced her to go on was a week long stay at Disney World. She still says that was just utter agony.

I don’t know what makes her such an extreme homebody who insists on an A.B.C.D life? Within a year of the day we were married she said she had to quit her job as life was just too stressful. She then started out her A.B.C.D life and it continues today pretty much as it has been for thirty years.

I, on the other hand, just get bored when I am forced to do the same thing for very long. I did work for the same company for 30 years which enabled me to get a pretty good pension but that 30 years was basically in four very different fields. When I retired I spent six years making country furniture including reproduction Hoosier Cabinets. But after that period of time I was totally bored with the work. Part of this for me is probably my Asperger’s Syndrome. I need constant stimulation to feel I am accomplishing anything. Once I get good at something, it’s time to move on the next thing.

From her perspective  I’m  sure that living with an Aspie has been difficult, especially a deaf one.  They say opposites attract and that is certainly true for us. For the most part we are happy and love each other but of course, our differences cause frequent conflicts.