This is almost too easy! Okay, right now I'm sitting at the gate at the Indianapolis airport awaiting my flight to Utah to work the SKUSA race, but two days ago I said I was going to use this three week flagging/travel stint to describe to you how Asperger Syndrome can show itself in everyday situations and, as I began this post, it's been almost too easy to come up with what to write.
It was yesterday afternoon and my nephew Caden and I were on our way to this pizza store to pick up an order and bring it back to my sister's house. We arrived at the store and went inside which is always an awkward situation for me to begin with because I never know what exactly I should say. This right here would be enough to write about because look at a very important word I used in that last sentence. I said, "exactly" but is there an exactly right thing to say each time? Probably not but I still am trying to figure this out.
So we walk in and we approach the counter and wait. An employee came to the counter and said, "Hello, How you doin'?" I stood there frozen as another hilarious episode of being asked, "How are you" was about to unfold.
The tenths of a second felt like a crushing eternity. What do I say? How am I doin'? Eventually I made some sort of noise and then sputtered out, "I'm doin'." I thought nothing more of my answer once I gave it as it seemed the most logical answer to give. After that he asked who the order was for and I somehow made things confusing as I was trying to comprehend what was going on and finally all made sense and we had a few minutes to wait.
Caden and I found a bench and sat down. Once seated he told me, "What was with your answer? I'm doin'? That's not what you're supposed to say! Didn't you see the way he looked at you?" I told Caden that I did not. Thinking back the reason behind this was that eye contact was not made at all. In fact I didn't even look at the employee at all the entire time as I was looking down and to the left.
According to my nephew the employee gave a look of befuddlement as he didn't really know what to make of my answer. To me, my answer makes perfect sense and is the only thing I can say as, if I were to really answer this question of how I was doin', the actual answer would take too long for me to think of and then too long for me say. Still though, I felt my answer was perfectly appropriate.
I do know the script of the conversation and both my sister and nephew spent the rest of the day asking me "how are you doing," trying to get me to respond naturally. I never did, but I know how I'm supposed to respond with, "Fine, how are you doing?" Yes, I know this, but I can't turn that part of my brain off that hears the question and needs to answer it 100% accurately. I can't simply say "fine" because what if I am not fine? Also, how long of a time frame is in plat when asked this question? Is it the past 24 hours? 12? Or is it just right then and there because if this is the case saying "I'm doing" is the most logical answer.
Well, I could debate this with myself all day, but thankfully I do have a flight that is getting ready to leave so I mist leave this at that. I do find it amazing at how, when one is aware and is looking for it, just how big of an impact in such small events Asperger Syndrome can have.