My Big Bang Theory Labeling Theory

The Big Bang Theory has helped me straighten out some separate but overlapping labels. Here’s how I figure it.

Tradition crew and the only pic I have of me in uniform (front left)
Tradition crew and the only pic I have of me in uniform (front left)

Sheldon and I share these 4 labels: 1) Asperger’s Syndrome 2) Geekiness 3) Excessive Intelligence and 4) Science Fiction fan. Leonard, Howard and Raj share 2-4. Amy and Bernadette share 2-3. Stuart shares 2 and 4.

I define “Geekiness” as an interest in something most people find boring. Most often it’s Science Fiction, computers or science, but there are geeks who are into art, history or poetry, too. What crosses the line into an Asperger Special Interest is a desire for exhaustive knowledge of a subject, which can get confused with obsession. The difference is that obsessions are fear driven; an escape from something else. A Special Interest is pleasure-driven; it’s a lot of fun. Yeah, it’s weird because anyone else would find it boring, but it’s fascinating to us.

I figure, if you like Star Trek, it just means you have good taste.  If you REALLY like Star Trek, you’re probably a Geek.  If you memorize Star Trek episodes, watch it at every opportunity, and lip sync the words, that sounds like AS.  That was me once.  It drove my mother crazy.  I don’t think I could do that anymore, but I was watching Blake’s 7 yesterday and lip syncing, which reminded me.  I’m not much into SF anymore, but I have an annual B7 marathon. We once played a Star Trek trivia game with me vs. the rest of the Tradition crew.  At a convention, I won a Blakes 7 Trivial Pursuit Ship tournament. I may still have the certificate.

concertinaI don’t know how typical this is for AS, but, in addition to long-term Special Interests, I have a lot of Sporadic Enthusiasms. Before the internet, they started with an interest leading me to read every book my library had on the subject. Some of mine were one-time things, lasting a few years, some keep flaring up, but then disappear for years. Only Science Fiction fandom and animal rescue have been long-term, continuous interests.

Another test I use is: Can I bore everyone to death talking about this topic? If I can find other geeks who would find me interesting, that’s geekiness, not necessarily Asperger’s. But you’ll regret it if you get me started on animal shelter statistics, media adaptations of books, or the early Roman Empire.  My current thing is variations of The Sweet Trinity.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sweet_Trinity

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Are you excited?

in hand wheeThis is another question I agonize over. When I last bought a new car, I got asked that a lot. I realized I was disturbing people by not acting more excited and that the right answer was a smile and as energetic an “Oh, yes!” as I could manage.

I just bought a new house (manufactured home, to be delivered to a retirement park) and got that question for the first time yesterday, but probably not the last. Now that I’ve had a chance to think about it and practice, I’m ready to deliver “Oh, yes!” next time.

I think this fits into what I’m going to call my “Klingon warship theory.” Most people look at a new car, new house, money, a lottery ticket, etc and fill in the blanks. They see . . . something else. Happiness, probably. I can’t do that.  I look at my new house and I see a lot of great stuff, for sure. But I also see a million decisions I’m going to have to make and months of not being to remember where I put things. Most of all, I see an exhausting and stressful month in front of me while I get moved.

If you want to see me excited, come by the next time I buy a new pair of socks. I’ve been buying “The World’s Softest Socks” lately, although sometimes I’ll get seduced by something on sale and soft at Grocery Outlet or Walmart. They’re so soft when they’re new!

Why is a Klingon warship like a good lie?

klingonI’ve been wondering for a while if my fondness for patterns has something to do with Asperger’s, but only a few days ago, I got to thinking that there might be something about the reverse — my not being able to impose order on things that have no pattern, the way other people seem to be able to do.

  1. I could never get into that game of seeing things in clouds.  They’re just clouds to me.
  2. I was very interested in astronomy, but, hard as I tried, I couldn’t see constellations.
  3. I’m SO glad I’ve never been given a Rorschach test.  Except for that Swallowtail Butterfly, they just look like inkblots to me. And the “sex” one looks like a Klingon warship.  Well, doesn’t it?  Rorschach_blot_06

However, after I got to thinking about that, I spent some time researching Rorschach tests.  I found some fascinating journal articles (admittedly, over my head, but the parts I understood are cool) one looking into the question of if Asperger’s is different from High Functioning Autism — http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/44611/10803_2005_Article_BF02179292.pdf

So, it doesn’t look like difficulty with Rorschach is a problem distinctive of either Asperger’s or autism.

iu_011I was telling a fellow Crazy Cat Lady about my Klingon and she said it looks like Bill the Cat to her.  In a racoon coat.  That strikes me as even more amusing than my Klingon.  I can sort of see it, but only if he were skinned and made into Bill the Rug.  Thbbft!

I’ve written elsewhere about my difficulty in lying.  Recently I was up half the night trying to come up with a good lie, and when I told someone else of my problem, she effortlessly gave me the perfect one.  It seemed so obvious, why couldn’t I think of it?

Coming up with a good lie is a lot like seeing things in inkblots.  You look at what’s there, then kind of loosen up and let what you want to be there reshape it.  I can’t seem to do that.  Reality keeps pushing through.

One of the theories about the mechanism of Autism/AS is that our neural filtering is insufficient.  That would explain why I find clothing tags and the neighbor’s lawn mower intolerable.  Would it also explain my literal-mindedness and difficulty lying?

How are you?

lisaworkFor years when I was in my 20’s I agonized over how to answer the question “How are you?”

I knew people didn’t want to hear the truth, but I didn’t want to lie. Then I read an article that explained about “Social Strokes” — all those meaningless “polite” words. I realized it didn’t matter how I answered! No matter what I said, it wasn’t a lie or truth, it just had to be a social stroke.

I settled on “Just fine. And you?” Although for what reason I’m not sure, it usually came out in a Southern Drawl. Maybe because, as long as I was acting, I might as well go all the way.  I think I still do that, but I’ve lost the drawl. I sometimes consider something more witty, but figure it’s safer to stay with the standard. This really isn’t a situation where creativity is appreciated.

But then I kept getting social strokes mixed up. I’d mean to say “Thank you” and it would come out as “Excuse me.” I’d mean to say “You’re welcome” and would come out as “Hello.” Very embarrassing.

And when I finally seemed to have it right, people would laugh at me when I said “Thank you” to the microwave. I mean, it cooks my food for me, and bings to tell me it’s ready, why shouldn’t I respond? And I don’t see how it’s ever wrong to be too polite. Seems to me my microwave has done more to make my life better than any person has ever done.

But I think I’ve got that under control now.

Thank you Word Press.

Why do I imagine the Big Bang Theory writers know me?

I lived in Southern CA from about 1982-1998.  I ran a Dr. Who club (FRED-Friends who Really Enjoy the Doctor), and a Star Trek club (USS Tradition — I was Capt’n Lisa) (when meetings combined, we were “Tread”).  The Dark Shadows group never really got off the ground.  I had a little weekend business selling buttons, t-shirts and Dr. Who scarves at SF conventions called Starship Enterprises.  It never made money, but I got to deduct my convention expenses from my income tax for a while.

Tread landing party at Griffith Observatory
Tread landing party at Griffith Observatory

So, when episodes of the show sound like conversations I’ve had at meetings or conventions, it seems more likely that one of the writers was there than that it’s a  coincidence.

Although there’s an even better explanation.  The more I read about Asperger’s, the more I think Science Fiction fandom has been a Support Group for AS since before Dr. Asperger describe it in 1944.  And for Geeks.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome

Launch

On my 57th birthday I am launching this blog to share my thoughts on the paradigm shift I’m going through for about the past year, recognizing that I have Asperger’s Syndrome and how that explains so many things that have puzzled me for so long.Party-Like-A-Vulcan-Closeup

When I first saw the TV show, The Big Bang Theory, so many things that were so familiar, I read the credits carefully, suspecting that someone on their writing staff knew me. On further study, I guess that’s not true. But I still wouldn’t be surprised to find we had mutual friends.  I continue to get a lot of helpful insights from that show and expect I’ll be blogging about those.

I recently was telling someone about my rather embarrassing struggles with issues I now know are typical Aspie problems, and we were both laughing fit to die. She said something about how I should write them up, since they sounded like something from The Big Bang Theory. I’ve been thinking about it since then.

I’ve been helped many times lately by reading blogs by other Aspies. I’ve been helped by journaling just for my own benefit. I also love to make people laugh, although my sense of humor is so odd that people are more often puzzled or angered by it than amused. I plan to post whatever I feel like writing about, without deciding which of these goals are behind it, and you’re free to ignore, laugh or sympathize, as you think appropriate.