The first time I ever heard about Asperger's was only about two years ago. I was at a show in Williamsburg talking with some friends about a band I really liked, namely the lead singer, a hot, creepy blonde woman who I had a crush on. One of the guys in our little circle started telling me about how the band always stays at his apartment whenever they tour NY, and how he thought my crush had Asperger's because she never made eye contact, and would get snacks out of his fridge without asking. I was like "Oh," and thought about this for a long time. I would never just get food from someone's house without asking because I'm secretly the most polite person in the world and will ask permission to ask you permission for something, but the eye contact thing is a problem sometimes. Mainly because I feel like if I stare into a person's eyes for too long, I'll get dizzy and not be able to concentrate on what they're saying. I don't know. That seems normal to me.
After this first intro to the fact that Asperger's is all about being rude about snacks and showing people your eye balls, I didn't think about it again until I was listening to This American Life and heard the story of David Finch. David Finch wrote a book (which I have since read twice) called The Journal of Best Practices, which details how he almost fucked up his marriage to the point of no return, not knowing what his problem was, until he was diagnosed with Asperger's. Once diagnosed, David structured his life in a self-made form of behavioural therapy by writing things in a journal that he needed to teach himself he should, or shouldn't do, based on feedback from his wife, and various social experiments at work. A few things that David would do to try and be more normal were to make notes reminding himself to let his wife have alone time in the bathroom, not taking 55 years to get ready for work and to put on different "characters" to blend in to different social situations. Embarrassingly – I related to this a great deal and decided that maybe this was what the fuck has been wrong with me my whole life. David mentions an online test he took at the start of his diagnosis, and I decided to take it myself. Here are my results:
If you're not able to see the words of the results clearly, you can at least see that the colored bar that indiciates where I landed is up at the tippy top. With 32-50 being, yeah, you're aspy for days, my score of 31 indicates that I am just cooling my toes in the pool of Autism. Awesome.
I found this to be… interesting, and fell into a k-hole of internet research about Asperger's. This little snippet made me laugh so much that I saved it in a Word doc:
“ For example, a person with AS may engage in a one-sided, long-winded speech about a favourite topic, while misunderstanding or not recognising the listener’s feelings or reactions, such as a need for privacy or haste to leave. This social awkwardness has been called “active but odd.”
By no means is taking an online test a medical diagnosis so I asked my gf at the time, a medical professional who you may remember me writing about all the time, and then not writing about at all (because we broke up), if she thought I should go get a real diagnosis and she was like "Well, if you think you have it, you probably do." I didn't know medicine was so loosey goosey like that. Maybe if I think that I am six-feet tall, I will be?
Another test was mentioned, this time directly in the pages of Journal of Best Practices, and it measured a person's ability to feel empathy, which I guess is a thing that also factors into Asperger's. My score was extremely low and at first I was excited until I read that that meant I was basically just like Dexter. I exchanged words with my gf about this as well, which I'm sure was very charming and comforting for her, and here's what was said:
ME: Have you ever taken the Simon Baron-Cohen Empathy Quotient test? And if so, can I ask what your score was?
GF: I am taking it now.
GF: 55! What was your score?
ME: HAHAHAH! Right???? I was like “oh.”
GF: I mean, I’m in a “caring profession” so I think my score is a little inflated. But apparently you’re in an “autism profession.”
So I guess maybe I'm retarded and could potentially not care if I saw someone get hit by a car. And yet, life goes on. The funny thing about all of this is that since this happened, I hear about Asperger's and people having it, almost every day. It's like the new "thing." It's the new ADD. As of now, there are no medications that specifically treat Asperger's, which is a cash cow in the waiting. By this time next year, me, and everyone else we all know who prefers to look at random points on a wall than a person's face, will be snorting ground up Fruity Pebbles three times a day to remedy this disorder. I better start saving up now.
If you are reading this and thinking about how you:
1) Have to do your bathroom routine each morning a certain way or your whole day will be ruined.
2) Cannot be handed something without your hands shaking in a comical way.
3) Pretend that you're Janeane Garofalo in order to make it through a party.
4) Have ditched dates in favour of catching up on YouTube clips.
5) Have lost almost all of your sexual partners because you need roughly 20 hours of alone time a day.
Then maybe you have Asperger's as well. You can find out HERE.
Really though, who gives a shit? Right? Oh my God, stop looking at me.
Follow Kelly on Twitter: @WolfieVibes