Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Auto Bond

While it’s no secret that the German autobahn is one of the last places where you can drive as fast as you want, the fabled public highways aren’t a free-for-all. Today, some sections of the autobahn have speed limits, though great stretches remain unrestricted. And while most of the autobahn’s driving rules will be familiar to Americans, the Germans have unique laws and rules of conduct in place that they say help to keep high-speed driving safe. And we probably don’t need to tell you that Germans take their rules seriously.

Now substitute “Aspie” for “German” and “NT spouse” for “American”, and you have a pretty good description of my daily life.

Don’t get me wrong. I love cars. That mutual interest was one of Steve and my immediate attractions to each other, along with rock and roll music and (according to him) the way my jeans fit me. When you love an Aspergian, enjoying their single interest(s) make one’s journey much more enjoyable. His jeans were okay.

I always wonder about couples that insist that they have no common interests. There must have been something that initially drew them to one another.

Back to the eight rules of the Autobahn.

I love the fifth rule “It’s only slightly rude to flash your headlights at a driver you wish to pass.”

This so describes my hubby! Since he is very quiet and shy in social situations, it can be startling to hear his voice break into a discussion on, let’s say, the local economy. Often his comment is so far off track that most people are simply startled. As long as I keep steering the subjects into different areas every few minutes, I can keep The Hubster’s blurts to a minimum. It’s only when there has been a steady conversation on one topic for at least five minutes that things begin to get tense.

I can handle slightly rude. I have problems with obnoxious.

An older gentleman was stating his own views on local food banks at a recent fundraiser. Those in our group (mostly) just listened to his ideas and nodded our heads, not so much in agreement, but to acknowledge that we heard him. Then a voice blurts out.

“Well, that’s stupid!” says my spouse.

The gentleman stopped mid-sentence, and being startled so, slightly spilled his drink on his shirt as he whipped his head towards said spouse. The rest of the group turned their heads to follow his gaze.

“Young man!” the pontificator harrumphed. “Just what do you know of the facts?”

Steve shifted from foot to foot. His drinkless hand began to flap against his leg while his eyes blinked rapidly. I am sure his blood pressure was soaring. Several uncomfortable minutes of silence passed amongst our group. I could actually hear the gears turning in my hubby’s mind.

“Oh look!” I exclaimed as a waiter approached us. “It’s time to be seated for dinner!”

As we all turn to be escorted to our various tables, I silently thank God that the stately gentleman of my husband’s scorn is taken across the room from us.

Phew! That was a close one.

Our table fortunately held two fellow car enthusiasts, so the rest of our evening went by pleasantly. An ‘auto bond’ was established, and we all enjoyed our dinner. I ‘helped’ Steve eat his ignored salmon. I am a dutiful wife.

Slightly rude I can handle. It can always be turned into a laugh or two.

And I do love to laugh!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Mom Song

I’ve had an epiphany!

I’m the Mom.

Why? Because I said so.

And my hubby believes me! How did I not recognize this before?

“Sweetie, do you think I should drive 92 miles to trade away my big shop compressor for a set of used tires?”

“What’s wrong with your shop compressor, Steve?” I ask as I slice onions for dinner. Tears have begun coursing down my face.

Startled, possibly in reaction to my tears, Steve quickly answers “Nothing!”

“Then why would you want to get rid of it?” I inquire.

“Well, we have that little household compressor in my workshop in the basement,” responds The Hubster, as if this made sense.

“Can it run multiple air tools at the same time?” I continue to probe.

“No, but the shop compressor doesn’t either,” says Hubby.

“But that is because you haven’t completed running fixed airlines throughout your shop as we discussed eighteen years ago when we built it! We purchased that huge compressor so you could put it into an insulated side shed, running solid airlines with multiple connection fittings all around the shop so that the noise wouldn’t be so deafening.” I explain.


“So I can’t trade it?” queries my Aspie husband.

“No.” I state emphatically, tears subsiding as I’ve moved on to chopping sweet potatoes.

“Why not?” demands Sir Arguesalot.

“Because I said so!” I respond, utterly exasperated now.

“Oh, okay.” Steve turns and walks out of the kitchen.

Say what? Huh. Will wonders never cease! LOL

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mind Blind

I can do this.

I will survive.

This won’t/can’t last forever.

My husband is driving me crazy.

One way ticket to Tahiti, please.

I have absolutely no idea what is going on with Steve, but the lack of understanding, miscommunication and self-absorption over the last month is indescribable.

Temple Grandin often refers to theory of mind and mind-blindness in her speeches and her writing. Autism Speaks also discusses this:

Theory of Mind can be summed up as a person’s inability to understand and identify the thoughts, feelings and intentions of others. Individuals with Asperger Syndrome/HFA can encounter difficulty recognizing and processing the feelings of others, which is sometimes referred to as “mind-blindness”. As a result of this mind-blindness, people with AS may not realize if another person’s behaviors are intentional or unintentional.

This challenge often leads others to believe that the individual with AS does not show
empathy or understand them, which can create great difficulty in social situations.

Another source describes mind-blindness as thus:

Mind-Blindness can be described as a cognitive disorder where an individual is unable to attribute mental states to self and others. As a result of this disorder the individual is unaware of others' mental states. The individual is also not capable of attributing beliefs and desires to others.  This ability to develop a mental awareness of what is in the mind of an individual is known as the Theory of Mind (ToM). This allows one to attribute our behavior and actions to various mental states such as emotions and intentions. Mind-blindness is associated with… Aspergers Syndrome… (those who) … tend to show deficits in social insight.

Difficulty explaining behaviors, understanding emotions, predicting behaviors of others, emotions of others or perspectives of others. Lack of understanding ones own behavioral impact on others. Problems with joint attention, social conventions, differentiating fact from fiction.

Whooh! This nails it. This is exactly what is going on. So it’s not necessarily intentional.

However, Steve is an intelligent man, so it seems he has the ability to stop and calm himself if he wishes. Lately he refuses. Or perhaps he can’t.

I honestly don’t know.