So this is the continuation of my post about understanding systems that I wrote yesterday. It will hopefully be a short one as I’m cold and unable to think creatively, therefore I’ll focus only on what’s important.
Last week I was on a training in a food distribution centre, that I already posted about. It was an interesting experience that gave me loads to write about. However, I didn’t so far had the opportunity to talk about this brief moment when I reminded our trainer that he has a cat.
So, basically, he said, just at the beginning of the training that only a day before his wife brought a kitten home, eight months old, so not too little, but still young. And the kitten was miauking (is that even a word? I think I’m translating from Polish a little bit too directly) the entire night.
Later on the trainer mentioned his kids a few times, mostly saying ‘I have a 7 and a 5 year old’. ‘And a cat’ – I reminded him at some point. I noticed ages ago that when I say things like that people think I’m joking, but I’m not! What I’m really doing is trying to make sense of the system people around me are part of. It seems to me that I’ll understand them better, although it probably doesn’t make sense in a neurotypical world, because how the fact someone has a cat, they didn’t even chose to have, affects who they are? The thing is, however, that, although this fact doesn’t change who the person is, for me it is a valid information.
I did mention here a while ago that when I just met someone, I find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to imagine anything about them, that is not presented explicitly. It almost feels like, if they left the premises, they disapear. That’s why the more information I have about someone, the easier it is to imagine for me that their life extends beyond the situation where we met, and they carry their opinions, including the opinion they have about me, to wherever they go.
That’s why the cat was so important: it was one more piece of information that allowed me to imagine that guy’s life outside of work. And it’s really not helpful when people take my comments in similar situations as jokes, although obviously I can’t blame them, as they had no chance to find out how an autistic person thinks, and even if they did, it would probably make them all confused.
So in a way it’s better if people laugh, I guess, although that brings me to another issue: when I am actually trying to make a joke, no one can understand it. How frustrating is that?