Those of you who know me may realise I never learned to drive. However, I used to take lessons in 2013, before I moved to Swindon from Reading. I never took the test as I didn’t feel like I can drive on the road at all (I was apparently very good at manoeuvres, but does that matter?)
A little bit later I was considering to resume my learning and wanted to work out how expensive it would be to have a car but I couldn’t find approximate prices of car insurance (between 25 and 150 a month is not approximate enough for me) so I ended up entering details of a non existing car into a price comparison website to see quotes. It was quite a while ago, possibly 5 years, so I was a bit surprised to get this yesterday to my email:
It absolutely made my day! I’m Magda and I have Mazda. Isn’t that hilarious? The Boyfriend also agreed on that.
But what I wanted to talk about here is that it was a form of pretend play for me. It was not the same kind of play a neurotypical person would engage in – where they would probably pretend to drive – but pretend in a sense where I ‘own’ a make of a car as a word that I can later use to fill in imaginary forms. Or possibly even to discuss this with people saying ‘I have Mazda, look, it’s written down here!’.
That’s pretty much what I told The Boyfriend. I first shared that I received the above email and then, when he agreed it was hilarious, I added ‘I have Mazda’. Just like that. Not ‘the email stated it was Mazda’ but actually pretending the car belonged to me. We both laughed.
I think it only worked that way because it was me who started that ‘game’, by looking for quotes. If the email reached me totally out of nowhere I’d never find it funny, I probably wouldn’t even pay any attention.
Anyway, that’s what I think pretend play is in autistics: filling imaginary forms with made up information. I don’t think that’s bad, is it?