the Naked Celt (nakedcelt) wrote,
the Naked Celt

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Back again

Yes, I'm alive.

I haven't blogged for a couple of months, mainly because the Update Journal page is still causing Firefox to crash. (I'm in an Internet booth in town at the moment for reasons that will become clear.) It doesn't happen on other computers, but no other page causes it to happen on my computer, either. I don't know what's going on there.

Mind you, I seem to be better at blogging than any of my fellow family members. Quite a bit has happened in my family lately, which pelliondance and cannopener, respectively, should have been the first to tell you about... but I think their silence is due to the fact that they've stopped bothering with LJ altogether, rather than they want it private.

pelliondance's birth mother contacted him recently. So now I have six grandparents instead of four, with three of them still living instead of two. pelliondance's genetic father ("birth father" sounds wrong somehow) seems to have come from all sorts of places. He had, for instance, an African American grandmother. I've never even met an African American person — Americans who come to New Zealand are invariably white. Well, unless you count the time a couple of basketball players who were visiting for some tournament or something came and spoke to our school assembly, due to the fact that the PE teacher at my high school was also a national-level basketball coach. Which I wouldn't.

cannopener's news... I'm going to have a third nephew, or possibly a niece, in a few months. I rank them in that order of probability, because sambarham had brothers but no sisters and currently has sons but no daughters, which may possibly indicate an aggressive Y-chromosome.

I'm in town, rather than at home, because I've been doing an adult literacy tutor training course this week. It's pretty full-on timewise, going from 9am to late afternoon. Although, actually, the times are fairly flexible. It all seemed pretty woolly on the first day, but that could have been because my brain was melting. The second day, I thought it was great; to start off with, you learn about the causes of literacy difficulties in New Zealand, which was mostly stuff I'd learned before or could fake my way through, having done cultural anthropology and Te Reo Māori at university.

Today, it was going great again... and then somebody happened to mention Asperger's Syndrome. Did you know people with Asperger's Syndrome can't understand metaphors?

See, this person tutors people in computing at Polytech. Including someone with Asperger's. And "when I told him not to worry," she said, "he got upset and said 'Don't tell me not to worry!' He didn't understand it was just a saying."

No, I put in, more likely he said that because the things that you can put on one side are things that trip him up — he can't keep going until he understands them. But by then somebody else had already started saying that you couldn't use the phrase "laughing their head off" to a person with Asperger's because they would think you meant they were literally decapitated.

They were being so bright and positive about it all, that was what really got me. Next thing you know our instructor went and fetched a copy of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which is all about a person with Asperger's and "it's a really lovely book. Really lovely."

Well, no. No, it isn't. OK, I'm well aware that many Aspies are more... impaired, I think, is the best word, than I am. It's possible some of us really do have the same limited grasp of language, especially figurative and metaphorical language, that the kid in the book has. Personally, when I read it, I never thought it was meant to be about people like me, I thought he was somewhere else on the autistic spectrum. But no, it seems neurotypicals — friendly, liberal neurotypicals who want to be un-prejudiced about mental disability — are picking up The Curious Incident and thinking that the total literalness and lack of empathy in that kid's life, as imagined by a person who doesn't have Asperger's, are what Asperger's is all about.

I had been about to tell them all that I had Asperger's, but I couldn't, after that. I felt embarrassed, humiliated, patronized. I just couldn't face looking at someone and know they were looking back at me and thinking The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I tried to drop hints — talking about Asperger's people using the pronoun "we", when they'd been saying "they" — but they didn't pick up on it and I couldn't say it straight out. I thought we were the ones who were supposed to be bad at hints!

I didn't say another word for the remaining half hour or so that we were there. I couldn't. It wasn't quite as bad as two years ago when my WINZ case worker told me I couldn't get the unemployment benefit any more, but there was the same sort of... locked-upness somewhere in my throat, not stopping me breathing but stopping me talking. That doesn't convey what it feels like particularly well at all, but the effect is, I just couldn't speak. I couldn't protest. I couldn't tell them they were wrong. I couldn't ask them not to categorize me like that. They didn't even know they were categorizing me like that, because I hadn't managed to tell them I had Asperger's.

I have to keep going back there for another week and a half. I can't not deal with this, but I don't know what to do.
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