questions i have for NT people

(these are both not serious, and totally serious)

  1. what is it like to have categories in your head. what do they feel like.
  2. WHAT DOES TIME FEEL LIKE.
  3. when you’re supposed to fill out a form in pen and also in all caps how do you remember to keep writing in all caps the whole time?
  4. how do you determine whether or not something qualifies as “organized”? how do you know how to best organize something when there are like a jillion ways to organize a thing?
  5. how can you wear watches? does it not feel like death to you?
  6. when you’re going to make a list to go to the store, how do you know that you’ve remembered everything to put on the list of all the things you actually need? also, when you go to the store, how do you not feel like it’s legit to get every single thing that you notice as being awesome or cool or something you feel like eating right then?
  7. no but really what does time feel like.
  8. when you’re looking through a collection of items arrayed on, say, a computer desktop, and the names of the things don’t identify those things, how do you remember which things you already looked at, and which things you haven’t looked at yet? (i sometimes make piles of them in different corners of the desktop as i go through them. or i have to keep all of them open or something as i open them. i feel like there are more efficient ways…)
  9. how can you hold lots of words in your head at one time so that when you talk you can say multiple ideas in an organized sequential manner?
  10. what kinds of socks do you prefer.
  11. can you please stop like constantly complaining about how you have a “terrible attention span” or a “horrible short term memory”? complaining sometimes is fine…but seriously you complain all the time. all the atypical peeps, plus folks with other brain disabilities, plus all the olderly adults you know would like to inform you: don’t walk around wearing the uniform if you ain’t gonna play for the fucking team.
  12. how do you function in social contexts if you don’t constantly accidentally eavesdrop on every conversation (or five) that comes within five meters of your person?
  13. what is your favorite color.
  14. i hope you have a nice day.
  15. question mark?

Image

Toddler-infant me is on the front porch, lounging back against the door. I am wearing the most impressive baby rain-poncho-and-rain-pants outfit you’ve ever seen. It is bright yellow. I am making a disgruntled face. The overall effect is reminiscent of some drunk Maine lobster fisherman sitting and sobering up after too many drinks at some local dive bar. If the fisherman were a two-year-old.

 

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12 thoughts on “questions i have for NT people

  1. First, your photo descriptions are HILARIOUS! I am a mom of two spectrum kiddos, a ten year old boy and 6 year old girl. I found you through Diary of a Mom. I wanted to try and answer your question about what time feels like…my best answer…it depends. If i am doing somthing i enjoy i am not really thinking about it at all, time goes fast and hours can feel like a few minutes. If i am waiting to leave work, time goes VERY SLOW and five minutes can feel like an hour if i dont have something interesting to occupy my mind. Also, my favorite kind of socks to wear are cotton, and my favorite color is purple. So glad to find you !

    • Thanks for answering! I think that for me, I get the whole “Fun things go quick and boring things go slow,” situation. When I don’t have my ADHD medication (I have reeeeeally severe ADHD as well) I basically live in a world where even the most interesting fun things are as slow and interminable as the most boring things. And when I do have it, things go much quicker. But I struggle to internally measure time whatsoever. I can’t estimate how long something takes me to do, or understand how “fifteen minutes” should feel different from “an hour.” Corbett Joan O’Toole’s comment below was a good example of what I have trouble with; she has a clock inside of her that she can feel and use to estimate time, but I don’t have that clock.

      Cotton socks are quite lovely! I like really soft wool socks. And purple is my third favorite color after blue and green. 🙂

  2. I have a very organized brain and I do feel time so I will try to answer what I can. How does time feel? This is complicated to answer but I will try. For me, I feel time because in the past I paid attention to clocks. Like at school, I was in classes of 50 children and there was always a clock in the classroom. I was always finished working before many of the other children. But I was not allowed to take out a comic book and read. So I would often sit there and watch the clock’s hands move (very slowly). After a while, I could know how much time had passed. And I would look at the clock to see if I was right or not. Now I pretty much have a clock inside me. I can feel time – in the same way that I can feel the energy of the ocean when it’s wild and stormy.

    • Oooooh I like your answer a lot. This makes sense to me, because I know that the only metric I have for measuring time is a single movement or physical action, primarily because I just don’t have a very good abstract/categorical memory. So like, I have perfect rhythm, because I can keep rhythm in my head by imagining a constant periodic/repetitive movement, and since my memory for movements is so accurate, my rhythm is accurate. But I can’t keep up a rhythm and count the beats at the same time, because I don’t have the working memory capacity to do both. Correct me if I’m wrong, but your explanation makes me think your understanding of time is kind of like what would happen if I were able to keep a beat and count the beats at the same time. Which is cool. I get that. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi there, came over from a fB posted by Kassiane.

    “Really what does time feel like.”

    I have a complicated answer. When I was riding dressage seriously, I had an audible metronome I wore around my neck so I could tell when my horse was on the correct rhythm (footfalls per minute) and off, because I just couldn’t sense it. So some of my sense of time isn’t very good.

    Lately I have been paying more attention to time because one of my students, Mr. 9yo, had absolutely no sense of time or how to tell time. He’s not on the spectrum but has pretty intense ADHD. I bought an old-fashioned windup alarm clock, which as it turns out, has a really loud tick on the second hand. It’s made me more aware of time as duration. Somebody else might find the tick annoying though.

  4. ” also, when you go to the store, how do you not feel like it’s legit to get every single thing that you notice as being awesome or cool or something you feel like eating right then?”

    By indulging that a few times and realizing that I spent more money than I could afford, and by trying stuff and realizing that I don’t like it or it doesn’t suit me. Then I could remember (mostly — I’ve made some enormous Costco errors, really I have).

  5. found your blog through Diary of a Mom. and I’ve read three of your posts so far . . . pretty sure I love this blog and your ability to write and be so open. thank you!! good thing I have a day off tomorrow to keep reading! 🙂

    and I love your questions.

  6. Hey, I found you through Diary of a Mom as well. I’ve enjoyed reading through a few of your posts. I will try to give you my answers to a few of these questions as best as I can.
    #4) Everyone has their own opinion of what “organized” is. I know my idea of it and my mom’s idea of it do not match. The “best” way to organize something would be however it will be easiest for you to find what you need. If you need to organize your desk, you may want to put all writing utensils in one drawer, all paper in the next, etc. For something to be organized for me, is when I can find what I want/need at a glance, without having to search through everything.
    #5) I agree totally with you, watches are highly uncomfortable.
    #6) I usually forget something when I go grocery shopping. I try to keep a paper on the fridge so when we run out of anything I write it down immediately. Then when I’m in the store it is VERY difficult to not buy every cool thing I see. I have to remind myself that I don’t have the money right now, and don’t absolutely NEED that item, even though I WANT it.
    And about socks and colors, I prefer very low rise cotton socks and my favorite color is blue.

  7. I am very likely totally not NT but will answer anyway because brains braining are cool to think and talk about. (and, I’ve been reading your blog backwards from current to this point over the past few days and have wanted to comment on a bunch of stuff but don’t want to overdo it but seriously how many holy shit moments can I have on one blog??)

    Anyway. Hope this makes some sort of sense:

    – what is it like to have categories in your head. what do they feel like.

    like that toy when you’re a kid that is a plastic cube with different shaped holes in it and pegs that go in the holes.. a circle hole, a square hole, a star hole, a rectangle hole, a triangle hole…. you have to try out every item to see what hole it goes into best. after awhile you just remember what hole something goes in. So my brain feels like a cube full of different shaped holes, and categories feel like uniquely and specifically shaped holes waiting to have their matched pieces put inside. or something.

    – when you’re supposed to fill out a form in pen and also in all caps how do you remember to keep writing in all caps the whole time?

    I make a picture in my head of the alphabet written in capital letters before I start and then make my writing match the picture in my head,. Capital “I” often screws me up because I often make it lowercase by accident then go from there in all lowercase.

    – how do you determine whether or not something qualifies as “organized”? how do you know how to best organize something when there are like a jillion ways to organize a thing?

    to me I guess generally speaking something qualifies as organized when things have been grouped in categories. Like, all the DVDs and movies and CDs are together because they’re entertainment media, and all books are together because they’re books, and all clothes are together because they’re clothes. Some people break it down further, but for me organized doesn’t always need that many categories. Actually, that’s the most time consuming thing sometimes – determining the categories I will use. that can be a hassle. Sometimes I have to just use the most basic categories – stuff to keep, stuff to throw away. Once in awhile, that has to count as “organized enough” or else nothing is gonna get done. But then again I have a room that I use for putting my craft supplies in (and the litter boxes. and the treadmill).. and to me, just having the art supplies in the room isn’t organized enough. I break it down further. The pencils are in a box with each other. The markers are in a bin with each other. They’re on the same shelf though because they’re both for writing. My yarn for knitting is all in the drawers. But not just any drawers. I like my pinks together in one and blues in another and… I have an organization problem. I over do it or under do it. I kind of do that with most things. Like answering these questions. sorry. moving on.

    – how can you wear watches? does it not feel like death to you?

    I can’t, they squeeze and touch me in a circle, that’s too much touching. I wear watches only if they are also a dangle bracelet but haven’t even worn one of those in like 7 years so. yeah. why can’t you?

    – when you’re going to make a list to go to the store, how do you know that you’ve remembered everything to put on the list of all the things you actually need? also, when you go to the store, how do you not feel like it’s legit to get every single thing that you notice as being awesome or cool or something you feel like eating right then?

    I write down stuff when it is gone, because I assume if I have it now and I’m using it enough that it’s gone now, I will need more. And then I try to imagine what I do in my day (I’m a creature of habit so that’s not so hard) and write down anything I don’t have that I need. like, each day I shower and use shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, do I have all of those for tomorrow? if no, write it on the list. I have coffee in the morning. do i have coffee, sweetener, creamer? I open the cabinets and check. if no, it goes on the list. I do my best but usually forge something every time. I can’t buy everything because I only have enough money for some of it and I have to buy it in the order I write it down mostly, because things I ran out of already are at the top, so are most important, so I have to get those for sure… just can’t buy anything not onthe written list unless there’s definitely money left over. it’s just a rule. i can’t because i can’t. i learned it somewhere along the way after having to have them put things back too many times when i didn’t have enough money.

    – no but really what does time feel like.
    It doesn’t. It just is. I don’t know. I organize time by how much stuff happened so far. or if I have to pee yet. basically. if I don’t, not much time has passed. totally not useful. sorry.

    – when you’re looking through a collection of items arrayed on, say, a computer desktop, and the names of the things don’t identify those things, how do you remember which things you already looked at, and which things you haven’t looked at yet? (i sometimes make piles of them in different corners of the desktop as i go through them. or i have to keep all of them open or something as i open them. i feel like there are more efficient ways…)

    I don’t know, I do what you do or else I do what I think most people probably do – I look at the one i’m about to open before i open it and take a mental picture of it and then the next time i look i match up my mental picture with the desktop and then know to open the one after it next. Except I often have the mental picture float off like a bubble into the air and pop and it’s gone just like that. So then I do what you do or else a LOT of repeating.

    – how can you hold lots of words in your head at one time so that when you talk you can say multiple ideas in an organized sequential manner?

    I can’t. I’ve had to learn to just have thoughts and lose them before I get to say them, or else interrupt and blurt them out. For me thoughts are like dreams if I have them when other people are talking because as rich and real and important as they are when I have them, they’re gone and not even a memory by the time I get a chance to talk half the time. Sometimes when I can get a turn to speak, I will try to make sense and things fall out of my mouth that aren’t right at all. Like I”ll be thinking “Can you hand me the mustard?” but when it’s time to say “mustard” I”ll hear an ad on tv where someone says the word “walmart” at that second so instead I’ll hear my mouth say “can you hand me the walmart?”. it’s freaking annoying. the exception is typing, because I type way better than I talk and a billion times more words happen when typing than talking (if this whole post were a conversation it would amount to us passing each other on the street and me not even making eye contact, let alone talking, put it that way). When it’s a subject I’m “into” (I always have at least one thing that I am INTO at a given time) then I can ramble endlessly about it. Can’t promise it’s organized and sequential though.

    – what kinds of socks do you prefer.
    I prefer bare feet or slipper socks. I don’t like having to wear socks but I have to in the winter and still don’t really like any of them. Some are downright unwearable because of having knobby little seams across the toes. they drive me crazy. I don’t know. soft ones that don’t slip down. and have reasonable seams.

    – how do you function in social contexts if you don’t constantly accidentally eavesdrop on every conversation (or five) that comes within five meters of your person?

    wait, what? I do constantly accidentally eavesdrop on every conversation (or five) that comes within five meters of my person. Always. And every other sound. Everywhere. It often drives me nuts. Too many people means too many conversations means too much my brain already has to keep track of means how do you expect me to even BE, let alone function, hello it’s a madhouse in here!!!!

    what is your favorite color.
    I dunno. Not orange or yellow or red.

    I hope you have a nice day too. 🙂

  8. I’m not sure how NT I am, exactly, but this is good food for thought

    1. Categories feel like something sliding neatly into place, going *click*, letting me execute functions instead of the usual ooh, what’s in the next tab, I am going to focus exclusively on this now, bye.

    2. Stretchy?

    3. I keep glancing up at the all-cappitude I’ve already started with and think “well, it’ll irritate me if I leave a form half-filled-in one way…”

    4. If it fits, it sits. — No, for real, though, if it’s in a place where it makes life easier, I consider it organized. Totally an individual process.

    5. Haven’t worn a watch in years, but for me it was a comforting weight that also went tik-tik-tik in my ear when I needed it.

    6. If I’ve forgotten something, someone else goes and gets it later. That’s how my household works. I tend not to shop hungry, and I have been budget-trained like cats are litter-trained.

    7. Maybe cool, metallic, clicking the world along.

    8. Usually I’ve named them very weird things, so I know what they’re for. Anyone else would get lost.

    9. Sheer luck and sometimes rehearsal.

    10. Fuzzy fleecies!

    11. Too late. I’m on that team.

    12. Wait, we’re not supposed to do that?

    13. I’m rather overfond of bluish-purplish. Which will be on my hair tomorrow, yay!

    14. Thank you. You too. ❤

    15. Exclamation point! Together they are the Mighty Interrobang.

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