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First from Aspie Guy

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I’ve never received an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis, but I feel a kinship with people who have, and feel my father might be affected by it as well. If I have some trace of the Syndrome, I am in most respects pretty “high functioning.” I have nevertheless definitely suffered from social anxiety and feeling out of synch with other people, and have noted anxiety over eye contact, mild OCD tendencies, a curious relationship with feelings and social conventions, and a tendency to be isolated and intellectual.

And like many people with Asperger’s, behaviors which are natural for most people seem foreign and inexplicable to me. Lying and cheating, for example, seem like they could only exist in the human world through some sort of ontological grammatical error.

In the science fiction writing I’ve begun there are characters with Asperger Syndrome. It all happens in a world where Aspies are very important – they are the only people who can communicate with the aliens who have suddenly made themselves known, visiting our planet telepathically for reasons which are at first unclear.

Here’s some notes toward one such character:

He liked to place himself “on the spectrum.” He felt part of a lineage, thought his father’s cumbersome and pain-tinged failures, his undercurrent of hurt and exclusion, might have an explanation. An explanation that touched him as well. He kept quiet, though, because he feared being caught out by the “real” Aspies, who would (he feared) resent his appropriation of their condition and his specious claim to their own much realer sufferings.

He liked to think a subtle neurological malformation, a genetic anomaly which led generations of men to lives of bemused ostracism lit up with flashes of real and solitary genius, had something to do with the story of his life. Maybe his lumpy and misshapen life was explained by Asperber’s and not some weakness of character, some tendency toward self-pity or superiority, or a bloody-minded and pointless rejection of how regular people lived their lives.

Whether he really had it or not, the first time he’d heard of Asperger’s he’d had to pull the minivan over, amazed, near the graveled shore of a modest creek. He sat and listened to the story on the radio, stunned there was a name for it, stunned to wonder if so many disparate and difficult strands of his life had actually always been braided together by a single cause.

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