Page One

monday 28 february 2011

Solitaire; just a card game. Not really. Not when you play it for hours, several days a week. And I’ve had my periods when I have done that for weeks with a wearing-down deck of cards. Now it’s on a computer, and nothing much wears out but my eyes. Like any game, solitaire can become an addiction, and so it has with me many times. But I’m in no way suggesting that only people with Asperger’s have this happen to them, with solitaire or any other game. I’ve known a great many non-autistic people who’ve used solitaire (and still do at times) in the same ways that I have:  as an escape from boredom, or loneliness; as a procrastination from housework, or yardwork, or any other disliked task; as a way of trying to process stress or pressure or worry. The risks of a card game are known from the outset: you could lose. And if you do, so what. It’s only a bloody game. The risks in life carry only hurtful consequences if you lose, so why not deal out the losses that don’t matter. And why not play a game that you play alone: no one to get pissed off at when you lose. No one to make a stupid move and ruin strategies. No human complications.

And then there’s the solitaire that this book is truly about: the life-long metaphorical solitaire I’ve always had to play. We on the autism spectrum are in an astonishing minority. The vast preponderance of humans on the planet are not neurologically wired in an off-beat way, are not on the autism spectrum. Our neurological differences set us apart from the norm in a way that the neurotypicals can zero-in on as if with special antennae: they know we don’t fit somehow, even without being told that we have Asperger’s. I’ve been told by more than one Asperger’s organization that when you know one person with Asperger’s, you know one person with Asperger’s. The difference in number of possible symptoms present, and severity of symptoms, and individual personality traits overlaid on the Asperger’s, result in the reality that we are not only set apart from all those hordes of “normals,” but often just as set apart from each other. For instance, I have an extremely high verbal ability, but that represents yet another minority. It seems to be far more common for Aspergians to be gifted in numbers, in math.

I am only one person with Asperger’s, and so can only tell one story about what it’s been like to be autistic in a neurotypical world. No other Aspergian can read all of my cards, can play my solitaire with me. Nor can I with them. All I mean this book to be about is one, and hope that even though it speaks of only one, it might bring some small measure of general understanding of autism to the neurotypical minds who might read it.



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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2008-2011 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.



Published in: on February 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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