I am not that oblivious.

One troublesome side effect to my difficulty with reading subtext, non-verbal cues, and hints, is a reputation I’ve acquired for being naive, foolish, and gullible. It is easier to pull the wool over my eyes the first few times because I don’t pick up on the falsehood cues as well as others do.

Some seem to think this makes me incapable of picking up what’s going on. I’m not. I might not be as good at it as you, but I can pick up the obvious.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: If you are snapping at people and heaving heavy sighs and making ominous hints that I can’t read, I might not be able to read what’s going on with you, but I sure as hell can tell that something is going on. You don’t have to tell me. I’m not entitled to know.

But don’t lie and tell me there’s nothing. Don’t insult me like that. You’re being so obvious about it that even I can tell that something’s up. Given a choice between something’s up and an obvious lie, I won’t believe your lie.

I am not that oblivious.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to come out and say it, don’t keep trying to tell without telling, through your hints and your sighs and your allusions. You know I can’t read them. I know I can’t read them. All that you do with that is set my brain into catastrophizing mode, as I have just enough information to know that something’s going on, but not enough to know what. And then my mood and productivity are shot for the rest of the day because rather than concentrating on working, I’m concentrating on getting my brain to stop playing Worst Case Scenario.

Tell me or don’t. If you choose option two, stop it with the ominous hints and the allusions to something bad followed by don’t-worry-your-head-about-it-dears. I’m not going to magically pick it up, and you obviously aren’t willing to say what it is outright, so just stop. Please. My adrenal glands will thank you for it.

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3 thoughts on “I am not that oblivious.

  1. autisticook says:

    I can tell something is up, just not what it is. That is SO me.

    • ischemgeek says:

      I imagine me handling social situations is rather like me moving around the city without my glasses. If I happen upon a serious situation, I can see warning signs on the street and all signals of something serious. I might not be able to make out whether it’s an accident, flood, fire, or other emergency, but I can tell that an emergency is happening because all signs point to one.

      Likewise, in a social situation: I might not be able to read subtext and vocal cues and hints and what have you, but I can notice someone being more snappish than usual and sighing a lot. Signs point to something going on. I just can’t make out what.

      … which actually gives me an idea about analogizing autism to myopia – both have difficulties, but also advantages inherent to them that most people without the condition wouldn’t even consider – but I’d have to do a lot more thinking about whether or not the analogy is apt.

      • autisticook says:

        At first glance (ha! seewhatididthere) I like the analogy. My myopia and lack of depth perception have made me very creative in finding accommodations and workarounds, and simply that creativity is already something I see as a huge benefit, compared to having 20/20 vision and never thinking about it.

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