Nov 19, 2006

In 20 Min.

This is roughly how this conversation went at work:

Coworker: Can you show me how to use the Change Database in 20 min. I have a meeting.
Me: What are you asking for?
Coworker: I'm asking can you show me in 20 min.
Me: It is 12:45. Are you asking me to wait until 01:05 to show you this or are you asking that my demonstration be of less than 20 min. duration?

Show me in 20 min. Can easily mean two things, and the context (I have a meeting) didn't help at all. She could have had a short meeting, and wanted me to wait around until she got out.

So, I told her, "It's the Aspie thing, I didn't understand."

Her response was that it was o.k. She said most people don't understand and just pretend that they do.

Don't I know it.


Nov 9, 2006

Little Tiny Meltdown

Yesterday I was running late for work, but I still wanted coffee. I had the bright idea that I would make a pot of coffee. put some in this small metal thermous that I have, and strap it to the bag holder on the back of my bike. I've done that before.

I couldn't find the thermous. I new if Marge were here she could find it in less than five min. In my case, if it has been moved from its spot I can't always see it. Sometimes, things have been moved from the place were I normally put them, and are now in plain site. Just in a different place. I've been known to look right at something and not recognise it for what it is, because it is not where I expected it to be.

I was frozen, I had so planned on that coffee. I knew it was illogical, but it threw off my whole morning. I even castigated myself with sayings like, "Grow up jr. it's just coffee." That just made me angry.

So, I put the pot of coffee in the fancy caraf that we use (which I can not take on my bike), and pedalled off to work.

Sometimes I hate Asperger.

So, last night I got home from work, and my wife said, thanks for making me the pot of coffee. I explained that I was not so nobel as she thought. She found my metal thermous in under five min.

See, if I were a neurotypical, things couldn't be invisible on me. I could find what I want, when I wanted to. O.K., I know, a bunch of my neurtypicals are patronizingly saying, "Oh, we all loose things once in a while."

I hate it when people do that. In fact, I've heard it so much, I can hear it when they aren't saying it.

O.K. This post is nothing but an Aspie rant.

And I'm running late for work.



Nov 1, 2006

Surrounded by Smart Neurotypicals - Now What?

I agreed to be part of the Kalamazoo Public Library's "Read Together Program" in which everyone read the same book and talks about it, does art about it, etc. It might sound a bit odd at first glance, but it is a cool way to get people engaged in thinking through what they read instead of just reading. There is real value in working through the aspects of a books style and writing and its content.

Well, the book is called, "The Mysterious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time." It's about a boy with high functioning autism. I'm on the group because I'm in the ASD spectrum.

Well, I never felt so ASD in all my life. Normally I'm in groups of IT folks, engineers, Quality Assurance weenies, scientists. Instead I'm surrounded by library staff, educators, museum employees, book lovers, and advocates for the disabled. I introduced myself as being in the spectrum and having had fallen into some public speaking.

I worked hard at understanding the body language around me, but I couldn't. I assumed the worst. I'm just some idiot, what am I doing here with the educated elite? So, I tried to keep quiet, but just couldn't. Oddly enough, my ideas were well received, and afterward I was thanked. Also, some one said that they were changing some of their ideas based on one of my comments.

I know full well, that tonight I experienced, like never before, what the books call "mind blindness". I hated it. All of the methods I normally have for guessing or extrapolating what people might be thinking failed me in the rarefied air of the library environment.

I'm really intimidated. I love the arts, academia, and especially libraries.

Now , you might be thinking, this is a public blog, this is all out in the open now. Very true, but I'm committing to keeping a certain level of transparency, so that there is some incite into the Aspie mind. When a new group of people is also a new type of people, it is very un-nerving for an Aspie. I had the urge to leave, to say smart-alek comments, or just to rock back and forth. I did a little rocking when I got home. I repress it so much, but it really does feel nice.

There is really nothing that group of people could have done any better. I was made to feel welcomed, and my comments were welcomed. It will simply take me time to get used to them. In the meantime, I control my urges and filter my comments. In no time I'll fit right in.

I'm stepping so far out of my comfort zone, but i was telling my wife, this is what I'm all about. Helping people. This is it. God has given me Asperger, I want to use it to help others and in so doing bring the Lord pleasure.



Oct 31, 2006

Now that's disturbing - Halloween

I don't like Halloween anymore.

When I was a kid it seemed like a lot of fun. As an adult in my neighborhood, we get tons of kids (and teens) who are there to make a major candy haul. So, I don't know hardly any of the people who come to our door. The holiday has also taken on an even stronger occult and violent focus.

Then, at work, my coworkers dressed up as did my boss. It was disruptive for me. My boss didn't look like my boss, and the people with scary masks really bugged me.

Now, I would imagine that there are Aspies that just love dressing up and being some one else. I didn't say dressing up as some one else, but the act of dressing up transforms you into some one else. Aspies probably make great character actors. There could be a great deal of freedom in playing dress-up.

I do offer this caution: we Aspies are bright enough to know that we don't fit in. Many of us have come to accept and understand our condition, but there is still a sense of loss. Also, Aspies are often teesed and we don't typically understand why. It isn't logical. When I was in junior high, I had strong feelings of anger and a desire to get back at everyone who had rejected me. Here's the caution: It may not be wise to encourage an Aspie to act out his aggressive fantasies on Halloween by dressing up as a violent character as it could also reinforce those fantasies as a behavior.

I think that it will be better to direct an Aspie toward more positive characters:
Rock Star
Business Executive
Lawyer (that could be fun. he could file suit against his tormentors)
Super Hero
Historical Figure

What is your Aspie's area of interest? Develop a costume that corresponds to it.

So there's my two cents.


Oct 27, 2006

Agitated? Yes, just a bit!

I feel like I am rocketing past my limit. My wife has her 50th birthday celebration tonight, and her family is travel (at this moment) from Eureka, Illinois. I’ve been working my head off to get the living room, painted (including repairing age related damage in one wall) and furniture cleaned. Also, needed to be ready to present at the teacher’s in-service yesterday. On top of all of it, my family and I are considering a career change.

So yesterday, after presenting at the in-service, I drove an hour up to Grand Rapids to help some friends with a recording session. The session fell through so why chatted and brought each other up to speed on our lives. That was cool, but I was looking forward to doing some music. I also got to bed late, and didn’t have last night to feel prepared for my wife’s party tonight.

Also, I had to fill in an annual self assessment. It is part of my annual review at work, but there are over two months left in the year, how can I make an annual assessment. We don’t get to do our annual objectives for the coming year until months into the year, and then we do our annual assessment early. It really means nothing to me.

I’m also reeling from the experience of presenting at the conference. Some one said that my presentations (both on Thursday and at another occasion) were “life changing”. No one has ever said that to me. Not after a Sojourn concert ( and not even after I have preached at church.

People have enjoyed both my singing and preaching, but never spoken to me with such urgency and gratefulness. Also, I really found my wife to be a natural and effective speaker.

I’m not contemplating a career as a motivational speaker or anything, but the “success” of it just hit me like a freight train. I worked harder and spent more as a singer and never was so inspiring.

It’s too much for me to integrate. I was tired to begin with, but I’m having a hard time just sitting still. I want to sleep and run around all at once. It’s like what emotions and feelings I do have are shut off, and there is a sick sense of calm. A calm as a result of an absence of activity, not the presence of peace.

I’m not really not at peace. I think fatigue and change overload is muting my emotional reactions.

So, I’m sitting at work typing this into a work document as a means of managing my feelings. Mostly feelings of agitation. So, I guess I’m feeling something.

Maybe I shouldn’t have had the two 16 oz. cups of coffee this morning. It was the only way to stay awake and keep functioning in some form or fashion.

I am looking forward to seeing my wife’s family. They are wonderfully warm and caring people. They are very different from me, but that has never blocked the closeness of familial caring. They are very good people, whom I trust and respect.

O.K., I’m feeling a little better. It helps me to write. I’ll post this to the blog. Perhaps this too will inform or encourage some one.


I Still Can't Believe It!

Yesterday, my wife Marge and I spoke at a one day conference for teachers and parents of children with Asperger Syndrome. I had a portable tape recorder on the podium and was able to record much of it.

I listened to a little bit of it, and was incredulous all over again. Did I really do a good job? Is what I have to say really entertaining and insightful? Wow. Was that really me? Yes, I have proof. That's my voice, but how can it be that by displaying my "weakness" and "disability" I am a source of strength to others.

I was slightly detached yesterday as I spoke. I normally filter so much that yesterday I made every effort to stay out of the way, and just watch me talk. The whole time I'm thinking, "Is this really what people want to hear? This is all the goofy stuff. It's the stuff that I've wanted to restrict in favor of the responsible adult sounding material."

I've worked hard at becoming a responsible adult, yet I subscribe to the principals of clowning. Really. A truly skilled clown is vulnerable with his/her flaws in a way that both entertains and teaches. By doing so, the clown exposes flaws or even evils in his/her audience in a way that stirs a change without discouraging the listener. That is the fundamental heart of a clown.

Perhaps I state too specifically to my own situation. Let me say it more correctly: A clown uses foolishness as a tool to point to the value of another.

Some clowns are purely entertainers. The circus clowns come to mind, but their entertainment may not be only that. By laughing at them we are really laughing at ourselves. We are laughing at our flaws and minimizing their power over us. We all fall down, we all fail, clowns redirect our perspective to see the humor in our own failings.

Failure can become a monster that haunts us continually. The monster of failure can gain strength as it feeds on our energy, draining from us our will to try new and scary things. Draining from us our daring to attempt that which frightens us.

In reality the monster of failure is only as large as our perspective of it. The lower we feel the taller it appears. Conversely, the taller I feel the smaller my failures appear. Failure has no power. The power of failure is a lie. In the Bible (John 8:44) Jesus is recorded as saying that the Devil is a liar and the father of lies. That's the Devil's real power. His power to convince us of that veracity of a lie.

It's so easy to embrace the power of a lie, and to live in it. It takes energy and daring to step out in faith, and live by different principals even when the lie still has some grip on us. It still has some grip on me. The lie that people won't like the real me so I'm better to wear a variety of personalities that people would rather see.

I remember once when a coworker stopped me in the hall after a meeting and said, "Quite telling everyone that you don't know what you are doing or they might start believing it." I was stunned. It hit me like a bolt of lightning: my value in this job is my thoughts and ideas not my official credentials or work history. My expertise is already in my head. My value to my employer is in the way I think about things.

Shock! I am valuable to my employer just as I am.


So at the conference yesterday, I just let my inner Aspie pour out through my public speaker face in a way that I have never done. It was mildly organized chaos. A mosaic of thought. To my audience it had essential value.

What a shock!

It's hard to untangle the chains of the lies I've held so dear for so many years. I embraced the "Adam is junk" lie well over 20 years ago and it lurked in the corners like a secret addiction. I've heard that an abused spouse may choose to stay with the abuser rather than risk living lonely. I don't see myself as a victim frankly, but my wrong thinking became a constant companion, and it is easier to maintain the current state than it is to bust into unusual ground. So much so that the "Adam is junk" lie had taken on an air of reliability.

This is really getting long, and I need to go back to work.

Let me close with this: Relentlessly stay on message with everyone you know. The message is that everyone has intrinsic value because they were created by God and created in His image. For that reason and that reason alone every single person has inestimable value that is neither bound to what they can do or what they can't do. We all need to improve and grow, but that is our source of joy, for God never condemns those who try to please Him and fail.

Success or failure should never be the issue, but the measure of . . . a . . . "successful" person (is there another way to say that?) is that they reach beyond their current limits and aspire to something more.


Oct 26, 2006

Social Stories - "Mom Has Bad Days"

Social Stories can be a big help for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Several years ago my wife wrote one for the kids to help them understand how to deal with her when she was having a bad day.

Marge and I had the opportunity to speak at a conference and Marge read the social story. She hadn't looked at it for a long time, but when she first wrote it she would actually hand a copy to Michael to read again each time she was having a bad day.

It is re-printed below.


Mom Has Bad Days

Sometimes my mom is in a crabby mood. She yells at me and I can't do anything right. I don't like it when she is not happy.

Sometimes my mom is having a bad time and it is not about me. Just because she raises her voice or has a sad face, does not mean she is made at me. She is having her own bad day.

On bad days, it is good to let mom be alone. This is a good day not to ask too many questions. This is a good tim to do my work as much as I can on my own.

I can help my mom by not bugging her. I can help my mom by getting along with my sister.

I will not worry about what I did to make mom mad. She will tell me if there is something I need to do differently.

It is OK to have bad days, sometimes. I will let mom have a bad day.


This social story proved helpful to my son. In time he was able to internalize this thought process, but initially, the social story helped him work through a particular situation.

Carol Grey is the Social Story guru. The Grey Center web site has a useful page about social stories including resources for sale.


Oct 24, 2006

Famous Aspies

How do I know who the famous Aspies (or autistics) are? I found it on the Internet so it must be true. O.K. I've pulled some interesting names from a number of lists. Each name is a hyper link to a web page where that name, and others, is listed.

Vincent van Gogh
Albert Einstein
Bill Gates

Makes you wonder about it is an "abnormality" or "disorder" or "disability". The list above is just a sampling of numerous famous eccentrics that had a major impact on the societies around them.

I believe that all individuals who want to make a contribution to the world around them can, and should be allowed to their fullest extent. Who knows, maybe the next van Gogh could be sitting in a special needs classroom waiting to be pointed in the right direction.


Oct 23, 2006

Don't Rearrange the Furniture!

Why is it that I get ill whenever I start a remodelling project on the house. Am I just lazy and don't like to work? I feel extra tired, start feeling like I have a touch of the stomach flu, and just have a hard time in general keeping the project going.

It was worse this time. There is so much change right now, I'm extra sensitive (see I was with Sojourn for 14 years, and with that being done and investigating being a full time missionary, I'm already stretching the limits. So I decided I was going to paint the living room for my wife's birthday. We threw out our old ratty couch, stuck my orange lazy boy chair in the basement, moved the TV into the basement, and moved all the other furniture into the center of the room.

It hit me yesterday that all of the places in the house that I use to sit and feel calm are in our living room, and that's just been proverbially "blown to bits".

It's times like this that I really do hate being an Aspie. The Neurotypical brain just manages a persons environment in the background so that Neruotypical isn't aware of it much. As an Aspie I need to create that order externally. I'm not about to be so much of a prisoner that I avoid all distressing environments. So I know for few days I'm going to feel like crap, and then when it's done I can go back to feeling a bigger sense of calm.

I think when of my biggest helps is my faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible and prayer are two chief ways to recent and calm, and they can never be taken away.


Oct 18, 2006

The Best of Aspie's Inc - No More Chit Chat!

There is a new feature in the blog.

It is a label that allows me to group posts along a certain topic. So I have reveiwed all of my posts and compiled a group called No More Chit Chat!

Click the link and it will take you to a collection of all the blogs along that topic.

Also, any comments or questions are always helpful.


Oct 16, 2006

Definitely, Definitely Not The Right Way. . .

Some of my blogs are thought out and seem inspirational or at least revelatory in an instructional way. And then there are days when in the spirit of blogging I just drop out what is on my mind. There are times when things don't go the way that I expect them. Actually, it happens a fair amount. I realized recently, that I have internal Aspie melt-downs (at worst) and at best have little internal pout fests.

I remember I was so frustrated one day that in my mind I dug in my heals, crossed my arms, put on the big angry pout face, and refused to proceed. It was the end of my work day so on the outside I put on my bike riding clothes, got on my bike, and headed for home. For about half the 45 min. trip home I had to keep encouraging myself to pedal. In my mind I could still see the pouting characture of myself, and I could feel it as if I were actually physically hunkered down in the corner of my office refusing to move.

It happens to me a lot on Mondays since the transition from the weekend is difficult. I think the only help for that is to make certain that I establish a routine of thoughtfulness in the morning and in the evening both so that I can take stock of the day before or my day so far, think about what it means to me, and work through any frustrations. Reading the Bible and talking to God is also a crucial part of that "Thoughtfulness Time". I did that about four days out of 7 last week. Well, I at least did it in the mornings. I would read something in the Bible and write a little in my journal, and then get on my bike and ride to work. Usually on my bike ride as I'm quiet and alone with my thoughts, I'll have a few moments when I feel that I connect with God. Today, it was pouring rain and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. I didn't ride in. I should have. Also, my wife was already up and moving about, when normally I'm the first one up. It was confusing so I went back to bed. We can't turn our furnace on yet, so my body was warm, but my head was cold. It was all wrong. So, my day was actually o.k., but the morning threw me out of wack. I'm going to work at promoting morning Thoughtfullness, I'll let you know how it goes. If you ever struggle with this, please leave a comment. If you have questions or comments on almost anything, please leave a comment, and I will respond in the blog. Adam

Sep 16, 2006

Melon E-Mail

About five years ago, I worked for a contractor that employed technical writers. They prided themselves on the highly professional quality of the product and services they offered. I took that to heart.

So, one day I got an e-mail saying that the company was offering a new "benefit". I'm thinking, cool! will it be tuition reimbursement? cash? they already gave us our birthday off so that isn't it. It turns out that the owner of the company had a brother who is a fruit farmer, and the benefit is that each of the employees will receive one free melon. We were also offered the opportunity to purchase additional melons at a greatly reduced price.

To me that sounded like a silly benefit, so I ignored the e-mail. Well, then I got another e-mail with more information on this new melon benefit. I started calling these "Melon Mails". After that I think that I got several others. One was an "oops", I forgot to, and the other was an e-mail to let every one know that there was going to be a schedule change for when/where we should collect our melon benefit.

At that point I had had enough, and I wrote the following to the administrative assistant that was sending them:
"Is there any way I can opt out of getting future e-mails about fruit? I could sure go for a free box of home made Toll-House cookies! or how about beef jerky!

"And when we pick up our cantaloupe where do we put it? Maybe inside our car where the temp will reach 110. We could just line them up in the break rooms and mark out names on them in wax pencil!"


I thought I was kind of funny actually, but dearly hoped that I would quit getting melon mails.

Instead I got a terse response from the VP:


"I am goin to give you the benefit of the doubt that your response was a weak and inappropriate attempt at humor.

"One of the things that is different about [our company] is that we have a CEO who does attempt to provide employees with some of the little things as a way of saying thankyou."

[o.k. show how much you care with a $2 melon]

"Generally when an offer such as this is made and you wish to decline the appropriate response is 'no thank you'."


The e-mail goes on from there, but . . . uh. . . even now I look at it and have about a 45 min. Aspie tirade that I want to launch into. Such as how can a $2 piece of fruit be considered a benefit!!! I'm not even sure what melon's cost. It's a good thing the CEO. . .

Can a sole proprietership company with 80 employees and one office have a CEO?

Sorry, what I was going to say is that it's a good thing the CEO didn't have an uncle that worked for Hanes! Then I would have received Undie E-mails! If her sister owned a company that made laxatives, then instead of a series of e-mails, we would have had a running dialogue.

I'ld better stop right there. My relational thinking is taking this to places that it must not go.

No real point or inspiration here, just a simple Aspie ramble.

Do you wonder why I brought this up now? My wife was going through and shredding old files and trying to decide what to keep. She found my old employment records and the e-mail thread was in there.


Adam Parmenter

Sep 8, 2006

Cheer Up Sunshine


I have a cheerleader. I was at a training event yesterday, and one individual decided that I looked grumpy and that she was going to cheer me up. She said so out loud as she entered the room, "Why are you so grumpy!? I'll cheer you up."

You know, if we all wore some kind of masks then know one could misunderstand what was on my face or take it upon themselves to change my disposition. Even so, why do people, usually women, take it upon themselves to re-engineer my disposition. Just so happened that I was quite tired, and felt like sitting and eating by myself.

Next, I should say something inspiring about how to deal with goof ball neurotypicals such as this. I have nothing wonderful other than ignore and continue on your way. There are goofy neurotypicals like this in every bunch.

Your real friends have taken them time to know and enjoy you as you are regardless of how your face looks. Instead of shouting out how they are going to change your disposition they'll take the time to ask, "How are you doing?" Real friends will ask that question and mean it.


Aug 30, 2006

Watch My Mouth!

I sat through a two day training on Microsoft Access at New Horizons Computer Training Center. It was actually quite useful really. That said, I realized that could understand what the teacher was saying when I watched his mouth.

At times I would work on other things, wright down notes and ideas, or edit a working data base that I need at my job. However, I found that if I really wanted to catch and understand each word (and what they meant together) it was best to watch his mouth.

That brings me back to the phenomenon of sensory scrambling.

I'm guessing that the visual reinforcement of the mouth movements reinforces the auditory input, especially sense some of the auditory and visual stimulus is being mixed up. By locking them together (watching a persons mouth), it essentially defeats the effects of scrambling.

Over the years, I've made an effort not to watch peoples mouths while they talk, because neurotypicals don't expect that kind of behavior. I have a routine that I follow of eye contact for a few second, look at mouth, look back at eyes, look away, look down, repeat. People then feel like they are having a normal conversation instead of being "drilled" with my eyes in one spot.

That said, in a class situation, I'm just going to get the most out of it that I can and watch the teachers mouth.


Aug 29, 2006

Sleaping Through Transitions

My wife has always remarked that I have this habbit of taking a major nap right after a transition. It used to be that whenever we would make the drive to her parents house, I would then take some major naps over the next day or so. After 15 years of marriage, I don't do that as much any more.

After the last Sojourn concert, I took a nap, and then was in bed by 7 or 8pm.

I believe that it is part of the Aspie thought process, the way our minds work. Several things may be happening.

1. Is the sensory integration disorder part of Asperger. Because major changes bring in numerous changes in my paridgm, then I need extra brain power to integrate all the new data points into my paridgm or grid of life.

2. Also, sense Aspies think in images (pictures), then perhaps the Aspie brain is building new maps or re mapping the week ahead based on what has changed.

Better to shut down cognitive systems (i.e. go to sleep), and let the subcognitive do its background work.

Many Aspies may not be able to tell you how they feel about certain changes. I do feel a certain sense of loss over quiting Sojourn. Just as much I feel a sense of confusion. Sojourn is part of the fabric of who I am. It is a primary key in my relational database. It requires a major restructuring of what I believe about who I am.

So, while I sleep, a part of my brain is re-building data structures so that I can live a predicatable and well ordered life. In this case it will take a while.

I bet that's not how the neuro-typical world handles change.


Aug 21, 2006

Please, Join Me In Welcoming . . .

"Please join me in welcoming . . ." I get these e-mails with some regularity and they are often for high level employees.

I asked some one, "From your experience, they don’t really want us to “welcome” these top level people do they? I’m guessing it’s just a happy phrase not requiring a response. ?"

My wise coworker replied with, "Yep – just a happy phrase. I think it also implies supporting that person in their role."

I’m always so tempted to actually send an e-mail welcoming the person when they say, “Please join me in welcoming . . ." Now, when they ask us to welcome the new CEO and support him in his new role. . . Well, I have some thoughts/suggestions!

I should swing by for lunch.


Jul 17, 2006

Enough Said

It happened to me again.

I was talking to some and they asked me a small question. A question that should only take one min. or less to answer. Then I realized I had clocked in 3 min. and had wildly swerved off topic. I realized my error and pulled it back around, quickly finishing up in under five min.

I remember when I was in college. I would be doing my laundry and some poor slob would enter the laundry room and say, "So! How you doing?".

Blahdy, blahdy . . . . . .

I would tell them everything. The question was so general I would unload the sum total of my knowledge. Relational thinking would ease from one topic to the next, often without finishing the previous one. Then the person would leave and I would feel a little dirty.

"Why did I tell them all of that stuff? They don't care about all that junk? What's wrong with me?"

I remember that little phrase purring through my grey matter with regularity: "What's wrong with me?"

"O.K. I'll just talk less. That would be good."

Next guy walks in the laundry room and it starts over. It like I was a druggy getting my fix and feeling the guilt the next day. I was convinced that something was wrong with my brain. I decided that I was defective, but had no clue how to fix myself.

That's why the whole Asperger thing has been a life changing realization. Not on the same level as a relationship with God, but it has given me the ability to give myself a break. There is nothing there that I can FIX in one sense. Asperger has a good side and a difficult side.

I have gained valuable information. Simply wanting to say things does not indicate that everything I say has value at all times. So, armed with this information, I purposely block words and consider them twice before letting them through. I change that rule when I'm on stage and I'm really in the zone, then I let it all fly out. Sometimes I'm on stage and I can tell I need to watch what I say, because I'm getting lots of junk. In those cases, I'll go reuse things I've said before in those situations.

The wrap up idea is that I don't give in to every urge simply because it is an urge (how unAmerican of me).

Enough said.

Jul 13, 2006

What is Asperger Syndrome?

Just ran across an interesting entry on the Web Dictionary Wikipedia.

Take a look at it and tell me what you think. Wikipedia allows for user input.

Also, all you Aspies who are wondering, "Why is it called Wikipedia?"

From the Hawaiian word wiki which means fast or quick.


Jul 12, 2006

No More Chit Chat! - Part III

I was in the Men's bathroom washing my hands, and another man walked up to the sinks to wash his hands. He was a big guy with a deep booming voice, which echoed through the bathroom. So, it was hard to hear him.

Other guy: How you doing
Me: Fine

I continue to wash my hands, and then my brain pops up an alert indicating that I need to query him as a sign of good will. I comply with my brain:

Me: How 'bout you?

His boomy, echoing response was garbled because as he spoke his face was pointed toward the sink and mirror. He must have said something pleasant, because after he made his comment, he laughed a good natured deep throated chuckle. It bounced around the porcelain tile of the Mensroom like a bass player's low note during a concert soundcheck. I had no idea what he said, but I laughed as well to show that I was engaged and meant him pleasant . . . . . stuff.

He finished washing his hands before I did, and as he left the bathroom he said, "You have a good one."

In my mind I thought 'Good one what!', but out loud I said, "You too."

It was rather unpleasant as it was quite without meaning. The words were that is. I'm finding that there are whole word based rituals intended to show good will and pleasant intentions among strangers. It's not the words that are important, but the fact that you are willing to engage in the ritual and meaningfully fulfill its activities.

The person with whom you converse doesn't gain any information from it, but it creates an initial positive feeling that may allow for more substantive conversation at a later time.

Aspies, be aware! With some neuro-typical people that you meet for the first time there may be numerous word rituals required before you have any conversations that are enjoyable to you. Do you best. It is worth it, because it builds relationships.

I know, it doesn't make any sense! Remember Aspies are from Mars and Neurotypicals are from Earth. We need to learn their language. It is all worth while, when you've built some close personal friendships. Relationships in which you have invested time and effort, and the day comes that you have an absolute meltdown. Then all the effort and ritual will have been worth it, because your friends will have grown to love you and will invest in you the time that you deserve as well.

Any questions or comments? Click the comment link or e-mail me


Jul 6, 2006

No More Chit Chat! - Part II

No More Chit Chat! Part II

Goof ball date words:

“Drive safely”
This is usually said at the conclusion of the date. It’s really a verbal way to close the date with positive feelings. Your date or you could more logically say, “This now concludes our date.” I remember when I was still dating, and a girl would say, “Drive safe.” I would think, “What have I done that gave her the impression that I would drive in some recless fashion on the way home?”

Here’s what typically would happen at the end of the date:
Girl: Drive safe
Me: What do you expect me to do, drive up a tree?
Adam walks away.

It wasn’t until I had been married for a while that I figured out that when girls said "Drive safe," they were just making a closure statement that expressed their affection or like for me. So the words didn’t make sense to me because it was a social word. The expected response might be for me to “Thanks I will”, “Goodnight”, or not say anything: just smile and walk off.

“Do you like my outfit?”
What! are you kidding? That question always presupposes the answer of YES. The girl asking the question never, never wants you to say, “Wow, that outfit is butt ugly!” or “No, but I’m not wearing it, you are. Do you like it?” Or “No, what are my other options for your outfit tonight?”

There might be a time when your wife or some one you know very well really wants to know what you think, but there are ways to answer the question that won’t offend the typical person:
“I like some of your other outfits better than this one.” O.K. Aspie. You only want to make statements of fact. You hate speaking in ways that are meant just to stroke someone’s ego. That might not be true for you, but it is for me. But, it is probably true that there are certain outfits that you like on your wife. “I like the way you look, but I don’t enjoy that outfit on you as much.” Or “You look great. The outfit on the other hand is o.k.” Or maybe you do like the outfit, and you can say so.

But if there is a girl you don’t know really well or haven’t been dating for long, she isn’t really asking a question. She is saying “Tell me you like my outfit” in a way that saves her pride. Just say, “You look nice.” Everybody looks nice.

“Did you like my [enter food item here]?”
When I was dating, a girlfriend made me lasagna. I bet it started with her saying, “Do you like lasagna?” My mom used to make lasagna several times a year as I was growing up. Whenever she made it, dinner was a major family event. Mom’s lasagna was legendary. The only person that can equal my mom’s lasagna is my wife.

Lasagna comes in a rectangular pan. It is cooked in layers of pasta, sauce, ground beef, Ricotta and toped with mozzarella cheese. My girlfriend served me lasagna in a round bowl with blobs of Ricotta plopped on the top of the sauce. No mozzarella on top. That was not how lasagna is supposed to look (And all Aspies shouted AMEN!).

So I made the mistake of telling her that it tasted o.k., but it wasn’t like moms. I answered the question honestly and factually.

Took a while for that unhappy girlfriend to feel better about herself and our relationship.

Now as a more enlightened adult, I would either say, “It tasted good” or “It was nice”. Everything is nice to some degree.

Social talk is not precise, but is meant to convey positive feelings in a general way. Aspies, if you want to maintain healthy relationships, you will need to understand how to respond to these vagaries in a way that satisfies your desire for truth, and satisfies your partner's need for a positive emotional feeling.


Adam Parmenter

No More Chit Chat! - Part I

No More Chit Chat!

"So, how you been,"
"Fine, and you?"
"Fine." In actuallity I may be dying of a fatal and highly contagious disease, but I know you really could care less.

"So, what do you do?"
"Oh, I work at Blemish Pharmaceuticals"

Meet an acquaintance while walking outside on the sidewalk. The person says "So, hot enough for you?"

Inane passerby chat (typically made in light conversation when you meet some one in the hall or on the street)

So, what if the weather isn’t hot enough for me? Can anyone really do anything about the weather? I know an Aspie that will say the word “cows” when he walks up to me. Asking me if I am satisfied with the weather is just about as meaningful. Sayoing "cows" is just unexpected. It’s expected to come up and say something inane about the weather so typical people aren’t surprised or confused by it. They would be surprised or confused if I just said “glomph” when I met some one.

“Hey, let’s do lunch.”
When I lived in the Chicago area and I ran into a work acquaintance or had a business meeting at a bar or restaurant, people would always say, “Let’s do lunch sometime”.

It really just meant “Positive feelings to you. End of personal contact.” Typical people and even a lot of Aspies would be surprised and confused if I said, "End of personal contact."at the end of a personal contact. It would be more precise, but socially, incongruis.

Typical people want a way to close a personal contact so they say thing like, “See you later” or “Call me sometime.” Or “Don’t be a stranger.” It gives typical people a comfortable sense that the personal contact was concluded in a positive way.

For a while, I had this growing list of people that I thought wanted to have lunch with me. I felt kind of bad that I hadn’t gotten around to calling them, and was worried how I could afford going out to lunch that much. I don’t know if anyone of those people really wanted to do lunch. That bugged me, once I figured that one out.

I remember once I called a former coworker and said, “Let’s do lunch.” I meant what I said, but the former coworker was a neuro-typical. She never showed up at the restaurant. “Let’s do lunch,” doesn’t mean let’s do lunch so she didn’t.

Neurotypicals are soo goofy.

More later.

Adam Parmenter


I’m sitting in a meeting at work with lots of people. There is really nothing for me to say, but in true Aspie form, I have a comment for every topic and every statement some one says. It’s that relational thinking again. I’m also sitting here wondering everybody’s anthropological and linguistic origins. Why does the presenter talk so quietly and pronounce things the way he does. He sounds like he’s from Canada. Some one asked him to speak up. His volume went up slightly. I can produce enough volume to make people's ears bleed. Is that nature or nurture?

I’m off track here.

I have to keep reminding myself that I have nothing of business value to say. I keep telling my brain, “Don’t Talk.” I’m constantly telling myself, "Don't Talk". I picture an office worker at a desk inside my head. All of my comments are reviewed by this worker, and most of them are tossed in the trash. Some of them a forwarded on to my mouth.

I’m discovering that not all Aspies have that function operating in their mind. When I was a young person, I let everything come out of my mouth. I dominated conversations, and if no one tried to stop me, would speak nearly non-stop. One of my elementary school teachers called it diarrhea of the mouth. It all goes back to relational thinking. Words relate to more words in an endless stream of words and ideas, without thought to the relationship to people.

There is this constant urge to amass and then disgorge information. That’s the easy part, the hard part is understand who really wants or needs the information, and what parts of the information. I want to tell them everything that I know about a topic. Sometimes, nothing that I have to say is useful. That’s frustrating to realize, and I may irrationally start feeling put off. I start wondering, “Why doesn’t anyone want to hear what I have to say. No one ever lets me talk.” Often that isn’t true. In fact, the truth is that I don’t have anything to say that people will receive as valuable.

As an Aspie it helps to have a place in which everything you want to say is important and wanted. A personal journal is a starting point. Some Aspies hate to write with pen and paper, so they could keep a personal journal on the computer or talk into a recording device. I find my personal journal is often a “rant”. Nice place to have an Apsie melt down. I can say anything I want and then turn the page and move on. Journaling also helps me get a swirl down on paper, and make a little more sense out of it. Sometimes, it’s easier to pray this way. Especially if I can’t get my thoughts to run in any clear order, I find I can pray to God by writing it down. Often just letting it all pour out into my journal starts out as an Aspie meltdown, then turns to more thoughtful discussion as I work through stuff, then ends up as a praying to God in print. It can be quite cathartic.

For me, I find keeping a blog (which you are reading right now) is quite helpful. It’s an opportunity for me to disgorge on a topic. Anyone can set up a blog for free, and blog about any area of interest. I find that I have a lot to say about lots of different things. I’m also surprised that every so often, people really appreciate this or that blog. Every Aspie could have a blog as long as they can type. If they can’t type, there are ways to set up Audio blogs. Again, audio blogs can be set up for free. Almost every computer has a microphone input, and most every lap top computer has a built in microphone.

Writing this blog while I’m in the business meeting is helping me manage my emotions and behavior.

Finally, since most Apsies have an area(s) of interest, there is opportunity (as amateur or professional) to speak, teach or (in my case) preach to groups. An Aspie might like to write articles on an area of interest. Listen, fellow Aspies, you DO have something of value to say. Find the place and time that works for both you and your audience.

Adam Parmenter

Jun 27, 2006


Note: This post is a general rambling mix of loosely related thoughts.

I read once that when an Aspie is upset he/she needs a time of quiet so that the emotions of the moment can calm down. It is a disturbing thing to feel my emotions start to wind out of control. It happens rarely. I think that my children consider me tough but fair. I’ll have to double check that.

Once my son looked at a buddy of his and said, “My dad was serious. Don’t push it.” Once I think one of my kids said, “Don’t mess with dad.” Part of that is due to my Aspie mind working not in shades of desires, preferences or wishes, but in rules and facts. Make no mistake I experience emotions, but when I give a direction to one of my children, a staff member or a student, the request or direction is accompanied (at least in my mind) by a set of parameters or standards.

For example, the staff member standard is different from the child standard. I expect a free exchange of ideas from my direct reports. I want them to disagree and even challenge my directions if they don’t believe I am operating in the best interests of the company.

However, when I give a direction to one of my children, the rules set in my head allows for:
*Clarifying question (one of two)
*Limited respectful discussion

So, in that case my reaction to my children or a staff member are based on if certain standards have or have not been met. If a staff member does not express their opinion, I will solicit it and encourage them to become individually engaged. However, I don’t tolerate the same level of engagement from my children, because of a sense of a need for respecting authority.

In some ways it works like math or a computer program.

The up side is that I tend to be a principled man. I decide and act on principals that are clear (at least to me). However that can end up leaving an impression that I’m cold.

My daughter got a sliver in her foot while walking bare foot. My response to her was, I’ve told you numerous times to wear something on your feet here. You’ll want to do so next time.

My factual statement didn’t help, and she promptly went to her mother to be comforted. Being comforted did not remove the sliver from her foot nor prevent her from future slivers. However, I came to understand a basic principal. Injured children first want comfort, then ministration to their injury, and they don’t want a lecture.

I can implement that standard and operate accordingly. I don’t know if I’ll ever have an emotional understanding of it.

Jun 22, 2006

In the Dark. Literally

Some days I get to work a little after 6am. It’s still dark and the plant where I work is silent except for the lights on the buildings and towers. Isn’t that a weird way of saying it? To me when it’s dark it’s also silent. The manufacturing plant is never silent. Large fermentation and other machinery are always running. Yet as I walked toward my office building in the half light it seemed quiet.

I wonder if that mixed way of saying things is just me, an Aspie way of speaking, or some aspect of sensory jumbling? Temple Grandon wrote an interesting paper on sensory jumbling and other sensory difficulties

When I was a child I always enjoyed getting up very early for a vacation. Everything was veiled in dimness. Even the cabin lights in the plane were kept low. It seemed peaceful. Today, I walk into my office building, and everything is dark accept for street light illuminating the windows. I leave the lights off and enjoy the enveloping quiet. I have a small desk lamp in my cubicle for just those times.

I remember as a kid people would say, “Don’t you want the lights on?” They would be switching all of the lights on as they said this, which really means that either they want the lights on or they want me to want the lights on. I was never sure which, and they never give me a chance to say no. Sometimes I would turn them back off, but they would usually get switched on by the same person or a new person waltzing by.

This morning the quiet of the twilight peace lasted about 5 min. A coworker switched on all the lights and the brightness shouted into my mind. Not all of the peace is gone. There is a certain spiritual peace that I can reach and nurture inside my mind. That is a peace that I treasure when all the lights are shouting.

Adam Parmenter

Jun 20, 2006

Wonderfully Made - Intrinsic Value

I remember all of the years that I spent thinking that something was wrong with me. You know, broken, warped, screwed up. I'm a mess. I believed that I needed to find the right combination of things so that suddenly I would be fixed.

All of that time I knew and intellectually believed the Bible when it says, ". . . I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." All human life is made by God, and for that reason is of value. God's creation should always be cherished, protected, enjoyed, and valued.

I kept seeing and sensing that I was different. Not just because I was goofy and had a weird sense of humor. I felt that there were distinct, but undependable differences between me and the typical world around me.

"If I'm so different", I thought, "that must be bad. Something about me is bad."

I look back on those days and feel sad. It makes me sad that I knew and believed the Bible, but couldn't experience the joy of being God's creation or the satisfaction of having been forgiven by God and considered His child. It all hinged on knowing that there was something "wrong" and not being able to figure out what it was.

Discovering Asperger syndrome was truly liberating for me. It lent logic and reason to who I was and gave me the missing piece to a life long puzzle. Nothing broken. Nothing wrong. I am who I was made to be, and that's o.k.

Discovering Asperger syndrome and growing to accept myself doesn't make the truth about God any more or less true. It was always true that God loves me, and that God made me for a reason and with a purpose in life. I just was not willing to accept it without more evidence or understanding.

These days I'm trying to learn from that experience. First, I want to learn somehow to accept what I believe to be truth from Bible at face value. It's hard when my personal circumstances don't back up what I believe. Every time in my life, God's Word (the Bible) has turned out to be true.

I also want to learn to see and understand the value in every person. Every person has been made by God. There is something of value in everyone.

Adam Parmenter

Jun 5, 2006

What If They Are All Dead?

I remember when I was young, between the ages of 5 and 10 years old, my dad was taking me and an older brother in the pickup truck to go visit a farm. I don’t remember why we were going there or even if it was just one of several stops. We pulled into the drive way. Straight ahead was a traditional style barn and to our right was a house. I remember the day was overcast, and the wind was teasing the trees in ebbs and flows. It triggered scenarios from scary movies and so out of my mouth came the words, “What if they are all dead.”

My brother looked at me and said, “You’re sure morbid.”

That is the end of my memory. I may have asked my brother what morbid meant, but I probably already knew.

I had no wish for those individuals deaths. That would be wrong. I had no intended action in mind. It was relational thinking.

Relational thinking: It feels like an autonomic function. Like breathing.

I was introduced to some one whose last name was Nagel, my mind popped up the word Bagel, then Nosh (because the bakery chain called Bagel Nosh), then the picture of a Hassidic Jew who was Noshing on a bagel. . .

There is no intent or rationale behind this line of thinking. I think Temple Grandon said something like, it is not rational it is relational. Words or concepts with related sounds, images, or associated ideas naturally link together in a stream of consciousness experience in our minds.

The overcast sky and character of the wind as we pulled up triggered associations with television shows and movies. I can see it in my mind, an investigator pulls up to the home of an important witness. It’s TV so the weather is going to foreshadow the bad news that is about to come. The witness is dead. So are the guards. They’re all dead. Whoever did this was a professional. Etc. etc.

So what’ s the point? Relational thinking can create sort of an ADD environment if allowed to run out of control. If you’ve read Temple Grandon’s book Thinking In Pictures, you’ll remember she mentioned that if she didn’t try to control her thinking, her mind would just sort of wander off into a relational thinking world for hours. Hard to be productive in that case.

However, if you are investigating a crime, researching or searching for a solution, relational thinking can cause helpful ideas or even complete solutions to pop into your mind as if by inspiration. The Aspie brain has stored all sorts of details about all sorts of stuff, and hooked this data together by how they relate to each other. When an idea or question is introduced into the mind it triggers other data based on those relational hooks. An Aspie may or may not be aware that this is happening.

I bet Tony Atwood would really know, but my personal guess is that these relational hooks are created as the “normal” function of all brains. Aspies just have a greater access to it. It is part of the Aspie brain’s normal function to be much more aware of there thoughts.

Jun 4, 2006

I'm so sick of being an Aspie

Beginning of Rant

It's Sunday night and I'm going through Sunday sphincter. The transition from being a church worker and family guy, back into a pharmaceutical professional. I'm really sick of transition being a tough thing.

I'm tired of working to figure out social situations that seem to make sense to everyone else OR when something is completely logical to me, and everyone looks like I'm crazy.

Tired of wondering what the Neurotypicals get to feel inside their brains that I may never get to know. Sick of certain sensations being so overwhelming: smells, sounds, textures assaulting my senses and making me change the way I live.

Then I see a guy who has no legs below the knee or the family whose kid died at the age of 8. The husband whose wife died less than 24 hours after she gave birth to a baby.

I guess I should quit being such a big baby.

I don't think there is much of a cure. Diet has helped, and deep pressure should be good. There are no cures. Aspie is who I am, and I gave my neurotypical wife two Aspie children. They are great kids and I have a healthy marriage, but it's Sunday night, and I'm wishing I could just be like everyone else.

End of Rant.


May 3, 2006

What if I had a bomb that could blow up the whole school.

I have a hypothetical story to tell you (in my typical rambling Aspie fashion):

Aidan has just been expelled, because he threatened to blow up the high school. His buddy Jacob also was kicked out because he was threatened to kill the football team. You are stunned because your Aspie child is good friends with Aidan and Jake. Aidan is autistic and fairly high functioning. Jake has never been "officially" diagnosed at school, but is in the process of going through testing. It looks like Jake will receive the ever popular PDD NOS designation, and school staff are resisting drafting a 504 plan. In fact last week you overheard one school staff say something like, "He's not disabled, he's just obstinate."

Are Aidan and Jake bad kids? Oops, not allowed to say bad anymore. Are Aidan and Jake a threat? The might be. The more revealing question is, what were Aidan and Jake intending by what they said?

Well, this little story of mine is not based on any specific historical event nor do I have credentials or research to back what I say. However, as an unofficially diagnosed Aspie with two clearly diagnosed children, I have my ears open to these things and this story is a composite of some things that I have heard.

So let's pretend, Aidan's actual statement was, "What if I had a bomb that could blow up the whole school. I could hide it in the principal’s office if it were the right size." A panicked student reported this to a guidance counselor after reading his statement on When questioned, Aiden said, "I was just thinking about blowing up the school."


Now the police are involved. Aiden makes it worse for himself.

Police: "Son, where you planning to blow up the school."
Aiden: "Yes."
Police: "How were you planning on doing it?"

That was end for Aiden, because he was delighted to explain his plans in detail.

That’s what happened, but what was Aiden going to do?

Nothing. What was his intent? Nothing. There was no intent.

Aiden is an Aspie. From my experience our minds are constantly revolving through scenarios. We are constantly working through what-ifs.

I remember as a child sitting with my older brother on a commercial flight in a holding pattern over Lake Michigan. My brain started saying, “What if the plain crashed.” That came out of my mouth. In my mind I was considering how crashing on water would be different from cashing on land. I had no thought to the emotional component or tragedy of a plain crash. My brother was shocked that I would say that. Then my brain popped up a funny result. If we dropped a water softener into Lake Michigan in there it would give us a softer landing. Ha, ha, ha (nerdy Aspie humor about words). My brother, a neurotypical, didn’t find my humor funny at that point.

When I was a boy in the days before ATMs or internet banking, I would ride into town with mom or dad and wait in the car while they withdrew money for our various purchases we might need to make. As I sat there, my mind spun through various scenarios for the best way to rob a bank and get away with it.

So in my pretend example of Aiden, he intended nothing. He was going through an exercise in his brain, and planning out how, if he were evil, he would go about hiding a bomb powerful enough to blow up his school. For a kid like Aiden, this provided a lot of mentally stimulating exercise. How do you make a bomb powerful enough and small enough. He even did a little research, because it was interesting. He found it interesting enough that he wanted to tell some one about it. Aspies (and maybe all Autistics) feel compelled to divulge new information about their area of interest.

Aiden had no thought of the social impact of what he was saying, because blowing up schools is wrong. Of course he wasn’t going to do it. In his imagination he didn’t consider killing people. That’s offensive and wrong. He might find interest in the blast pattern and how the overpressure wave of the explosion would impact structures and if those structures would serve as shrapnel. How would that impact the human body, and who would survive? It was just interesting to think about.

What’s my point?

Parents, teachers, and care givers: Teach your Aspie children about what not to say in public. Aiden could have grown up and worked with other Aspies in a security firm, branch of the military or any other industry that needs people who can’t help but asking “What if”. His expulsion from school may jeopardize that.

God was kind to me in that he provided that my father was an airpline pilot. Between the age of 5 and 25 I spent time each year walking through metal detectors, and knowing that certain words would be perceived as a threat by airline personnel. If I ever said certain things out loud in the airport, I was gently reprimanded.

There were times however, that I said things that shocked people and didn’t understand why.

That said, this posting has gone on long enough. More later.

Adam M. Parmenter

P.S. If you are a parent, clinician or care giver for an individual who is in the High functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder classification (HASD), please swing by or send an e-mail to me so that you can join the HASD Heros group. Also, take a moment to visit my band’s web site

Apr 23, 2006

Small Talk

It happens to me all of the time:

At church: "Everybody stand up and greet one another. Please pay special attention to someone new."

"Hi, I'm Adam."
"Hello, I'm ______."
Frozen smiles.
This other person wanders off.

Ugh. I'm supposed to say something there, but what!

I'm supposed to fill that pause with words that make that person feel welcomed and significant. It would save time just to say that, but in the neurotypical world, you aren't allowed to use accurate speach.

Maybe I should learn from the other neurotypical brains around me about how they make small talk. Here are some of the nutty things they say:

"So, how are you doing?"
I used to answer that question in sufficient detail so as to provide an accurate assessment of my condition. Since they didn't make a specific request (e.g. Hi, how is your financial condition, how is your health, etc), my answer might need to be quite long. I finally learned that I'm supposed to say, "Fine and you?" Then the other person says, "Fine, thanks" or "Fine" or on occassion people will respond with "Fine and you?", but don't wait for me to answer a second time.

Does that make any sense to you? It would make just as much sense for people to great each other this way:
"Blah, blah"
"Blah, blah, blah"
"I acknowledge your presence. It is pleasant."
"I also acknowledge yours. It is also pleasant."
"Confirmed. Greeting complete. Do you wish further conversation? Please choose a topic."

Wouldn't that be cool! No one would have to guess what they are supposed to say, and you might get to learn about some really interesting things instead of:

"Hey were yah from!"
"So, what do you think of this weather!"
"Warm enough for yah?"

If I'm outside, does it really matter if it is warm enough for me? And what will the speaker do if I say no? Does the average man or woman on the street have any ability to raise or lower the outside air temperature?

"NO! It's not warm enough for me, and I'm sure angry about it! This your fault?"

How about this one: "So, what do you do?"

I notice that a lot of these banal questions start out with with word "so". That's a neurotypical way of saying, "I am beginning to speak to you." If I walked up to you and said, "Now commencing chit chat." You would wonder what nut house I escaped from, but you sure wouldn't be confused about my intentions!

"So, what do you do?"

Well, periodically throughout the day, I eat meals, make numerous trips to the men's room, I change my clothes, pray, read the Bible, think mean thoughts about people who ask . . . stop me when I get to what you were looking for."

I better stop ranting, I'm starting to get out of control.

One other thing, it's hard for me to be in group social situations when many of the people in the room are quiet types. We all sit and it is quiet. (now picture rain man rocking back and forth and speaking). It's a social situation, you are definitely, definitely supposed to be talking to each other.

They sit. Quiet. Fear strikes, I may have to start the conversation. What should I do!

I know what to do, "So, how about that weather! Warm enough for yah?"



Mar 16, 2006

Dancing with Danger

I’ve been thinking about the whole nonsense of dance clubs and dance parties. They should really call them temptation and indiscretion clubs and parties.

Things really got strange in this area when I moved to Chicago in 1987 at the age of 21. My brother got me a job at a Chicago insurance agency, and I headed out of Dowagiac, Michigan (population 6,000 give or take), full of promise and potential.

You see, I interview well. Boy do I have stories to tell. Talk about wet behind the ears, green, ignorant. . . you get the picture. I’ll get to those stories later.

But back to dancing. I remember once my boss had a super bowl party. She rented out a bar at a hotel. At stuff like that, I always felt like the boy in the bubble or that I was some how only partially opaque.

Fortunately some woman, a friend of my bosses asked to dance with me. It was a slow dance. She was pretty close, but not plastered on me like that other time. She gracefully put her hand up on my neck, and things were progressing nicely.

You know, back in Dowagiac, I was in these community theatre plays. The cast and crew would go out dancing. The bowling alley would let under-agers in as long as we didn’t drink alcohol. When it came time to dance, the whole group would go out on the floor. When the slow dance came, if you were near a girl you would say, “Want to dance this one?” The answer would be yes or no, and you would either dance or sit down and chat with the rest of the group. There was a certain amount of sensuality. A slow dance is something rather like an choreographed extended hug set to music. Being an Aspie, my brain would automatically chart out the girl's body type and wonder about how she was designed. Being a boy I would wonder about other things as well. That said, it was fairly harmless, and frankly led to nothing further other than some more dancing. The fast songs came back on and the whole group came back out.

My experience at the Super Bowl party was far different. Remember, I said the woman had gracefully placed her hand on my neck. Then she started to massage it with a hand that must have been made out of cast iron. I played it cool and tried not to react. I think she said something like, “It’s o.k. I’m a psychologist. Men like this.” I felt suddenly like a creature from another planet. Here I was in a rented bar, dancing with madam crusher, in a room full of people that didn’t know me, and no real way of figuring out what I was supposed to do to have a normal time.

Dance clubs have always been strange even when I would go with people I know. They morf into strange creatures as they slowly get drunk. I was dancing with my boss (if that isn’t weird, what is), and she fell down onto the floor. I think the impact of her fanny hitting the floor created something of a concussion wave. That shouldn’t be confused with a percussion wave, which would be a group of drummers in a football stadium . . . never mind. Now how am I supposed to consider my boss as a skilled professional when she has a few too many drinks and then falls down on the dance floor?! This violates my sense of how the world is supposed to be ordered.

I honestly don’t understand the whole idea of let's go out and have a good time by getting drunk and doing things we won’t remember! Couldn’t you just take a sleeping pill and more safely be unconscious that way?

I think that’s enough for now, except for this. My wife is the perfect dancing partner. I don’t like crowded dance clubs and neither does she. What am I saying is we haven’t gone out dancing for probably 13 years. When we were dating and we had the urge to dance on occasion, we would go on a Monday or Tuesday night so that we had the place to ourselves.

She’s my kind of woman.

Join me for more Aspie support and information at HASD Heros (

Mar 8, 2006

Welcome to Aspies Inc

Aspies Inc. is the Aspie world according to Adam Parmenter. It's the perspective of a an adult who went through 37 years of life trying to figure out what was wrong, and then finaly came to understand Asperger.

Perhaps something from my experiences can inspire or at least entertain.

I hope you'll post a comment at the end of the blogs. Your thoughts or questions, or better yet visit the HASD Heros message e-mail group at

The HASD Heros is dedicated to the neurotypical parents, syblings, loved ones, friends and care givers of individuals in the High functioning Austism Spectrum Disorder (I hate that word disorder). There's a space for message posts, links to helpful books, and soon the calendar will be fully updated with helpful events.

Adam Parmenter

Mar 7, 2006

Dance or Stand?

I never did understand that people go to dances in order to stand around or they go to a “dance” club to sit and drink. I wanted to dance. I was told that my dancing was odd. Funky was the word used once. You can imagine as an Aspie I get into the rocking and bobbing.

I remember avoiding the junior high dances. Junior high was when nothing made sense, and everyone seemed to make fun of me. Like I really wanted to go to a dance. I did see dances portrayed in movies and on T.V. though. Most of the people stand around not knowing what to do. Why would I make a special trip to do that, when I’m doing that most of the time?

As a 19 year old, I visited Hawaii with my father. Dad was a pilot for United Airlines and the employee discount my dad received made travel to Hawaii quite affordable. When I turned 19 I was finally old enough to go to a dance club (in Hawaii at least). My cousin and his buddy were staying with us, and I told them to come along. It ended up I went alone. Didn’t know going to a dance club alone was socially unacceptable. Didn’t even realize that going to a dance club might be considered by some to be morally questionable.

I walked in the door and headed toward the dance floor. The music was infectious. I was just digging the groove, but I could tell that I was supposed to have a dance partner. Dancing with a pretty girl sounded like fun. So, I asked one. I think it took three tries, and a girl said yes. I noticed that she looked every where but at me, and did not engage me personally. Later when I was 21, Greg, a buddy of mine from Michigan, took me to a dance club. We just bopped around on the dance floor, and didn’t even try to get girls to dance with us. Some girls approached us (there’s an ego boost). The slow dance came up and I got my first clue that dance clubs were something beyond dancing. I probably new before then, but it just wasn’t my thing. I was there to dance. It is called a DANCE club after all, not an arousal club.

So, the girls that came up to dance with us didn’t even say much, but just sort of slid in and started dancing. As I said, the slow dance came up, and I found the girl had plastered herself against me. At that point I understood how the utensil drawer feels when contact paper is stuck to it. Slow dancing was nice if not just a bit to squeezy. I really did want romance and the love of a woman in my life. I even had raging hormones, but this was not the ideal of romanced that I had imagined. Then the girl I was dancing with said, “I hope my husband doesn’t find out.” I said, “Why would that matter, all we’re doing is dancing.” That brought things to a screeching halt, and the girls were gone as quickly as they had come. Was it something I said?

The social strictures that surround the task of locating a willing dance partner make no sense to me. That’s one of the joys of marriage. My wife is my partner in dance and everything else.

Adam Parmenter