Jun 2, 2008

The Plant People

There is a thought structure that I've noticed in myself and in my daughter. It's a tendency to anthropomorphise objects. That is to ascribe human feelings to some objects.

When I was a teen living at home, I had a dresser with a large mirror on it. on the mirror I had taped pictures of all of my good highschool and church camp friends. When I got dressed in the morning I felt compelled to stand in my closet to get dressed or to cover the pictures. I knew that they were people, but the photos did have eyes, and it didn't quite seem right to get dressed in front of them.

I also remember as a child, when I had to erase a word on a school assignment, that I felt bad for the letters that were being erased. You know, letters want to be put to work on a page. It's why they exist. I eventually decided that the eraser was sucking the letters back into the pencil, and placing those letters in un-employment until such time that there was a word that required their services. That's a little better, but unpleasant if that particular letter has a wife and kids. That can be rough. I blame my kindergarten teacher a little for that one, because when we were learning our letters each one had a personality. There were even stories about the letters doing things together, getting into arguments, or being friends. That was supposed to help us learn our letters, but it just imprinted on my mind that letters have feelings too.

Once when my daughter was young some came to me with a moral dilemma. The end had broken off of her pencil. I said, "Just through it in the trash can." She said, "I can't. I named it." Big problem. If you have a name, then you certainly have feelings. I said, "You know, that bit of pencil wants to go in the trash. The little trash can is like a bus. Eventually the bus will take it to this wonderful resort village where all of his friends are. It's the junk yard resort. They love it there." Problem solved for a little Aspie girl.

So that brings me to this past weekend. A good friend of our family has an over abundance of decorative grasses and ferns in our back yard. So I spent two days chopping some of these plants out of her yard and transplanting them into our back yard.

Often when you move a plant it looks quite wilted. Also, it's important that when you transplant it you give it plenty of support by mounding up the soil around its base. Without thinking I referred the plants as being upset at being moved. I told my son to plant them deep enough and mound the soil up around enough so that the plants were happy. Of course some of the stems got snapped in the process, and for some I chopped the plant in half to spread it out or fit in in a spot. They all looked quite unhappy on Saturday. Sunday I fared a little better, but still I chopped and moved plants essentially against their wills, and they didn't look entirely comfortable with the idea.

So last night I had a horrific dream that I was making these people go stand in my back yard, and that I also was giving some of them a chop with a machete. There was no blood shed in the dream, but I awoke wondering what kind of monster I had become that I would dream such things.

Thankfully, I quickly realised that all those unhappy people are the ferns and grasses in the back yard. At that point at 2am in the night was one of those times when I hated being Aspie.


1 comment:

  1. Supposedly, autistics lack imagination. Your post certainly contradicts that notion!