Dec 20, 2010


I often fake comprehension.

I figured out a long time ago, that if someone says something I don’t understand, nodding my head and saying yes, is the best way to keep things moving along. Honestly, in a noisy, distracting or crowded room, I don’t catch half of what people say anyway. Much of what people say is repetition or unimportant to survival.

In meetings at work, I would drift off, blog or just do something that was interesting. Every-so-often, drifting back to see if anything of importance had been said or decided upon. If some one said, “Adam, what do you think?” I would quickly review what little had really been discussed over the last hour and make a comment. The group would be happy and leave me alone.

That’s one reason I order the same thing at McDonalds every time I’m there. O.K., Most of what is at McDonalds I’m not supposed to eat (Wheat / dairy intolerant), and don’t particularly like. But, when you are in the drive through it seems like either there are too many other competing sounds, the speaker is fuzzy, or the person talking is unintelligible. So, I order the same thing every time knowing that even if I can’t understand the order taker, I’ll get what I want.

That makes sub sandwich places a real gamble. Quiznos wants to move fast, have lots of choices, and don’t always speak clearly. So, I just say yes a lot, hoping that what comes out the other end is something I’ll like. Once, I tride to order all at once. I thought it through ahead of time: my perfect Quiznos sandwhich. When I went up to the counter, I told them everything at once, but it was like being caught in the gears of a giant machine. They just ground forward asking the same questions they always do. I wanted to scream.

As an Aspie, if I decide to do the wheat and dairy and get a sandwich at Quicznos, I want a check list that I can sit and think over quietly. Then I want to be able to complete it on my own and hand it in like a completed math assignment. After that I sit and wait at my table reading a book, and they call me up when it is done. No more screaming, rapid fire questions, with my meal racing down the Quiznos shoot of chance.

Once when my son and I were traveling we stopped for a quick dinner to take with us on the road. It was a truck stop that had everything, including a chicken place and a taco place at one counter. Both places had value meals designated by numbers on separate menus, but the order was taken by the same person. The place was filled with truckers loudly talking, playing video games, etc. I tried to order two meals,

Me: “The number five chicken meal and the grand taco.”
Order Taker: “That’s two number fives and a grand taco?”

As usual I just said yes. This time I ended up with three meals. One was a this massive plate of nachos that had meat, and beans, and a putty like substance that is traditionally considered cheese sauce. Ugh, the place was still just as noisy, and I didn’t have the heart to try and give back the order or get money back, so Michael and I made a valiant effort to eat all three meals.

The whole nachos thing is tough to eat while you drive, and when they get cold, the chips get soggy and the other stuff gets stiff. That’s really backwards of what it is supposed to be.

Sometimes just nodding my head gets me in trouble.



  1. Adam
    I went my folks to a winter banquet this past Sunday. Mostly people my Dad knew from work. Anyway, kind of a formal affair, so I went the whole dressed up bit. Your first few sentiments in the posts conveyed what I did throughout the evening, trying to not get overwhelmed by the multiple conversations, nodding and so on. Would have posted this on my own blog, but you said pretty much what I wanted to. From a fellow Aspie, thanks and Merry Christmas. Sorry so long.

  2. There's a wonderful place called Sheetz where you just check off what you want on a computer. MY friends and I love it!

  3. I found the Sheetz web site. It's like a gas station/fast food place.

    I like the idea of ordering from a computer menu. I touch screen would be cool.