John and I just got back from a night on the town. And we’re wasted. So we’re doing what any pair of proper introverts do after a double date and a trip through a completely overstimulating art opening involving multiple documentaries playing simultaneously to a packed house: retreat! retreat! retreat! I came home and ordered the house a little (for some reason I found it completely necessary to sweep the downstairs bathroom floor and clean the mirror); he sunk into our massive throne-chair and watched some old footage of Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone. Now we’re each immersed in our own little screen worlds and perfectly happy (if exhausted and overworked) doing so, about six feet apart. Hello date night!
As we left the gallery tonight feeling socially and sensorially fried, John declared (as he staggered to the car), “I’ve got sensory integration issues.” Me too, though maybe not to the same extent. Large crowds are a complete drain on my system, large being any number over five. Ever since I read Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin, I’ve been making connections between Jonah’s difficulties and my own. Temple mentions research stating that a good majority of children with autism have at least one parent (and usually two) with autistic traits and/or a history including anxiety (check), depression (check), panic attacks (check). There’s even an online test you can take for Asperger’s. It’s not definitive or meant to be a diagnostic tool, but it is does help you take a good look at yourself, in terms of your own social and environmental tendencies. I haven’t taken it, but a few weeks ago John did. On a scale of 200, John’s Aspie score was 102 (you get a score for Asperger traits and a score for neurotypical traits). Translated, that means he exhibits both Aspie and neurotypical traits. Like I’ve been saying.
I follow a blog called thAutcast, and a few days ago the author posted a graphic visualizing the amount of autism in Parenthood’s Braverman family. Only Max is a diagnosed Aspie, but Landon Bryce (thAutcast’s creator) does a character-by-character run down of autism traits in the family entire. I’m something of an on-again/off-again Parenthood fan (the melodrama is a little much for me), but I tune in to see the way they tell Max’s story. If you’re interested, check out more of Landon’s posts and accompanying graphics. Or watch the most recent Parenthood episode here.
As for me, I feel a little more settled in myself, having now spent a good hour and a half doing my own thing. John’s got a good vibe going on too. Less toasted zombie, more industrious hermit.