How an Aspie Dries his Flip-Flops in the Shower

My son washed his flip-flops in the shower the other day. Then we had a conversation.

This is what the conversation with a NON-Aspergers boy might look like:

Boy: What shall I do with my flip-flops?

Me: Leave them in the shower to dry.

Boy: Ok.

If your boy should just happen to be a teenage rebel, you might end up with something like this:

Boy: What shall I do with my flip-flops?

Me: Leave them in the shower to dry.

Boy: Leave them in the f***g where? That’s what us poor plebeians have to do. I’d bet you anything the president of the US and the Prime Minister of England don’t have to dry their flip-flops in the shower! They’ve probably got special rooms in their houses just to dry their shoes in. That’s where all the f***g tax money goes to!

And so far, all in all, it’s pretty good. A pretty normal conversation in a normal home with a normal teenage rebel.

But what happens when you ask an ASPIE boy to leave his flip-flops to dry in the shower? Well let’s just take a look at the conversation I had with my autism-spectrum son recently:

Son: What shall I do with my flip-flops?

Me: Leave them in the shower to dry.

Son: (with a serious face) Where in the shower should I leave them to dry?

Me: Well, just, anywhere. Just leave them in the shower.

Son: Yes but where? Should I leave them on the right side? On the left side? On the side nearest the entrance? Against the far wall? Or would you prefer them in the centre of the shower? If I put them in the centre should I turn them perpendicular to the entrance or horizontal? Or should I put them diagonal to the entrance?

Me: Well I dunno, why don’t you leave them against, oh I dunno, say, the right side of the shower for example?

Son: Do you want them on the right side touching the corner of the far wall or on the right side touching the entrance to the shower? Or do you prefer them right in the centre of the right side?

Me: Oh I don’t care. Ok (coming to terms with the fact that I have an Aspie son) put them right in the centre of the right side, touching the wall of the shower.

Son: Should I leave them completely flat against the right side of the shower? Or do you want them at an angle?

Me: Huh?

Son: If you want them at an angle should I angle the front of the flip-flops away from the wall, or the back of the flip-flops?

(All this, I might add, with a completely straight face. He was dead serious he wasn’t joking.)

Me: Oh I dunno why don’t you angle the front of the flip-flops away from the wall?

(Son turns flip-flops away from the shower wall.)

Son: At what angle should I leave them?

Me: How about you turn them at a 45 degree angle away from the wall? (just to arbitrarily suggest a number, you know)

Son measures the angle of his flip-flops and turns them at a 45 degree angle from the wall. And there his flip-flops remained until they dried.

And he’s like this with everything. For example, you can’t ask him to put “a pinch of salt” into the food. He actually needs to measure the pinch of salt.

I asked him why he is this way.

He said: You know I have an analytical, mathematical mind. I can only understand numbers. I can’t understand anything subjective. Things that are unclear or subjective or whose criteria are constantly changing make me confused.

So there you have it. How the mind of an Aspie works.

Or at least how the mind of my Aspergers son works. Not saying all Aspies work this way. I don’t, for example.

Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me to take a photo of my son’s flip-flops drying in the shower, but perhaps this photo can sort of take its place.

Cat in shower

No Short-Term Memory

Although having Asperger’s is wonderful because it makes you special, for example people with Asperger’s (well in my experience anyway) are very honest and they will never deliberately deceive you or trick you or con you and what’s more, they can’t understand why in the world would anyone ever want to be so selfish to begin with.

However, being an aspie also comes with its disadvantages. And one of them is having no short-term memory to speak of at all. That means that when you meet new people, especially if you meet a lot at the same time, their names just breeze in through one ear and out the other.

So when you are talking to your new acquaintance again, you just have to pretend you can remember their name, until someone comes up and calls them by their name. And if after 2 days or so no one has come up and called them by their name, then you must just smile and admit that you can’t remember their name. Which looks a bit silly if you have been talking to them for 2 days.

Or you can resort to different strategies to remember their names. I recently met a woman named Barbara. The next day when I saw Barbara I told myself: Now remember that that is BARBARA, it is easy to remember because Barbara is all dressed in blue.

Now, in addition to Asperger’s I also have synesthesia (which I might write about in another post one day), that is, I see letters, numbers and names with colours. And for me the letter B is blue, and so is the name Barbara. And Barbara just happened to arrive that day dressed in blue.

So after a day of observing a blue-coloured Barbara whose outfit matched the colour of her name, I had no more difficulty remembering her name.

But that doesn’t always happen. Which means that every time you meet new people you must dream up ingenious designs to try and remember their names without tipping them off. Because when you don’t remember people’s names, they have a tendency to get offended and to think the reason you can’t remember their names is because they didn’t stand out enough in your mind, or you didn’t pay enough attention to them. They don’t think it’s because you have no short-term memory.

Another strategy is to ask them for their phone number and send them a cute cat photo, like this one.

After that you will have them in your whatsapp and hopefully they would have put their name in their profile hehe.

Of course the easiest thing would be to simply tell them that you can’t remember their name. But that is usually not a good idea because, as I mentioned before, people tend to get offended if you can’t remember their name.

So how about you? Does short-term memory deficiency cause you problems in your life? Do leave me a comment, I lurrrve to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments.

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