Recently I was talking with a coworker at my job and made the remark that as an Aspie I was contractually obliged to do everything awkwardly (this in response to him telling me I didn’t have to stand there awkwardly while waiting for something to do). He apparently didn’t know what Asperger’s was. I regarded this as something of a professional failure, given that I had endeavored to make sure as many coworkers as I could distract from their jobs knew about Asperger’s, so I told him basically it was high-functioning autism.
His response was an incredulous “you don’t have autism!”
Which I found exceedingly interesting.
I was recently reading a book called Asperger’s On The Job by Rudy Simone, and one of the points was not to be offended when someone thought you didn’t have Asperger’s. Some quick application of perspective allowed me to figure out why. The average person with no personal experiences with the spectrum will view autism/Asperger’s as a set of universally negative attributes such as lack of social skills, incredible rudeness, etc. etc. The positive attributes are far less well-known. So when my coworker told me he didn’t think I had autism, he was in fact informing me of one of two things: either he is extraordinarily bad at observation or in general I am not viewed as possessing most of the negative bits of Asperger’s.
So either way I win. Or at least I break even with the first one. I know for a fact that I’m universally regarded as quirky around the workplace; frankly I like it that way. Otherwise who’s going to randomly start singing Let It Go in the middle of the dinner rush? But as I said before, barring complete perception failure on the part of the coworker in question, I have apparently been managing myself pretty well. That’s food for thought.