Monday, August 13, 2007

The theory of everything

We have no evidence. Only a theory, which happens to fit the facts.
--Spock, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
After leaving work today, I drove to Sesame House, this great little Chinese place I love. In the past seven years, I've probably eaten there 200 times. When I go in by myself, they don't even give me a menu, or even lead me to a table -- they just follow me to the same table in the corner I always choose, and bring me water, wanton soup, and General Tso's chicken, which is what I always, always order. Almost no variation. On a day when I have some space between work and another responsibility (more work, a Mage game with FRINAN, something), I usually end up there.

Today, when I got there, the place was dark. A sign was stretched across one window: WE'RE SORRY, it said, BUT WE ARE NOW CLOSED ON MONDAYS.

I looked at that sign and felt...heartbroken. I become moody, even depressed. I didn't stop and eat somewhere else; I just drove home. My routine had been disrupted.

When I was in junior high school, I was big into Star Trek. I know: you're saying, "What do you mean was?" But you don't understand -- I was huge into Star Trek. It's all I wanted to talk about, it's all I wanted to watch, I read Star Trek books, I played Star Trek video games, I wrote (well, started) my own little Star Trek stories. My mom would take me to the library, and I'd beeline for the section with the Star Trek books. I would grab six or seven and head for the counter. I wouldn't even look at anything else. Mom would look at me, baffled. "You know, there are things other than Star Trek," she'd say, unable to keep the condescension out of her voice. I'd tell her I knew that, and every once in a while I'd make a concession and pick out something else, just to keep her quiet.

Eventually, that Star Trek obsession faded. And was replaced with another obsession. And I followed it with the same violent intensity. I think it was wrestling that time; suddenly, my entire world became about professional wrestling. And my mother promptly got sick of that one, too.

I keep talking about Rock Band. You notice? I seem to be able to slip it into a conversation about anything, and if I can't, I'm more than happy to drag the conversation over to it. I'm not proud. I've been playing Guitar Hero nonstop the last few days. 'Cause it's almost like Rock Band. I have a playlist on my iPod -- it's the songs that have been confirmed for Rock Band. I'm getting pretty awesome at singing "Main Offender." I listen to that playlist a lot.

I'm a klutz. My mom used to garner great amusement from watching me stumble through the house, tripping over...nothing. Nothing at all. I would simply stumble. I wouldn't hurt myself (my mom wouldn't have been laughing then, obviously), I'd just look like a fool. I'm still like that. I still trip over nothing, lose my balance when I stand up, bang my shins on chairs, and accidentally drive my shoulder into walls that haven't moved in years.

My last girlfriend -- oh, who the fuck am I kidding; my only girlfriend -- was about ten years ago. I can't meet new people, because unless I'm talking about a subject I know well, I'm useless in conversation. I mostly just stand silently. And not only am I bad at it (or perhaps because I'm bad at it), it's almost painful for me to endure. "Small talk" is like dental surgery for me. When someone I know only moderately well -- or worse, someone I don't know at all -- comes up and starts a conversation with something like "Man, I'm so tired," I want nothing more than for them to leave me alone. Waiters and waitresses at restaurants who try to talk to me are unbearable. It's all I can do not to scream at them.

That girlfriend dumped me. She said I wasn't affectionate, that I was cold. I didn't hug. I didn't hold hands. "It's like dating Doctor Spock," she said, trying to speak on my level. When I corrected her -- it's Mister Spock; Doctor Spock is the baby doctor guy -- the irony was so thick I couldn't even see through it to watch her leave.

I don't hug. I mean, I hug my mom. But that's it. I don't high-five. When was the last time you saw me shake someone's hand? I don't like it. I don't like it when someone pats me on the back -- if it's unexpected, my shoulders bunch up like a cat. A girl I met at a party a few years ago tried to give me a friendly hug as she was leaving, and my attempt to comply was so inept it actually angered her. "I'm not sick, you know," she said, with real venom. I mumbled an apology, but she was already gone.

"My attempt to comply" -- I talk like that all the time, you know, not just when I'm writing. I use lots of big words; syllables are my friend. I generally use proper grammar, too, and can't help correcting others when they screw it up. I don't do this with conscious thought, or with effort -- it's just the way I speak. It's the way I think. I've tried, a few times, to be less pedantic in my day-to-day speech, but the results were horrid. So I gave it up. This is the way I talk. So be it.

I've been working at the same shitty job for the last five years. I hate it. Everyone knows I hate it. "So why don't you quit?" I'm asked. "Get a job somewhere else; even another pizza place. You'll make more money." I generally shake my head, give a shrug, and tell them no, I'm fine where I am. Yes, I hate it, but I tell them that if I'm going to quit, I want to be for a better job, not just a different job. I don't want to move laterally, I say. But of course, if you're reading this, you probably know me well enough to know that that's bullshit -- I don't want to change. I hate change. My job sucks, but it's my routine. And I don't want to alter my routine.

I hate moving. Not just from place to place, but moving furniture. My mom would do that all the time -- she'd just get up on Saturday and say, "All right -- I'm tired of the way this place looks. Let's rearrange the furniture." And I'd whine and complain and fight. Not because I was lazy, but because I liked it the way it was. Why change it? It works just fine! But she'd convince me, and we'd move it, and I'd concede that yes, this is fine. And then, six months later, she'd demand another change, and I'd fight again.

We play Hunter on Wednesdays, for the time being. We're about to switch to Mondays. You think that irritates me? It shouldn't. But if Rene called me right now and said, "Hey, never mind, we can play on Wednesdays," my relief would be palpable.

I always have a pen on me. Usually, it's in my hand. I feel uncomfortable without it. If I'm driving and the pen falls out of my hand, I have to pick it back up, even if it means pulling the car over.

I'm constantly singing a song under my breath. If I'm not singing, then I'm humming, and beating out a drum pattern with my teeth. All the time. I'm doing it right now -- "Union of the Snake," by Duran Duran.

When I was in school, my teachers loved me. They thought I was smart, and stuck me in advanced programs when they could. (My education in that arena was splintered considerably by the constant moving across the country, so I never got into a thorough advanced class.) In fourth grade, my teacher was so impressed with me she had me sent to another class, an advanced fourth grade/fifth grade hybrid where some smart kids my age were taught alongside smart kids a year older. That teacher was so impressed with me she sent me across the hall for an hour a day to take a reading class with sixth graders. And that teacher was so impressed with me she made a few calls and got me enrolled in a completely different school, where I'd go every Monday.

But for all that, I got horrible grades, all my life. Why? I never did homework. Never. Couldn't be bothered. I wasn't lazy, so much -- when I got home, I literally forgot I had homework to do. It wouldn't occur to me again until the next morning, when I'd have nothing to hand in, and I'd get a zero. My laser-like focus didn't shine on homework, so it never got done. I've tested at genius IQ levels, but I graduated high school on time only because I pulled a 98 on a Geometry final that I didn't think was possible.

This is me. You know all of these things. Maybe not the details, certainly, but the outer rim, the frame of the drawing, you know all that. I doubt anything you read here is surprising in any way. It will also not surprise you to know that I was bullied as a kid, that I didn't have many friends, and that most of my social interaction these days leaves the recipient confused. I'm unfailingly polite -- the subtitle of my website, "your friendly neighborhood evil genius," is actually a line from a song, the lyrics to which I wrote in ninth grade, called "Neon Letters Ten Feet High." It was inspired by someone admiring how my constant politeness with strangers -- "please," "thank you," saying "I'm sorry?" instead of "Huh?" when I didn't hear something -- masked a venomous hatred for everyone around me. My response was, "I don't necessarily hate them. I just don't understand them."

The title of the song came from my inability to understand those other people. I can't pick up "vibes." I don't get "signals." Unless someone tells me something -- or, in the song, writes it in neon letters ten feet high -- I'll never pick it up. I'm hopeless.

So yeah. This is me. You know me. I've often wondered about my neuroses, where they came from. I've picked them apart a little, and can sometimes ascribe a very logical, cause-and-effect relationship between things and people in my past and my brain chemistry today. And it generally makes sense to me.

And then I read this. And this.


My god, it would explain...everything.

It was funny, when I first read about it last week. But I've thinking about it all weekend. (Ha: obsessing about it.) isn't funny any more.

Is this ridiculous?



  1. hurr, Asperger's sounds like "Ass-Burgers."

    Also, please don't self-diagnose yourself with Asperger's syndrome through its wikipedia entry. It makes me sad.

  2. Yeah, I know about the "ass-burgers" thing. I think it's "Ass-per-shur's," though. Actually, I have no idea.

    I read more than just the Wikipedia entry, by the way. And I wasn't trying to *self-diagnose*, per se. Like I said -- or like Spock said, really -- it's merely a theory which happens to fit the facts.

    And so far, the response to my concern has not been, "Oh, you're being silly." It's been more along the lines of, "Hmm. You should see a doctor." Which has not alleviated my concern.