Archive for October, 2008

“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” is a popular television series on Fox involving a robot that displays many Asperger traits. The whole gist of the story is this: Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) has a son, John (Thomas Dekker). John is being pursued by a Terminator that wants to destroy him. They recruit Cameron, a Terminator played by actress Summer Glau, who has been reprogrammed to help instead of hurt John (Good Terminator) and off they go running from the Bad Terminator and trying to figure out how to stop him. In between plots, there are love stories, adolescent angst, and plenty of robots getting blown up, shredded, burned, then putting themselves back together in a strange Humpty-Dumpty fashion and reactivating themselves to chase after John again. Pretty typical life for a teenage boy.

Cameron, the Good Terminator, follows John wherever he goes, including school. Although she is beautiful, it’s not long before John and everyone else who interacts with her realizes that she is a little bit “different.” She is supposed to be able to blend in and interact with real humans better than the other robots, but she has her, um, moments.

The following examples may not have been discussed yet, but all traits you’ll eventually see dissected on this site:

Telling the truth with brutal honesty without regarding the feelings of others:
High school bathroom with lots of teenager girls. One girl asks Cameron if she looks fat in the outfit. Cameron says of course she does and her reply results in a string of profanity from the girl seeking advice. Obviously surprised by the girl’s anger, Cameron reminds her, “You asked.”

Literal Interpretation or Misinterpretation of Phrases/Not Understanding pop culture or slang phrases:
Sarah, John, and Cameron are all getting into a vehicle. “I call shotgun,” John says, while getting in the front passenger seat. To which Cameron says, “I call nine millimeter.” (Which is probably what she’ll use to disable a Bad Terminator within the next 10 minutes of the scene.)

Using appropriate social skills or phrases, but not doing so smoothly. Timing is off, phrase is somewhat incorrect, or the social skill is right mannerism/wrong time:
Cameron is conducting a bank heist to access a special vault that will take them to another time. “Everybody on the ground,” she yells, brandishing a firearm. But remembering her programmed manners, she follows it up with (after a brief pause), “Please.”

Picks up a small boy by the collar, lifting him from the ground and tells him very sternly that there’s a chance the Bad Robots will kill him and his parents. (After all, he needs honesty.) When Sarah gives her the “What the hell are you doing,” reprimand, Cameron quickly remembers proper social rituals and asks the young boy, “Would you like a bedtime story?” Yeah, he’d probably like that. Along with being put back on the ground and dry pants, now that the ones he’s wearing are soaked with urine.

Needs to be reminded of personal space:
John (to Cameron): “When you talk to people, don’t stand so close.” Of course, there’s a practical explanation for this. Cameron (to John): “I’m assessing the threat level.” (Obviously. She needs to determine if it’s time to call nine millimeter.)

Image: William Hook on Flickr

#24 Dating Themselves

Written by SAPL on Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 in Marriage and Dating, Socialization.

Image: badjonni on Flickr

Someone once said “Love Thyself.” This motto is good for anyone to live by, but Asperger people take the advice one step further: Love thyself and date thyself.

How would you describe a person who dates themselves? Narcissistic? Strange? Nonsense! It’s simply relationship heaven for Asperger people. Since they enjoy solitude so much, it’s no surprise they often choose to go solo during many social activities. Unlike neurotypicals, they freely partake in movie outings, dinners, museum visits, concerts, you name it, and without worrying about having someone to accompany them. Asperger people love to date themselves! Aspies find nothing odd about this practice and are quite surprised to learn neurotypicals have completely different viewpoints.

In conversation, an Asperger person might ask [insert neurotypical X] if she went to see the musical

Jersey Boys. A neurotypical person might reply with, “No, I was going to go, but I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.”

“How ridiculous,” the Aspie person thinks to herself. “Why would anyone miss out on so much fun just because they can’t find anyone to go with them?”

The older the Asperger person gets, the more she learns just how ridiculous this neurotypical rule applies to “the others,” from shopping to sports games to relieving oneself in the lavatory. As a result, the Aspie vows to live life even fuller by themselves, trying their hardest never to miss any fun because everyone else’s calendar is full, no one else likes similar types of movies, or no one else at the dinner table has the urge to tinkle.

And dating oneself has tons of perks for the Aspie as he never has to compromise on when, where, and what to do. This ensures that most dates can involve the special interest, the date can never complain about going to the same restaurant every Friday night and use this as an example to bring up “inflexibility” in couples therapy, or bash him in front of their girlfriends about the lack of “spontaneity” in the relationship.

Naturally, safety should always be considered when dating oneself and dates in places like dark streets or deserted areas aren’t desirable. The Aspie female unfortunately will find herself surrounded by various male “friends” if she chooses to take herself on a date to a bar where the social rule followed by drunk neurotypical males is to offer her a drink in hopes she will break up with herself and date them. Yes, cautions of dating oneself should not be taken lightly. Always meet yourself in a public place. Email is good, but give yourself your phone number only if you feel comfortable.

Much neurotypical chatter takes place about the Asperger who is known to date him or herself. If you could Google this chatter, keywords might be “isolated,” or “loner” or “I never see her with anyone.” But the next time a nosy neurotypical poses one of their most nuisance questions, “Are you even dating anyone?” quickly turn to them and say, “Darn right. I’m dating myself.”

#23 Worrying: Working The Wigdala

Written by SAPL on Sunday, October 5th, 2008 in Uncategorized.

Have you worked your wigdala today? Sounds strange, I know. Maybe even a little dirty. Allow me to explain with a brief lesson in Neuroscience 101.

The brain is divided into several areas, some of which are more responsible for some activities than others. The cerebellum, for example, coordinates muscle movements, which may lead some Aspies to wonder what the heck happened to theirs as their clumsiness can only leave them to hope for a Forrest Gump-like athleticism. Another area would be the amygdala, which plays a key role in regulating emotions. There is a center of the brain that has become a hot topic in research and will soon generate millions of money that intellectual con-artists known as PhD grant writers with snatch. That area, responsible for the center of worrying in Asperger People, is called the Wigdala.

Asperger people worry a lot. Day in and day out. It’s possible Aspies worry in their sleep as well, but a person’s bedroom activities are a private matter. The Asperger will worry about every anticipated problem or situation that might come up and wonder how on earth they will deal with it. When a solution is not reached, they may worry that it’s taking too long to come up with one. They worry about things might happen, things that might not happen and how to make things happen.

All of these worries and fears result in a super wigdala, or a wigdala on steroids. It has been increased significantly in size from being worked so hard, the Asperger finds himself wigged out (others use the terms physically and emotionally exhausted).

Some neurotypicals might innocently try to calm the Aspie, saying phrases such as, “You know, 99% of the things you worry about don’t come true.” Fantastic! Now the Asperger has more worries to add to the collection: When will the 1% event come true? And which worry is that 1% instance? I wish I knew, so I could think of plan A-ZZZ to conquer it.

It may be argued that what some Asperger people need are slight boost of confidences to remember all the many times they have successfully dealt with any difficult situation that caused anxiety in the past. That right. You own your wigdala; your wigdala does not own you! (Note: This is the point where usually you are asked to send $99.95 for a Wigdala Working Kit, complete with a pamphlet containing testimonials by people who’ve found success with the Wigdala Working Kit, but whose results are not typical.)

Positive Wigdala Working consists of simply remembering the times when the Asperger person showed the wigdala who’s boss. It might help to make a list of those events. And that’s where Microsoft Excel comes in handy. With 65,536 rows and 256 columns, there are a total of 16,777,216 cells in one worksheet! That’s enough cells to document a whopping 3% of a Asperger person’s daily worries and how she successfully, through hair pulling and marathon fatigue at the end of the day, made it through them.

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