Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Words with Friends

I LOVE language.  The spoken word is a blank canvas.  We spend most of our lives communicating very common, mundane concepts to other individuals.  Frankly, I find it boring.  The Sistine Chapel would be just another building had the ceiling been painted with a roller.

In my childhood, I had the privilege of being literally surrounded by old men.  They always had an opinion to share, story to tell, or just something to say, only that wasn't enough.  It seemed the cost of admission to the conversation went beyond having something to say.  You had to say it in a way "fit to hear".  It was amazing, entertaining, and just plain fun to listen to.  I loved hearing them talk.  I wanted to be just like them.

Yea, OK,  why put this in an Autism blog?  Simply put, it would seem that many of us non-neurotypicals (NNT) share this common trait.  My brain presents me with almost limitless ways of arranging words and communicating meaning indirectly.  I've long suspected that Nathan's provides him with similar options.  Words become Lego's.  Conversation requires that we provide a certain shape or design, but makes few demands on the set of blocks used to construct it, or their particular order.  Enter the wild and wonderful choices presented by the NNT brain!!  The choices are myriad.  The choosing and presenting exhilarating.   Even without the rather "bright colors" that Tourette's attempts to insert, some rather "angular" choices come into play.

How is it received?   Let's just say the reception is polar at best.  Some find it entertaining and colorful.  I've been told consistently through the years "I love how you choose to say things."   There are many degrees of positive response, and a broad group of folks who enjoy playing along.   There are various levels of response at the other end of the reaction continuum as well.  I've been told "I guess I'm just trying to figure out what you're trying to say." after paying a compliment.  AWKWARD!!!!  Some give me the look my dog would give me were I to attempt to explain Quantum Mechanics to him.  Others are far less effective in hiding the disdain in their "what is wrong with you" glare than they believe they are.

I was once at the ER with an injured friend.  Pain killers loosened his tongue and he confessed  "You know Batey.  I'll bet some of the shit you say is real funny, but I ain't got time to look it up or figure it out."  It remains my favorite of all responses.  

Nathan will have to learn how to handle it for himself.  Those who love and value him find entertainment and amazement in his euphemisms and sense of verbal humor. Amanda and I have watched with great amazement and relief as he's developed this ability.  It shows us his intellectual and social growth.  

Once again I find myself grateful for those who "get me" and even more so for those who "get Nathan".  You all add more joy to my life than you'll ever understand.  To the rest of you, pay no attention to the freak behind the curtain.  He's having way too much fun to be taken seriously.  

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