To say I am socially awkward would be an understatement. Neurotypicals (people not on the spectrum) have all these instincts that those of us on the spectrum don’t have. Something as simple as saying “hi” to me can send me into a panic. Im able to grasp complicated rhythms and hear things others cant, but I have trouble with everyday conversation. For this entry I thought I’d try to lighten up the mood and share a story about just how awkward I can make things.
Im a professional awkward situation maker. K-1 level awkward situation making over here. I am the heavy weight champion of awkward silence. One problem is that I cannot for the life of me understand why someone I don’t know would want to talk to me. I try to avoid conversation by keeping my headphones on and my head down. This doesn’t always work. There are some sick, crazy, depraved individuals that want to do things to you. They want to TALK to you. Gross.
My last employer was a tutoring company. We would disperse around our area and try to convince people to sign up for our tutoring program. As you can imagine I was horrible at it. It usually involved me sitting in the corner and hoping no one stopped to ask me what we were about. One bright spot however, was that my boss was willing to work with me upon hearing about my struggles with Aspergers. It was determined that I would be the guy to do logistics. I’d determine were everyone went for the day and then collect their work to be faxed at our nightly meetings…which we held in the McDonalds by Yankee Stadium.
Because the company was growing there were always new people coming to meetings. Our boss would usually tell the new jacks what the deal was. “Make sure you text Bri…where’s Brian?”. I was usually 3 tables behind everyone else, I’d raise my hand and whisper “here”, then the newbies would come give me their information. Crisis and conversation averted. One day the big bosses from Texas came to see how we operate. They wanted to split us up into groups, send us to various places in the Bronx and see how many leads we could get. I don’t do well in groups, but I went along with it. I was put into a group of 4 women and 1 other guy. He had a small car, everyone piled in while I stood outside. I said “no room left, damn. Looks like I’ll be taking the train and meeting you guys there ok bye”, the girls started laughing “Brian you’re so crazy, just get in. We wont bite, one of us can just sit on your lap”. THE HORROR. Reluctantly I got in, one of the girls made her way onto my lap. She looked at me and said “I don’t even know your name yet haha”, I tried to smile and looked out the window. Upon seeing my discomfort one of the girls asked me if I was ok. I cant remember what I said. At that point, my main objections were to not get an erection and try my hardest to not get so nervous that I open the door, tuck and roll away.
Halfway to our destination this woman named Josephine decides she wants to torture me. She starts like…talking to me. Asking me questions. “where are you from? you don’t sound like us”. “Kansas City”, I said. But that wasn’t enough. She wanted to know more. So she kept on with the questions, she asked me every question that came to her mind. Had to be like…at least 10 questions on various things from information on where I was born to how I got that job. When we got to our destination I pretty much jumped out the car. I felt like kissing the ground. That ride was torture. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and took in my surroundings. Upon opening them, I saw Josephine standing right in front of me. She said “You are very interesting. I have never met anyone like you, You’re mysterious and strange…we should talk more”. I looked down at her, and said “I have Aspergers”. Josephine smiled and said in her thick Senegalese accent (I know she’s from Senegal because she fucking told me in the car. I didn’t even ask!) “Really? I have never met anyone with Aspergers. But I hear they are very intelligent.”, not knowing what else to do I got back in the car. She leaned in, gave me her number and blew me a kiss. I waved at her and then she walked across the street.
As soon as I got home I told my girlfriend the horrors of my day. I probably sounded like a scared 5 year old explaining the monster that lives under its bed. In between fits of laughter and tears she says “omg she likes you! She wants dem drawls Brian!”. I said “WHAT?! SERIOUSLY!?! NO WAY! I’D KNOW WHEN SOMEONE WANTED ME!!! SHE JUST WANTED TO BOTHER ME!”. She quickly reminded me that I had no idea she liked me. “oh yeah” I thought. But then what would I say to Josephine at the next meeting? Well the answer to that is easy. Nothing. I avoided her like the plague.