Blurting? Impulse control and Aspergers.



Today I had a small victory, one of many. I drove past the window cleaner at the end of the street without shouting 'Window Cleaner!' at him as I went past.

No, I don't usually shout this or anything else at him, it was just that today it was my first impulse. I saw him, he was up the ladder, cleaning the windows and there it was, the sudden impulse to shout to him.

It's as if there is a need to state the obvious, loudly, almost joyfully, so that seeing something or someone is all it takes for me to verbally state the fact I have seen them.

It feels like a natural expression too, not immediately something I should stop. I see it, I think it and at the same time I want to say it. And sometimes I do say it.

Aspies are well known for their brutal logic, seeing something and commenting on it, regardless of consequences. This isn't the same as unbridled blurting; it is the stating of logic, of a thought or a judgement. Shouting 'window cleaner' at the window cleaner is not logical - he knows he is a window cleaner, I know he is one and neither of us would really appreciate me announcing it to the world.

And I know I'm not alone in speaking when I should just shut up and keep it shut, in letting things slip and realising once it's too late to rein them back in. That would be blurting, even if the blurting doesn't feel like it to me. That would be the mind going along with the flow and inserting what seems like a good, relevant idea into the conversation at the first moment, without looking past the moment to what might happen next.

Wanting to label life, as I think of it, to call out what I see, or what I am feeling at the time, or (my personal favourite, readers) to suddenly give voice to a word that has presented itself in my mind, feels like my inner thoughts hopping the divide and being outside. They are still my thoughts, they just happen to be on the wrong side of me.

I tell you, this has created many small, hurried cover stories, especially in lessons and especially if I'm tired and my guard is down. I'll be sitting there, quiet while the student works in a hushed room, no background sound and then: Ostrich!

Yes, ostrich was one of those times.

I can't remember how I got out of that one. If the student is small enough it's much easier as they accept any old gubbins I can come up with on the spot, or I just tell them I felt like talking about ostriches. Try explaining it to a teenager though.

There is a joy to it though. These words are like singular little spots of light bouncing out into the world - I do feel better once they are said, even more so if I'm on my own at the time and don't have to explain them. It feels right to get them out there, to say them in the first place, and this means it can be hard not to speak and to keep them in.

So, I didn't shout at the window cleaner (really lucky, he was up his ladder after all), and I might not shout anything about ostriches or boats, cake or sluices (memorable one, that) for the rest of the day. I know it's only a matter of time before I do give in to impulse and let rip one of the many extraordinary, or ordinarily ordinary, words in my vocabulary and have to use my imagination to cover the fact.

Here's to the triumph of imagination over impulse control. And the safety of Window Cleaner!s everywhere.

Amanda

 A Guide to Your Aspie

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