Communication has been one of my biggest issues in dealing with Autism. I can’t count how many times I’ve walked away from a conversation wondering what the fuck they’re talking about. What does that mean? What are you REALLY saying? For me, participation in a conversation isn’t so much give and take or understanding. It’s more like decoding and translating, deciphering. I first have to hear what the person is saying. I then need to decode and translate into something I can then understand. Then I need to respond. Certain situations have me paranoid about my response time so I find one of three things can happen: I’ll either give a prolonged “ummmmm”, repeat what the person said while decoding and translating, or give a stupid answer like “farts” or “I love pickles”. One of many things that annoys the shit out of me is when people don’t say what they mean. I remember once when someone tried to include me in on a prank. I was coaching a drill team when a 30 or 40-something year old man approaches to ask if he could be on the team. My first thought was, um, no? My second thought was to be a bit more pleasant about it. So I mentioned how his horse probably wouldn’t take too kindly to the amount of activity, the running, the flags, the music, etc. I could barely handle it. The fact that he wanted in on the team and that I didn’t immediately shoot him down sent my team into an uproar. They all protested simultaneously until I was ready to start smashing heads from the several protests and conversations happening at once. It wasn’t until the joker told me he wanted to prank the girls that I understood his real intentions. At first I was pissed because he should have told me it was a joke to begin with. But after retelling the story to a few people, I finally started to understand that he obviously wasn’t truly interested in joining the team. But still I think, well how the fuck was I supposed to know that? Sometimes, I get caught in a whirlwind of complaint and inquisition. These situations are among the worst, most stressful situations I can be thrown into: A boarder at my barn approached me, asking why we (our drill team) were hogging the arena, tearing the jumps down, and being so inconsiderate when people are riding in the arena. Why couldn’t we just go to the arena across the street? I was livid. I thought of a time, three or four years ago, where eight or nine of us would ride together in the arena, radio blaring, a few of us jumping, a few running, a few just walking around. How in the fuck did it go from that to this “how dare you use the arena when I’m using it” bullshit? But I think I handled it well. I just told her that we assumed she wasn’t coming back, which is why we took the jumps down, and we stayed out of her way, as we’re expected to when sharing the arena, and that she could do the same. I later told on her because that whole thing was bullshit, but I really didn’t know what to do. I just wanted her to go away before I lost my mind and went for her throat – kidding. But seriously, that was rude as balls. And sometimes, I don’t handle a situation too well: I was cleaning out stalls in the barn one time, and upon running out of wheelbarrows to use, I started piling on the mats. A boarder approached me to ask when I was going to finish because she didn’t want her horse to be standing in it. And yet she put the horse in the stall anyway. Where the horse proceeded to destroy my neat pile and set my schedule back a notch. I was angry because I can’t stand when my schedule to be fucked with in the slightest. I hate when people do stupid shit like that. So I congratulated her on her ability to see and asked her why she would put her horse in there when she saw shit on the mat. Later, I realized, upon reliving the tale, that I am a complete dick and need to chill out or get fucked. Another of the most horrible situations I get thrown into are communicating with familiar people, people I like, people I trust. Sometimes, when I have something to say, I can’t find the motherfucking words. My voice gets stuck in my throat and will only escape to utter the phrase “I can’t”. No one seems to understand that the problem is that I am petrified of displeasing or miscommunicating what I have to say, so I have difficulty saying it. In turn, I get furious for the challenge and either push through it and end up scarred and annoyed or give up and want nothing more than to run away, hating myself for my weakness. More than once, someone will tell me “It’s me. You can say anything.” or “Nothing you say is gonna be stupid”. That’s not the point. I recently took home a new puppy. Here’s how: As much I wanted it, I already passed because I knew I’d be murdered of I took home one more stray. But for the fuck of it, I got permission. Now what? I got the ok and I already passed on the opportunity. The fuck was I supposed to do? All day, I tortured myself, trying to get myself to say something before someone else took the dog. I was beginning to accept the fact that someone else would take the puppy home where it would be tortured for the next ten years and then skinned and used as furry underwear when the person who found the dog asked me what’s up. I froze. I knew this was the chance. But I couldn’t do it. But it was ok. She knew I was fucked up in the head. But I hate that shit. I hate not being able to say simple shit. So I told her I did something stupid. She asked what I did. This was it. Either request the dog or make up a stupid lie and eat a bullet later. I was getting ready to tell her I shit my pants when I ground out, “I can’t, it’s stupid”. It took some convincing, but I was finally coerced into speaking. I told her I was allowed to bring the puppy home. And I wanted it. And she said it was mine, don’t worry about it. As relieved as I was, I couldn’t help being annoyed that it was this fucking difficult to say “I want the dog.” For these reasons, I find it’s best to avoid human interaction. It’s probably not the best solution. But I’m finding it increasingly difficult to obtain professional help with my issues. Regardless, I’m perfectly happy writing my articles on the computer, Eminem playing in the background, or cleaning horse shit out of the stables with my headphones in while Eminem provides me something along the lines of orgasm in my ears, love in my guts. I love my Slim Shady.