>It’s a joke, right? The autistic girl is speechless. I mean, I spend a lot of time speechless… like right now. Can’t even talk to the cat!
But today I got caught off guard, big time. Even staff was caught off guard, and it’s sorta her job to know what to say in social situations, right? But, oh yeah. Caught. That was us.
Staff and I go to a (huge, 100-women-strong) Bible study every Wednesday morning for a couple of hours. First, there is large group time, where we talk then sing then talk then pray then talk. And, aside from a few words with staff or my good friend Heather… I don’t say much. Today, I quietly talked to staff until she got up to go to the bathroom, then I kinda sat there and went into the infamous Lydia Land (maybe I was stimming a bit, too?) while the ladies at my table gushed about… something. As I got up to leave when the lights blinked (and let me tell you: no one EVER gets up to leave on time!), one of the ladies apologized for, well… kinda ignoring me. Not that she needed to- I need to learn (uh, right, somehow) to jump into conversations (how? when I can’t even follow them?)… but yeah, I wasn’t remotely upset with them. I was happy to zone out, really.
So anyway, staff came back and we headed to the room where our study (about 10-15 women) takes place. We were, of course, the first ones there, with the exception of one other lady who apparently had been waiting there for a while. So she chatted with us. I don’t remember much… I don’t think I chatted back… but I do remember that the woman leading the group gave me a sticker for being on time, and I was happy.
Then, half-listening and thinking about my sticker, I hear the lady (the only other one who was in the room) ask, “So how do you two know each other?”
Come on. We’d practiced this. We’d rehearsed. We knew what to say.
So what did we do?
I looked at the floor. Staff looked at the ceiling. Neither one of us said a word.
The woman said, “So… you just met?”
I think that’s when other people started to filter in.
Now, if you know me at all, you know how I feel about lying. And in my world, misleading = lying. So, knowing full well that she had most likely entirely forgotten the awkward exchange…
I emailed her, acknowledged that I knew it was no big deal to her, but that I felt uncomfortable in that I had mislead her… and here was the (very brief) truth: I have autism. Staff is my aide.
End of story.
Now why can’t I say that out loud?!