Friday, 22 October 2010

Social Reciprocation

There is an aspect of Asperger's Syndrome (AS) around social reciprocation, and it is said that people with AS are less likely to share or to point out things of interest. I had quite a good example of this happen to me today. I had to walk into town at lunch as I had to buy a birthday card, and on the way to the card shop I witnessed quite an unusual and fairly serious accident. People from all over were rushing to help...people that were on the street anyway, people came out of nearby shops to help. Myself...I had a birthday card to buy and things seemed to be in hand so I just walked on. While inside the card store I heard ambulance sirens, and leaving the shop the press were in attendance also.

About half an hour after lunch ended I was back at work and someone sent around an e-mail saying there had been an accident in town. This person hadn't witnessed it but they were on the scene a short while after and had taken pictures, called an ambulance etc. Pictures were attached along with a description of the events. For a good 10 minutes after the e-mail went around the accident was quite the buzz of the office.

I had actually witnessed the accident and didn't even think to tell the people I sit next to, never mind construct an e-mail (with pictures) and send it around the whole office. The worst thing about it...I had a killer joke regarding an observation around the circumstances of the accident and I thought long and hard about replying to the global mail with my joke but in the end, what with the concern people were showing, I decided against it and I think that was the right decision.

I suppose it's one of the reasons we're so bad at conversations and small talk; we never really have anything we think is worth talking about whereas NTs seem to find all manner of minute absolutely enthralling.


Carole said...

My 11 yr old with Asperger's is exactly the same.
Typical example was when a teenage lad was shot outside their school last year (yes, London, during school hours)
At home time all the other kids were (excitedly) telling parents about the gun-noise, ambulance, police everywhere, sirens, being herded out of the playground - My son said.... 'We had chocolate cake for lunch today mum' :-)
I asked if anything important had happened and he said 'No'...because it really wasn't important to him in any way.
NT's get overexcited about things that actually don't concern us at all, I often feel my son has got it right :-)

Now, how about telling us the killer joke? :-)

AS-4-L said...

The joke was a play on words of where I live so I can't really post it in public :) Besides, any joke you say is funny can never live up to expectation.

Wild Animal said...

I was reminded of this post today on my way to work. I was already thinking about death and the various accidents I've witnessed (as I usually do) when I came upon a major accident at a crossroads ahead of me.

It looked like a pedestrian had argued with a skip lorry, and lost. Lots of people hanging around and looking, people getting out of vehicles, police trying to turn traffic, sirens and more police arriving.

I managed to get past all the vehicles and obstructions on my bike and as I rode on, I was thinking "OK, now I've got an excuse for being a few minutes late". I suppose it would have been more normal to have felt some concern for the person whose legs were sticking out from behind the wheels but I didn't know them or anything about them. They could equally have been some violent, child-beating thug as a kindly, caring old pensioner. Until I had more information (which I had no intention of obtaining) the whole thing was irrelevant to me, except to the extent that it delayed me getting to work.

When I arrived at work, ready to trot out my excuse for arriving late, I realised that my boss had only just arrived anyway so was unlikely to be able to criticise me for being late.

I suppose I could have still mentioned the accident, as that would have been the 'normal' thing to do. But I didn't. There was no longer any need to. And, as it has no relevance now, I haven't mentioned it to anyone at all.

And yet, here I am communicating it to a wider audience, so doesn't that contradict what I just said? That was my first thought but, of course, it's not the accident itself that I'm talking about; it's my failure to voluntarily communicate and share it with those around me.

Beastinblack said...

Unless we bend the conversation towards a topic that relates to something we are interested in - then we can talk all night :D