Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Educational Conversationalists



The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:

*Abnormal fascination with special interests
*Too quiet or too talkative

It's been on my mind to write a post about the obsessions people with Asperger's traits tend to develop. Of course, some writers on Asperger's syndrome would call these obsessions "strong, narrow interests." That's a very polite way of putting it.

One new acquaintance was describing to me her "strong, narrow interests" in Israel and in politics. She explained how seldom anyone else took an interest in her interests. I could empathize.

"People want you to be passionate, and then when you tell them what you're passionate about, they don't want to hear it," I remarked.

Frankly, I don't give a hoot about ever traveling to Israel or carefully studying and debating political issues. But because I wanted to get to know this new acquaintance, I listened - and listened - and listened. Her enthusiasm was hard to ignore. I'm pretty sure I could learn to enjoy both Israel and politics if I hung out with her often enough.
The odd thing about Aspies is that no matter how quiet and shy we appear on the surface, once we get somebody to give us full and complete attention, we love to talk! And our favorite topics of conversation are, well, our favorite topics of conversation - most decidedly. My favorites are literary characters and real-life characters (also known as my friends). In fact, sometimes I think the literary characters are just as much my friends as my real-life friends. They certainly have been with me much longer!

But there's nothing so absorbing to me as learning from a fellow Aspie about his favorite topics - because boy, can he cover them in detail. I like to refer to my fellow Aspies as educational conversationalists. Most Aspies are born teachers.

I had a favorite professor in college whose passion was literature, same as mine. It always struck me funny to hear other students walk away from his class asking each other what in heaven's name that lecture was all about. That prof had me entranced! Oh, yes, there were rabbit trails - many of them - but he always came back to the point, and I loved every minute of his lectures. The best part was when I'd be giggling away at some obscure allusion he had made that no other student got, or when I'd make a comment that would cause my professor to throw his head back and laugh - while the other students sat and blinked.

I think these passions that we seem unable to free ourselves from must be God-given drives to propel us in the direction God wants us to head in life. Because of my love for the language of English, here I sit, typing madly, and enjoying it . . . knowing that I will not be able to go to sleep tonight unless I share what's on my mind.

So the next time you start up a conversation with someone and that person seems unable to keep away from a certain topic or two, just think! You may have the opportunity to befriend an Aspie who can teach you a thing or three thousand about hockey . . . or skiing . . . or chess . . . or basketball . . . or library science . . . or computer programming. Hold onto your hat, and keep both ears open!

How this topic applies to Christian living:

Exodus 31:1-3

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.