A couple of days ago, I had one of those Archimedes moments when things fell into place to make sense. The Englishman was cooking dinner; left over turkey in red wine…a kind of Coq au Vin, and I was supposed to make the Bubble and Squeak to go with it using the leftover roast vegetables from the Christmas dinner. At one point, he told me the turkey would be ready in 15 minutes, so I got on with making my dish which took most of that time. Then I came back and sat on the sofa. The turkey however was not ready for another 10 minutes, at the end of which the Englishman asked me how the Bubble and Squeak was going and I said it was ready 10 minutes ago. He expressed surprise at this pronouncement and i had to explain that when someone tells me 15 minutes, it means exactly 15 minutes, not 10, 20 or 25 minutes. During that explanation, I came to realise that I was expressing an Asperger’s trait similar to Jacob where things were taken very literally with no room for the actual impreciseness of human life.
Upon further reflection I realised that I took lots of things literally and that was possibly a reason for past conflicts in various situations. I remember one work situation where I was handed a project by another member of the staff based at a different location. When I tried to implement some of the changes she said had already been agreed upon, I realised that the understanding of the rest of the people involved was different to what my colleague had said. I went back to her several times questioning her repeatedly about “but you said” until she was sick and tired of answering. Later my manager described my actions as a “dog with a bone” because I refused to let go of the issue. It is only now I am able to see how my actions would have seemed to my colleague when I interpreted her words so literally and harassed her when they didn’t match up with reality.
Our interactions with other people are a mirror on which we can see ourselves reflected. If we look just at the right angle then we will see more clearly and life would make sense. The more we interact, the more the opportunities are for catching glimpses of ourselves and to learn about who we are. The possibilities are endless…….