Small talk: an Autistic Perspective
I blog about autistic experiences as they come up in my life.
It is common knowledge that I am a visiting veterinary technologist. I had a call for a pet ambulette service (transportation to and from the vet). The pet parent is an elderly hard of hearing lady. No she does not use ASL. That would have made things a HELL OF A LOT EASIER. Her tone of voice was right in my hearing window. In cases like today I wish it was not.
It was a half an hour from her house to the veterinary specialist I was driving her to. From the moment I picked her up, to the moment we arrived she did not stop talking. The topics ranged from her health history, how much she worried about her dog (this I can understand), her boyfriend, how much money she has and spent and many others.
I do not tell all my clients that I am autistic. I do not work for a veterinarian because we do have personality clashes. I have worked for many. This type of work pays more and is more rewarding, in my own opinion.
Let me walk you through how I was feeling.
At first I was slightly annoyed.She went deeper and more personal into her medical history than I was comfortable. She elaborated on it for about 10 minutes.
Then her boyfriend. At this point I wanted to rip my ear drums out. I can communicate with ASL. I do not need hearing necessarily. All kidding a side, this started to turn into the beginning of sensory overload.
Then she went on about how much money she has and how much she spends. I do not have a lot. We have enough to get by with some extra. We are comfortable. Talking about money is a trigger for me because my narcissistic parents would only care about it and I try not to talk about it at all. I just smiled and nodded. Internally I wanted to scream. I was breathing heavy at this point. She was oblivious and did not notice. Thank goodness.
At this point I was starting to see colors. We were arriving at the veterinary specialist. I needed a break. I dropped her off and I went to the local thrift store where I found two Pusheen Plushes. I needed that. Thrift stores are where I can go to clear my head.
I digress because Pusheen is amazing.
Small talk is very stressful for autistics and people with anxiety. It is a lot more than just "not liking it." Please keep that in mind when you are social with autistic people.