Now to the stunning revelation(s):
I have a confession to make. More like two confessions to be honest. The first startling revelation is that I have actually been watching Big Brother.
Gasp! Shock! Horror!
It's purely for research of course. After all, I have to keep up my reputation as a Bogan for the sake of this blog. That's one excuse. The other is that it's my bonding time with Master 11. Where once I used to dance around to the Wiggles with him, now we watch Big Brother together. The things we do. He totally forces me. He does! Oh, shut up.
Besides, watching a bunch of gregarious people who love the sound of their own voice and seek attention in the form of cameras on them 24/7 is oddly fascinating to me. Perhaps because I am the polar opposite. An intensely shy, introverted Aspergian who flees in alarm at the sight of any form of camera.
I destest drawing attention to myself. In fact, I just realised that I haven't had a photo taken of myself since March. As for talking, well, let's just say that conversation skills are definitely not my strong point. Slight understatement. That's like saying that sensitivity is not really Alan Jones's strong point.
Anyway, I was getting to a point with my revelation, and that was to my second revelation. The house mates on Big Brother invented the expression of a 'Meeper.' This is meant to describe a person who doesn't really fit into a group as such, so they kind of 'meep' or hover around conversations, then ineffectually try to join in. However, somehow it doesn't quite work for them, so it's almost as they've just gone: "Meep Meep!" Inevitably, Meepers seem to end up draining and dampening a conversation instead of keeping it flowing.
My point is, watching this, I realised that I am probably something resembling a 'Meeper'. Worse still, I am not even particularly good at 'meeping' As I've mentioned conversation skills are not my forte. Particularly in groups.
Whenever I take Master 3 to Playgroup, I suspect I 'meep'. I awkwardly hover around conversations taking place, utterly clueless as to how to join in.
|I'm a Meeper like Road Runner,|
shame I can't run fast like him too.
Finally, not wishing to appear totally aloof, I make a fumbling attempt to say something, but never overcome the awkward feeling that I am, as they say on Big Brother, 'meeping'.
This probably has a lot to do with two things:
1. My shyness
2. My Asperger's
Since having children, though, I have to regularly be in situations that require making small talk. Something that, as a shy, introverted Aspie I am seriously woeful at. Hence my 'meeping'. Sometimes, however, it becomes even worse.
Take for instance, the time I took Master 8 to a McDonald's party for a school friend. What was hours of Happy Meal filled fun for him, was excruciating for me. I was forced to sit with all the other Mum's and make chit chat.
It all started okay with banal comments on the weather and how the year was flying by. Then, the conversation took a serious turn when one Mum remarked that a friend of hers had recently suffered a late miscarraige but had still had to deliver the baby as the pregnancy was so advanced.
"Imagine having do that," she said, her eyes wide with horror "I don't think I could do it! It would be so awful!"
"Yeah, it is," I responded "that happened to me."
Her eyes widened further. She gaped in disbelief, obviously wishing the floor would open up and swallow her. But she could never have known. Trust me to drob a bombshell and kill a conversation.
Another time, a Mum at Playgroup confided how worried she was as her father was in hospital having various tests. I helpfully shared how Micky Blue Eyes had had cancer, while her worried expression turned to one of blind panic. Realising my mistake, I hastily apologised. But it was too late.
I truly mean well, it's just that I have terminal foot in mouth disease combined with 'meeping'. I'm a 'Foot in Mouth Meeper'.
So, to avoid such social gaffes I usually stick firmly to what I do best. Shutting right up. That, or, where I once used to be extremely self-concious about eating in public, I now enthusiastically shovel food into my mouth at social occasions. After all, it's rude to speak with your mouth full, right? As long as I keep shovelling I don't have to talk.
I'm unsure if it's too late to cure my 'meeping' and general social awkwardness. All the literature I have read regarding social skills in ASD seems to be directed at children. So, at the mature age of 41, am I stuck with my 'Foot in Mouth Meeping' tendencies? I guess so, since the only answer I have is this:
Do you 'Meep'? Say the wrong things? Or are you the king or queen of chit chat?