Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Disturbed dawn


By nature, I’m a night owl. I’m seldom ready for bed before midnight, and even then it make take a few hours before sleep overtakes me. During that time I find myself replaying conversation scenarios – sometimes recent conversations, occasionally long past conversations, but mostly I find myself rehearsing potential conversations. These fall into two very distinct groups: those that are necessary, and those I would like to pursue should the opportunity arise.

In the necessary category are items of small talk which for neurotypicals seem necessary to normal social interaction. Also in this category are those conversation threads one undertakes in commerce, and routine conversations with friends and family. Even much of the conversation with the wife falls into this category.

It’s not sufficient to rely on the bank of scripts I have stored away that can be recalled more or less on demand, as these can be used only in short bursts: comment, reply, comment, reply. Beyond that they’re not likely to be particularly fruitful. So in the hours I’m awake and every sensible person is sleeping I rehearse the many possible ways a scenario might develop. I practice being serious, flippant, casual, precise, vague, humourous, so that I can call on the appropriate script when needed.

And so it was at 5:00 am this morning when I realised I had spent most of the night rehearsing a range of conversation threads that might pop up when the wife and I join with family and friends to celebrate the (secular) festive season on Christmas day. The dawn chorus was just commencing so I made a conscious effort to cease rehearsals and instead bath in the glory that is dawn – even if the sun didn’t shine.

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and discovered I am autistic at the age of sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

6 thoughts on “Disturbed dawn

  1. Wow, this is so interesting. I doubt I’m measurably on the spectrum but with Tourette Syndrome and various manifestations of social anxiety and various social deficiencies, I find myself drawn to autism blogs because I feel I have so much in common with people with autism. The concept of practicing likely conversation scenarios never crossed my mind. I saw a therapist for a while dealing with these issues, but while we focused on strategies (what you call scripts), We never role played and she never encouraged me to role play with myself. I’ll be interested to see if I have the discipline to do it.

    • Tourette Syndrome puts you firmly in the neurodivergent camp 🙂

      It’s not so much being concerned with strategies per se, but more to rehearsing precisely what words to use for each possible scenario. I have great difficulty converting concepts into words. and even when writing this comment, I spend considerable time ensuring that what I write is actually what I mean. Usually first attempts are way off the mark. The whole process is time consuming and quite exhausting if I attempt to do it on the fly. Practicing in my own time makes it easier.

      However it’s not a discipline on my behalf. It’s something I’m not able to escape. When I was young, I was frequently reprimanded for being too slow in responding verbally – the time it took to convert thought into words. Preparing scripts that I could rattle off parrot fashion become a matter of survival. I’ts not something I’m able to escape.

      I’ve written more about this in the post Thinking about the lockdown.

  2. Is that a time lapse clip? I like it.
    Now, I am those for whom it has been asked do they have thoughts. I go to bed and sleep almost immediately. And I go to bed much early, mostly by 10pm

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