Springingtiger's Blog

All The Lonely People. Where Do They All Come From?

One of the complaints often heard from Autistic people is that Neurotypicals speak for them without having any experience of what it is like to be on the Spectrum. My experiences over the last couple of days make me wonder whether the truth is not that they don’t have experience, but that they are not conscious of it.

I remarked a couple of days ago how much I enjoyed the lunch at which we celebrated my younger brother’s birthday. One of the primary reasons was that we all interacted with each other rather than with our mobile phones.

Today I travelled into my pub quiz by bus. Very few people on the bus were talking to each other. Very few looked out of the window at Glasgow in the evening sun. Very few read a book or newspaper. Most of the people on the bus were focussed on their phones to the exclusion of all around them. No one is supposed to use a phone during the quiz, but I often see people in bars and restaurants focused primarily on their phones.

It is a trait of many autistic people  ̶  often remarked upon ̶  that we can focus on one thing and when we do so we become oblivious to the world around us. It occurs to me that many ordinary people’s interaction with their mobile phones is not so dissimilar from autistic behaviour. Okay, some of us use our phones to avoid interacting with others face to face. However that narrowing of focus to the exclusion of extraneous stimuli looks like an autistic trait to me. I like it when I am in circumstances where I feel comfortable to interact with others round about me, these occasions are rare enough to be truly precious. I think it a little surprising that people with the facility to interact freely with others don’t. I find it strange that anyone not prone to sensory processing problems would choose to close down their ability to experience. There is a time when it is appropriate to ignore ones surroundings,  some people have little choice in the matter,  but I can’t help but feel that a lot of people are in danger of losing something of their ability to enjoy the world around them. People may think and say they cannot ever understand autists and yet seem intent on imitating us.

Other people are precious and like all things in creation, ephemeral. If you don’t appreciate them now you may log out of Facebook and find them no longer here to be appreciated.


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