Power(less) of Observation

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Photo by Chris Hunkeler via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

 

Is it an Asperger’s thing to have very poor observation skills? Or is it just a me thing?

Among my friends and family, I am notoriously bad at observation. I don’t see things that are right in front of my face. I am a terrible housekeeper, because I simply do not see what needs to be done. I have certain tasks that I do as part of my routine, but if a problem develops outside of those areas, I probably won’t notice unless someone else points it out. Shower curtain coming off its rings? I’m oblivious. Cat’s shredded a hole in something? No clue. Junk mail piling up? What? Where?

Now if something’s starting to smell bad, I will be the first to be aware of it. I am extremely sensitive to odors. But visual observation? Forget it.

This is one reason I was often very unfashionable when I was younger (being poor also didn’t help, of course). I didn’t notice what other people were wearing, so I didn’t notice that what I was wearing was so different until other people told me. I remember circa 1988, my “frenemy” kneeling down on the floor in front of me, vertically folding and safety-pinning my uncool, too-wide jean bottoms so they could be stuffed into the slouch socks she was lending me. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have even known they were a problem. At least, not until I went out and someone else threatened to beat me up for looking like a freak, which did happen on occasion.

Now I deliberately seek out information online about what’s in fashion so I can try not to look like an idiot. Adults don’t beat up other adults for wearing the wrong clothes, thank goodness, but I’ve been criticized so much that I’ve learned to be concerned about such things. Still, if it were left to my own observation skills, I would be lost. I’m so glad the internet came along within my lifetime.

I’m still confused about some things though. For example, I’ve been reading things lately that seem to suggest you can now choose the cut of jeans/pants you prefer, whether skinny, straight, boot cut, or flared, without being considered unfashionable. Is this true? If so, wouldn’t this be the first time in the history of women’s jeans that this is the case? Surely there must currently still be a preferred cut? It’s not boot cut, is it? I look horrid in both boot cut and flared, so it would be just my luck if it were one of those again.

Oh well, I kind of hate jeans anyway. They’re so uncomfortable. To tell you the truth, when it comes to pants (“trousers” for any British readers) I would stick with leggings forever if I thought I could get away with it. Only thick, pants-quality leggings though, and only with a long top. I’m not into showing my business. For comfort, I really prefer wearing skirts and dresses to any kind of pants though, but they’re not suitable for the long, harsh winters here (it’s snowing like crazy as we speak — so much for spring). Yet another reason I wish we could move somewhere milder. But I digress.

Back to the topic of observation, I think there are two things that contribute to my problems in this area. Out in public, I am usually overstimulated and overwhelmed to the point where everything is a blur. And at home, I am usually living inside my head, thinking my own thoughts, so I don’t notice my surroundings.

I am barely even present in this world most of the time. I sometimes feel like I wasn’t made for it, I wasn’t physically ready for it when I came prematurely out of my mother’s womb, and I really just have no clue how to live in it. It’s all just too much for me.

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