Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sensory Issues

I spend a pretty significant amount of time avoiding all jokes and sarcasm. I live in a black and white world with absolutely no shades of grey. This is the world of an autism teacher, but I kind of like it - when I'm in that environment. It's a professional world then.
The other side of my coin is that you're talking to the person who had a bumper sticker in her office that read "Sarcasm just one more service I offer". At the old job it was not uncommon for us to sit around and say sarcastic even crude things to each other as a form of stress relief. We lived in a very sick world and there for our lives met that level. It came with drawbacks though. When we were in mixed company - people who didn't deal with crime on a daily basis - we were socially awkward. If we shared a joke or even offered up a sarcastic comment it was so crude that people were offended. To us though we had filtered so that it wasn't as bad as the original thought. The other part of social situations like that was we never had the same interests as the people around us. We lived in a world of crime all day long. When we weren't at the job our pagers and cell phones were always on. We all kept a mobile office in our trunks ready to spring into action at a moments notice. And it was frequent that we did. We could do our whole jobs away from the office.
Now that I've been away from that world for a few years I do at times say things that are sarcastic or even guess what - teasing! I didn't feel comfortable with that for a long time as I learned the boundaries of regular society. Then with the age of technology you have to learn to use the same communication techniques on line or texting. If not communication is boring. I would have to say that my primary means of communication is through text or on line. I rely on emoticons to display a tease or sarcasm. I do not have a huge repertory of emoticons though. I rely on 5 basic emoticons - the smile :) the wink ;) the big smile :D the sticking my tongue out at you :P and the OMGosh! :O. That's it 5 emoticons otherwise you have to read in context and figure out that I'm joking.
This gets me to the title of my post - sensory issues. People on line are SO sensitive!!!! Drives me NUTS!!!! I have a few thoughts on this. First thought - some people have poor social skills any way that when they get on line they have no idea how to handle what they read. If people walk on egg shells around you IRL (in real life) then maybe you should work on social skills. I mean really. I think it all started when people expected a "JK" (just kidding) after a sarcastic comment. They stopped learning how to read all the other social cues. It also probably relates to the excessive amounts of time people spend relating on line only and not IRL. Lets have socials people!!! Get out there, and meet people IRL!!!! It's part of LIFE!
Second thought has to do with reading. People do not read anymore. We get so much information and stimulation through TV, computer, what ever electronic medium you chose, that we don't practice reading. It's the same thing as body language. No exposure to body language or reading and you are socially inept. So, if we're communicating primarily on-line instead of IRL then we have to be expert readers. We have to be able to use context to know when someone's joking or not. You have to read previous posts to learn that persons personality. Then take what they say in context.
The reason this is driving me batty is because I'm tired of LOTS of mis-communications on line. Someone starts a thread on a message board that is OBVIOUSLY sarcasm, and within 5 posts someone has freaked out. They post hateful things and call the OP (original poster) names and things. Then the fire starts to spread like lighter fluid filled charcoal. It becomes an us versus them thing. It either comes down to religion, political affiliation, or sexual preference for which side people take. Even when the OP never brought up those things, but apparently every what ever believes the same way. Really - when did we stop recognizing individuals? In our world of "You have to recognize the individual" we started ignoring the individual. Whole 'nother rant though.
So how do we combat this infection on line? We read and party! Love this plan. Allow quiet time to read - books. Real books that gets your mind exploring the possibilities. Sparks the imaginations, stimulates the intellect, and GUESS WHAT! sets an example for children. Believe it or not your example of reading does effect the children around you. If they never see you read anything more than the computer screen they will never read more than the computer screen. They see you read books, and they will read books. Reading is a whole body experience. Go for it!
As for the party thing - just do it! I'm tired of people expecting model homes when they go socialize with people. We all live in our homes, and if you don't you really need to look at that. I know that I have a stash of journals waiting to be made for Bags of Hope along my main entry way, and the occasional ball of dog hair, but I give up trying to make it look perfect. Funny thing - no matter how much I try to keep up with the dog hair the dogs live here too and create more hair. I try to make sure there is at least one couch free to sit on, and the dining room table is relatively cleared. There's always something to drink and snack on. Just give me a ring and say "Hey, you got time for a visit?" Guess what - I do. Model this to your children so they don't turn out socially inept. Guide them and nurture them so they go out, make friends, network, things like that. We rely on structured organizations to socialize our children, but honestly if they aren't given opportunity for free play they will turn out weird. They need to be able to problem solve socially.
Lets go out and party for no reason at all! I think that's why I like the random holidays.
Happy -

September 26
Record Player Released (1887)
Johnny Appleseed's Birthday (1774)
Shamu the Whale's Birthday (1985)
National Food Service Employees Day
Rocky Horror Picture Show Debuted (1975)
Beverly Hillbillies Debuted (1962)

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