Autistic Bonding

Friday, when a family friend was over, Daniel asked our friend to watch Nausicaa with him. So we arranged for Daniel to visit our friend’s house Saturday so they could watch the movie together. Anna tried to make it very clear to our friend just how important watching this movies was for Daniel, because for Daniel the two of them watching the movie together was a bonding moment (or bonding 2 hours, more or less). Daniel was showing he cared by sharing his favorite movie with our family friend.

This is also something I do. For me, sharing something I like is a primary way I bond. If you want to bond with me, I recommend reading Oedipus and Antigone by Sophocles, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, The Unbearable Lightness of Being and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera, Time, Conflict, and Human Values by J.T. Fraser, and The Culture of Hope by Frederick Turner. Each of these have been central to my thinking and aesthetic. I may not agree with everything each author says or believes, but that’s not the point. My love of tragedy, the realization that one could use fiction to investigate ideas, the depth and breadth of styles that could go into fiction, and the ideas that helped form my world view and aesthetic (respectively, by author) are important to me. And if I’m important to you, I think they should be important to you. Or you should have at least read them all.

Of course, the same could be said of my favorite films, including Casablanca and Rear Window, or my favorite T.V. shows. Watching a T.V. show together, having a shared attention, is important to me–just as it is for Daniel.

I suppose this is part of our autistic object-orientedness. I can also bond over orchids, though honestly, I’ve probably forgotten half of what I used to know about them. But you never know–get me talking (as Daniel has about sharks), and I might surprise us both with what I remember. More likely, I’ll talk to you about self-organizing network processes and emergent order. Most people bond over people and relationships; we bond over objects and ideas. While T.V. shows and movies may seem common ground, you may find that our idea of bonding over a favorite movie is a bit more intense than what you’re used to. But understand that that intensity comes from wanting to connect with you through our common interest. That’s just how we do it.

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