Susan's Blog

Friday, June 11, 2010

It Just A-Noise Me

I hate noises.  So does Ben.  So does my dad.  Growing up there would sometimes be anxiety in the car when my dad identified a new noise and would try to pinpoint it.  Back then I couldn’t understand what the big deal was.  So what, a rattle, who cares?  So says the carefree ten-year-old playing in the backseat with her 12 year-old-sister.

I had to bring Max’s bike back to the bike store this morning because there was a noise somewhere in the tire area, when you pedal.  He and I had brought the bike in to get the brakes repaired and when we rode out, brakes worked but new noise worked better.  I took a long ride with the bike anyway, and heard that stupid sound the whole time, even through my iPod. “That happens sometimes,” my dad said, “just get the guy to adjust it.”

So this morning, the guy put the bike upside down on the platform and spun it around a lot; but he could not reproduce the noise.  So I had to accept the fact that maybe it was all okay now, mysteriously?  I hate that!

When I bought my most recent car, a lovely little 2010 silver Honda CR-V, I noticed a rattle somewhere in the driver’s side door.  It was kind of like teeth rattling.  I tried to joke about it, to be okay about it, by naming the car, “Clickety Clack,” but I was pissed off.

“Sometimes a new car has noises,” my dad said.  “Just let them adjust it.”  Well, he would know.  Sure, easy enough, but of course the first time they couldn’t reproduce the noise and the second time it was only a temporary fix.  By the time Ned brought it in again (notice that Ned did it because I was way too mad to do it), they worked it all out and now we are noise-free, knock wood.

Seriously, I surprised myself to learn just how unhinged I get by noise.

And so this got me thinking about noise, and assumptions.  One of the biggest stereotypes about autistics is that “they don’t like loud noises.”  That one is way up there with “they don’t like to be hugged,” and “they are visual learners,” and “they are all preternaturally handsome.”  All 1 in 100.  Imagine that.  So many gorgeous auties and aspies in the world.  We should start a whole new modeling industry so that we could pay off the therapies!

The assumptions we draw because of our own narrow set of experiences!  I don’t know where the extra-helping-of-beauty legend came from; maybe because we hear so much about autism being a monster that people think that autistics should look warped and twisted and thus are so are pleasantly surprised to see that they look like everyone else.  I get embarrassed for people who make that assumption because it is so pathetic; it’s as if they want desperately to believe that I’m getting something out of this autism deal.  Hah!  Little do they know, I have Natty; it is they who have the short end of the stick, for being Nat-less.

I think that what people need to consider more often is that if you get your neurological signals crossed, then you might end up looking like you dislike something when maybe actually you like it a whole lot.  It’s like laughing during a funeral.  It happens to all of us.  An overload of signals and emotions, and, voila! Inappropriate response!  Makes sense to me.  But Natty laughs when there is a lot of noise.  It looks to me like he truly enjoys the noise.  When Ben was first born, Nat would go around saying, “Noise like a baby!”

We were at a party recently and a veteran school therapist saw Nat there and said, “Oh, this noise and crowd must be very hard for him.”  Hard for Nat, to be at a party?  Nat loves parties probably more than the rest of us in this family.  He grins his head off and does joyful party stompies everywhere. He loves the food, the music, the friendly people who always seem delighted to see him (must be that preternaturally handsome face of his).

I’m the one who can’t stand certain noises and certain parties and certain stupid narrow assumptions.  My father can’t stand certain noises either.  Ben is like that as well.  No one makes assumptions about us; rather, they give us the benefit of the doubt.  But Nat?  Well, he’s autistic, so, there you go.

But Nat couldn’t care less.  To him, it’s just a lot of noise.


good point…great perspective =)

— added by Timmy's Mom on Saturday, June 12, 2010 at 9:08 am

OH gee Susan this noise thing runs in our family. My mother also hated noises especially in cars, just like your father…they were definitly born from the same cousin mold. Every noise meant there was a problem. No wonder I hate noises too!! Noise equals anxiety!! Oye vey!! Just like Pavlov’s dog!! Love your blog!! Such an artistic writer you are…so talented!!

— added by Lewis Marcus on Sunday, June 13, 2010 at 10:12 am

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