Scenery and Sky 02

More scenery, less sky; all taken in Kew Gardens, June 2012. I really like the squirrel.


Fifth Post

Growing up: I always thought that is something that just happens, mentally as well as physically. Physically it did happen but I get the impression mentally it didn’t. Since my childhood I’ve always thought there would be a moment when I start to think like an adult – or at least perceive the world differently. But for some reason I don’t think my perception changed that much.

I’ve always been waiting to toss my toys, lose interest in childish things and stop playing. I don’t know how this is with other adults but I cannot help but see myself as around 12 years old. Mentally that is. My bed is populated with stuffed animals which I treasure as much as my closest friends. They don’t have names – and never had – but something like a non-verbal identity concept and I would mourn the loss of any of them as deeply as if I lost a “real” friend. I take care to not make them unhappy and when I do have to put some in a storage box I try to make it as comfortable as I can.

I also still like toys, childish computer games (not exclusively, though) and I have to really restrain myself from poking interesting things with a stick, touching animals and flowers and run off to chase rabbits in a nearby field. Also, I still differentiate between myself and “adults”. I’m 26 now and I don’t think that will have changed by the time I’m 45. Is it like that for everybody and others are just better “adjusted”? Or does everyone have to convince themselves not to stop and poke an interesting looking plant they found on the footpath or rescue an earthworm from the street in the rain? Do other grown-ups just pretend not to laugh at funny sounding words repeating them to themselves?

I don’t say that I still think like a child but my growing ability to grasp complex connections didn’t change my view of the world as much as I expected it to considering the behaviour of “normal” adults. Sometimes I think they must believe me mentally retarded and if I’m bothered by that I don’t give in to the impulse to introduce myself to every plush animal in the toy department of the local department store. Or stop in a store and stroke a piece of clothing that is made of a funny fabric. Sometimes I don’t care. (There, “funny fabric” has a funny sound to it in itself. “Funny” is a funny word, anyway.)

If grown-ups see the world like I think they do it must be infinitely more boring. And if growing up is something that you have to do instead of something that just happens, I don’t want to do it.

My mother recently told me I already said that when I was eight years old.

Fourth Post

Today, I found that I do not automatically attribute thoughts to other people. But maybe no one does that?

My father asked me, if I intended on getting my driver’s license some day, I answered the question and about half an hour later I noticed that I did not ask myself why he asked that in this specific point of time and what he thought about my reply. Retrospectively it was as if I did not attribute any thoughts, other than those he voiced, to him. I suppose that is how I usually think since it wasn’t any special situation; I might have noticed now because I spent more time than usual with observing my thinking processes lately.

Maybe that is the difference between a true Theory of Mind and an intellectual compensation? But then, I’d have to know how other people function in such a situation… I have to study how I attribute thought to others in a social interaction where I actually have to make use of my planning and analysing skills to follow a conversation. Maybe I just compare the current conversation to similar ones I’ve had before?

A computer might be a good analogy; I see what is on the screen and I know – most of the times – which buttons I have to click to get the results I want to get without understanding how a computer functions. Sometimes, however, I click a button and get a totally different result and then I have to guess how to proceed from there. But the more I click on buttons, the more experience I get about which button does what. However, I still don’t know anything about programming and the underlying structures.

To extend the computer analogy to myself: whenever there are people around me, I’m running on battery and I can only charge it, when I’m alone – or with one of a handful of special people. If it runs low I have to change my energy plan to reduce performance and save power but if I can’t escape to solitude after a while I shut down. How someone can recharge batteries  with social interactions is a total mystery to me.