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A1ien
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09 Jun 2013, 9:12 am

I have known I've had Asperger's for about 10 years but have only recently decided to go for a formal diagnosis.
I am in my 60's.

One of the things I've noticed about myself which seems at odds with Asperger's is my need to be around people on a fairly regular basis.
I find if I'm not exposed to people (in a structured, ordered environment which I'm comfortable with) on a fairly regular basis then I find people and the outside world in general increasingly intimidating.

One of the things I do which might strike people as strange for someone with Asperger's is to use public transport recreationally.

I have never had a driving license and do not like travelling in cars, cars are always stressful, if I'm forced to use a taxi this brings me close to a complete breakdown and takes me a long time to recover.

I am semi-retired so don't have to commute anymore, when I did I found that very stressful, also if I have to be somewhere I also find public transport stressful.

But when I can pick and choose when and which bus to catch and don't have to be anywhere particularly I actually find riding on public transport a great stress release and also acts as a dis-inhibitor with regards to strangers.

Background noise of the other passengers seems to merge with traffic noise, it's almost like a form of meditation.

I feel like I'm part of the human race again, there's a sense of freedom in the movement, it also helps with my sense of direction around my local area, which is usually useless.

Does anyone else have similar feelings ?
I'd also be interested if anyone else does things which appear to run contrary to having Asperger's.



The_Hemulen
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09 Jun 2013, 10:49 am

I like the regularity and structure of public transport (when it's working as it should) and hence I prefer it to car journeys, as long as I can wear earphones to block out people sounds.

I had an aspie boyfriend who loved meeting new people and socialised more than most NTs. He didn't really form attachments to particular people that easily but had a strong need to socialise so he'd just go out to pubs and nightclubs and talk to random people. There was no doubt over his AS though. Extroverted aspies do exist, they're just uncommon. It's also possible to be undersensitive to sensory stimuli which causes you to seek it out. I think that was one of the reasons why he liked going to nightclubs.



arielhawksquill
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09 Jun 2013, 10:52 am

Yes, I like it, too. I take the train for my regular work commute, but I also occasionally ride other trains just to see where they go. :) I like people watching and gazing out the window at the changing scenery, engaging in reverie or noting places I'd like to visit.



A1ien
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09 Jun 2013, 11:29 am

The_Hemulen wrote:
I like the regularity and structure of public transport (when it's working as it should) and hence I prefer it to car journeys, as long as I can wear earphones to block out people sounds.

I had an aspie boyfriend who loved meeting new people and socialised more than most NTs. He didn't really form attachments to particular people that easily but had a strong need to socialise so he'd just go out to pubs and nightclubs and talk to random people. There was no doubt over his AS though. Extroverted aspies do exist, they're just uncommon. It's also possible to be undersensitive to sensory stimuli which causes you to seek it out. I think that was one of the reasons why he liked going to nightclubs.


Thanks for responding.
Regularity and structure definitely but headphones no.
I've often read they are recommended for people on the autistic spectrum in these kind of situations but personally the idea of being in public and not hearing what is going on around me is terrifying!
Headphones at home are my preferred way of listening when everything's sorted, check doors and windows closed and locked (ussually twice) etc.
I do find commotion/any kind of argument distressing but I'd rather know about it and remove myself as quickly as possible.
I identify with your boyfriend's need to talk casually to people and not be that keen on forming lasting relationships, I'm a bit old for nightclubs but pubs definitely.
I think, depending on the pub people expect people to talk to them, but people on public transport might find it a bit intimidating, so my rule there is 'speak only when you're spoken to'.

thanks again
:)



PineCone
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09 Jun 2013, 11:33 am

Interesting topic, as I was just talking about this yesterday when a friend and I were getting petitions signed at a festival. I found it very hard to walk up to strangers and talk to them but was describing to my friend (a retired special ed teacher) that even though I have Aspergers, I love being around people and crowds in structured ways. If we'd had a table to sit at and had people walk up to it, I would have enjoyed that: give me my place and my role and I can deal with a crowd generally. I would never choose to go to a party, but would like to be around people every day. Unfortunately, I live in a very isolated area and am envious of people who can get on buses, go to coffee shops, and hang out at the library-the types of activities where you can get lost in the crowd. In a small town most of your interactions are with small groups of people, some of whom you may potentially know. Friendly acquaintences are nice, but more stressful than anonymous crowds-which only on WP is not a weird thing to say! Like the OP said, too much alone time makes me feel more uncomfortable when I AM around people.



A1ien
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09 Jun 2013, 11:42 am

arielhawksquill wrote:
Yes, I like it, too. I take the train for my regular work commute, but I also occasionally ride other trains just to see where they go. :) I like people watching and gazing out the window at the changing scenery, engaging in reverie or noting places I'd like to visit.


:D
Thanks for this really nice to see someone like myself.
You take a train just to see where it goes? That's weird people might say.
That's just what I do but nowadays on buses.
'engaging in reverie' is a phrase I should have used, it describes exactly my feeling.

I wonder has anyone thoughts on my 'de-sensitisation to strangers' idea that being around people in a environment you feel secure in makes you more able to deal with strangers in general, I'm pretty sure it does with me.

thanks again.



jk1
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09 Jun 2013, 12:11 pm

Yes, I like public transport, too! I hate cars. I cannot drive and also I hate the engine noise. The noise stresses me out.

I particularly like riding on the trains. And like arielhawksquill, I have ridden on the train just to see where it goes and what the terminal station is like. It's fun to do when I have plenty of time. Unfortunately where I live now, the railway system is so undeveloped that there's not much more for me to see. I used to do it in my country where the train network is very complicated.

I also like just sitting and reading a book or something on the train for a long time. So when I go out, the journey to the destination itself is actually fun. I also like watching what other people are doing, too, but of course I don't stare. When you see a person look at the changing scenery outside of the window, you notice the movement of their eye balls. That's interesting.

I live in Australia now and unfortunately there are many trash people in this country and public places are plagues with them. So it feels less safe to use public transport here than in my country.

---

My non-AS-like traits:

I generally like bright light. So I never wear sunglasses. I even often sleep with my fluorescent light on. Not that I cannot sleep in darkness. (I hate noise though.)

I'm also not particularly knowledgeable in anything. I do take interest in some things, but when I'm seriously interested in something, I feel I have to do it perfectly, put too much pressure on myself and end up procrastinating. I don't lose interest in it but I cannot pursue it further because of that. Very strange but that's how I am.



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09 Jun 2013, 12:39 pm

I like public transport too. It's a place where I can sit, put in my headphones, and look out of the window to see the ''moving view''. It is one of the only forms of relaxation I can use in public, because normally I am not very relaxed in public. Well, sometimes I get anxieties and agitation on the bus, like if there is somebody's toddler shouting and crying or something, but the things what relax me on a bus outweighs the things that don't.


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Murderface
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09 Jun 2013, 2:28 pm

No I hate the bus or any other form of transport that involves dealing with the general public. I also hate the fact that I don't have control putting my life in a strangers hands. Being around people is not nice I can barely go shopping without exploding.


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A1ien
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09 Jun 2013, 3:47 pm

PineCone wrote:
Interesting topic, as I was just talking about this yesterday when a friend and I were getting petitions signed at a festival. I found it very hard to walk up to strangers and talk to them but was describing to my friend (a retired special ed teacher) that even though I have Aspergers, I love being around people and crowds in structured ways. If we'd had a table to sit at and had people walk up to it, I would have enjoyed that: give me my place and my role and I can deal with a crowd generally. I would never choose to go to a party, but would like to be around people every day. Unfortunately, I live in a very isolated area and am envious of people who can get on buses, go to coffee shops, and hang out at the library-the types of activities where you can get lost in the crowd. In a small town most of your interactions are with small groups of people, some of whom you may potentially know. Friendly acquaintences are nice, but more stressful than anonymous crowds-which only on WP is not a weird thing to say! Like the OP said, too much alone time makes me feel more uncomfortable when I AM around people.


Interesting points here.
What was the petition about?
I sympathise with your points about location.
I am not happy with where I live at present, mainly because of obnoxious neighbours but having made the decision to move (if we can) I have to face the fact that I'm not much good at confrontation (particularly not with neighbours) so I would like to move somewhere where there's distance between us and the nearest neighbours (this may be wishful thinking we're not well off) which probably means a less populated area but I don't want to feel isolated!
It's like I want my cake and to eat it too, ideally I would like to live somewhere less populated but within reasonable reach of somewhere more populated.
I find the idea of living in a small community quite intimidating.
'Where everyone knows your name' is supposed to be somewhere that people desire to live, but the idea of everyone you meet knowing you and the expectations that go along with that I find quite scary.
I don't think there is a perfect answer we just have to balance the two competing attractions.
And unfortunately particularly in the present economic climate most people don't get the choice.



CockneyRebel
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09 Jun 2013, 5:51 pm

I also love public transport. It's a lot cheaper than driving. That's the reason that I've made the decision not to get a driver's license and a car many years ago.


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Cash__
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09 Jun 2013, 9:02 pm

I take the bus to work occasionally. I don't mind it. I try to figure the average number of teeth per meth addict to help the time go by.



RaspberryFrosty
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09 Jun 2013, 9:37 pm

I don't mind public transportation because I don't have to drive but at the same time too many people for me to handle and I get really uncomfortable.


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A1ien
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10 Jun 2013, 4:04 am

Cash__ wrote:
I take the bus to work occasionally. I don't mind it. I try to figure the average number of teeth per meth addict to help the time go by.


:D

Brilliant !

And what's the answer ?



A1ien
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10 Jun 2013, 4:26 am

Joe90 wrote:
I like public transport too. It's a place where I can sit, put in my headphones, and look out of the window to see the ''moving view''. It is one of the only forms of relaxation I can use in public, because normally I am not very relaxed in public. Well, sometimes I get anxieties and agitation on the bus, like if there is somebody's toddler shouting and crying or something, but the things what relax me on a bus outweighs the things that don't.


Thanks for this, I agree about babies etc. Which is why I would emphasise I enjoy public transport when it's recreational, if I have to do it then generally I don't enjoy it.

Appointments are a nightmare, should I leave early, then what will I do with myself when I get there ? If I leave at a reasonable time, what if there's a hold-up ? Am II on the right bus, will it stop at the right stop ? It just goes on and on.



A1ien
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10 Jun 2013, 4:43 am

CockneyRebel wrote:
I also love public transport. It's a lot cheaper than driving. That's the reason that I've made the decision not to get a driver's license and a car many years ago.


Thanks for this it's nice to hear people say they like public transport with all the negative stuff you keep hearing and a lot of car drivers who seem to feel that they are superior to the 'plebs' on buses, etc.

I did actually take some driving lessons many years ago and I can handle the mechanics of it, steering, gear changing etc. But I have problems with perception, I don't hallucinate but I do interpret shapes, images etc in an odd way.

I don't see things that are not there but I do interpret what is there at times in a very strange way.

After a few scares as a passenger it frightened me to think what I might have done as a driver.

If I had passengers and they knew how I was viewing the road ahead I think they would have been even more frightened.