For as long as I can remember, I've always been an awkward person. There's always been little quirks, sometimes small things, as in how I word things on the Internet (I've been told twice now by two different people that they can in fact tell who I am when I'm -trying- to be anonymous, just from the way I type and word things)... Sometimes it's bigger things... I have a habit of walking on my tiptoes and it adds a sort of hop. It's something I've always done unknowingly until about 3 years ago when it was pointed out to me at my previous job... at which point, I acquired a certain unfortunate nickname... "Twinkletoes".
I know. I. FUCKING. KNOW.
After that, I made a conscious effort to walk "normally" for the longest time to no avail. It didn't feel right. Then I stopped caring how it felt and just wanted to be seen as normal... and not have a awkward hop to my stride. If I focused, I could do it and then at some point, focusing became second nature and for the most part, I could pass off a normal walk... as long I kept it in the back of my mind somewhere to not let the hop take over. It worked... as I said, for the most part. Occasionally, in situations where I was forced to put all my focus on something else, perhaps because I was nervous, THE HOP WOULD RETURN.
The hop made itself known again at my job this past Friday. It returned with a vengeance.
My preceptor (I'll just call him Updraft, since that's what he calls it when he needs a smoke... "I need an updraft"... the first time I heard this, I thought the guy needed a nebulizer treatment, that is, until he whipped out his pack of menthols) pulled me to the side and asked me this:
"Hey... I'm going to ask you a serious question and I need you to be honest with me." Serious Updraft was serious. "Sure, man, what's up?" I asked, hesitantly. You always get worried when someone says something to you with an opener like that... Shit, I've only been on the job two weeks now and this guy is asking me something "serious"... What could have I possibly done? Oh wait, that's right... Earlier in the day, I almost forgot to get a signature from a patient, almost threw up on a patient due to not being used to riding in the back and having extreme motion sickness from typing up PCRs, and I almost dropped a patient... I know... I was readjusting but I caught him/myself from doing the unthinkable. It was a bad day all in all, truthfully and now I was about to get asked something "serious" by my mentor. Fuck. And then he drops this bomb on me:
"Do you have high functioning autism... or Asperger's? I only ask because of the way your posturing is, you happen to walk on your toes, and because you word things oddly in sentences. My son has it and has the same symptoms as you."
I was taken aback. I promptly said no and let out an uneasy chuckle... But then, I started to think about it a bit more and wondered if I did have either of those things? Had I ever been tested? Maybe I had and my parents were trying to protect me, because the symptoms were not -that- noticeable to the point where I couldn't lead a normal life?
It turns out that my parents thought the very same thing when I was young... And did have me full-blown tested for all sorts of things, including HFA and Asperger's.
Turns out... I'm just a fucking weird awkward kid. I could have told you that though.