With Autism, I Don’t Wanna Hold Your Hand

Autism-shaking-handsYes, I am hearing the Beatles tune in my head, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”  This is what popped into my head while my daughter and I were at the Verizon store–a place that always creeps me out.

Creepy #1  I am warmly greeted at the store with major eye contact and a handshake.

Creepy #2  The sales rep calls my name then warmly shakes my hand with full eye contact.

I do like the warmly, but shaking hands is way too intimate for me.  Inside I am screaming, “Don’t touch me!”  I want to look at phones and tablets, rather than eyeballs, which are also too intimate and discomfiting.

Minutes after arriving in the store, I am off kilter and anxious from making my way past these touchy people.  Then my auditory processing gets challenged with a barrage of questions from the sales rep, which stressed me because I’m still processing the first question when he is on the third.

Then help arrives!

As has happened so many times over the years, my 22-year-old daughter (much to my relief) took over the hand-shaking and conversing for me.  I compare it to an American-born  child of parents who don’t speak English.  The child translates.

My daughter knows when I start to feel frustrated and threatened, which can turn into curt responses and clipped questions, which can seem rude, even though it’s not my intention.  I just want them to stop, so I can buy a phone!

Even though it’s my daughter who is upgrading her phone, I am the account holder so he directed questions to me then my daughter would step in and answer.  Even I could recognize his growing confusion.  I am guessing that this is outside of the social script so he felt a little lost, but that is ascribing autism traits to him.  I’ll ask my daughter.

Dear daughter’s explanation:

She says he is confused because when a parents brings in the child, the parent directs.  The parent will ask the child, but the parent does the talking because it’s their account, and the parent okays it.

I think both explanations could be true, along with many possibilities.  It comes down to any person not truly knowing what is going on another person’s mind.

We didn’t buy a phone.  At home, we bought a refurbished one online from Verizon and it cost $6.  And even though Verizon’s website is difficult at best for finding the true price, it didn’t talk.  Whew!

About Eileen Parker 100 Articles
Support a starving writer, by buying my current book, The Weighted Blanket Guide, on Amazon. I'm a writer working on my fourth book. I live in the Twin Cities with my husband. Between us, we have four children.