Black and White

Autism and the world.

Michael is bald and I don’t like it. Heads should not shine under the light. It makes me uncomfortable, so Michael wears a hat. It is a nice hat, with a bobble on top. He also wears glasses but I don’t like those because they are not round and they are not square, they are oval and I don’t like that shape because it is like someone has taken a circle and stamped on it.

Sometimes I ask questions that make people feel uncomfortable. If Mother is with me then she will tell me that those are Inside Thoughts but if she isn’t then I have to figure it out for myself and this is hard.

One day I asked Michael why he was bald. He was quiet for one minute and twenty-seven seconds after that. It took me fifty-five seconds to realise that this was an Inside Thought, but I did not know why because it was just a question. Michael said that he had Alopecia, which is a condition where your hair falls out because your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, but no one knows why, not even the experts.

I asked Michael why he did not wear a wig and he laughed even though I was not trying to be funny and it is annoying when people do this. Michael said I should not ask questions like that and when I asked him why he did not answer for seventeen seconds. Then he said:

“Because, Samuel, people make their own choices in life and sometimes the reasons behind those choices are very private and personal and they don’t want other people to know. Do you understand?”

And I said: “No,” because that was the truth and I always tell the truth. And Michael sighed and shook his head.

“Look, Sam. I think what I’m trying to get at here is that you don’t always have to know everything. You know?”

And this confused me because saying “you know?” after saying “you don’t have to know everything” is what is called ironic and I do not like irony because it is not Black And White.

Black And White is what Mother and Father and Michael and I named the things that I understand, and Grey is the name of the things that I don’t understand.

For example, when people say “if you multiply one thousand eight hundred and sixty four by nineteen and then divide it by four you will end up at nine thousand three hundred and twenty nine,” that is Black And White because I understand it. There is one answer and I know that answer and there are no other answers.

But if someone said “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” then that is Grey because I do not understand why someone would talk about having birds in their hand when there are no birds in their hand.

I think if everyone lived in Black And White then the world would be a lot more simple and there would be less wars and people hating each other because there would be no misunderstandings, like when Michael’s immune system misunderstands that the hair follicles on his head are a part of him and attacks them anyway. But the world is not Black And White; it is an infinite number of shades of grey, so many that it makes my head hurt. And I do not like this, either.  

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Black and White