My best friend Will is obsessed with ‘The Amazing Spider Man 2’.
I’ve bought him a copy on dvd for Christmas, and I’m really excited about watching him unwrap it. You may guess from this that he loves the film. Wrong! He absolutely hates it, and this hate springs from his love of the old series. Will talks about his dislike for The Amazing Spiderman 2 all of the time, though. Just like all roads lead to Rome, all conversations lead to the fact that The Amazing Spiderman 2 is a terrible film. The present is a joke, but on holiday this year he said that he would probably watch it again, just to make sure that it is actually as bad as he thought it was.
Will has Asperger’s Syndrome like me. I have had many obsessions in my life, and it seems to be typical of people with autism.
The first book that I started to look at as a child was a book all about animals, and when I pointed to the animals to name them, I always said the same words (in exactly the same voice). “They’re called seals!” I used to say, enthusiastically, as I pointed to a picture of a seal. And then, turning over the page ‘There’s a big seal…and a little seal. I love seals!’
I did love seals. Whenever I was given a piece of paper and a pencil and asked to draw someone a picture, I drew exactly the same picture, over and over again. It was a picture of a seal behind bars, crying. Mum used to be quite concerned, and suggest that I draw a more cheerful picture, but the picture of the seal crying in the cage just had to be drawn, again and again.
I had my own toy seal, Barbara. When Mum first found out that she was pregnant with me, she was working in an office. She did the pregnancy test in her lunchbreak (in the ladies toilet of Burker King of all places) and then came back to her office. She made a call to Dad to tell him the news, and then she told her colleague, who was a nice lady called Barbara. Next Barbara went out for her lunchbreak, and when she came back gave Mum the small grey seal, my very first present.
I loved to hear this story when I was little, and called my seal Barbara. It fit so neatly into my hands, I carried it everywhere for a long time (quite a few years). The first time that I ever had a news story about me diagnosing myself with Asperger’s Syndrome, I was carrying Barbara. When I got my first Children’s Champion award at the age of 10, I can be seen carrying Barbara in the picture. In the end I had to break the habit of carrying Barbara around, because some kids at school made fun of me. I knew that I was too old to carry her anyway. It was quite a hard habit to break, and my hands felt very empty for a while until I got used to not carrying her.
These are obsessions, though. Everyone has mild obsessions, but people with autism stick with them. This is one of the reason many famous inventors have achieved their goals, because they will not let their obsessions die. They have to keep going and going until that lightbulb is invented, or that theory of relativity is all sorted out in their heads.
My brother has obsessions too. At the moment, it is a children’s programme called ‘Toby’s Travelling Circus’. Its a really creepy show actually, but he loves it. On a visit to Toys R Us, he chose two identical copies of the dvd. She tried hard but Mum couldnt persuade him to put one back. Lenny chews his favourite dvd’s anyway, and ruins them quite fast. She thought the second one would be a good back-up. When he got home, he took the paper from the case, cleared all of the cushions from one of the sofas, and placed the paper in the middle, like a holy shrine or something. He freaked out if anyone tried to move it, or even to sit on the sofa. It was like the whole world had to worship Toby. For quite a few weeks, as soon as he got in from school, he would go straight to the piece of paper to check that it hadn’t been moved. He just stared really lovingly at it, he didn’t even want to bother watching the dvd any more, just staring at the picture and smiling!
Once (when Daisy and Lenny were in respite) Mum took the paper out of a dvd that she had really enjoyed, Behind the Candelabra with Michael Douglas) and she put it in Toby’s place on the sofa. That’s our kind of humour!
That’s all I can think of to say about obsessions for now. Thanks for reading, and for all the nice comments!