I forget where I was that day, but I’d been out of the house, something typically productive for a 15-year-old, like work.
As I settled back down in my room, I went to put my wallet, watch, and my other effects back in their spots.
Then I noticed something. Many somethings. They were off.
This . . . would end poorly.
If you know me, you know I’m not the cleanest person, but I am one of the tidier, more organized folks you’ll meet.
My nightstand, office desk, and other surfaces are arranged just so.
It’s not neatness; it’s obsessive compulsive behavior.
I almost wish it were less so! I’d like to be able to leave my bed unmade or have dishes in the sink for more than a minute. But I can’t.
It’s a visceral reaction, one that (to me) seems borne of a need to declutter the things I see so that I’m not being overwhelmed with my own internal clutter than I don’t see.
So when you’re wondering “Why is he doing dishes during this event at their house?” or “This guy is really obsessed with picking up after every single toy right away” — it’s not because I think y’all are dirty; I just have to declutter space to function.
Back in my room, my pens had been misaligned. My watches completely shuffled. My change cup was emptied, its contents placed in piles across my dresser. Like a surgeon rearranging one’s organs and fitting them back into a body, my room had been dismembered and stitched into a pale imitation of how I had everything.
I heard my siblings’ impish chuckles outside my door, and — well, I might have lost my cool. My brother tells the story better, adding much more violent, beating-someone-over-the-head-with-a-plastic-blue-chair color commentary — I don’t recall the reactions, but I definitely remember the irrational outburst.
In the end, it’s just stuff.
I tell my normal self that “stuff can be rearranged.”
But my true self, the autistic one, doesn’t see it that way. Out of place is the wrong place, and it’s what makes our world melt.