Common Sense, Cents, What?

As I have reviewed my behaviour over the decades, one thing has become clear. I do not have a strong common sense aspect to my thinking. When I was 8 or 9 I had read the entire children’s library books, but ask me if I knew what “A stitch in time saves nine” meant and I had no idea. In fact, I didn’t figure it out until I was in my sixties. The other day my partner said “Use a spoon to scoop out what’s left in the bowl, not a fork”. Oh yeah, that’s a lot easier! This has happened a lot to me. I can analyze complex human pathology but had to be shown that, with some shirts, the little white label on the inside means it goes on the left. Or, matching the container size to the amount of food you want to save. Tying shoes. Buttoning up clothes. Finally, why can’t I remember to roll up my sleeves when I wash dishes?

There seems to be a relationship between my lack of common sense and my “weak theory of mind”. I have great difficulty understanding what someone is feeling based on their facial expressions. I can’t tell if I am boring them, embarrassing them or making them angry. Somehow, this clumsiness socially is connected to a lack of common sense, not to a lack of empathy. I believe my impulsiveness is also related to my egocentric point of view, which is driven by my autistic view of the world.

NTs can show a lack of common sense. My partner worked on a ski hill for years, staying in our camper. When water was needed, they would walk 20 meters to get water in a bucket. Meanwhile, they were surrounded by fresh clean snow, which they could have just scooped up and melted. However, they are normally very common sense oriented. This is more of a DUH moment than a lack of anything. For me, understanding these simple concepts is quite alien. I wonder how other autistic folks deal with common sense.

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