Monday, December 26, 2011


"Ten Thousand Spoons When All You Need is a Knife":
A silly allegory for life in my head

I read this essay the other day about someone who never has enough spoons. I thought about it. I have a lot of spoons.

A storeroom full of spoons. Stacks and stacks of boxes of spoons. Metal spoons, plastic spoons, silver with pearl handles, keepsakes, handmade wood with gorgeous little animals carved into the top. I have so many spoons I don't know what to do with them. I can eat pudding and soup to my heart's content, with enough spoons left over to make little spoon catapults, to build spoon sculptures that I could sell for money. I never run out of spoons; it's like my spoons are multiplying. Sometimes I'm afraid my spoons will take over my house and there won't be room for me.

The only problem is, I don't have any knives at all.

This doesn't sound like a real problem. It's cool having so many spoons around, never having to worry about keeping any in reserve. I like pudding anyway. It's pretty much my favorite food.

Unfortunately, and I'm not really sure why, every time I try to go out and meet people, every time I apply for a job, every time I meet someone I could maybe see myself falling in love with, they keep making me go out to these strange restaurants and buying me nothing but steak. And, I mean, it's nice of them and all. Really. It's just that for some reason, everyone seems to assume that I'll bring my own silverware. I brought my nicest spoons, my most impressive and charmingly quirky spoons, painstakingly polished and in a variety of colors, but unfortunately, spoons just aren't really very good for eating steak with.

I never know what to do in these situations. I usually feel like I have a few options:
1.) Try my best to eat the steak with the spoons.
2.) Ask for something else.
3.) Don't eat anything.

If I try option 1, it takes a lot of effort and a good deal of luck - it has to be very tender steak - but sometimes I actually succeed at cutting apart the steak and eating it with the spoons. People don't tend to notice too much; something just seems a little off and odd about what I'm doing. It's hit or miss whether they care. Usually it depends on who they are. Maybe they'll hire me/be my friend/go on a second date with me anyway. But eventually, I'll be tired of trying to saw through my food with a blunt object, and I'll have to move on to another option.

Option 2 usually works out the worst for me. Steak is awesome, they say! Why wouldn't you like steak? Most people can't even afford to eat steak except for on special occasions. You must be an ungrateful brat. If I try to explain that all I have are spoons, they tell me that they have plenty of friends who eat their steak with spoons, and I'm clearly just too lazy to cut my steak with my spoon. They don't want to be friends with/hire/date someone so lazy and weak. Maybe not everyone would say these things, but so many people have - and it hurts so much - that I usually don't bother asking.

Option 3 is the one that results in me being saddest. I don't eat, I go away hungry, and for some reason, my not eating makes everyone assume I just wasn't interested in them or in being there, that I didn't like them. So they don't bother with me. It's a big waste of time for everyone involved, and it just leads to disappointment for me. Afterward, I go home and hate all my spoons.

Maybe sometime I'll figure out how to twist one of my spoons into something resembling a knife. But I don't know how right now. Maybe sometime I'll find people like me, who just have spoons, or people with only forks, or maybe just people who understand and let me order soup. I know they're out there. I've met them. But they're all far away, and I'm tired. So for tonight, I think I'll just stay home and eat pudding.

Please visit these links also:
The Spoon Theory, by Christine Miserandino - This is the awesome article that inspired this piece of writing. Please note that my spoon analogy is distinct from hers, so it may be a waste of time to try to understand the relationship between them.
On Being a Hair-Dryer Kid in a Toaster-Brained World, by MOM-NOS - Possibly my favorite piece of writing by an autism parent. My essay is a mere variation on her beautiful theme.

All credit to Alanis Morissette for the, erm, "ironic" title, which I am using "ironically." Or something.

Lastly, I apologize for the unexpected hiatus and for the somewhat un-topical content of this post. It was the thing I was able to write, so I wrote it :)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, what a lovely extension of the spoon theory! =^_^=

    I'm another 'wrong cutlery' person (as well as never having enough spoons). I was lucky enough to be recognised as a fellow spectrumite by my darling husband and we have just celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. I live in Canberra, a place with many more 'wrong-cutlery' people than you would imagine, so I have friends, my spectrumite sons have friends and life is not bad at all.

    I've also loved "On Being a Hair-Dryer Kid in a Toaster-Brained World, by MOM-NOS" and shared it on Facebook.

    One day you'll suddenly realise that you can recognise fellow spectrumites; they will be the ones who automatically slide their eyes away - and then glance back at you, as they realise that your eyes see the same world that theirs do. They will be the ones who smile in a friendly manner at you when you are dressed 'eccentrically' and possibly even compliment you. When you notice the odd gait of someone in a crowd; when you recognise the expressions on the faces of the people who have forgotten (or never knew) that we are supposed to put on a certain 'face' when in public, when you can instantly tell the difference between a 'normal' child throwing a tantrum to get more attention and a spectrumite kid who has had too much; then you'll realise that we are everywhere, trying to fit in and succeeding to greater or lesser degrees depending on how good a day we are having, and, hopefully, you'll feel less alone.