I Hate Words: The Hazards of Asperger’s Communication

I hate words. Give Wings to your Heart

Many of the difficulties I’ve had as an Aspie in relationships have revolved around the use and misuse of words. Written words are not the problem; they can be worked and reworked until there is some precision of meaning conveyed. No—it’s those little spoken bastards that give me the most trouble. I know exactly what I mean and want to say, but the words simply won’t cooperate.

In the 60s, Northwest Airlines started a very successful American campaign with the slogan “Give Wings to Your Heart,” and wanted to take it global. Instead of springing for a good Chinese translator, Northwest decided to go the budget route. The Chinese version of the “Give Wings to Your Heart” slogan was translated as: “Tie Feathers to Your Blood Pump.”

I’m pretty sure that a budget Chinese translator resides inside my Asperger’s brain.

Words are the translators of thoughts, ideas and emotions, and they can devilishly mistranslate those same thoughts, ideas and emotions with the exact opposite meaning from what was originally intended. This is where my internal translator—who at times feels like he’s on his third martini—either mutters or hears something entirely inappropriate or passes out altogether, leaving me to stare blankly and wonder what the word “what” means.

This, I think, is one of the primary reasons I write and perform music. Words are not even an issue.

Linda is one of the only people in my life who actually takes the time to look for the meaning behind the words, and is patient enough to make sure her meanings get through as well.

And I have to say, it truly ties feathers to my blood pump.

© 2013 Tom and Linda Peters

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9 Comments

  1. Joan Tenowich

     /  July 19, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your respect and love for one another. It’s a pleasure to read.

    Reply
  2. I have had to learn to change the way I speak and listen to my fiancé, whom is autistic. I give him plenty of time to respond to my questions so he can think of the right way to say his responses. His ex wife would get so angry at him for not responding to her immediately and was quite hostile. That made things worse for him.

    Reply
    • Thanks for commenting! I’ve had the same experience in previous relationships. Most people lack the patience to wait for the response, so kudos to you. I also find that my initial response is often not what I meant to say, or the explanation is there but just won’t come out.

      Linda and I both enjoyed reading your blog :)

      Reply
  3. Same with Joel! Sometimes it can take a few times for him to get his meaning out correctly. I have also noticed his vocabulary is different compared to a NT. For example, instead of saying “I want children some day.” he will say, “I would like to have offspring at some point in the future.” It amazes me the uncommon words he will use. We love your blog as well! Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Aha! So it’s the Chinese messing with me! I DO know that whilst the Olympics were held in China one of the most oft-covered topics by the western newscasters was the plethora of entertaining translations from English. Yeah wife. Get her a head massager though for all the extra neurons used to sort you out. They must be sore.

    Reply
  1. Words words words | autisticook

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