As a child, I bet at some point you enjoyed being read to. But was your favourite bedtime story a sea life encyclopaedia with special sections on sea slugs, and fish with tenoid scales?
We all have things that fascinate us. Obsessions, even, if you like. You’ve probably heard about autistic special interests. In a sense, they go that bit further than ‘normal’ interests and obsessions, although as I type, I realise that for me there is much more of a blur between the two than there was when I was a child.
But before we autistic people reach that stage, for some reason our current interest(s) is all we can think of to talk about. As a conversation starter? We’re in. Some other person briefly alludes to said interest? Shouldn’t have done that… Trying to explain how awesome it is? Remember that your listener might not agree!
If it looks like I’m stereotyping or exaggerating, the only person I am vouching for is my younger self. Because I have had some pretty weird obsessions in the past, and what’s more, the weirdest ones were during my childhood. To show you what I mean… these were a few of my favourite things (yes, I did get The Sound of Music violin sheet music for Christmas).
Shortly after the sea life phase was snakes. I brought one of my snake books to show-and-tell, and gave the other Year Ones a lecture on how snakes displace their jaws to swallow whole animals before spending a whole week digesting them (fun fact). My favourite toy at the time was a plastic snake called Boris, with whom I shared every bath and bedtime, when he wasn’t wrapped around my neck. Not forgetting the reptile exhibition when I proclaimed to the man in charge: ‘I had no idea corn snakes were polymorphic!’
The next one I can remember was a certain computer game I owned from age eight onwards. It was 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescue, an action game featuring two puppies on a mission to save other puppies, while laboriously defeating Cruella DeVil, her henchmen and the evil robot toys. I definitely rang Grannie at least once just to tell her all about this game, and probably bored several babysitters to tears in a similar way. And on rediscovering this game last year, I found I am still pretty good if I do say so myself…
And onto the one I haven’t fully grown out of: cats. I’ve loved cats since before I can remember, but I think the nerdy fascination kicked off when I was ill in bed and Mum got me a library book about breeds. Before I knew it, my favourite game was ‘guess the cat breed.’ My school project on cats included detailed clay models* of every breed mentioned. And now here I am with a blog that has an entire section on cats. Yep.
On getting this far into this post, I’m beginning to think I need to do a part 2. Those were the most prominent special interests as a child, but I could still fill a page on my more recent obsessions, however ‘autistic’ or ‘normal’. Until then, everyone, what are your weirdest obsessions?
*picture to follow if I can find it