One of the autistic adults that I support at my job is really into his morning coffee. He loves really strong coffee; when he prepares it, he uses exactly 60 beans, no more and no less. If it doesn’t have 60 beans, his day is ruined. Another one that I support is also a coffee lover but he likes his coffee really sweet: he pours his coffee into a cup full of sugar and then gulps it down (just to make the image more clear, this concoction has the consistency of mud). Another one works from home but my main job is to gather rotting apples for him, because he will only do work when it smells like rotting apples in his apartment. Another one has to walk around a block three times before we enter a building.
Do you believe me when I say that the people that I mentor have these habits? You do? Well, I LIED. LOL.
The habits that I described are actually the habits of famous people. Beethoven was the practitioner of the 60-bean coffee habit, Kirkegaard loved his half-coffee-half-sugar concoction, Friedrich Schiller loved the rotting apples, and Nikola Tesla had a habit of walking around a block three times before entering a building on that block. Now that you know that these geniuses had these strange dispositions, they probably don’t seem so ridiculous. In this new light, they seem – dare I say it? – excusable.
I’m not comparing autistics to creative geniuses (quirky habits have nothing to do with real genius, despite seeming correlated) but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a little restricted by society’s aversion to eccentric but harmless habits…