If any of you have done the online autism test, this is one of the main questions. Please don’t take these online tests too seriously. On that test I came out borderline, but when I went for my actual assessment I was told I “tick all the boxes.” Libraries and parties are completely different things. It’s like being asked to choose between chocolate and trampolines. The classic autistic stereotype will of course love libraries because they are quiet, predictable and full of books, and hate parties because they are loud, unpredictable and full of people. But:
If I am deeply engaged in some work, or looking for a specific book or article that I manage to hunt down, they are great. I love the peace of libraries. But they can be overwhelming places. All those books screaming to be read. They can seem cold and inhuman. I spent a lot of time in them as a student. Too much time. After a few hours, they would give me a headache. Now, who goes to libraries anyway? It is sad they’re dying a death because of the internet. But truth be told I’m not that sad for me personally. I haven’t set foot in one for ages.
I don’t go to many. I don’t get invited, and many times I wouldn’t want to be. They can be loud environments, and I’ll often need to leave early because I can’t filter out background noise and I get overwhelmed. But I’ve been to a few with good friends and family, and really enjoyed many of them. I’ve even travelled halfway across the country to attend a specific party. I like party food and drink (in moderation). I like party music as long as it’s not too loud, I listen to chart songs on the radio at home and when a song comes on at a party that I know, I’m in my element. And – I Like People! I like the chats and the warm positivity I experience at parties, even if I don’t come away making deep connections.
So, libraries or parties? The answer is, It Depends. On a Monday morning, yes probably a library. But on a Saturday night, in the right setting and with the right people, as long as I didn’t have to stay late, A Party! I will not ever let a stereotype define me.