An entire week of no Barney Fife seems inviting after his display of grossness the other day. I wasn’t looking forward to his week long vacation away until he decided to gross me out so badly. Usually I keep my head about me and don’t go off babbling statements that could embarrass the gross one right then and there but there are times when I lose my composure and these statements just roll off my tongue. Okay, so I was on the phone talking to a friend when I noticed Barney cooking out of the pan that has now been unwashed for 5 months straight. He goes off if I wash his pan so I don’t anymore. Well, it seems a mouse got in the house and decided to leave a few droppings in said pan the other day. I hardly cook in there anymore because it’s surpassed triflin and gone right into damn ass nasty. I feel I should mention it is an occasional occurrence anymore to see a mouse here. What with two cats and all the mice seem to stay away but on occasion they show up and head straight for his filth filled pan. Okay so, they left their calling card. I figured he would at least then wash the pan. I was on the phone and I saw him cooking in the pan. Out of my mouth comes, “Dear Lord he’s cooking in that pan with the mouse shit. They’re swimming in it. They’re swimming in it. Oh my God. He’s having meatball and mouse shit.” I went on and on and on. Usually I wait to get away before such comments are made but I was in shock. To make the situation seem even stranger is what he was cooking. He had ½ of a meatball sautéing in this dropping stew. That was what he cooked in the pan with mouse crap, ½ of a meatball.
Now, while you’re thinking, what on earth is wrong with that man you must remember he has Asperger Syndrome. So this whole thing with food is classic behavior. My roommate’s disorder is the reason for his “strange” behaviors. For him this situation was perfectly logical. To me it’s perfectly illogical and “damn ass nasty.”
A person has to understand food behaviors and obsessions affect even the highest functioning person with autism. After all, when Barney works he works as a physics professor at a local university, which is also typical of a person with AS. He’s not a stupid man nor is he off his rocker totally. Barney also deals with food hoarding, food obsessions and fear of gaining weight- also part of his AS.
Many times people who don’t have autism look at a person who does with horror. To describe their behavior they use words like, “he’s illogical”, “he has no horse sense” and “what’s wrong with this man is he crazy?” While I may be grossed out by many of his behaviors at least I know he’s not trying to gross me out and he’s not intensionally going against what I know to be logical. Barney is displaying symptoms of his disorder that while totally gross are still symptoms of his disorder and not outright assaults on my attempts to lead a half way normal life as his roommate. I know why he does what he does. Understanding why usually helps me hold my tongue but this time I wasn’t prepared for the shock of ½ a meatball with mouse droppings. Trust me when I say I wish I’d held my tongue. He was so embarrassed.
I told him while he was gone I’d wash his pan because it was for his own good. Several people told me he’d hide the pan. I know his hiding places for food so that’s just fine. I thought to myself, he may pack it and take it with him though. So I headed out to the kitchen to wrap a bag around it (I wasn’t going to touch it) and move it so he couldn’t take it with him. Then it hit me, if I move this pan and he doesn’t see it before he leaves his entire vacation will be ruined! He’ll think of nothing but his pan the entire time. So I sat water in the pan with soap and left it where it was. I hoped when I got up this morning it would still be there and it is. So, while he’s gone I’ll hang it on the fence outside and blast it with the garden hose.
As important as it is for me to never again see mouse crap sautéed alongside ½ a meatball it is equally as important for him to see that his pan is “safe”. He got to see his pan before leaving and I get to make sure I never see such a thing again. We both get our needs met thanks to a garden hose.
Here are a few AS links: Aspergers’s disorder/syndrome and a dissertation by Taina Nieminen-von Wendt may be informative reading for those who want to know more about this disorder.
Half A Meatball
Friday, July 20, 2007-12:37 noon hour EST