It’s well known that people with Asperger’s are sometimes a bit gullible, especially when it comes to jokes. Here’s a special story for Day Thirteen…my absolutely favorite number in all the universes! Good to balance the deep and profound with some light-hearted laughter, every now and again. Enjoy.
I was a bit naïve when I was a young adult, very gullible, and easily confused by jokes. Those were my vulnerable-gentle years, where I feared life more than explored, and often hid in the house afraid of the stream of emotions I experienced when I was around others. This isn’t to say I didn’t appear normal. I was a good actress, after all.
While walking one summer day on the sidewalks of my suburban town with my dear college friend Jodie, my gullibility shined bright. We were newly friends then (soon to be best friends), with so much to learn about one another. I remember the exact place we were on our path, when Jodie fooled me. I remember because, even now, I still chuckle about the event.
During our stroll Jodie informed me that she was from Washington. On hearing her pronounce the word Washington, with a tongue-rolling r-sound (Warshington), I laughed. Jodie guffawed, raising her brow, as if I’d done something entirely incorrect and worth admonishing. “Why are you laughing?” she asked.
“Well,” I stammered. Not sure what to think of this inquiry. “I just thought it was funny the way you said Washington. How you made it sound like it has the letter r—there’s no r in Washington.”
Jodie was unmoved in her expression, if anything she appeared more stern. “What do you mean?” she asked. She hit her thigh slightly, and the crease of a grin edged upward on one side of her face. I watched with curiosity. Jodie continued: “Oh, you think I meant Washington D.C. No. No. No. I’m talking about the state of Washington. The one up north. You know there is a difference, don’t you?” Jodie faced me with a full smile, reading me with her green eyes.
I shrugged my slight shoulders, and debated about what to say. Before I could speak, Jodie continued. “Don’t you know the state of Washington is spelled with an r?” She spelled it out slowly and surly: W-a-r-s-h-i-n-g-t-o-n. And she said it again, but this time super slowly: “Warsh-ing-ton!”
I blinked quickly. “What? No, it isn’t,” I answered, with my trademark nervous giggle.
Jodie continued, stating her case in a matter-of-fact way. She was so sure of herself. So confident. So…..so…..experienced! I reasoned I’d always been a bad speller, mixing up letters, omitting consonants and vowels, why not now? And here Jodie stood, from the state of Washington; she’d had to know what she was talking about. Didn’t she?
Jodie continued. “A lot of people get the two Washingtons mixed up.” She winked.
“Oh, wow!” I said, feeling a bit relieved that I wasn’t the only one who’d mistaken the spelling. “I never realized that.” I breathed in, evaluating Jodie’s expression. She seemed pleased with herself, but there was this awful silence. I quickly added, trying to save face, “Good thing to know, since I’m going to be a school teacher.” With my last words, I settled back into the walk, glad to be corrected, and thinking more on my tanned legs than anything that had verbally transpired. It was nice having an intelligent friend.
Jodie nodded her head in agreement, and picked up the pace of our walk. She held her silence for some time, at least a few blocks, before, after a brief moment of noise that sounded like a toad caught in her throat, Jodie broke out in a husky, rip-roaring laughter. “Oh, Honey,” she said. “I can’t make you go on thinking that.” She laughed some more, trying to catch her breath. “It was a joke. You were right before. There is no r. It’s just the way I pronounce it.” She laughed some more. Her face equally as red as mine.
I took a second to evaluate the situation, before busting up myself and shaking my head in disbelief.