My lifelong battle with Interruptus Syndrome

In my eternal quest to attain some level of cultural normalcy and acceptance, I’m particularly attuned to the stuff I do which is an affront to the good tastes and tolerance of common denizens. One thing I’ve noticed in recent years (but which I’m positive I’ve done all my life) is that I am an egregious interrupter.

I don’t know why I care to blend in. Why do I concern myself with the bothersome actions which are difficult for me to suppress merely for the sake of not making enemies? If I’ve forsaken friendships of random natures, why do I care whether or not I antagonize people? It makes no sense and I’m keen to the contradiction. But still. I actually know a few people with whom I have nothing in common but who I’m nevertheless on relatively good terms with. And I am sufficiently human and a lot of these people are characters in my daily life, so the alienation I foment with my blundering unconsciousness is not pleasant, so I’d like to tame it whenever I can.

Interrupting is one such self-professed annoying behavior. I’ve been told this by various people, and I’ve caught myself as I blindly flail over people’s words. The habit bodes badly for relationships because most women hate being talked over. The most liberated and feminist-minded women in the world (the ones who would slice your dick off for opening a door) still expect the “female-first” privilege when it comes to yapping. Women expect deference when it comes to voicing their thoughts, and if you talk over them, well, you suck. And I do suck. Though I realize that many times I need to shut up, I don’t! I do it on the phone with customers, I do it with acquaintances, co-workers, relatives, repairmen, Time Warner customer service agents…I do it all the time. I just do it, it’s my nature.

My theory is that it’s some latent Aspie un-diagnosed thing I have going. In fact, the other day I was talking to a co-worker about a mutually miserable situation which we both feel strongly about. She, being the “normal” one in the room, expressed herself deliberately and was apparently well-suited to accepting a silent reverberation in response to her calmly-placed observations, but every time she paused for the silence to settle and accentuate her comment with its quiet counterpoint, I frantically piped in and clamored out my piece.

In my mind I thought she was through speaking because in my head, I mechanically and inaccurately interpreted her intonations wrongly. Her cadence (and that of normal people) is different than my own. When my mind races, my own personal metronome accelerates like a runaway train. It’s like my personal stopwatch goes to shit and it cannot match the pace or rhythm with subtly placed loquacity of others. It’s like ballroom dancing. Your movements must match the complementary physical suggestion of your partner, and if timed correctly, the combined movement appears fluid and graceful. If conversation is an exercise of complementary meta-timing, I have none. I accidentally talked over my co-worker several times. I found myself thinking she had finished her sentence so I would jump in and trample all over her words which she wasn’t done with yet! More than a few times I would begin talking during the brief interlude before she continued with her unfinished thought. How many times must I apologize with a, “Oh, I’m sorry, go ahead…” before I get the idea?

I’ve always done this, but certain excitable situations aggravate the severity. As I said, if it’s a subject I feel vehement about, my timing is thrown seriously askew. In the dance of conversation, I have two left feet. It’s difficult for me to gracefully cede the stage (which shifts by the moment) in a full-blown conversation and I hog up the stage. I speak out of turn and I’m too verbally aggressive.

In fact, that’s what my Interruptus Syndrome is. A sort of intellectual aggressiveness. When speaking with people I feel as if my thoughts and my thought-generating cerebral contraption (brain) is operating at a far higher frequency than the person I’m speaking with and my expressions and thoughts want to steamroll over their slow moving traffic. My thoughts are a runaway train and as much as I’d like to slow them down, it’s difficult to neutralize the inertia.

And that lumbering traffic never moves right (where the slow vehicles should drive).