Have you ever have one of those moments when you are trying to think of a word and you just can’t? Or have you suddenly stalled while trying to think of a question to ask? And someone expects you to be able to do this quickly, but you can’t? Have you had this happen so persistently that you want to smack the next person who says, “oh, everyone forgets things?”
Sometimes, the linking together of words into actual statement and questions can be a little beyond me. Sometimes actually understanding what was said is a little beyond me. That I have no real way of explaining this in a way that will be believed and understood, and also explaining in a way where the person I’m speaking to does not decide I’m mentally deficient is extremely frustrating to me. (Another reason why I can’t explain this is because I do not have an actual diagnosis, and I suspect even if I did, no one would believe me until the first time I screwed up because I failed to understand a process.)
Here’s a few examples:
At one of the elementary schools I went to, we had a visit from some astronauts. One of them talked about sunsets from space, which did not make a lot of sense to me, since I had an understanding that you needed an atmosphere and an actual horizon for a sunset. Sadly, I was not able to articulate the question in a way that was understood, because the astronaut kept talking about sunsets in space and failing to understand that the question I kept asking wasn’t about what they looked like, but how you could actually have one in space.
So, of course you might say, “well, you were obviously a smart kid, but you didn’t have a good enough vocabulary,” right? Hahahah. No.
The second example takes place in high school, a time when you presumably are close enough to an adult level vocabulary that you should not have this kind of problem. This was during my extremely ill-fated stint in the Journalism class! (It was ill-fated because I could not interview people worth a damn.) We went on a little field trip to “Metrotech” which was a kind of vocational high school. E.J. Montini a well-known local columnist was speaking. The question I wanted to ask was how he was able to apply for writing the news columns he did, which were opinion pieces. However, in my question, I tended to refer to them as “editorials,” which was not the correct word and he kept answering a completely different question that involved getting into school and taking journalism classes. (Basically, I wanted to know if writing opinion pieces was something he had to pitch to an editor or if he’d had to write news articles for a while first. I was not able to clarify and the teacher and the students told me to stop asking the same question over and over again.)
A much more recent incident, taking place at a job site: I asked a question and received an answer I did not understand pertaining to respondent/interviewer interaction. (I do not remember the particulars and anyway, the information is possibly/probably confidential.) I attempted to clarify the question at least four times and the supervisor chewed me out for asking the same question over and over again anticipating a different response. Feeling more than a little frustrated, I went to another supervisor and laboriously explained the question I had been trying to ask and from there received an answer to my initial question that I actually understood.
It seems to me that my occasional inability to remember a process is read as a lack of confidence. I tend to repeat questions and ask the same questions in slightly different ways in an attempt to clarify and make sure I understand something. This may be a lack of confidence, but it is also complete confidence that I will fail to understand something important and screw up. Because I do that, rather frequently.