Neurotypicals Are Different

My aunt Natasha traveled from Ukraine to Montreal over the weekend. It was her first time ever on an airplane, and the trip is long and exhausting. We were all worried about how she would deal with it both physically and emotionally. She has arrived already and she’s perfectly fine, but we were worried in the process.

“So imagine what happened to Aunt Natasha at the international airport in Kiev,” my sister told me. “She was sitting there, waiting for the flight, and then she met a woman who was also travelling from Kiev to Montreal on the same flights! So they traveled together.”

When I heard the story, my first impulse was to feel deep compassion for poor Aunt Natasha. Imagine the stress of traveling to Frankfurt, waiting there for several hours, and then taking another airplane to Canada! And as if that weren’t enough, now the unfortunate woman had to be sociable with a person she didn’t even know, spend time and pay attention to her, find things to talk about – how horrible! Gosh, I’d rather not travel at all rather than be forced to spend so much time with a chattering stranger. I mean, you’d probably have to remember that person’s name and listen to their stories and observations. Brrrrr.

And then I realized the story was being told to me as something positive. To a neurotypical eye, Aunt Natasha was lucky. Having a  stranger to travel with was a good thing.

Neurotypicals are strange, people. I wonder, is anybody looking for a cure?

10 thoughts on “Neurotypicals Are Different”

  1. There’s a difference between “neurotypical” and “extroverted.” Something like 75% or more (depending on what study you consult) of the population is extroverted. Nonetheless, there is a significant minority of introverts, for whom doing anything with strangers is stressful and undesirable. You don’t have to be “atypical” to be introverted, though sometimes I think the extroverts would like to pathologize the rest of us.

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  2. I don’t know, I’m neurotypical as far as I know and I can’t imagine much worse than being trapped in a metal tube for however many hours trying to make conversation with a stranger. It’s bad enough when you’re with someone you know. Flying time is QUIET TIME as far as I’m concerned.

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  3. :p
    It’s only terrible if the person is a bore and an annoyance and will not shut up. (There’s a whole universe of boredom.) It’s a tiny diversion only. I take a bag full of books and music, regardless of whether I’m traveling alone or with a companion. Even if I like someone I can only be social in limited doses (very limited doses).

    It’s a double whammy for me.

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  4. I am extroverted but dread airplane interactions. Being alone on a plane is a rare time I don’t have to anything for anyone else/tend to anyone else’s needs so I just want to nap or read. I can almost tolerate chit-chat on short flights, but on overseas ones I just want to strangle the chatty person next to me. I am not friendly.

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  5. I completely agree with you on that one. Why anyone would ever talk to strangers on flights is completely incomprehensible to me.

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  6. You laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh at you because you’re all the same.

    Don’t know where the quote came from, but I like it.

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