A Lack Of Empathy
I was having a conversation with someone the other night and, in the middle of hearing a story, my mind started to wonder. I wish I could remember what my friend was talking about, but in that moment — I guess — I could have cared less. No, in that moment my mind was far, far away from whatever I was supposed to be listening to. There was no understanding, no empathy, no amount of compassion for the storyteller. Instead, I was thinking about M&Ms. More specifically, I was wondering whether or not a bag of regular M&Ms has ever been mistakenly filled with peanut M&Ms. Do unopened packs of mismatched M&Ms exist? If they do, how rare are they? How much would they fetch on the open market? How much would you pay for a sealed pack of regular M&Ms that was accidentally filled with peanut M&Ms?
“Oh, sorry, what was that you were saying?” I asked. “My mind was someplace else.”
“What were you thinking about?”
When I relayed the conversation that was had in my head, the look I received from my friend was equal parts shame and amusement. I expected to hear something like, “Wow, really? You know I’ve never told anyone about my bed-wetting problem before,” but instead I learned that I’m not the only person in the world who has a hard time empathizing with others. Oh, and there’s a test you can take that will tell you your Empathy Quotient. This friend has a sister who is autistic, and the test is given as one of many ways to test for autism. It’s graded on a scale of 0-80, and it’s said that anything under a 30/80 “indicates a lack of empathy in people with autism or asperger’s”.
Obviously I raced home to take the test. I was nervous because of all the sixty questions on the test, I didn’t really feel “strongly” one way or the other about a lot of them. In my mind I thought that feeling strongly about being the center of attention, or feeling strongly about being good at predicting how someone will feel, might make me wildly more (or less) autistic. About halfway through the test my mind shifted gears. If I didn’t feel strongly one way or another about stuff doesn’t that mean I’m incapable of feeling deep emotions? Wouldn’t that make me wildly more (or less) autistic? I figured I’d keep going how I was going and see what the results said.
I scored a 17 out of 80, which means that people with autism possess almost double the amount of empathy I’m capable of feeling.
Obviously I decided to re-take the test. I changed a bunch of answers from slightly yes to slightly no based on deeper reading of the questions, and I changed a bunch of slightly agree/disagree to strongly agree/disagree as well. After double-checking my work I decided I would resubmit my answers and THAT would tell me my empathy quotient.
I scored a 17/80 again, which means that people with autism STILL possess almost double the amount of empathy I’m capable of feeling.
I raced to tell my friend that I’m autistic, but that only resulted in my receiving a link to the Autism-Spectrum Quotient test. According to that test, 82% of of those officially diagnosed with autism score above a 32 on the AQ. I nervously filled out my answers, clicked submit, and then went back and forth for five minutes trying to figure out how the fuck I turn my number into a grade. I really wanted to know if I was autistic or not, so you can imagine how harrowing it was not knowing where to find the part of the test that tells me what my answer means.
On this test I scored a 20, which I think means I’m not autistic. So take that, autism! I beat you! And I still don’t have to care about people who try to tell me stuff about themselves. Win/win for Evan!
Here’s a belated Mix Tape for you to celebrate.
The dream of the ’90s is alive on Swan Fungus.
01. Swervedriver – Bring Me The Head Of The Fortune Teller [Buy This Album]
02. Swirlies – San Cristabal De La Casas [Buy This Album]
03. Camera Obscura – Number One Son [Buy This Album]
04. Four Tet – Unspoken [Buy This Album]
05. Friends Of Dean Martinez – The Shadow Of Your Smile [Buy This Album]
06. Palace Brothers – I Am A Cinematographer [Buy This Album]
07. Teenage Fanclub – Weedbreak [Buy This Album]
08. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – Zombie Compromise [Buy This Album]
09. American Analog Set – On The Run’s Where I’m From [Buy This Album]
10. Helium – Honeycomb [Buy This Album]
11. Slowdive – When The Sun Hits [Buy This Album]
12. Ride – Leave Them All Behind (Long Version) [Buy This Album]
13. Ash – Cantina Band [John Williams] [Buy This Album]
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