How it feels: Scripting

A good script can make or break a movie or a play. A good script can do miracles. A great script can make any form of social interaction go more smoothly.

I noticed my scripting on one of my trainee-periods, when I had to do outbound telephone calls. I couldn’t script those, because I couldn’t see the person on the other side, and it was so much more difficult. I never had met the person in real life, so I couldn’t rely on a mental picture of how they looked like. Imagining how they look like makes scripting so much easier, because you can picture how they would react and what mannerism they would use and how strict they are and such, all that can be a good way to predict how the telephone call could go, but I had nothing to rely on, so I would really graph out the complete telephone call and would imagina all the answers they would give, and it was exhausting.

I had the luck of having a good mentor on that trainee-period, two actually, three if I come to think of it. The first one was Wanda, whom taught me how to pick up the phone and answer in a good way. She really, really coached me. Very gently. It helped that we knew eachother from way back (we went to kindergarten together). It helped that I knew her brother, whom is a year older than me. It really helped that she was really, really gentle.

I didn’t knew I was an autistic back then, but I had a sense of it. I was so afraid of making those phonecalls every trainee period (I only went there once and they insisted that I would do the telephone calls). There was no way around not doing those calls, so I had to learn, and this is were Wanda came in.

This was the coaching for the inbound telephone calls, which was much easier. I could script those. I could take on the phone in 3-4 different languages (I didn’t need the comprehension of the full language, I only needed to know the 3-4 sentences I would speak and then refer the call to someone else, or end the call there. I could script those easily, as I would always pick up the phone the same way, in the same manner. I would great them in Dutch and when they replied to me, I would assess which language they used and go further in that language and onto the second part of my script.

Outbound telephone calls still frighten me and I have to take my time to prepare for them. I really have to have in my head what I need and what sentences I will use to accomplish this. It helps that I have studied administration and know the most common question they are going to ask, so I have memorized most of the information, or have most of the information they require handy, so I don’t have to look for them.

In conversations, I adlib a lot. I have a good way (I think) of conversing with people, throwing in the occassional joke (which I learned from standup comedians and ad-verbatim, with mannerisms, vocal intonation and all echo back (verb of echolalia) to my company.

Because I am interested in almost any subject, I can talk about almost anything, and if I don’t know anything, I can appear an interesting guest by asking relevant questions. This is my go to thing. If I know something, I will give you great tips, books, interesting facts, and if I don’t know anything about the subject at hand, I will ask questions, so I get to know more about the subject. That way my database gets extended and I can easily strike up a conversation with someone that knows something about that subject and let them know that I have learned something, and they will give me more information,…

I am not that concious of scripting anymore, except when I am in new situations. In new situations I am concious of the fact that I need to build a psychological schema on how to behave and how to react and how to talk and what to say. Last time I was aware of this was when I broke up with my dutch girlfriend and she had to drop of some belongings of mine. I never have been in that situation before so I shutdown, until she nudged me out of it to give me the agreed upon hug. Still couldn’t say a word, as I was non-verbal.

scripting a behaviour and speech is a bit like a programming language. When this happens do and say this. I don’t know if only autistics are aware of scripting or we are more prone to it? What do you think?

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