• J.R. Reed

The Latest in the Aspie COVID-19 Cohabitation Experiment-Week 5



Take two people with Asperger’s who are used to living alone and throw them in the same house for nearly five weeks.

She likes staying where the decibel level is always twenty-thirty points lower than in Springfield, where she lives, which is about a half hour away.


It’s probably because in my county the population is a whopping 20,000 as opposed to her city of over 120,000, so she doesn’t need earplugs and her much (as in 15 times less) risk of getting coronavirus makes it the perfect place to self-quarantine.

As an adult on the spectrum, I find the idea of this sheltering experiment to be very interesting, informative and a lot less lonely than my life would normally be. Her two twelve-year-old, five pound, mostly blind and deaf poodles are an absolute (insert sarcasm) treat for my black lab autism service dog, Tye.


Especially Dante, the one who plays bumper head as he goes around the living room and kitchen in search of Tye and then goes to work trying to prove that he’s the alpha dog, in the special way dogs do. Tye generally just lays there and takes it, while giving us looks that say, “please help me.” In this photo Dante looks adorable laying next to Tye, but in reality, he’s just resting up for a few minutes before he starts up again. Note the look on Tye's face as he waits for the next round to begin.

Other than a dog who pinballs around the house just to have his way with a dog twelve times his size, things are going well. I like to cook, and Shannon doesn’t. Shannon finds cleaning to be cathartic, while I find it to be a pain in the ass. I don’t live in filth, but Shannon recently asked me if I had ever dusted the living room blinds in the nearly three years I’ve lived in this house, and I had to answer honestly, which was, “probably?”

She’s paying for the economy-size boxes of Swiffers and I’m paying for a lot of the food, so it’s a win-win.

My twenty-two-year-old daughter recently sheltered/moved in early with her fiancé, so Shannon took it upon herself to do the massive amount of laundry that was piled up on my daughter’s bathroom floor that Shannon is using as her own. She also cleaned up the mess (a term I use VERY lightly) that was left behind by my sweet angel, which was something I should have done before Shannon came down, yet Shannon took it upon herself to do.

Thank you, Shannon.

We’ve learned a lot about each other over this span of time and we’ve learned a lot about the world we live in, both good and bad. For some reason we’ve taken time to look at the daily death toll count from not only our three local counties in Southwest Missouri, but from the country and the world. Some may find this morbid, but we find it interesting to see how things are playing out and what’s coming next.

FYI, as of this writing, the US is pushing closer to 21,000 extremely tragic deaths.

We’ve seen people do stupid things, like the 26-year-old guy from Southern California who punched his mother in the face earlier in the week because he thought she was hiding toilet paper from him. She was, and it was because he was using too much. Ya gotta love families…

Last week my neighbor texted me to tell me she turned down a grocery aisle at Walmart, only to find a man and woman fist fighting over food. My first thought was disappointment at how low people have gotten, and that a man should never, under any circumstances hit a woman. My next thought was, “why didn’t my neighbor think to get any cell phone video of said fisticuffs?”

On the flip side, last night I read about a guy who anonymously bought nearly $83,000 in grocery store and restaurant gift cards for a small town in Iowa. That was $150 for each of the 549 households in the town of Earlham. How cool is that?

This morning I read a list of the things that people are hoarding on a week-by week basis through this pandemic. Again, as someone with Asperger’s, I studied the list to look at the trends and try to figure out why people do the things they do and buy the things they buy. Some make sense and others make absolutely no sense. This list is according to the CEO of Walmart, who I assume is currently the Dr. Anthony Fauci of retail buying.

See for yourself.

Week 1 Hand sanitizers, soaps and disinfectants. This one makes sense as people were in a panic and thought the world might be coming to an end and that Purell would be able to stop the impending Apocalypse.

Week 2 Toilet paper. Need I say anymore? I’m sure we all know someone with a garage full of the stuff. Instead of going out and trying to find rolls in the store, Shannon went online to Staples and bought a case of the giant rolls like you see in a Walmart or a gas station bathroom. For someone who lives alone, this is easily a years’ worth of TP.

Week 3 & 4 Spiral hams and baking yeast. The hams make sense with Easter coming up, though I don’t expect a lot of us will be doing the traditional large family gathering this year. As far as baking yeast, I guess people are getting bored and are on some kind of a baking kick. If anyone has anything extra, feel free to drop something off at my place.

Week 5 Hair clippers and hair dye. With barber shops and beauty salons shuttered, we’re all looking a bit shaggy right about now. Sales of hair clippers alone shot up 166% last week.

The other day I mentioned to Shannon that I thought I might just shave my head and the look I got was one of, well, I’m not sure what it was, because I’m autistic and don’t read facial cues well, but I know it wasn’t good.

As for hair dye, I guess we can’t have our gray starting to show, can we? All I can say is that we’re bound to see some pretty sketchy home dye jobs in the coming days, so be prepared to put on a fake smile and tell your neighbor that their hair looks, “really great. No. Seriously.”

I know that we’re lucky in that, though we’re very different types of autistics, we compliment each other well and things seem to be mostly working out. But with the pandemic curve seemingly leveling, this arrangement should be unnecessary fairly soon.

Not everyone on the spectrum is so lucky. Some are sheltered with family members and can’t get the privacy they need, while others have chronic illnesses and are having the medical appointments they desperately need to stay healthy and in as little pain as possible, cancelled because of the coronavirus.

I broke my foot earlier in the week and when I went to urgent care, not only did they interrogate me and take my temperature by scanning my forehead, but they also ran the forehead thermometer over my Tye as well. I found that a bit strange, but whatever.

How are you coping with this pandemic and all that goes along with it? Leave us a comment and let us know, leave a comment on our Facebook page, respond on Twitter or if you want to be anonymous, use the contact page on the website and send us something. We will definitely read it and get back with you.

Here’s hoping that you’re doing well and that you stay healthy and happy as the world sorts all this out.

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