16 May, 2011

what is an indistinguishable when it’s at home? that is, what do indistinguishables look like when they stand in empty rooms? who could love an indistinguishable? (people do, every day.) what happens to them?

how indistinguishable are indistinguishables? does keeping your hands by your sides really cover for all that could go wrong? what does it take to be an indistinguishable? what kind of thoughts are churning in the indistinguishable mind?

can indistinguishables cry? what does it look like? what kinds of places do indistinguishables go to to cry?

what sorts of feelings do indistinguishables have? what about people who were taught that being an indistinguishable was the first thing they should want—but are incorrigibly distinguishable?

what do indistinguishables eat for dinner? what do they put in their napkin? what happens to indistinguishables who pretend they can cook?

do indistinguishables have rumbly stomachs, or do they try to create a clatter to distract the people around them?

David Foster Wallace used to carry around a tennis racket to explain why he carried around a towel, which he actually used to wipe sweat off himself when he was scared. it’s a good story, but there is no indistinguishable pride parade. all the pride of indistinguishablility is like holding a taste in your mouth in a place where you’re not supposed to be eating.

in Sparta, a boy died holding a fox under his shirt while it chewed up his stomach. this has lasted for millennia as a story of something to be proud of, and why this is the case is something that people in power should be asking themselves, but asking themselves questions is something most people in power are too busy to do.


  1. And there are fewer and fewer places where you're "not supposed to be" eating. Even in church (which was a no-eating zone for most of my life) there are spreads and cakes, and the same in some classrooms.

    (The closest I can think of is probably a lozenge in an office. That, for me, is probably "the taste" of indistinguishability).

    Silvery and shiny is probably my answer to the "indistinguishable feelings" question.

    No, keeping your hands by your sides does not cover ... for all that could go wrong. Nor does swinging your hands/arms.

    And I am often asking "What is this when it's at home?"

    So this is where the "Fox Under the Shirt" comes from. He's a classical reference! Did the fox chew the bones, muscles, joints? Must have been very rapacious! There are some people who hold possums in their skins.

    I wonder how indistinguishables find each other and know who they are.

    I don't know if the indistinguishable thinks much about their thoughts.

    Incorrigbly distinguishable: like a piece of pottery or an antique.

    Creating a clatter for the people around you. Still feel very problematic about that.

  2. I love this. I keep reading it and trying to think of a Comment to leave as opposed to just expressing my affection for the writing.

    I've lately realized that if I make a noise-related request, I don't have to out myself as autistic or go into the fine details of sensory processing. I can substitute the simple sentence "I have hearing problems." This is true, but I know people will take it differently and assume that I'm hard of hearing.

    So I keep wondering, what leads me to trade one kind of distinguishability for another?

  3. Zoe I am having the same reaction. This really is amazing.

    I know that I personally would much rather be pathologized/medicalized in certain ways. I guess if your goal is to seem "normal" or be accepted socially that doesn't make much sense, but since that's never been an option for me I'm more concerned about what's less harmful. What will make people call the police on me or institutionalize me, what will make people dismiss me, what will make people leave me alone, and (more recently from time to time) what will make people actually change something in a way that's helpful?

    I'm still figuring this out and it varies based on so many factors that there can't be any constant method.