Finding a job in a college town is tough. There’s no shortage of cheap labor willing to do the worst tasks in exchange for minimum wage at best, or being paid under the table with questionable envelopes of money at worst. So when Redditor AccidentallyAutistic says that, upon being asked if he was autistic during a job interview, he responded with a nervous “Yes?” and then took the job anyway, I can honestly say that I believe him.
…not because I find him to be a trustworthy source of information on the Internet, but because the only person who’d accidentally admit to being autistic is probably at least on the spectrum somewhere, which gives him an out to being such an awkward fuckup:
A few years back, I was a naïve kid attending a smallish college outside of my home state. Utter shyness was my vice, and this made it nigh-on impossible to get a job in a town which was almost exclusively clerk/ cashier positions. Every interview I went to, I would cripple over into myself and sweat profusely. Still, I needed a job – badly.
So, when I saw a ‘help needed’ sign in the general store’s window, I was eager to check it out. This place was old school; it looked as if it had been preserved from the social-contract times of the 1940s and the owner was an elderly man of eighty years. I ask after him and the old guy hobbles out, extending a hearty handshake.
We walk off to a backroom and he begins to ask the usual questions, I begin to get uneasy and jumpy like usual. This seems to make the old man nervous also and a perplexed expression forms across his face as his brow furrows. “Say, why ya nervous all of a sudden?” the man asks. In a panic, the sweat funnelling down my neck, my hands becoming clammy, I was in a corner and this was the last chance saloon – “Er, well, you probably ought to know I have autism”
Fuck! A look of compassion and sympathy spreads over the old man, yet I want to run away. “None to worry, can you stack shelves for a couple of hours a day?” I continue to look at the ground, praying for it to swallow me whole, “yes, sir.”
And so, every day for four or five hours, I stock the store’s shelves whilst pretending to be autistic. I saw ‘Rain Man’ kind of once when I was on a flight, and I do my best to imitate Hoffman’s Raymond Babbit. If a customer came to me and asked for an item, I’d echo their words under my breath, or twitch my body around, or mumble incoherently. It was a shitty situation all round, but I needed the money and I was doing no harm.
This ploy continued through to spring, until one day the old man asks me if I want to work front-shop ‘to build some confidence’. Reluctantly, I agree and continue doing a sub-par impression of an autistic man for the few customers that walk in. The old man stands beside me sorting out items, he seems proud.
A few hours pass and I slip into the routine. Suddenly, my mom and dad stroll through the door – I had forgotten they were coming up to visit me, oh shit!
They walk up to the desk and hug me, I cannot react else the old man beside me will know the ruse is up. “How are you?” my mom asks with a big smile. “mrrr…” comes my reply. Mom looks confused, “mrr, mrr, work,” I repeat.
“What the hell, are you fucking with us?” The old man steps forward and leans over the desk, he thinks a random couple have come in to abuse me. “This kid has autism, you fucking old whore, get the fuck out of my store.” My dad, my mom, and me stand with our mouths agape. Sensing I had to mitigate the situation, I throw my apron on the floor and run like Forrest Gump to my car, I floor it to my dorm.
Several hours later I get a call, it is my dad. “Son, have you ever been tested for the spectrum?”