This is a strange phenomenon which was incredibly handy for call centre work. When I see a number and it is a number I have called before, I know instantly who that number belongs to. It is kind of like inbuilt caller ID.
We had a computer switchboard and when someone dialed out to a number, you could see the number they were calling. For most people that is where it would end, but me, I knew they were calling the ranger for X council, or the emergency contact for X client. I would not be able to recite that same number from memory though – if you asked me the number for X ranger I would have to go and look it up like everyone else.
Just to give you an idea of how epic this super power is, we had over a thousand clients and about 50-60 councils that we took calls for and I would recognise 95% of outgoing numbers other operators called. Even if I had only called the number once myself. I cannot tell you *how* I do this. It just happens magically.
In addition, any clients and customers who called in regularly from a mobile, I knew who was calling before I answered. I’d do the greeting and then say Hi Name without taking a breath, and they would always be like.. how did you know it was me? I’d joke and say I was psychic and would they like next weeks lotto numbers.. :)
Similar to inbuilt caller ID, I would only have to see the numberplate of a friend or family member once to remember that is their vehicle. Oddly, I know all the numberplates for Volkswagen Polos in the Shoalhaven, and when I see one driving, I can tell you where I normally see it parked. I guess this would be inbuilt number plate ID.
Filing Cabinet Mind
In the call centre, I could be on the phone with someone having a conversation but at the same time, my mind was hearing *all* the other conversations going on around me and filing those details away in case I needed them. One of my roles was to follow up on the calls other people had taken, so this super power was truly incredible for me – I never needed to read the log to see what had happened, I already knew.
This happens when I am out and about in the world as well – I can be having a conversation with someone in a coffee shop and I am hearing every other conversation and filing those nuggets away. It is subconscious and unconscious, I do not know I am doing it until my mind pulls out those nuggets when I need them.
Filing Cabinet Of Bitchery
At the same time I was filing all those conversations, if two staff members were having a conversation about another staff member, that would be filed away in my cabinet too, except my mind would replay that conversation to me later as a surprise to myself when things were quiet. It did not matter how far away the conversation would be – if it was in the same room and people were whispering, I still got it. This leads us to –
One reason I like to use my cordless headset around the house – I can hear every noise both outside and inside loudly and clearly in my head. If a bird is tweeting, I hear it. If there is a jet flying thousands of feet above, I hear it. Leaves rustling on the concrete, I hear it.
My headset blocks a lot of that extra noise out – in fact it does too good a job – The Other Half can sneak up on me when I am wearing it. Sometimes I’ll wear it with no sound at all, just to block out all those uninteresting and unnecessary noises. Some of the noises irritate me enormously and if I don’t put my headset on, I will just sit there and be annoyed about that noise. Like a running engine that isn’t going anywhere, or a dog barking constantly.
Video In My Head
If I have seen a video clip for a song, I will always see that video clip in my mind when the song plays. If I have seen a movie, I can replay it in my head without any need for DVDs or a TV screen. My memory for lines is better than any actor could dream of – I can tell you specific lines for a movie I saw once 20 years ago. Not all the lines, usually just the ones I most enjoyed or loved.
My ability to focus on what I am doing and shut all distractions out while simultaneously filing all those nuggets of information away plus noting who everyone else is calling is pretty amazing. The only thing that can break that Ninja focus is an unexpected sound stream like music, a barking dog or someone whistling. When those things happen, my mind wants to focus in on those noises and forget what I am focused on. I find it really difficult to work if music is playing, yet I have no problem working with a multitude of voices having different conversations around me.
These are just a few of the super powers I have been given – there are more. A lot of them are inbuilt and not something I would notice.
There are some limitations that Aspergers puts on me, and I’ll talk about those next time.