How often do you look at the TV Guide? I, personally, would never look at it. What’s on at the time I want to sit down is all I’m concerned about so I’ll look at the screen guide and decide yea or nay on the shows. Probably what most people do.
But not Matthew. He LOVES the TV Guide. So much, in fact, that we used to subscribe to it (until they started only including prime time shows, none of which he cared about). Of course, if you’ve spent more than two minutes around Matthew you already know this.
Many of our friends, having quickly figuring this attraction out, bring over their copies of the TV Guide for him. If we’re out of town we always buy a paper with one. Those are more exciting because the shows are often in a different location on the page. A challenge, as he has to search for them. Eventually, they wear out. I have to surreptitiously sneak them out of his bag to toss them. To Matthew, it doesn’t matter that the print has been worn off…I really think he believes that you too, will know what the smudge represents.
Some people ask if Matthew really watches that much television. Well, of course he would, I assure them. He thinks even the commercials are better than no TV… but really he just uses it to interact with others. For him, it doesn’t matter how old the guide is or even if we get the channels. It’s a way for him to share something, in this case a show, that most people recognize. Okay, if you’re under 20 or never watched television as a kid you might not be familiar with Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Matlock, NCIS but you might know those favorite cartoons like Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny and the like. Matthew has discovered that most of his friends do know those shows and are generally positive about them. So he shows them to everyone. And having those autistic traits, he shows them often. Sometimes over and over. Sometimes he’s annoying. But think about it this way: he shows you the TV show; you respond with a question or comment and voila, he’s having a conversation with you.
Today while I was working at the computer he brought over the guide. He had found Jurassic Park, an exciting, albeit somewhat scary movie. I looked at it, as usual and asked him to say the name. His lips pursed and for just a fraction of a second, I thought he might say the word. But then he closed them, thought about it and gave me a dinosaur growl instead. And then went on to find Crocodile Dundee.