Communication Aspie Style New York

An Atomic Failure

As an Aspie many seemingly “normal” conversations really don’t go as well as they should.

Take yesterday.

Right now I’m in New York City, holed up in an apartment trying not to die of Covid-19.

And, well, I just could not be bothered to cook. So I went across the road to this place called “Atomic Wings”.

I mean, it’s just chicken wings

… simple, right?

Well, you’d think so.

But actually, it was the most confusing conversation I’ve had so far in this country (just over a month), simply because the woman seemed to assume I already know everything about the place (I didn’t).

I ordered two lots of wings marinated in different sauces. Then look at the sides menu to see if there’s anything else I want… there’s fries, dips and, well, all kinds of stuff.

So I ask for fries.

And the woman asks me: “Ranch or Blue Cheese?”

Now, this is listed as a dip under the fries, and she asked me right after I ask for fries… so I guess that’s what it’s for. So I say, “Ranch” (I hate blue cheese).

“And?” She says.

And what?

Now I’m not too sure what she means, and guess she’s misheard me… so I pointed at the sign where it lists the dips and say again, “Ranch, please.”

“… so you want three Ranches?”




Why would I want three?!

By now I’m so confused, and the woman is just staring at me like a total idiot (you probably know the feeling, right?).

And that wasn’t the end of it.

Because from there the whole conversation just degraded into pure confusion. Turns out the dips come free with the wings, which I guess makes sense, only the wings are already in a sauce and NOTHING anywhere says anything about dips coming with wings… and the order I was asked was, frankly, confusing as hell.

Point is, if you’re a local ordering from Atomic Wings is just like ordering from Mac Donald’s. You already know what they have, what you want, what goes with what and what they’re going to say. So when the checkout guy just says, “fries?” Or “sauce?” You know exactly what they mean. But if you’ve never bought wings in the US (least of all from Atomic Wings), you can, I hope, be forgiven for not having a clue what it all means.

Any conversation requires a certain amount of background knowlege.

And if you don’t have that?

Well, you’re doomed to failure.

Julian Northbrook

P.S. At the time of writing I’ve been in NYC for a month, and I’m staying another.


I’m sure this is a super cool city and all, but right now EVERYTHING is closed up. So I’m living in a super-expensive place for no reason whatsoever.