Kathy Grant posted a reply on this blog mentioning my visit with her. I just got finished with another visit by autistic people (the post-Autreat visit rather than the pre-Autreat visit), and we were discussing how cool Kathy is. So I decided to blog about how cool Kathy is.
She came into my apartment and ran at my map, pointing at places and reciting the names, including sometimes the names of places they used to be parts of, really fast, while rocking, flapping, and at times jumping up and down. When Laura came by, she heard Laura’s last name and said “Eastern European name, Eastern European name,” and got similarly excited as they discussed Laura’s Slovak family.
It’s hard to describe exactly why Kathy is so cool. I think it’s because she’s so unabashedly herself, and unabashedly autistic-and-proud (she’s one of the co-founders of ANI), and up-front, and blunt, and heavily political, and yet she somehow manages to have the social skills to pull this all off without offending even many people she strongly disagrees with. I’ve rarely heard of anyone disliking her, and I really can see why. I think her fairly contagious enthusiasm is even contagious over long distances, because I can still feel noticeably happier just remembering her. (I am told this is not an uncommon reaction.)
So, Kathy, if you read this, thanks for coming by and I really enjoyed it, and anyone else, if you read this, you’ve got to meet Kathy sometime (and if you do, talk geography at least some of the time). If you don’t get to meet her, you can read some of her writing in the anthology Sharing Our Wisdom or in back issues of ANI’s newsletter Our Voice.