10 Minutes

I wrote the short piece below to try to help neurotypical people understand how their use of words can be unhelpful to those of us with Asperger’s syndrome.


From the moment we learn to tell the time, we know 60 seconds are equal to one minute and 60 minutes are equal to one hour. Further, we know that if one minute has passed, it is always 60 seconds which have passed and this holds true regardless of the day or, indeed, the time of day.

Given we know time works in this way, it follows we should know the meaning of the phrase ‘I [or we] will be 10 minutes.’

Yet each occasion I hear the phrase, I am unpleasantly surprised I have to wait for a period of time which is not 10 minutes.

The use of a phrase which includes a period of time to mean anything but the specified time is curious, imprecise, unsettling, and more.

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