Your Local Cryptid


Kat Cassell, Writer

Caroline was sat under the dingy white lights of a regular school hallway. The cold white tones of the wall and the bright blue weather outside all came together to illuminate the expressions of her well. All the more for my disabled eyes to see what nuance her features could offer me. From an outside perspective, Caroline seems distant. To be a little brutal to my dear friend, she is a space cadet. You can find her neutral-faced and daydream at any hour, and yet she’s grounded somehow. How is it that she never seems to listen, and yet always knows? I’ve set off to find out.

First though, who is Caroline? On the surface, she’s a small, relatively antisocial, 16-year-old girl with ADHD, who enjoys Star Wars, SCP’s, and drawing characters from the many worlds her beautiful mind has created, but past that she is so much more. Caroline’s friends know her as an endless bank of information. She is easily described as “cryptic.” It seems that any topic you speak of Caroline easily keeps up and even offers more information than what you began with. She’s unchallenged in the sheer amount that must be going on in that brain of hers, and yet, she’s a ditz. That seems to be the nature of her in general. Demonstrations of incredible intelligence, followed by the lack of something so simple it makes you wonder how she may know what she knows in the first place. Caroline a natural paradox. I can never tell what she’s thinking, and something about that makes her magical to me. I’m determined to find out what goes on in her head.


Over the course of two interviews, and a few weeks of sitting next to her, I picked her brain.


An interesting detail about Caroline that sets her apart from me, at the very least, is the way that she thinks. Personally, I find all of my internal happenings are narrated by a little me in my head, but Caroline is different. She does not have a voiced internal monologue. Instead, Caroline thinks in a combination of unvoiced concepts and situations.


CAROLINE: “There’s a disconnect between fantasy and reality, but I like to put my experiences into fantasy”

ME: “If you were to think of a sentence, and re-word that sentence before you spoke it, how would you do that?”

CAROLINE: “I sort of mouth it out silently”

ME: “if you tried to hear the sound of your voice in your head, could you?”

CAROLINE: “ If I try hearing my voice I sorta can, but it sounds very forced and pre-planned like it’s lagging behind my mind a lot.”

Caroline thinks straight from concept to words or situations with no monologue in between. It’s just about the same as you or me. Notably, the only tendency I find particularly different is that Caroline tends to think of situations that indirectly represent her thoughts.

She summarized it best as, “I sort of have a wordless idea, then it jumps straight into the action.”


While it’s certainly interesting, I don’t think that the lack of internal monologue is what makes Caroline so interesting, but I do think that it gives us a little glimpse into what exactly she is always daydreaming about. She’s off into the stars because that’s the way that she processes things. So instead of wondering what’s going on in her head, I wonder now about what situation is playing out. But what about the way that Caroline speaks? If there’s one thing that truly makes Caroline unlike anyone I know, it’s the way she interacts with people. When she does respond, she comes off as very engaged, but most of the time she seems reserved, quiet, and slightly awkward. She’s incredibly insightful, but she seems to lack a basic level of awareness.


ME: “what are some personality aspirations you have?”

CAROLINE: “Oh. People don’t usually ask me that.”


She then paused and sat in her chair in the way the thinker statue does.


CAROLINE: “I want to take things more seriously. I tend to lighten up situations when I shouldn’t. I have trouble empathizing because of that.”

ME: “How do your troubles with empathy manifest themselves?”

CAROLINE: “I do feel what other people do, but I am very bad at showing that because I get defensive of my feelings even though it’s another person’s feelings rubbing off on me. I just don’t know what to do with that.”

ME: “Do you have trouble picking up on other people’s emotions?”

CAROLINE: “If you’re not straightforward about your feelings I’m going to take a long time to notice”


Then, Mrs. Tribou politely poked her head out into the hallway and informed us that Caroline was being checked out, so we got to pick it back up in the library the following week.

A few days after the initial interview, in our seventh-period class, I sat next to Caroline, laid my head on the desk, and told her about a recent tired spell I’ve been having. As I described it, Caroline looked away and generally sat in a closed-off position, but when I finished, she turned to face me. I could see the thought run through her head. She was debating something, and then slowly, and very unsurely, she reached her hand over to me and patted my back; two very gentle pats. At that moment the fact that it was extremely awkward, or even the fact that it was a weird moment to give reassurance didn’t matter. I knew that Caroline had just done something huge. She fought herself to tell me that she cared. She made it clear that the topic mattered to her, and yet she started so closed off. Why is that? Does it have anything to do with her ADHD?


ME:” When were you diagnosed with ADHD?”

CAROLINE: “ Around 15. I believe it was between 9nth and Freshmen year?”

ME: “How does ADHD affect your perspective?”

CAROLINE: “ It’s like forgetting why you walked into a room 5 times over. They call it executive dysfunction.”

ME “Did your grades suffer?”

Caroline: (unflinchingly) “oh definitely”

Me: “ do you think ADHD affects your social life?”

Caroline: “I don’t know if it does.”


There it was. Dead in the hole. It can’t be ADHD. She struggles with how scattered it can make her feel but talking to her, you never get the impression she isn’t there.


I’ll be honest. This interview wasn’t what I wanted from it. I wanted an answer; for some reason, she is the way she is. I want to know the reason she baffles me in every interaction, but there is no such thing. At the end of the day, there are so many things that make her who she is. Talking to her, you can see a few threads, sure. She’s awkward. She’s a little nerdy, but there are so many threads woven into so many intricate patterns that I almost feel guilty trying to pull at them. Caroline is a relatively antisocial, 16-year-old girl with ADHD, who enjoys Star Wars, SCP’s, and drawing characters from the many worlds her beautiful mind has created, but past that, Caroline is a good friend. That’s magical enough for me.