Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Turn ons and turn offs

I'm a terrible procrastinator and rubbish at actually "doing" things. To attempt to combat this I'm trying to keep a list of things I need to do. Things I need to do around the house, or chores that need done, things that need bought, bills that need paid etc etc. When I do something I mark it off the list.

I can't say it's been a 100% success, but I suppose you have to start somewhere. It has definitely helped though, there were a few things I only did because they were on the list and I wanted to do my best to see all the items crossed off.

The things that seem to stay there the longest are anything that involves shopping or phoning people. I'm not overly bothered about shopping really, but it's not my favourite thing to do, and some shops are obviously easier than others. It could also be that my shopping procrastination might just be down to the time of year. Shops are too busy and too noisy at this time of year, and I'm very quick to just walk into a shop…turn around and walk right back out. I've also been a bit busy at the weekends too, so this weekend I'll be very pleased if I can clear all the shopping tasks from my list.

Tasks that involve phoning people though - I dunno, I think they're going to be there for a while. You gotta walk before you can run after all.

Now…if only I had a nice pen with which to maintain this list…

Monday, 24 November 2008

You only get one life

When I used to watch documentaries about people with disfigured faces, 3 legs, no arms, too much hair, allergic to the Sun etc…I would think how horrible it must be; imagine living such that you'll never know normal life. Your ailment is controlling your entire being and you'll never know what it's like to be normal. You only have one life, and yours is fucked. You must feel robbed and cheated. Bitter.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Growing Old

It's funny the things you do when you get older. For example this summer I bought some art. Now I'm not an "art" person, I don't go to art galleries, or museums. I've never read a book on art and if an art show come on TV I'll see if Mythbusters is on the other side. However there was an open-air art festival in the gardens where I live so, while on a Summer's walk down to the beach, I thought it would be rude not to at least swing by. There was lots of your usual stuff, the kind of amateur art I'd have expected to see, however there was someone doing portrait art who had such a unique, edgy style. He had a series of pictures and one really caught my eye. I went back the next day and it was still drawing me in so I decided to buy it.

My latest symptom of growing old is that I thought to myself "I could do with having a nice pen." Where this thought came from I just don't know. It seems that having "nice" things becomes more attractive to you the older you get. So I googled some nice pens and found the one I wanted and I knew of a shop in town that sold them, so I decided to stop by as I did other errands around town. I found the place that sells them and they were pretty much a top-end fancy-things place. They sold Rolex watches, Gucci watches and stuff like that. That was great but here's my problem…the way I look and dress I'd get thrown out of a homeless shelter, let alone a place where you can spend £500 on a set of cufflinks. Nonetheless I entered the dragon's den.

It was a fairly small shop and there were three desks dotted around that had well suited salespeople talking to well-heeled clients. It seems in a shop like this you don't pick what you want from the shelf and take it to the till…you need "consultation". I located the pen bit of the store but the woman was busy with some guy. Three watches lay on the leather-topped table as she talked to him about his work. Why this was necessary to buy a watch I don't really know. I guess it is their job to give their clients the whole personal shopping experience. Maybe he thought he was impressing the sales girl with his job, and his expensive taste in watches. Maybe he was hoping she would think he can take her away from all this and treat her like the princess she thinks she deserves to be. Take her away from the dreary, stuffy job…and, "that man". I skulked in the background but it wasn't a very welcoming place, the atmosphere wasn't one you wanted to drink in, and as no-one was free to "help" me I left and stood outside. I watched through the window for a while but the man didn't budge from his watch-buying. I guess buying a watch is a really big deal for some people. In the end I just bought a Biro.

Maybe nice pens just aren't for people like me? Maybe that's why fat businessmen with ugly wives have nice pens. I guess if you want a status symbol you have to start from the bottom and work your way up…a nice haircut, some expensive fragrance, an Armani suit…and maybe then I could walk into a nice shop and someone will want to help me. Even though you have the money to spend, people only want to take money from people who are playing the game.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Ho ho ho

I hate Christmas. I hate everything about it, from the 3 songs that play on a loop in every store you visit, to the massive queues when you're just there buying a movie to watch at the weekend, to the forced joviality and goodwill to all men. I hate the consumerism.

However I think everyone hates those things, well, a lot of people do anyway. Having Asperger Syndrome (AS) just adds another layer of misery on top. Obviously the queues and the noise in shops mean that shopping for anything is off the agenda until after the January Sales. I'm terribly impractical and a chronic procrastinator so I always leave buying gifts etc to the last second. But the worst thing is having to deal with other people…their wants and needs and expectations. Every year I want to tell people "don't get me anything and I won't get you anything". If I want something I'll buy it. I don't "get anything" from the act of giving or the act of receiving. The only thing I get is stress and anxiety and the fear that people don't like/want what you get them, and having to pretend you like/want what you're given. It's such a sham, why do people do it year after year after year?

Plus nothing is more miserable than being alone on Christmas. AS or not.

It's not just Christmas though, it's my birthday too. I don't tell anyone when it is, mainly because I don't like being the centre of attention, even if it's just 5 minutes of attention. I'd rather not have it. My birthday is just another day. When it is someone's birthday at work it is always made known in advance and there are whip rounds, cards, cakes to be bought, drinks after work that lead on to clubs etc etc. I can do without it all. It's usually not before long that people realise they don't know when my birthday is and ask. I just tell them that I don't celebrate it.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Seven for a secret, never to be told

I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS) quite late in life. As an adult it has been my choice who to tell and who not to tell. It's a horrible responsibility, as information is one way. Once you tell someone something you can't take that back. Having AS isn't just something you might feel embarrassed about…it can have legal repercussions with your employment and might even change forever how people treat you.

To this day only two people know I have AS (three if you count my psych, but she doesn't count). Someone in America that I communicate with via e-mail (how very AS) and my then girlfriend. No-one at work knows, even my parents don't know. The thing is, I've lived many many years like this, so why bother changing? What will it change if people know? I'm sure most people in my life think I'm odd in some way…so I could tell them I have AS and it would answer their questions…but would anything change? Would it stop me being odd? No, so why bother?

If anything it is the fact that things might change that I don't want. I'd hate to feel people are patronising me. I'd hate for people to ask me things, or to do something then pause and add "Is that…ok? You know…with your…'thing'?"

My sister is dyslexic (my family has such great genes) yet she chose to pursue English at university. She made it…but with a lot of help. People had to constantly bend over backwards, give her more time for exams, allow her to resit if she failed, extra tuition etc etc etc. I'd hate that. If my AS stops me doing something I'd rather not do it, than do it only because others make allowances for me.

If I were so inclined, it would probably make things easier at work. AS is a registered disability in my country, and "we" have protection against discrimination. So I could ask my boss that I'd rather e-mail clients than phone them, I could ask for allowances for being taken off one thing and put on something else as I find it hard to switch tasks. There are lots of things I could ask for…if I were so inclined. But it would move me from being "disadvantaged" to being "a victim".

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Going nowhere

I've mentioned a few times that I have a talent with computers, and I've been quite lucky in that it has given me a steady career with a good salary. I do often feel like I'm wasting my talents…and often it is other people telling me I'm wasting them. My problem is that I have no real ambition.

It's not something that's frequently on my mind, but it does get to me when I see ambition in others. Others who I know aren't as skilled as myself. I know fine well that their drive will see them far more successful than I am in my career. I can't begrudge these people their success…no-one is successful by sitting around doing nothing (like me). But I suppose I can't help but feel a little jealous and left out. I don't know why cos I don't really seek status symbols or expensive things. I have enough money to get by and it does me. Maybe I subconsciously think that I'll gain easier acceptance in life if I had more money and status?

From what I've read, a lack of ambition isn't uncommon in people with Asperger Syndrome (AS) which does make me wonder if reports that Bill Gates has AS are true. It's no surprise that I'm not in contact with anyone I went to university with and for me that's a good thing. I really excelled at university and I don't think I could cope with hearing about the great careers of those who didn't do as well as me.

My lack of ambition is something that also troubles a little at work when it comes to "annual review" time. It's quite often that my employers seem frustrated that I'm happy where I am. When they say "where do you want to be in 5 years time" the answer in my head is "right where I am now" but I have to try and dress it up a little. I'll say that I enjoy my job and don't want to move to management as it would mean I couldn't do what I like, so I'd like to still be a programmer, but maybe a more senior one. Or whatever.

The other annoying thing is that fellow work colleagues are always trying to rope me into some scheme or idea they have and are working on outside of work. They recognise my abilities and want me on board. Truth be told my spare time is important to me. More important than making money on the side by giving it up to do more of what I do during the day. That's the big difference between me and most people I work with; they will happily work 9-5 then work 5-10 trying to get their own projects off the ground so they can start their own businesses…put effort in now and reap the benefits later. Me? I'm happy working 9-5 knowing I'll never be my own boss or rich, so long as when I leave work my time is my own.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


These last three weeks I've been working like a dog trying to meet a deadline. I've been working late, eating junk, working weekends, drinking every night then waking in a haze. Days just run on and on. Now the deadlines are not an issue it is back to service as normal, back to the old routine. I left work on time, went to the gym, I ate something semi-decent for tea but bought stuff to do cooking with tomorrow, bought fruit for the week.

It's quite a relief really. Today I felt quite calm. I'm usually bombing around the supermarket in a stressed-up mess, intolerant and impatient. Tonight I would say I had a stroll around the supermarket. A slow-paced, easy going, stroll.