Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Ho, ho, horrible

My anxiety levels have been through the roof today, all day. My flat looks like the only gift I got this year was squatters. I honestly can't remember the last time I did the dishes, and the only thing with more dust than the cans and bottles on my floor is the vacuum cleaner. I'm living off takeaways and alcohol as each day is as without structure as the last. Getting up later and later each day, starting to drink earlier and earlier each evening. My deep depression has now turned into absolute anxiety.

I'm back at work for two days which is a strain to be honest, and then it all starts again until the New Year when I'll have a whole new batch of people to lie to about how great my Christmas was.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Let's get the party started

It was my new company's Christmas party last week, and I thought I'd better go along. I had an idea I wouldn't like it as it takes me a while to relax around new people. I had a get-together with my old work colleagues and it was great. People I'd known for years and I felt relaxed and able to talk, or just listen and not feel bad. We talked about people we knew and events we had all shared in.

My new work colleagues are all still a mystery to me, and I still haven't met 90% of the company. I turned up to the venue in my usual non-work attire of jeans and a t-shirt. Luckily I saw others arrive as I approached and my attire was somewhat "off point" so I had to go home to change into something more suit orientated. I returned to the venue and walked into a massive room where everyone was mingling and I was probably the last to turn up. Even in my new clothes I was underdressed with most men wearing morning suits or tuxedos and the females all wore glamorous ball gowns and dresses.

And I first turned up in jeans and a T-shirt.

I felt quite embarrassed and humiliated to be honest. How could I have gotten it so wrong? Two hundred people seemed to instinctively know the dress code was ubersmart; they had all managed to tap into this subconscious stream of social awareness that runs through all human beings with the exception of myself. At least I was in a position to go home and change - otherwise it would have been like that dream where you're naked, only more embarrassing.

The format of the evening was a mingle followed by us sitting for a meal in pre-arranged tables, and then more mingling after the meal. Needless to say my pre-drink mingling was awkward and mainly involved me hovering in the background of people who were probably internally debating on whether to acknowledge my existence or not.

The meal wasn't too bad as I kinda knew a few people on my table so made sure I arranged to sit next to them. In order to do so I had to swap places with someone so I swapped our name cards to complete the subterfuge. After 10 minutes or so in my seat its rightful owner approached and picked her wine glass up from in front of me, saying "sorry, I left my drink at your seat" with an amazingly subtle amount of sarcasm.

After the meal people started to talk and drift and people came and went and the whole seating structure of the room broke down and people floated like nebulous particles waiting to dock. The noise got louder and louder and I started to shut down, waiting for an opportunity to leave under the cloak of other people's social activity.

And then it happened…the pity talk. Someone who themselves seemed to have no-one to talk to, not because they were autistic but because they were boring, came over and flatly announced "I thought I'd come and talk to you". By now I had already shut down, I could barely hear anything, I tried to read their lips as best I could but ended up leaning in for far too many "eh?"s. I conversed the best I could but there was no way out of this. It was a war of attrition where neither of us had anyone to come to the rescue, and my mobile phone was off so I couldn't simulate a "silent call" with some deft manipulation so I was stuck. In one of the many lulls in our conversation I excused myself to see if "someone I'm giving a lift to" had left yet and they got the message and allowed me to scan the room with full neck motion until they got the message and left. I left shortly after.

It would have been better for me if I had never gone in the first place. I'm sure I came across as pretty rude to a few people *shrug* I just need more time to feel comfortable around these people, but I think I've put myself one step forward and two steps back. My probation is coming to an end in a few weeks too.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009


This Christmas will be maybe my purest yet. It's just me and my flat this year. I think the thing that people with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) hate the most about Christmas is dealing with the expectations and needs of other people. People tend to be quite clandestine about their wants and desires and this is normally alright as normal people can pick up their hints and signals and successfully decode them. Unfortunately us with AS lack this ability.

It means that Christmas spent around friends and families is usually bound to end in an accumulation of interpretation, worry and ultimately disappointment. The only Christmas gift people really want is for you to show them that you understand them. It's a gift I can never give.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Thinking outside the box

I had an interesting day at work today. One of the main differences between my new job and my old one is that at my current job everyone is quite competent at what they do, and I'm also the "middle" developer with one developer more senior than me. So I don't spend as much time helping other people with their problems as I did in my old job.

However today we were dealing with a problem that no-one could solve or even much understand. Lots of people had had a hand in solving it to no avail. Now in these situations, what often happens is an unofficial coding free-for-all where everyone works on the problem at the same time with the aim that the person who solves it first gets the kudos.

So we were all pretty much focussed on solving this tricky problem and to paraphrase the situation, imagine a chain of events from step 1 to step 5, and step 5 is failing quite spectacularly. My colleagues were all spending their efforts looking at the ins and outs of step 5 and really tearing it apart and pouring over every line, trying to understand why it was failing. However I was the only one who seemed to contemplate the issue as a whole, and despite the obvious failure at step 5 I didn't want to make assumptions about where the fault was. So I took some time to analyse not how step 5 failed, but why it failed. After spending a few minutes on that I made some discoveries that all of my colleagues had missed. Mainly because they were looking at something else. Using my findings I back-tracked to step 4 to see the problem emerging, then back to step 3 to see the problem starting. It was step 3 that had the problem, and like dominos it was step 5 that exhibited the failure.

I'm now no more than 15 minutes into my attempt to solve the problem and I'm investigating an area none of my colleagues are. I am now confident that none of my colleagues has a chance of solving this problem as they are looking in the wrong place, so I soldier on and after half an hour I had finally solved the problem that no-one else could.

Now I'm not just blowing my own trumpet here :) the whole incident really taught me a few things. What struck me most was that my colleagues were acting in exactly the same way that my colleagues at my old job did. I was always frustrated as I felt people wasted too much energy looking for solutions in the wrong places after making too many assumptions. Not only that, but at my old job I'd often get annoyed at my colleagues' constant dialogue about what they thought was wrong, as to me that was just a distraction to my own train of thought. I'd feel like saying "stop wasting your time and stop speaking to me…you're looking into the wrong thing, you'll never solve this problem". Again today the same thing…I had to put up with a constant dialogue from my colleagues about this step 5 and I just tried to "yeah" and "uh-huh" the talk away and not let it distract me from looking at step 3.

This is a very clear-cut example of what people mean by out of the box thinking, and how the way my brain is wired gives me an advantage in problem solving over my non-autistic colleagues. When presented with a step that fails they get polarised by that step and can't see outside of its confines to contemplate that the real problem might be elsewhere. Whereas my first thought isn't "I wonder what is wrong with step 5", but "I wonder if step 5 is the problem". It's such a simple thing, such a simple concept yet other people don't seem to get it. Now that my new, rather competent, colleagues are exhibiting an identical problem solving approach to my old colleagues I can only assume that their way of thinking is just "normal".

So the sun does indeed shine on a dog's arse some days :)

Monday, 14 December 2009

Falling Down

I went to my usual café at the weekend to get my usual breakfast, as I have done every weekend for a few months. Only this time the waitress didn't ask if I was having my "usual", instead she told me that they weren't doing breakfast at this time anymore. At this time? It was 2pm…who doesn't have breakfast at 2pm? With a glance over her shoulder she informed me they were trying to push the lunchtime specials now. I asked if I could have a breakfast anyway and she said she'd ask the chef. The chef said no.

I relented and went for the Sunday lunch instead. It was really nice if I'm honest, as all of their food is, and I guess I was glad I'd been forced to change from what I always have. But I'm like that…with no outside influence I'll just chart the same course until I fall off the end of the world…I need a kick up the backside to try something new.

My mum's Christmas card and "parcel" came at the weekend. It'll be the only Christmas card I get this year. When she phoned me up she talked as if I had opened them, so I interrupted and said that I hadn't opened them yet. "Are you waiting for Christmas day then?" "Yeah". The reality is that the parcel and card and both languishing in my flat somewhere and I haven't opened them as I don't want Christmas to spill out and invade my flat; my only sanctuary from the grotesque masquerade going on but a pane of glass away. If I thought my mum would never enquire further I'd probably deposit the whole lot at the nearest homeless shelter forthwith…banish this event from my life completely.

Still, not long yet.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Hello darkness my old friend

"When you meet one person with Asperger's you've met one person with Asperger's" so the saying goes. We all suffer different symptoms to different degrees, but a symptom I never really identified with was one where people get single-mindedly focused on a task to the detriment of everything else. Mainly because at work I do often have to switch active tasks, and it's something I've been aware I'm not 100% happy with doing but like many things I just get on and do it.

Last night I had a few tasks that I needed to do, and I've also started on a new personal project. I started off doing a bit of my project until I was too hungry to concentrate much, so broke for diner, then got back to my project. I was always keen to do just a bit more, then just a bit more. I knew I had other tasks to do but wanted to keep doing just a bit more. By the time 2am came I had not done any of my other tasks. I still had to finish a document I was writing for work, finish an e-mail to someone, have a shower, prepare lunch for the next day and also iron a shirt. It was 2am! I had been on my project for 5 hours.

So the e-mail just had to wait, the document was half-arsed but I knew I could finish it when I got to work, and I had to soldier with the other tasks. I didn't get to bed until just past 3am and I still couldn't shake this project from my mind and what plans I had to enhance it, what the next stages should be etc. So my mind was racing and I just couldn't switch off or get to sleep.

Then it dawned on me that this situation wasn't unique, it wasn't the first time I've done this…start a project and got so engrossed in it I just can't pull myself away and can barely sleep for thinking about it. Then thinking about it all day at work, just waiting to get back home to repeat the cycle. Yet whenever I hear about people with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) getting so focused and set on a single task that you can't break them free from I always thought "that's nothing like me." It's everything like me.

This is one of those times when knowing what is wrong with you really helps you understand yourself and your behaviours and recognise when your behaviour is the result of AS. If I didn't know I had AS I'd never stop to look at the trees instead of the wood.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Alcohol-free beer, decaf coffee and vegetarian burgers

I ventured out to watch some bands at the weekend at the venue I usually go to. Since moving from the previous venue (that closed down) it's never been the same and the nights are usually dead. This weekend it was different. There were three bands on and the venue was jumping. It was full of people to the extent that I hadn't ever seen before. I guess live music is really coming back into fashion and people are getting out and supporting it.

On a completely unrelated note and nothing at all to do with audience numbers, this weekend instead of the usual DJ between bands they had burlesque dancers instead. The art of burlesque is having a resurgence of late, helped along by the usual media conspiracy. Those clever people on TV have once again worked out that if you want to popularise something you have to target women. But…how do you target women to like something that seems to be inherently male? Quite easy…you tell them to like it. You drag the issue out on Loose Women where you have performers explain that it is about empowering women, about women taking control of their sexuality. Then you bring out the big guns…"it's not women being exploited at all, if anything it is the women who are exploiting the men".

I've never really seen a burlesque show before so it was a first for me, and if you've never seen one I think the best way it could be described is; it's strippers who don't take off their clothes. Mmm. Quite. I actually found it quite mundane and rather tedious, not at all entertaining and not even erotic despite me being firmly heterosexual. Individually they were dull, but the fact that all that changed were the costumes - the routine and moves were all identical, just made it worse. The constant backdrop of the girls stood behind me hollering didn't help. Not only was the noise annoying, but I could practically see the strings attached to them as they urged the girl on stage to affirm her freedom, take control of her sexuality and exploit the men of the audience. Or something.

It's a symptom of our watered-down society, where something male-dominated is taken and weakened and women are told that it empowers them just so they'll buy into it. The result is something useless. It isn't pornographic enough to interest men, and it doesn't really interest women either, they just don't want to admit that the emperor has no clothes.

Unlike the woman on stage.

This rabid desire to equalise the sexes is just diluting everything. Making everything bland. Putting these issues aside, it was a bit of an insult to the bands also. When they were playing, people milled around the edges of the room, drinking beer and chatting with their friends. Then when the bands left the stage and the burlesque girls came on everyone rushed and pushed and cajoled to the front so that the men (who I assume have no internet access) can leer and the women can jeer, desperate to demonstrate their equality with men.

It just bored me. I was glad when the corsets finally came off as it meant the girls were leaving and the next band was starting.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Taking care of business

One thing about having Asperger's Syndrome (AS) is that I suffer from really bad procrastination. I'm terrible at "doing" things, be it housework, dealing with bills, or doing things I've promised people I'd do. I don't know why, but to me doing nothing just seems to be a better use of my time. I think it might be because people with AS don't seem to get the pleasure from things that other people do, so find it harder to get motivated to do them. I also never really seem to get the point of doing a lot of things. Why should I be doing this? Why can't I wear the same clothes all week? Why do I need to shower every day? Why can't I leave the dishes in the sink until I need them again? Why do I have to introduce myself to people? Why do I need to change my bedsheets? Why do I have to ask people how they are? Then there are other barriers to "doing things"…do I need to interact with other people? I hate dealing with people over the phone, in fact I hate the phone in general. I have a landline for internet use but I don't actually have a physical phone. I have a mobile but what I love about that is that I can turn it off when I don't feel like communicating.

These issues bring me onto a few lingering jobs that I haven't got around to sorting after about 2 or so years. I had a few services at my last house but one. In other words not where I used to live before I lived here but the place before that. And I never really got around to cancelling them, but I've still been paying for them. I know it probably sounds strange to you, but I'd rather bury my head in the sand than actually "deal" with things, even if it is costing me money. Especially if it means having to use the phone.

While I consider myself to be quite high functioning, it does show me how hard it would be for people with more extreme AS than I have to live alone. To be honest, if it wasn't for direct debits I'd have a much harder time living alone and I'd probably be sat here in the dark with no heating, thinking that one day I guess I should get around to opening those letters. Not only does it remind he how hard it must be for some people with AS to live alone, but also how frustrating and annoying we must all be to share a house with as partners.

Anyway, these un-cancelled services have been on my mind more and more these months and I finally said to myself that I was going to sort it once and for all. I also find I get like that with most things…the motivation to do them builds over time rather than me seeing that something needs to be done so getting on and doing it.

So in the morning I did my usual routine of turning on the TV to watch Mythbusters, fired up the laptop to deal with my e-mail, and I also hunted down some phone numbers and dug out my old address in case I needed it. So I phoned up the one I thought would be easier to deal with as I had the number for the actual branch I needed to deal with. I was on hold for ages which never helps, but I finally got through, chose to leave out some details such as the two year gap in the middle, and luckily their computer systems were good enough that everything went smoothly; they knew who I was, what service I had and they were able to cancel it with no fuss and said they'd even terminate the direct debit their end too (which was good, but I'll still have to check that myself in a few weeks).

So that was a big relief. So big that I was on too much of a high to want to deal with the other service :) I know I promised I'd deal with both, but this is better than nothing and I'll get the other one sorted next weekend…you have to walk before you can run after all. I did make up for it though by also booking a physio/sports injury appointment for next week to get a niggling injury I've had for years finally looked at. So I ended up sorting two things that were years over due, just not the two I had planned on. Roll on next week and I'll get right back on the horse.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Though it all looks different now, I know it's still the same

I live in a town big enough to have a lot of bars and clubs, but not big enough to have bars and clubs that cater to any niche groups. There was one that suited me but it closed down. Now the bars and clubs are only for the middle of the road people. They all play the same dance music and admit all the same people all dressed the same.

They come and go, these pubs. Some are really busy and are seen as "hot" nightspots, but some are dead. When the old pubs die they don't die a Christian death…they are reincarnated instead. They shut down and open up two weeks later but with a new lick of paint, some new furniture and a new trendy name. They're still the same pub though…same location, same drinks, same music…the only difference is that now they are full to bursting with people. So full that the queue just to get in passes three pubs in itself. In a few months the novelty has gone, the queues have gone and the pub goes through its next reincarnation.

It seems that while us with Asperger's Syndrome like things to be the same…NT's like things just because they have changed.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Everything is dying

I've given up drinking for now so my weekends are dying. The year is being suffocated by the fallen leaves. As the end approaches, day by day, "Christmas time" becomes more pervasive. Unavoidable. Peace and quiet dies a little each day, your right to not be a part of society dies a little each day. Everywhere you go Christmas songs and "cheer" surround you, tug at you. Invade you.

Just die already. Die and be born again.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Oh, oobee doo, I wanna be like you

There is a current fashion and I'm not sure if it is the same across the UK or just localised where I am; but lots of females are wearing these leggings that look like a faux denim. What I don't understand is how these fashions grow and how organic a process it is. It could be that women all subscribe to the same magazine and one edition they told everyone to buy these leggings. It could be that most women all enjoy shopping in the same store and they buy whatever the "latest line" is. Or it could be that a few women wear them and other women look at these women and think "they look good, I'll get some" or maybe "lots of women are wearing these so I want to wear them also".

Whatever the reasons, whatever the origins, at some point these women are making a conscious decision to look the same as everyone else. It's one of those NT traits that I just don't get, I don't understand the thought process that makes people aspire to mediocrity.

It's not just these leggings, of course, it is most months (especially the Summer ones) in every year that eventually women largely walk around wearing the same thing. As always it was Oscar Wilde who coined it best; "Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months."

Friday, 13 November 2009

Losing the plot

I'm a big fan of movies and I tend to enjoy all sorts…or most sorts. Even if a movie isn't that great I always like to think I at least got something out of it. I'm also a collector of movies and I like to see my collection grow. There is one thing I sometimes have problems with, and I'm beginning to wonder of it's something relating to my Asperger's Syndrome (AS).

With some movies I tend to have problems following character-related plot elements. Not always, but there are just some movie plots that revolve around a lot of characters and their interactions and relationships with each other. Invariably these change at some pivotal point in the movie and it is then that I tend to lose track of what is happening. When the defining moments come I often can't remember that particular character's past story and motivations, and their relationships to the other characters. I can tell something meaningful is happening but as I don't remember the "old" I can't compare it to the "new" so the point of the change passes over me. Often I don't even recognise people as being the same character when their role changes - I don't connect that this is the same person who has just changed and not a new actor in the movie It's especially bad in foreign language movies that are subtitled, and for some reason movies that involve the same actor playing multiple characters.

A possible reason for this is that my AS is stopping me fully connecting with, or relating with people. Stopping me engaging with their motives, desires and feelings. Maybe I'm failing to record in my mind their past deeds as it's not something I'm used to doing, so when the plot twist forces me to recall their emotional journey I just draw a blank? The dual-character issue could just be a doubling up of my problems as to me they are the same person. Maybe it's too much of a stretch to remember two sets of past motives for what is the same person given I have problems remembering just one. With subtitled movies I find it very had to relate the voice to the character and it's almost like everything is just swimming around in one big soup. All mixed together as any character could be relaying what is being related along the bottom of the screen.

Of course it could also just be that I'm not intelligent enough to be watching anything that isn't laden with special effects.

Saturday, 7 November 2009


It's dawning on me that my concept of friendship isn't quite what I thought it was. I think I've been under the influence of friendship-by-proximity. I've changed jobs a few times and I know the drill…everyone says they want to keep in touch but you all drift apart anyway. Lots of people I know are still friends with people from old jobs so I know it's just me…or more accurately people with Asperger's Syndrome.

I've always liked the people I worked with in my previous job and liked spending time with them. Or so I thought. Now that I've changed jobs and don't have to spend time with them and will only have to go to things I'm invited to…I have a strange feeling coming over me. Almost like a weight off my shoulder. Not a big weight, not a boulder…more like a few handfuls of sand. I'm subconsciously coming to terms with the fact that I probably won't ever see any of them ever again and it's actually a strange relief of sorts.

So does part of my brain force me to believe I am friends with these people because I have to be? Because I work with them? Or do I do my best to be friends but I don't recognise the mental effort it takes, so now I don't have to be friends with them I can avoid having to make that effort? Sure I lose the friends, but my life is easier.

The other aspect to this is one of paranoia I guess. Not being able to read people's motives or genuine feelings very well I don't know if they also are only friends-by-proximity too. Do they only pretend to be friends with me because they have to? Because they work with me? I don't know to be honest, and I'm not sure I want to contact these people to say "hey you want to go for a drink tonight?" only to be met with ums and ahs and excuses.

I just feel like as the days drift on I'm getting more and more used to the fact that that part of my life is now over and I'll probably never return to it. And not only that, but for the rest of my life I might never really find a genuine, stay-with-me friend. For many reasons - not just because I find it hard to know what is involved in maintaining a friendship, but now I also realise I have a fear of committing myself to something that is not reciprocated. A fear that as I don't know who is a genuine friend I could end up feeling humiliated.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Coming into the 21st Century

XBOX 360 + HD TV = OH MY GOD!!!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Been a while

I haven't blogged recently and I admit that starting this new job has pretty much dominated my life for the last month with no room for anything else. Every day seems to throw up so many new challenges and situations. I am living in a constant state of wishing my comfort zone was at least in the same galaxy.

I'm doing "ok" but I don't think they've quite seem all of what I can offer. My major skills are in practical programming, but it seems a lot of my time is being spent on the areas of development I'm not as good at, or at least haven't had as much formal experience in, such as formal planning/time scales etc. I think with a lot of these things I'm just wary of their expectations of me. I'm not being asked to do anything I haven't done in my previous job…it's just that I still feel like an outsider, and that people are second-guessing everything I do. In my old job I had risen to the top naturally and I *felt* like top dog. Here I just feel like a cuckoo. Waiting to be found out.

Their systems are also much, much more complicated and bigger than what I've been doing in my old job which adds to my worry. I've been there a month and almost every day I'm asked to look into something big and new without quite getting to grips with what I was just looking at. And I'm being asked to come up with project ideas and solutions based on projects I still don't fully understand and that makes me nervous as I know I can easily make bad decisions as I don't know all the facts yet.

I know it sounds like I'm doubting myself but in a way the opposite is true. I know that given time I'll really settle in and hit top gear. I know this as I've worked in a big company before. I'm just worried that maybe I'm expected to get an understanding of things quicker than is reasonable to expect…though maybe that's partially down to my early performances, maybe they're expecting more from me as I've exceeded previous expectations?

I dunno. I just know that right here, right now I'm not in a particularly comfortable place, but hoping to grow into it. I know I will…I know my abilities, I'm just being impatient. I want it all and I want it now. I'd been invaluable to my last company after three years and I want to be invaluable now after just three weeks.

Monday, 19 October 2009

You win some, you lose some

I went to the new place I've been going to for the last month for my weekend breakfast, only this time they asked me if I wanted my "usual". It's a transition I go through at all places of business. Eventually they get used to me ordering the same thing all the time and after frequenting a particular business it always gets to the stage where I barely need to communicate at all…just "nod" at the "usual?"

So that was good news. I also got a hair cut as I haven't had one for a few months. I hate going to the barber in the warmer months as I react badly to the heat. I can feel ok once I get there, but any time I go inside a premises it takes me a while for my body to re-adjust to the temperate and this results in me sweating like a pig. Not nice when someone is trying to cut your hair. The summer months are fading fast, though, and the temperate is dropping so I am sweating less when I go inside.

Alas the barber shop has employed a new person and, lucky me, I got them. Now all the other barbers know I'm a "no conversation" customer but this new one didn't. Cue a very uncomfortable haircut while they fired question after question at me, all batted away with one-word answers until they realised that I'm not much of a conversationalist and gave up. Still…given time they'll get there in the end.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Karma realignment

I started this Saturday the same way I do every Saturday…buying a paper at the local shop to read when I'm having my breakfast. The paper was 60p and I gave the teller £1 and he gave me 60p change. I noticed the error before leaving the shop and went back to tell him he had given me 20p too much and he corrected the change. But then that's us I guess…moral to a fault.

Friday, 9 October 2009

First day of school

I started my new job yesterday and today (Friday) was the end of my first week…so to speak. The day before I started I was just pacing up and down the house, not knowing what to do with myself. How to kill the time.

So the job is going ok so far, but they're obviously not expecting me to be running the whole company for them yet, I'm just on light duties at the moment but that's par for the course in this industry. Helping resolve minor problems in existing systems is the best way of learning your way around how things work and how they're put together. I'm quite sure I've surprised them with how quickly I've picked things up…but I'm like that; I just look at code and I understand it, it's how my brain works. I've already played a good part of getting something finished on time which isn't bad going seeing as this is a massive computer application that I spent the morning of my first day looking at and was fixing issues with from lunch-time onward. I just hope I can rise to the real challenge which is when they start to expect more of a leadership role from me.

The people I work with are nice, quite agreeable and easy to get along with. They're quite juvenile but that's fine with me as I'm hardly Mr Mature myself so I quite like the low level of the banter and humour in the office. I far prefer it to people who are more serious and grown-up.

Alas they're also really, really social. It's a big company and the whole company seems social but our little group in our little office are very social among each other too. Naturally they expect me to just slip into this fast-lane of uber mixing but it's all too soon for me. It's too soon with these people I've just met, and socialising the way they want to in noisy clubs is just too much for me period. But what can you do? You can go along and hope to cope, or politely decline and look like the office outsider. I liked going out with my old workmates but I had time to get to know them all. With my new colleagues it's like I've been pushed into a busy road.

As well as the weekend activities I have avoided, there is an unofficial "networking" event happening at a local pub next Wednesday that apparently lots of local companies in our industry go to. They were telling me about it with glee at lunch, how great it is and what a laugh it is…drinking and meeting lots of new people. Great for you maybe…hell for me. Again I can either not go and have it look like I'm not a team-player, not fitting in, not mixing, not caring about my career…or I can go and look like a deer caught in headlights and be all awkward and drop the ball whenever someone tries to talk to me. I mean…I can't "network", and I don't want to either. There is also the risk I'll want to stick with my own colleagues and end up looking like a lost puppy following them around. On top of all of that Wednesday is a gym night. I'll either have to just get out of it, or go but say I can't stay long.

Being suddenly dropped in this world of hyper-sociality has made me feel quite disorientated and inadequate. It reminds me how different everyone else is, how much social interaction really drives their whole lives. How much joy interacting with people brings them.

Normally with smaller firms this stuff isn't an issue, but with these big firms how you "fit in" is a big thing for them, as important as your actual work. This is where them knowing I have Asperger's Syndrome would probably help as it might give me some leeway and let them know I can't help drowning in their lifestyle. I mean I know I get better given time…I just need that time to slowly adjust and integrate, and to get to know people. I can't just instantly morph into a social animal.

Which leads me onto the next thing. My line manager's wife is a teacher at an autistic school. Great. When he brought it up someone in the office said that the kids would be great to take to a casino (in reference to "Rain Man") and he corrected them on the difference between autism and being a savant. So he obviously knows a little about it all and there may be trouble ahead there. Though on the other side, if it comes down to it and my lack of "fitting in" is causing me problems I guess I'll have an ally there if I do decide to tell them. Though I can't see it getting that far. I've long suspected through my whole career that my technical abilities have helped negate the downsides of my personality and helped carry me when normally I'd have been dropped.

Interesting times ahead so batten down the hatches.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

I kissed a girl and I liked it

There has been a status quo in the media for quite some time where women are grouped into a neat little stereotype; they like fashion, make-up, shoes, gossip and twee career and relationship advice. So the "woman's magazine" was born. The limited interests of every woman were crammed into a single magazine for them to digest. The idea that massive groups of people can be pigeon-holed is quite crass and patronising. Usually the media loves nothing more than to tell women they should be fighting for this and fighting for that…but they're quite quiet when it comes to the fact that women are being simplified and dumbed down. I wonder why….of yes, because the media are making money from this by the women buying the magazines they sell so they won't bite the hand that feeds them. On a similar note pick up your average women's magazine and count how many articles and editorials urge women to be themselves and love themselves for who they are. Now go to the back and count the adverts for cosmetic surgery clinics. If the media was really as passionate about educating women to love themselves as they appear to be, they'd put their money where their mouth is and refuse to accept advertising revenue from people saying how you're not a proper woman without a boob job.

I was always somewhat proud that there was no equivalent for the male population. I saw it as proof that males were more diverse and had a range of interests too broad to be contained in a single "man's magazine" (well, one that can be placed lower than the top shelf anyway). Maybe one day I'll learn to stop underestimating the media and their desire to make money. In the last few years it seems that men are also being pigeon-holed in their interests and reduced to a lowest common denominator and given a whole range of "men's magazines".

Obviously I don't buy these magazines as I'm not your average male, however knowing that I'd be spending a lot of time hanging around in hotel rooms I bought some of these "lad's mags" (as they've been coined) as a solution to boredom that was "better than nothing".

First up was "Nuts" which I guess is your "downmarket" entry to the genre. What The Sun is to The Times. In broad strokes this magazine seems to be a re-balanced version of Playboy where the girls are dressed in nothing but articles. Only with Nuts the girls show less meat and the articles contain more meat. While Playboy works as men like naked women, Nuts just doesn't. The girls fall too short of pornography to be of any real interest, and the articles are the shallowest form of awful journalism.

For the articles we have a feature on cars which is just page after page of pictures of expensive cars taken at the same car show with a little box saying what size the engine is, how fast it is and the cost. Wow. Fascinating…but you know us men, we just love cars! There is a feature on a video game that, again, is mostly pictures with very little text that really tells you nothing about the game. Following the trend we have a section on gadgets that contains too little information about any of the featured gadgets to help you decide if you want to buy them. There is a load of stuff about football I didn't read. There was something about footballer's cars that I didn't read. Mopping up the remains were some vaguely interesting interviews with "people on TV" and pages where people send in pictures of themselves standing next to suggestive town name signs - nothing you haven't seen a lot better of on the internet. For free.

In terms of what Nuts offers for titillation there is a comparison of three girl's calendars. You know those calendars you see on the wall when taking your car in for its MOT, or in the bedrooms of 12 year old boys. The article is again mainly pictures with a breakdown of how many of the calendar's months pages are nude or semi nude. Seriously, it was just pathetic. Most of Nuts seemed to focus on "real girls" and I'm sure the intention is to make the reader think they could actually meet girls like this on a night out. They are supplying some kind of vicarious rendezvous. In this vein we had pictures of one such "real girl" stripping to her underwear and in the accompanying interview she gave saucy sound-bites that suggested she was fun and vivacious but short of being a slut. The interview answers were so well sculpted to the target audience I find it hard to believe the words were really hers. They probably said "we'll fill in the interview back at the office, but don't worry, you won't come across like a slut. Now take your clothes off…." Her interview talked of her flashing her boobs and liking women's bodies but nothing worse than that.

One of the main features was about a girl called Vikki Blows. I've done some subsequent research and can't actually find out anything about why she is of interest. I think taking her clothes off in "lad's mags" is what she does. The accompanying interview follows the usual trend of making her seem accessible, down to earth, one of the guys, but not a slut. She also reveals that she has flashed her boobs. The other main feature is on Gemma Atkinson (she used to be on a soap opera called Hollyoaks) who is a favourite in these magazines, though doesn't do any topless shots so it's a testament to her that she still has these magazines interested in her. Not having anything interesting to say the accompanying interview is quite a bit duller than the others and as her trademark is her not doing anything rude they fail to ask any questions that could have "I flashed my boobs" as the answer, though she does have to mention that she finds women attractive.

Returning to the watered-down porn roots there is a "Reader's Wives" section (only renamed "Bedroom Babes" but let's call a spade a spade). Girls send in their pictures and the winner gets to have a proper photo-shoot. Again it is "girl next door" types and the winner tells us all that she loves the pub and curry, and finds women sexy. The entrants for next edition's winner are probably one of the more depressing aspects of the magazine. Plain girls with awful make-up, awful dyed hair, awful fake tans who spent the 30 seconds they had between sticking their fingers down their throats to pose for a skanky picture. Yuk. The sound-bites that accompany the pictures are all of a stock nature revealing them to be accessible girls who just like the pub and a good time.

The next "real girl" who has a whole feature is also "fun loving", loves her boobs, loves bouncing and has a dancing pole in her bedroom. God when does this end?

Getting up to full-speed watered-down porn the next section is where girls write in with their "sexy stories" about when the builder came around. Being watered-down porn it lacks any of the explicit nature that you'd see in a "proper" porn mag, but the rough idea is there. It's brief though as we're back to Reader's Wives and the final girl finds women attractive (no, really?) and the song that best describes her is "I kissed a girl" by Katy Perry. She even names the fore-mentioned Vikki Blows as someone she would like to meet. I'm sure Ghandi is second on her list.

I could sum this magazine up in a single word…pointless. The articles carry no journalistic merit at all; if you want to know about cars get a car mag, for games get a games mag. As for the girls, if you want to see naked girls buy a porn mag. The consistent way that the girls are presented leads me to believe it can't possibly be pure coincidence. All of the girls had a similar look, similar "I just like the pub and a movie" attitude, similar "I think girls bodies are sexy" titillation and similar "I once flashed my boobs…he he…" levels of promiscuity. The magazine is going out of its way to portray these women as being sexy but still obtainable, they are selling you this vicarious chatting-up experience. Maybe the most worrying thing is that women are still being shown with "I'd shag them but I wouldn't want to go out with them" misogyny.

Next up was "Loaded" which is one of the broadsheets of the "lad's mags". I won't go into this in any detail, but it's a lot thicker than Nuts and there are more articles and some of them were genuinely interesting and carried a bit of depth. When they reviewed video games again they at least tried to transmit something about the game, but I fear I could never take their advice seriously. A game they raved about ("Wet") has had a mediocre reception in proper games mags, but could their rave reviews be because the game has a busty female lead and not because it's a good game?

As for the girls, well Loaded had…Gemma Atkinson (again) and Gemma Atkinson's calendar. They didn't stop there, though, they also had the Hollyoaks calendar and small interviews with each Hollyoaks girl. The interviews followed the standard, mundane formula that amounted to nothing more than text on a page where you learned nothing from someone with nothing to say. One question many were asked was "Katy Perry once sang that she kissed a girl and liked it. Have you ever kissed a girl?"

They shied away from Reader's Wives but did spot-interview girls on the street about their "Sex CV" (they were allowed to keep their clothes on for the photograph) and again were asked if they had ever "had girl-on-girl action".

One of the articles/titillation pieces was about a book that is just pictures of girl's kissing. The title of the article was, unashamedly, "She Kissed a Girl and She Liked It".

So to sum up Loaded it was a bit more "grown up" than Nuts and had better articles, but it still had the same consistent fascination with girls liking other girls however Loaded's constant use of the "I kissed a girl and I liked it" motif was almost absurd in its excess. Do these magazines not have editors that read the mag and think they've maybe over-used the phrase?

Both magazines were similar in a lot of ways; mainly around how they manipulated women to match the perception they have manipulated their readership into desiring. I certainly won't patronise either magazine and I think that only a very shallow man too afraid to buy proper pornography would find these magazines of any interest. I also hope that any man that does read these magazines appreciates the manipulation that is going on and doesn't buy into it. I won't hold my breath though. Now pass me that "MAD Magazine"…

Sunday, 4 October 2009


Driving down my street, parking in my drive and going inside my flat all seemed quite surreal. I could hardly believe it was all happening. I took my bags in, hooked up my laptop then went for a walk around town. Bought some DVDs, had some of my favourite take-away, went to my music club. Wrapped myself up in as much familiarity as possible.

So what have I learned? Well I know that I hate holidays, I hate the break in routine but I knew that anyway. I learned that just because I push myself far outside of my comfort zone doesn't mean that I wont end up enjoying myself. I learned some other, non-AS related things, but I'm keeping those private :)

Most of all, I'm just glad to be back home.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Just a soldier on a road to nowhere

It's the final day of my "holiday" and I spent some time visiting my home town. I hated it though. It's just a ghost town to me. I recognise the streets but it's full of old ghosts and bad memories. I don't think I'll ever go back to that town as long as I live. I only spent about an hour driving around and then I came back to the hotel.

It's 3pm so I have a lot of time to kill until I leave for home tomorrow. Hotel check out is 11 am and I'll probably be at my next hotel around 4pm maybe. Kill some time until the next day when I finally drive back home. I wish I hadn't arranged this day though. I wish I was driving home right now. I hate holidays, I hate the change, I hate the constant sense of anxiety. I need my usual things around me, my usual places. I can't wait to get back, to sit in my house, on my sofa, watching my TV. Then I'll get a paper from my local shop, I'll go to my local for a drink then my café for my breakfast. I miss my gym, my xbox, my dvd player. I hate this loneliness. I miss my loneliness.

Monday, 28 September 2009


I have finally arrived and I'm at my parent's house. Now the real exercise in killing time begins. I've been here less than an hour and I hate it already. The complete silence. My parents just sat around reading newspapers. I hope that if I get to that age I don't choose to fill my days with absolutely nothing at all.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Getting there

Last night I hit the town to try and find some nice bars. First bar I stumbled across looked up my alley…small, dark and dingy. It was only when I went in that I realised it was some kind of "Rasta" bar. It was playing reggae music, the bar staff and two customers were all of the African persuasion too. So I stayed for a single beer, pretty much counting down the time, though it did make me laugh when Customer #3 walked into be greeted my hand-signals and patois from the bar staff. They asked what he wanted and he said he'd like to start the night with a shot. "Shots for everyone?" the barman replied…a few moments later his hand rested just past my shoulder and made a sweep of the bar that included all but me and added "Well…shots for these people."

I wandered to find a bar that caught my eye while walking around earlier but it was closed. I found another nice quiet bar up a back-street that seemed my scene so I went in for a beer. What struck me was that for a Saturday evening the whole town was dead. I can only imagine that maybe people don't come out til later, or that there is a street or region unknown to me that is jumping with trendy bars. Where I live every pub is packed on weekend evenings. Anyway…I sat at the bar on the nice comfy stool and supped my beer and people kinda came and went, but it was quiet overall. It only dawned on me about three quarters of the way through my drink that this particular bar was a gay bar LOL. Again this wouldn't happen where I live as all gay bars have this unofficial system of identifying themselves as gay bars so that people know. Not that it bothers me, of course, I don't care if people are gay and I have to admit it's the first time I've been in a gay bar. It might have been more interesting if it was busier I guess. What overcame me the most was the "Homer Simpson" element of it and I had to chuckle to myself at the Simpsons episode where he is looking for a new bar to hang out in and comes across a gay bar.

In the daylight I returned to the scene of the crime and the pub's logo outside was bright pink and in the window a sticker proclaiming that the "FitBoys" magazine was available to buy on the premises!

After checking out of my hotel I went to visit fellow Asperger's Syndrome (AS) blogger Matt. I left too much time getting there as I didn't know how long it would take, so I was at the pub about 5 minutes early. I had a hunch that Matt would walk in bang on the time we had agreed to meet, and this he did indeed :) One thing about people with AS is that they're sticklers for being exactly on time. I spent about two hours with Matt and it was good to talk with a fellow AS sufferer who was roughly my age and we traded notes and stories and never once mentioned the weather. I would dearly have liked to stay longer but alas I had to start the next leg of my journey. I am currently in the next hotel of my trip (again I will post this when I next get internet access) after a fairly uneventful journey here, but a hellish time finding this hotel as it was night and down dark country roads. I really had no idea where I was so had to get directions. I'm here now, and will just stay in the hotel's bar, however I see they want me out by 10am which will be a job! I'll have to make sure I'm up in time and showering might have to wait until I am finally at my parent's. At least hitting the road sooner will get me to where I'm going sooner, though I suspect I'll use some of the extra time to just stop off more often.

I did stop on the way here for something to eat and the service station only had a Wimpy so I was not familiar with the menu, however mustering my life skills I still managed to order in a time quick enough to ensure those waiting behind me were not contemplating murder/suicide. "Do you want to go large on that?" the till assistant asked me to which I replied "yes" however I got regular size anyway. At least it was the food that I asked for this time, but so far service station fast food joints are 0 for 2.

The CD I had on was one I hadn't listened to in a long, long time and it turned out to be not so great a choice as it brought back a lot of memories of back home and people and things I was going through when this music was a part of my life. It's funny how songs get permanently linked to what was happening in your life when you first hear them.

Saturday, 26 September 2009


Yesterday was my last day of work after three years. It's an awkward time as I hate being the centre of attention but you have to go through the card ceremony and people want to go for a drink after work, and insist you keep in touch and blah blah. I live my life so disconnected from other people it's strange when you come to realise that it isn't reciprocal and that other people seem to have a genuine like for you or desire for you to be involved in their life in some way. I doubt I will stay in touch though. I'd like to stay in touch with some of them, but I know what it’s like. I've been here before. I just don't know the rules to the "stay in touch" game and I can never maintain friends when I leave a workplace. Besides, I'll have a new job in a new company with new pretend friends.

My boss game me an exit interview too which I used to really lay into some people that I work with. People who want to be my friend and want me to keep in touch. I'm sure part of my ability to shake someone's hand then stab them in the back is related to my Asperger's Syndrome (AS). Not that I'm nasty, or bitchy or anything, but I felt the boss had a right to know the good points as well as the flaws in some of his staff. Again as I am disconnected from people I can be quite cold and serious when I need to. If the boss needs to know things about people, I'll let him know. To me it is just being professional, but to others it is probably being a traitor.

Anyway, that was yesterday. Today I have taken the first step in my week-long journey into the past. Back to my place of birth, back to my parents. I'm even meeting an old friend (the girl who contacted me a while back) which is especially unusual as I've lost contact with everyone, and to be honest I have no real desire to re-establish contact with them.

I'm currently in a hotel writing this (I'll post it when I next get internet access). Hotels are great. They're all clean and everything is nice, and you don't have to worry about making a mess. I always feel bad when I visit other people's houses and see how clean people are…hotel clean. Where I live in comparable squalor. I'd love to be hotel clean too. I'd love to not worry about people coming over, but I've tried to be clean and I always slowly slip into my old ways. The view from the hotel is great too. I'm on the fifth floor in an anonymous window, looking out over the whole city.

On the drive up I had a typically British experience when I stopped at some services for something to eat. I went to Burger King and there was only one person on the till. The guy in front was seemingly attempting to set the world record for the longest time taken to order food. It's Burger King…surely you knew the menu already? So I have to wait while he ums and ahs, and he had a child with him who was probably 5 or 6 (I'm terrible at telling ages) who seemed to lose the power of speech when asked what he wanted. Instead he'd point at the menu while the dad played an irritating game of "The burger? The burger? Is it the burger you want? The burger? Yeah? The burger?" The child would move his finger slightly "The chicken bits? You want the chicken bits? Yeah? The chicken? You want the chicken?".

Eventually it was my turn to order, a feat I was proud to complete in mere seconds. "Large Whopper Meal please". What's so f**king hard about that! Eh! However as is typical in this country, the person serving was foreign and didn't understand me. *sigh* So I repeat. She can barely speak English herself. After finally getting what I want she asked if I wanted it "large". *sigh* When she told me the cost I realised she'd charged me wrong so probably got my order wrong *sigh* When she put the drinks out they were not large *sigh*. Luckily someone came to help her and spotted that the drinks she'd put out for the two waiting orders (one mine) were wrong as both were supposed to be large. So he managed to fix that, correcting my wrong order. Had he not have been there she would have not only got the order wrong but given me the wrong size too. What a completely useless human being. When my order was ready it indeed was not what I ordered but I was too tired to say anything, I just took it. I guess we get the service in this country that we deserve. I suppose I should have told her she took my order wrong, and also reminded her that she didn't originally "large" it either.

Anyway. I've had a look at the hotel's restaurant to see what they have and the only two things I'd eat (the chicken or the steak) both come with a cheese sauce. What's with that? I checked their bar out too but it was quite small and intimate and really busy. So I'll probably take a wander into town and get something to eat there, maybe find a pub too before coming back here to sample the hotel bar with Dutch courage.

Travelling is just a game of killing time. Only there is no satellite TV, no XBOX, no DVD, no internet. Just me and 5 TV channels. It's 8pm here and now I just need to kill some time until I can go to bed and tomorrow will be another day. Another journey. Another wrong BK order.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

What I did during the war

My parents sent me a copy of my full birth certificate, and with it they sent me my old school reports. I don't remember too much from my early school days so it's an interesting glimpse into the past and how I was as a child. Obviously I was interested to see if it gave any signs of Asperger's Syndrome.

Year 1 - 5 years old

Listening: Easily distracted. Effort: Satisfactory
Spoken English: Satisfactory. Effort: Satisfactory
Reading: Competent. Effort: Satisfactory
Numbers: Competent. Effort: Satisfactory

Ability to express ideas;
Drawing: Competent
Movement: Competent
Speech: Competent
Writing: Has difficulty (note: with care and effort written work should improve)

General note: AS4L is rather immature, but he can cope with the work of the class

Year 2 - 6 years old

Listening: Easily distracted. Effort: Satisfactory
Spoken English: Satisfactory. Effort: Satisfactory
(note: AS4L's written English would improve if he put more care and effort into it)
Reading: Competent. Effort: Satisfactory
Numbers: Competent. Effort: Satisfactory

Ability to express ideas;
Drawing: Competent
Movement: Competent
Speech: Competent

General note: AS4L's work should improve with maturity

Year 3 - 7 years old

Listening: Easily distracted. Effort: Unsatisfactory
(note: AS4L finds it hard to concentrate)
Spoken English: Satisfactory. Effort: Satisfactory
(note: AS4L's written work is both careless and badly presented)
Reading: Competent. Effort: Satisfactory
Numbers: Competent. Effort: Satisfactory

Ability to express ideas;
Drawing: Competent
Movement: Competent
Speech: Competent

General note: Progress is satisfactory

Year 6 - 10 years old

Listening: Easily distracted. Effort: Unsatisfactory
Spoken English: Satisfactory. Effort: Satisfactory
Reading: Competent. Effort: Satisfactory
Written English: Competent. Effort: Unsatisfactory
(note: Presentation very poor due to lack of effort)

Mathematical skills;
Practical problems: Competent. Effort: Satisfactory
Computation: Competent. Effort: Satisfactory
(note: Presentation again poor)

Centres of interest;

Social Studies: Interested
Science: Interested

Interests and aptitudes;
Creative arts: Interested
Dramatic activities: Interested
Recreative reading: Interested
Creative writing: Interested
Musical activities: Interested
Physical education: Interested

So I was pretty average across the board. Not excelling or showing promise at anything, immature with poor written work and easily distracted.

Friday, 18 September 2009

What's in a name?

Asperger's Syndrome (AS) is a…well…a syndrome. But have you ever thought what a syndrome actually is and what qualifies something as being a syndrome?

A syndrome is something that is indicated by a group of symptoms for which the actual cause is not known. So imagine we didn't know about the influenza virus, but people would be seen to suffer the symptoms of fever, sore throat and muscle pains at the same time; we can class these as a group of symptoms. If the root cause of what causes this group of symptoms wasn't known (ie the influenza virus) then we'd class this phenomenon as a "syndrome" as we recognise that the group of symptoms must mean something is wrong, but we don't know what that "something" is.

We do know about the influenza virus, though, so flu is not a syndrome at all but a disease. However look at AIDS. AIDS is "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome"…yep, a syndrome. When AIDS first came out we recognised the symptoms (a greatly reduced immune system giving rise to numerous conditions rarely seen in healthy people) but no-one knew the actual cause so it was classed as a syndrome. After much research the cause of AIDS was found…the HIV virus. So AIDS is no-longer officially a syndrome. This leads us nicely to another point…when a syndrome's name is very well known and wide-spread and the cause is eventually found we tend to just leave the name as it is even if it is no longer a syndrome.

Getting back to Asperger's Syndrome, if someone has the symptoms of impaired social interaction, impairment of non-verbal behaviour, failure to develop appropriate peer relationships, lack of desire to share enjoyment and lack of emotional reciprocity we recognise that group of symptoms as meaning that person has Asperger's Syndrome; however we don't know the actual cause of the impairments - remember that no-one knows the cause of autism yet. When the cause of AS is finally discovered we can be quite sure the name won't change though, it will always be called Asperger's Syndrome even if one day it ceases to be one.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Planes, trains and automobiles

Well the garage couldn't find anything wrong with my car so I'm just going to have to "wait and see" if it goes wrong again. *sigh* Not really want I wanted to hear but such is my life.

While the car was in the garage I was relegated to using the bus to get around. Luckily there was a bus shelter right outside the garage. Unluckily it stank of urine. Luckily it wasn't raining so I was able to comfortably stand outside and upwind. The bus came after 10 minutes of waiting and getting on was going from the frying pan into the fire as the bus stank of cigarettes. I can only imagine a million tarred exhales from 40-a-day hoi polloi all boxed in with nowhere to go.

I know that when driving a car you are at a greater risk of being involved in a traffic accident…however you have to balance that against the fact that when you ride the bus you're at a greater risk of being stabbed to death by a nutter. You see, normal people don't use the bus. Every person getting onto the bus is dishevelled, jumpy, smelly, talkative, you name it. I know enough about busses that to avoid the nutters sitting next to you, you sit on the aisle seat, but that's a bit selfish as you're blocking an empty window seat. Luckily the busses I was on have a few single-seats at the front of the bus to make the entrance a bit wider for people with prams etc. So I would occupy these front seats for guilt-free, nutter-free transportation.

Monday, 7 September 2009

As dead as dead can be

This morning my car was an ex-car. Not even the central-locking worked. Great.

So I took the bus to work and called the breakdown people when I got home. They fired it up and everything is fine, but after running some tests on various things there is something drawing a charge from the battery when it's left off which is why it went flat. Admittedly I hadn't driven it since coming back from work on Friday so I'm not quite sure how long it took to go flat. So the only thing I can do is to start it up each day to hopefully stop it from not starting and get it looked at. I'll phone the garage tomorrow morning when they open and hopefully they can see it quick, or at least take it off my hands and it can sit with them until they look at it as I can do without the paranoia that it'll go flat again on my driveway.

This is just what I need a few weeks before I'm supposed to be driving it back home to see my folks. Needless to say my anxiety levels are through the roof. Work's not helping either by expecting me to work still when I have almost no motivation. And I'm worried about starting my new job. I really don't need this on my plate right now. Add to the fact that it's still a total unknown as to what the problem actually is and it could take minutes or hours to diagnose. It's 9pm and I haven't eaten a single thing all day and I don't even feel hungry. I did nothing at work, I just can't get this car thing off my mind.

So best case scenario is that I call them tomorrow, they say to bring it in, they look at it for a while and fix it. Worst case is that it's dead again tomorrow or they can't see it tomorrow and it dies before they can and I have to get the breakdown people out again. I hate having to "do" things, I hate having to phone people and organise and arrange things. In a way it brings me back to my diagnosis when the psych talked me through a few periods in my life (to address the "people with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) don't like change" issue) and commented that I've gone through some big changes in my life such as changing jobs, moving around the country. My answer to that was "Well…sometimes you just have to." Does having AS mean I have to stay with my parents and never get a job? This is one of those times…I hate having to deal with these things, it makes me anxious as hell, but sometimes you just have to do it. Like those job forms that took me about two weeks to get through…sometimes you just have to get down to it.

Anyway. I'm self-medicating tonight and I'll see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

When I was going through school one thing made me really stand out from my peers and I suspect that it was related to my Asperger's Syndrome (AS). Basically I hated sport and wasn't competitive in any way. I've always been rubbish at anything physical (I know I go to the gym but any idiot can lift something up then put it back down again) or anything that requires co-ordination and teamwork. My non-competitive edge was, I think, partially my AS and partially my desire to avoid the embarrassment of failure.

Sport was mandatory at my school and the sport of choice that was forced on you was almost always football. When forced to play I would simply stand on the pitch making no attempt to go for the ball or even move. If the ball came anywhere close to me I'd still stand there and let it roll by. When they thought they'd be clever and put me in goal they'd soon change their mind when I'd just stand in goal also. If the ball was anywhere near me I'd actually get out of its way.

The school didn't seem to mind, but you can't really force someone to participate, and I think they also knew that my actual punishment would come not from them but from my peers. And of course they were right. Where I grew up football wasn't a matter of life and death…it was more important than that. Football was people's "way out". There was no real employment where I grew up and I went to a school in a disadvantaged area with people whose parents didn't work, were single parents and on benefits. Becoming a professional footballer was their way out of poverty. I always knew that university would be my way out, but by interfering with their precious game I was interfering with their future so it didn't do anything to improve my popularity.

The lack of competitive spirit is something that has stayed with me; however I have found that I can be quite competitive with myself. Getting back to the gym as an example, one thing that drives you on month after month is that you want to beat yourself. You want to lift more this week than you did last week, or lift it better, or lift it more times. It's a gradual process where week by week you improve in increments. When I use the bikes I am constantly trying to burn more calories than I did the week before, keep a higher average RPM, go further. I have all manner of statistics and figures going around in my head and I attempt to better them.

The only thing I've done that comes close to being competitive with others is racing my car. Not on track with other cars…I'm not made of money :) but special timed events where it is just one car on track at a time and your lap times are recorded. It's a good compromise as no-one really wants to race on-track with other cars in their daily driver, but trackdays don't offer any real comparison or competition as they are not timed and you don't "race". This way the only damage you'll do is if you fall off track, but you're still timed so can compare your results to others. Without wanting to blow my own trumpet I was pretty good, usually finishing at the top end of the table, however it was only myself I was really racing. Every lap I just wanted to go faster than my last one. I didn't want to beat others, I went out to beat myself. If I did well compared to others of course that's a good feeling but it's not what I did it for. Alas one of the reasons I stopped racing was the attitude of other drivers. I hated the competitive spirit of others and how it made them behave and act. I hate being around competitive people, I just wanted to get on and do my own thing but it just got harder and harder so ultimately I stopped.

If these things are AS related then if you have AS and want to try sport, or have children with AS and want them to try sport, maybe pick things where you are mainly competing against yourself. Things like golf or snooker come to mind. While they are still against a single opponent, they are mainly against yourself. You can practice both on your own and with golf you aim to get your handicap down and your course score down. With snooker you're trying to improve your break scores, your frame scores, your pots per visit etc. Compare those with something like boxing where it is only ever a competition between you and your opponent and everything is quite subjective.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Are you a terrorist?

The company I have got a new job with sent me a raft of instructions, documents and forms to fill in and I have to admit I've been putting off dealing with it. Not only is my natural procrastination kicking in, but flicking through it there is so much information they want me to supply that I knew it wouldn't just be ticking some boxes and signing my name. It is things like this that cause my Asperger's Syndrome (AS) to really raise my anxiety levels.

First task was to see all the documents I had to send them as proof of my identity. Ideally they wanted a passport but mine has expired, but they would also accept a copy of my birth certificate plus a signed photo. I already had some spare passport photos from when I last needed them so that wasn't a problem. So on Saturday I took my birth certificate plus a bank statement plus my phone bill somewhere I could get them photocopied.

Second task was filling in all of the various forms which I did tonight. They wanted to know all of the address I had stayed at for the last five years and my dates of residence. Do people actually know this stuff? Is this something that normal people keep track of? I suddenly felt like a very incompetent librarian. To find my old address I enlisted the help of Amazon. I've been using it forever and it keeps its own address book of places you have had items dispatched to. So from that I could find out my old addresses. But the dates? I don't even know the date I moved into my current address…however again the internet came to my aid. Whenever I move into a new place I like to take pictures of anything that is damaged or worn so they can't claim I did it. I take these pictures digitally but have them printed off and sent to me on-line, so I logged in to the site I use (PhotoBox) and viewed by past transactions and from that found a rough date that I moved in. For the rest I just made up dates :)

They also wanted to know about my past employment and references for three years but luckily I have been at my current job for three years so that was easier than it might have been.

As the company does some work for the government I needed to complete a government security questionnaire which needed details of my parents. Details that any normal son really should know…but alas I had to phone my parents to find out information such as their middle names, towns of birth, dates of birth etc. Thankfully they were in so I could get this thing done and dusted, and thankfully it was my dad who answered. He is quite pragmatic about these things and understands the importance of measuring twice but cutting once. Had my mother answered she would just lecture me on the fact that I don't know her middle name or her birthday. She would then have given me the wrong birth date so she could continue the lie about her real age and knowing my luck her name and fake date of birth would correspond to Osama bin Laden's sister.

As well as those things there were the usual questions where they wanted explicit assurance that I had never tried to overthrow a government and did not associate with saboteurs. I also lied a few times too but when it comes to job forms people with AS always have a decision to make about how honest they should be. I know…in theory everyone should be 100% honest at all times, but I feel that as my AS doesn't too adversely affect me at work that it isn't too bad that I don't admit to having it. I say "don't admit to having it" but I really mean "lie about not having a disability".

Anyway, it's all done now so I'll get it sent off tomorrow and hopefully I haven't missed anything out or messed anything up. To give you an idea how inefficient these forms are here is a summary of the number of times I had to supply each piece of information;

Name x 7
Signature x 4
Date of Birth x 5
Place of birth x 3
Current Address x 4
Old Addresses x 2

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Five, six, pick up chicks

I've been watching a series on yoof television called "The Pickup Artist" which is a show where experts from the "seduction community" (can you believe they've actually given what they do a name?) tutor life's losers in the art of picking up women. Tools of their trade include a raft of TLAs, hyperbolic terminology, pseudo-philosophy and armchair psychology.

The gist is that you lie and pretend you're someone you're not in order to get girls interested in you. Now I'm not sure if the seduction community have gotten as far as solving the mysteries of what happens when she finds out you're just a lying user, but it's fascinating television nonetheless.

Fascinating as there are elements of truth in it. Truth in as much as some of it is common sense, and some does seem to work some of the time. But also some truths I've always wondered about myself. One element of how attracted a woman is to you, and receptive to being "picked up", is a concept they call your "social value". This is a term for your value to others as a social entity. For example if a certain quality of people are seen to be your friends, and you're seen to be at the centre of the group you obviously have a high social value, so if you are of value to others there is a chance you will also be of value to the girl. This perception of social value is something that assures a woman that you are worthy of her time and company, and that your social value may even rub off onto her.

Tricks used to give you a sense of social value were to make sure you were always with a group of male friends, preferably with a "wing man" whose job it is to make you look better and give the impression that you have an elevated position in the group. Other tricks were when approaching a group of girls you say something like "I can only stay for a few minutes as I have to get back to my friends." Again this demonstrates that you are a valuable member of your group so are desirable social companion. The concept of high social value also encompasses dressing well and being well groomed.

Reflecting on my own life where I never keep up with what is trendy and go everywhere and do everything alone my social value is probably transparent. Maybe this is a reason people with Asperger's can be in a room full of people yet feel like they just don't exist. A reason why my plate is empty.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

The future's bright

On the way to the pub I remembered that when I was young the streetlights were orange as it was better for cutting through the fog. This gave everything a surreal, monochrome look. The orange glow painted everything, coating all surfaces. Nowadays streetlights are a more natural white and the pub I was heading for is a long way and out of town, but it is by the coast and has a balcony that overlooks the beach. It is the only pub I know of where you can be surrounded by people, but stood on that balcony, looking out across the sea, it's like you're completely alone.

I get to the pub and ascend into the sea of people. Their combined heat making the room feel like a sauna, their lungs working together to rob it of oxygen. Grasping a beer I fight through the crowd like a diver fighting to surface…through the double doors I stand on the balcony and the cool air brushes my face, oxygen fills my lungs. Down on the beach some teenagers amass and play, the orange light from their mobile phones, a prerequisite to the flash, dances across the sand as I close my eyes and truly, truly, smile.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Moving down

All routine has gone. Every day is now different in some way. Recently I've been really good and I've been using positivity to stitch my routine together. Monday to Friday is drink free and at the gym. A few drinks at the weekend and then my usual weekend routine. Sober on Sunday ready for Monday. Cleaning, tidying up, shopping, cooking…it all fell into place.

Now I've realised that I wasn't using positivity to stitch my routine together. The positivity came from my routine. My routine harboured and fostered it, teased it to grow and flourish. Now I don't know what the days will bring. Interrogation from co-workers? From my boss about why I'm leaving? Being asked to interview my replacements at the last second? That's for starters…imagine all the new thoughts going on in my head?

Nothing is the same now and I'm yearning to get back to stability but now that routine has rent my positivity asunder I have no motivation for work, I'm not going to the gym, I'm drinking all the time. I know this is just a temporary blip, but I still don't like it.


I successfully negotiated almost two weeks off at the end of my current job with my boss. Now that he has my replacement in the bag I think he's feeling more relaxed about me leaving. Again I'm planning on what to do with my time off, and again I really would like to spend some time touring the country. Maybe spending a few days making my way back to my town of birth. See my parents along the way. Maybe catch up with some other people along the way. Maybe catch up with my "fling" that e-mailed me recently ;) Maybe hook up with all sorts of people on some whirlwind "you can only realistically deal with me for a day anyway" tour.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Moving on

I had my first job interview today, and got offered the job. The company was my second choice as my first one hadn't got back to me yet. Tonight I discovered that my first option had e-mailed me two days ago but it was in my spam folder. To be honest after speaking with the company that interviewed me today I was more interested in the job than I was before so I'm hoping that maybe God is trying to tell me something. At least I can always try the other firm if this one doesn't work out.

The interview itself was gruelling though, I felt like I'd done ten rounds with Mike Tyson by the time it was over. Before I even went for the interview I had to do an on-line test (I got in the 80th percentile). Before the interview started I had to do a written test. When the interviewers turned up I had even more questions to answer, code samples to diagnose and analyse and it was relentless. An hour and a half in total.

The people interviewing me were the lead developer and the HR manager. Now I'm not sure if this was part of the "test", but the HR manager (female) had quite a low-cut top so I had to be on my best behaviour with eyes at 12 O'Clock at all times. We were both sat at a massive desk with me at one side and her at the other. The jug of water was in the middle, some four feet from where either of us were sat. "Do you mind?" she said, gesturing toward the water. With that she leant right over toward me to reach for the jug of water while jugs of flesh fell and, for what seemed an eon, she poured a glass as I looked at the clock on the wall, the watch on my wrist, my shoes, the door, out of the window, at the pen on the desk…all the time screaming in my head "DON'T LOOK AT HER BREASTS!!!".

I think I got away with it.

It's at times like this people with Asperger's can feel their loneliest. I'm about to embark on a daunting new chapter in my life…but who do I tell? Who is there to congratulate me? To have a drink with me? No-one. I had a quiet drink by myself in my local while drunken old men played pool. Then I had another pint in another pub while pretty young things chatted around me. Then I got some takeaway food. Then I came home.

Go me.

Friday, 31 July 2009


I'm slowly going through my "Relationships for social retards" book (I was hoping there was a chapter called "Chat-up lines that really work" but there isn't) and it's one of those things that kinda tells you what you already knew but never thought about. It organises and arranges things in a way that makes you go "I never thought about it that way." One thing it touched on was the importance of small talk to NTs, which is something we all know of but don't care for ourselves. The book explained that NTs themselves are probably not enamoured with the small talk, but that the small talk is a scatter-gun type approach until someone hits on something that both people can engage in and it turns into a "real" conversation. I actually found quite a good example of it while watching Big Brother on television. Two bores were exchanging tedium when all of a sudden one mentioned something seemingly trivial that sparked the other's interest and they went on to talk about their new-found common interest.

My problem with small-talk (well, one of them) is that I am so out of practice that nothing comes naturally, and when put on the spot my mind goes blank but I do often think of things I should have said later on. Today, for example, I went for a drink with some colleagues after work and one of them asked me if I had any plans for the weekend. Now I never really do, I just do whatever, I like being on my own and "having plans" usually involves other people. Obviously I didn't say any of that, just that I didn't have plans and I elaborated a little saying that now my regular venues have closed down I'm feeling a bit lost for things to do at the weekend. Anyway, that was the end of that conversation and it was only a fair while after that it struck me that the proper thing to do after I said my plans was to ask her what her plans were. Not only would that have elongated the conversation and maybe brought something up we could use to continue talking about, it would also have shown a reciprocal interest. As it was it ended up quite a one-sided and selfish exchange whereas I could have shown her that I was also interested in what she had to say and what she was doing.

Of course none of this is of any use hours later, is it? I'm going to have to get into the habit of directing people's questions back to them when I'm finished talking. To be honest I find it awkward and forced having to return the question as to me it seems that I'm only asking them because they asked me and not because it's a genuine interest. Maybe that's the biggest thing I have to get over? Although it seems forced to me, to NTs it's perfectly normal and natural behaviour.

First they came for the communists...

Autism seems like a hot potato in the news at the moment...or maybe it isn't and I'm just noticing it more because I'm looking for it more. Mainly we have the case of Gary McKinnon...a "computer geek" with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) who got caught hacking the computers of the American government and, upon realising the crime carries 70 years in jail, is grasping at any straw that is floating by; grabbing at the doorframe in a last desperate attempt to extend his time by any moments he can muster. If I'm honest I'd do the same, and so would you. If I was facing 70 years in an American jail I'd put underpants on my head and pencils up my nose if I thought it would save me.

Now don't get me wrong, the intended punishment far outstrips the crime and it does seem like the Americans want to make an example. Even ignoring the AS angle, I'd still support any effort to see him tried and punished in the UK. As much as I think the Americans are looking to make an example, I also think Team McKinnon is deliberately misrepresenting the AS side of this story to make him more a victim than he actually is as an attempt to get an eleventh hour pardon.

Trans-Atlantic chess aside, the main issue here is to what extent should people with AS be excused from their actions? Or shielded from the consequences? To what extent does having AS mitigate the seriousness of your behaviour? Ok…Gary might have had an obsession…a compulsion…to investigate UFO activity - but he still knows right from wrong. He's autistic, not psychotic.

Whatever way you look at it and whatever side of the fence you're on it's an interesting case. This one is slightly more worrying though;

Men guilty of parents murder plot

"They said Monks [who sought to have his parents killed] suffered from an autism spectrum disorder and had difficulty in separating fantasy from reality."

"Professor Digby Tantam, a consultant psychiatrist and autism expert, said he believed the defendant had an autistic spectrum disorder which could impair his understanding on the outcome of actions and the feelings of others."

I'll say it again…autistic, not psychotic.

As these stories come out and people look to their autism to excuse their behaviour is the tide of human opinion going to ebb further out from us? Are we going to end up being seen in the same light as un-treated schizophrenics, turfed out to kill in the community in the name of care in the community? Are we slowly being turned into the new bogeymen? Will mothers hurry their children inside and slam the window shutters when they see us coming? How long before we've overtaken the paedophiles? How long until Jonathan King is blogging about how vile we are?

If people keep misrepresenting autism as a defence against criminal behaviour then that's a two-way street; the public will start to believe it. So is the autistic community digging its own mass grave? By siding with the likes of Gary McKinnon instead of saying "I have sympathy for Gary, but autism is no excuse, if you break the law you should be punished" we're all jumping in the handcart and it's slowly rolling down the hill, but fast gathering momentum.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Things I did this week...

...that I had no idea I'd do at the start of the week.

1) Bought a fruit bowl
2) Bought a self-help book for people with Autism who are looking for help with relationships
3) Put my CV on-line and started applying for new jobs.

It's weird but in the space of a week my life seems to have changed quite a lot. I can hardly get my head around fruit won't just be lying on the kitchen worktop anymore.


Wednesday, 22 July 2009

In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king

One of the more commonly known issues with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) is empathy. When I think of empathy I always think about putting yourself in the shoes of someone else when they are undergoing a physical being hurt when falling down, or feeling sad after a break-up. It seems that empathy tends to encompass more than that though, such as how another person sees the world in general. I found this out after reading some research material about autism (not specifically AS) and what tests have been conducted to show the differences between autistic children and non-autistic (NT) children.

One of the tests they do is seeing if a child knows how another child perceives the world. The classic example is that Child A has a ball in a basket and leaves the room, and Child B takes the ball from the basket and puts it in a box. When Child A comes back to the room do they look for the ball in the basket or the box? A child who knows how Child A perceives the world will say "basket", but a child who only knows how they themselves perceive the world would say "box".

What interested me most was the importance of the age of the children involved when it comes to these tests. The study is quite explicit in that it isn't saying that NT children will say "basket" and autistic children will say "box". What the study shows is that NT children of a specific age (4 in this case) will say "basket", where an autistic child of 4 would say "box". However by the time the autistic child reaches 6 they would also be saying "basket". It brought home how important it is to diagnose autism in children and how hard it must be to do in adults. It also explains the rather blasé attitude I found in professionals when trying to get diagnosed myself. After all...if these key tests can't be done at the right age then in fairness how can they ever be sure to truly diagnose autism? All they can do is give it their best shot.

It also comforted me in a way as I've read the odd thing about how children with AS act that sometimes don't resonate with me. However maybe that is because while I don't remember exhibiting a certain deficiency, the real issue is that I'm remembering how I was at an older age. So it's not that I was exhibiting "normal" behaviour so maybe I don't have AS, but that that "normal" behaviour was only happening years after it should have been happening. So while I remember thinking "basket", I was thinking it later than I should have been. Further that it is this delay in the development process that is the vital key to knowing if a child is autistic. I now fully appreciate why childhood diagnosis is so important, or failing that information from the parent if it is an adult that is seeking diagnosis. I can't be expected to know at what age certain behaviours came and went, but my parents should.

This possible delay in development ties in with my memories of my parents always showing concern about how immature I was and how I tended to prefer the company of children younger than me. Maybe my development was out of phase by a year or two? If autistic children do eventually learn what their NT counterparts learned a few years previous I suppose it's not unusual that we develop many coping strategies and grow "more normal" as we get older.

The paper did occasionally mention AS specifically and said that sometimes children with AS were able to pass these "theory of mind" tests even though children further up the austic spectrum often could not.

This concept of knowing how others see the world made me think about another vivid childhood memory I have; when watching television I'd often wonder if other people were seeing the show in the same way. When the news came on and the newsreader had a moustache I'd ask someone "does that person have a moustache?" When I saw a red car I'd ask "is that car red?" It must have seemed quite strange to others, but I was genuinely wondering if everyone saw everything the same way. Was my desire to understand the world causing me to confront my lack of knowledge on how others saw the world?

Coming full circle - I initially said that I considered empathy as knowing how someone felt after a physical event...this paper also touched on the fact then when asked what functions a brain did, autistic children tend to concentrate on the physical (tells our muscles to move, heart to beat, let's us see) while completely ignoring the emotional functions, but NT children consider both.

Sunday, 19 July 2009


The not-drinking-on-Sunday is going great. Too bad I won a bottle of wine in a raffle tonight.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Catching up

Just a few things that are going on with me really.

I'm on a bit of a self-improvement kick at the moment with my usual mixed success. I'm trying to turn my Asperger's Syndrome (AS) to my advantage by developing "positive" habits and routines to combat some issues I have. One habit I've already managed to break is drinking mid-week, something I haven't done for quite a while. My next target is to stop drinking on a Sunday as it affects me quite badly on the following Monday at work. While still in the moment I set up a reminder on my phone for next Sunday at 7pm that urges me not to drink and explaining the reasons why. We'll see if it works. Alas I didn't break the habit last Sunday so I didn't feel up to going to the gym this week. Which brings me to my next point…

I did something rather spontaneous tonight and decided to go to the cinema. I haven't been in a long time really and I'm not quite sure where the idea came from…but what the hell? I went to see "Bruno" because my humour is usually in the gutter anyway and it was laugh-out-loud funny in a fair few places. Was also good to see an Autism joke in the movies (good news…Autism is "in" this season)…not something you see much of, though Sasha Baron Cohen's cousin is an autism researcher so I'm sure there is a connection there. Alas it did also remind me why I hate being around other people.

The other routine I'm trying to get into is a cleaning one. I had a fairly large clean-up two weeks ago and I'm striving to do less but more often to keep it up and I think I'm doing quite well. When I see something that needs done I try and do it rather than postpone it. I'm cleaning the oven hob and bathroom sink etc more frequently so that it just needs a quick once-over and that's it done. I'm trying to keep clutter down and mess cleaned away and the recycling done rather than letting it pile up, and also get the dishes done rather than those also piling up. So far it's going ok I think. I've been here before though so I won't be too surprised if I gradually slip back to my old ways.

To close off this Christmas letter, I had a girl I was "involved" with when I was younger contact me after tracking me down on the internet. It's been about 16 years I think since I last saw or spoke to her, but it was good to hear from her (stalking tendencies forgiven). To be honest all my life I've regularly thought back to my relationship with her, as brief as it was. It never really progressed the way I wanted it to even though I really liked her and I could never understand why I acted as I did. Now, looking back knowing I have AS it all makes perfect sense and I now understand why I did the things I did. So to have her contact me out of the blue was a mix of emotions.

We've since exchanged a few emails and I confess that I've fallen for her again. It's like she hasn't changed one bit and those 16 years never existed. It's like I last saw her yesterday. It's like she is some kind of key to my life, something I need to tie up the past. I'm torn, though. Up front I'll say that nothing is going to happen…she is 700 miles from me. But there are so many things I want to tell her. I want to tell her that I can now explain why things happened the way they did, I want to spell things out to her. But what's the point? I could detail so many things that are fresh in my mind but she probably doesn't even remember them. Could I face the fact that the things that have dogged me all my life are so insignificant to her that she can't even remember them?

I dunno…I'll sit on it and think about it. Why are the people you want never available? I suppose I should really just leave things as they are. Knowledge isn't always good; sometimes ships just need to pass in the night.

Friday, 10 July 2009

One-way lives

I'd love to live in one of those tall, wide, sprawling tower blocks. The ones that dominate a city's skyline and can be seen no matter where. As you approach the building it unveils itself as a mass of stars in the sky you can take in the aura but lack any single thing to focus in on. Rows and rows of windows, every one of them hiding a life.

I'd like to be one of those lives…on the inside looking out. Sitting in the window watching the people outside and taking that chance…the chance that you won't be seen. Banking on that probability that of all the windows yours will go unnoticed, allowing your voyeurism to remain a dirty little secret. Maybe even turn off the lights, use some binoculars and scan the lives in the building across from yours, dotted like stars in the sky. Resting on one dark window and wondering if there is a life behind that window. With binoculars. Looking at you.