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Doing the easy stuff

I've tried really hard this week. (I sound like I'm writing myself a school certificate).

Amanda tried really hard this week - well done!

I'd walk out of school, gripping it tight - but not too tight, I don't want it to crease - and it would be stuck on the fridge at home so I would know I tried really hard, and had it recognised.

As adults, we don't often get certificates, and if we do they are usually for something much more concrete like Level 1 Diploma in Animal Husbandry or Certificate in Pond Digging (intermediate). Compliments take the place of the gold star or the school achievement papers. We try and sometimes people say we've done well, they're proud of us, they care.

Problem is, as adults we are expected to do well without trying. Actually, no, I'm getting ahead of myself : we're expected to cope with normal life without trying. The difference between these two is a chasm sometimes.

I did well today. I managed mostly everything, and also …
Recent posts

Cats and Wolves and Call Centres

I have a self-imposed rule for dealing with call centres. The first is never to call them until the wolf is at the door. The second is to make the wolf wait til after 11am (no matter what time I get up, pre-11am is the dead zone). I've learnt from bitter experience that not following these rules ends up in mistakes and being treated like I'm 92.

Cue a call this morning. I'd been up half the night so my reasoning was to get it over with as waiting til after 11 wasn't likely to improve me in any way. Logic is great, except when it's based on 3 hours sleep.

I took it slowly, spelled everything, twice - I'm Cumbrian, and only the Irish and Indian call centres have any idea what I'm talking about. I was almost at the home straight and then...

I was asked for an 8 digit security word. It turns out I don't know any 8 digit words at all. Not one.

I sat there with tumbleweed blowing through while she helpfully repeated the request, as if I hadn't understood…

Living with the fails

I've never held back from criticising myself (and others, sorry!). I can't hang a picture on the wall without it falling off soon after, but I can tell you the picture isn't straight and point out why you're hanging it wrong.

I wouldn't trust myself to hang it, I know it would fall and then, in my mind's eye, it falls on the cat/the son/the foot I need to brake the car. Every disaster ensues from my dangerous picture-hanging, so I don't do it.

But what about the fails I can't avoid? The everyday mistakes that follow me around and remind me how bad I am at such-and-such, how I got it wrong again, how I forgot again. What can I do to stop them?

So come the fails. Imagine them like a row of grubby little chickens, one after the other. Clucking in protest or panic they run after me as if I can lead them home and safe. The fails, that little group who gather each day when I do this wrong or that the right way then forget it. There they are, just when I thou…

When life seems unreal

Sometimes being on the spectrum is like living half-in and half-out of the real world: surrounded by unreal people with strange, glimpsed motivations, left to figure out the plot at the same time as being a part of it.

Like a TV town by the sea, my own life seems populated by stereotypical characters who have their roles to play and know them off by heart. I have a role too, but I don't ever seem to quite learn the lines or know which door to leave by and when to come in on cue. Rather like the innocent niece or nephew on Murder She Wrote, sooner or later I find myself under suspicion, hoping for a kindly Aunt Jess to bail me out and explain it all away.

It's not just the people who can seem unreal: colours boost or fade, impressions of a familiar room change as the light is adjusted behind the scenes and not by any switch I can reach. Shadows disappear in a harsh light or gather in new places - how did I never notice before that dark gap between the cupboard and the door?


Through the wardrobe

I don't care about reality. You have it, you keep it and take care of it, and tell me all about it if you like. I'll pet it a little and pretend to understand, to know what you mean when you say

The real world matters, we all have to live in it

This reality is what counts, this is what we have
I know this is true because I can feel it and see it
It does you good to live in the real world
You have it, have the grand plans and new schemes, have the walk to work and the run to keep up. I don't want it. I won't answer the door to it, or include it in my limited plans for getting through today, for walking free in my own unreal, unseen world.
I'm unrealistic (apparently). I need to do these real-world, fact-based, hard-edged tasks to make everything happen like it's supposed to. Who made these rules? Does it matter if I fit in? Who cares if I do? I don't care, why should you?
Have it to yourself, you like it so much. You cuddle its hard edges and polish it so it sh…

What is the yellow bird?

It sounds like the start of a haiku, though then we'd have to:

What is yellow bird? or Is the yellow bird?

which might be quite nice and lead to wheeling high above the cat
then safe and free at last.
So, yes, I went off track there. I only picked the yellow bird title because I saw a little canary the other day, desperately trying to get into Asda (they know no better), hopping away from the anxious security guard and worried assistant who were trying to pluck up the courage to catch it. I'd been in the middle of a conversation with IT Girl and as soon as I saw the bird, off I went to see what was happening.
This is a verifiable distraction: a canary trying to go shopping in Asda is a sight most people would find distracting. But what if you don't need the yellow bird?
What if all you need is a random key word in your sentence or someone else's to set you off in a new direction? Off you go, logically changing route (logical to you anyway), leaving the other person won…

Tell me how I feel

Sometimes I rely on other people to tell me what the world means, and how I can make a best-fit try at life. I have a habit of looking for opinions too much, just because things don't make much sense to me; it seems logical to ask the advice of people who do see sense in the whole crazy world around us. But I can go too far.

I was asking my eldest son for advice, asking him what other people might do, what they might think, what I might do, and so on. I expect the friends and family of aspies can guess how this conversation went, it definitely belonged in the 'but why?' category. We might not say it exactly that way but we might as well be asking:

But why did they say that?
But why did it turn out that way?
But why does it mean that instead of this?

Frankly, it doesn't matter how many special interests and perfect understandings you have, there is always so much of life that ends up as but why.

I was but-whying my son (yet again), this time about the feelings and moti…