As this year draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to look back over the last year and share some of the things for which I’m thankful. Firstly, there is the fact that, mainly due to a lot of hard work from Mrs Bob, I managed to get my book finished and on sale. Secondly, I have started this little blog with a view to just sharing my life on the autism spectrum, and to try to educate about autism in adults.
I’m spending my New Year’s Eve like a true party animal, sat about in my Adventure Time PJs and Batman robe, with coffee. So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people that have helped me over the last year. I’m also completely blown away by and grateful for all the people that have taken the time to read my blog and that is the biggest thing I’ve taken from this year.
So I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderfully happy and prosperous 2017.
After what seems like an eternity of being stuck in the bedroom and having to rely on Mrs Bob to literally run around after me, I am able to get about slowly. I have actually gone downstairs and can confirm that it hasn’t disappeared. When you spend nearly a week upstairs its almost a case of Shrodinger’s house – until I go and observe it, the downstairs both exists and doesn’t exist, simultaneously. I’m so glad to be able to get up and move about. It’s the little things, like being able to enjoy the comfort of sitting in my spot. One of the best things is being able to have a nice hot bath with a podcast and candles and to get back to work.
Fortunately, I’ve been on holiday for nearly the entire time, bar one day that I’ve been incapacitated. I can’t wait for the Christmas/New Year malarkey to be over so I can get back to my usual work and daily routines. I’ve found that this period plays havoc with my Aspiness; what with days off work due to Christmas plus the usual disruption to the bin collections, postal services, shops, etc, its really getting harder to tell what day of the week it is. Add to the mix being stuck in the same room for too many days and it all then becomes one large blur of days. That ended yesterday as I went back to work and caught up on the Christmas gossip that I’ve missed out on over the last two weeks.
What a couple of days I’ve had! After a wonderful few days off, I was struck down with a really sudden bad back. It happened when Mrs Bob and I returned home from our trip to Cornwall.
We arrived home to see Dog waiting on the doorstep with a very unhappy look on his face as we had dared to leave him on his own for a few days. I went to get out of Mrs Bob’s car and my back just gave out on me. It took the wife to help me get my crippled ass out the car and upstairs so I could crash out on the bed and try to get comfortable. This was, as anyone who has experienced back spasms and sciatica, or any other serious back pain will attest, is not the easiest thing in the world. While the rest of my friends have been getting ready for the holiday season and partying and making merry, I have spent the last three days flat on my back – and not in a good way. So I’m trying to make the most of being literally bed-ridden by watching documentaries, movies and catching up on my rather large reading list. The doctor has prescribed a very nice combination of drugs, which are keeping the pain pretty much manageable but the downside is that I’m very sleepy a lot of the time.
But hey it’s Christmas, I’m on holiday, the TV is good (ish) and it gives me time to reflect on this year. It’s had some amazing highs, like finally getting my book finished and for sale on Amazon, and some crippling lows which I really don’t wish to relive but I’m sure that if you follow my blog, you will know.
Above all, the one thing that I have found most surprising this year is the fact that in the last six months this little idea for a blog has been viewed over half a million times. I can’t say how touched and flattered I am by this, so thanks to you all and where ever you are, and whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re having a very Happy Holiday.
Today has been a very relaxed day; really a day of spirituality and of reflection. It began with a nice relaxed lie-in with a coffee and reminiscing with Mrs Bob. Before I go any further, I should point out that three years today was the day Mrs Bob and I stood before our family and friends and declared our love for each other and began this crazy journey that is our married life.
After a nice chat and opening cards, etc, it was time to do what I do every winter solstice – sit and watch the sun rise while reflecting on life and the last few months. You see, for me and many other pagans, druids, wiccans, etc, the winter solstice is an important sabbat or holiday. It signifies that, as the wheel of the year turns, the days will now become longer.
Then we decided to have a nice romantic lakeside breakfast before going up to the spa for an anniversary treatment. Now I’m an enlightened bloke and don’t mind going to health spas with my wife, but as an Aspie, I find them strange and awkward in all honesty. This was no exception. It began with the health questionnaire and small talk (I don’t mind the health questions, as they’re always about allergies and heart conditions it never says ARE YOU AUTISTIC? so it’s ok) but I really don’t do well at the small talk bit and that’s before the massage has even begun.
That’s when the real fun begins – the masseuse will try to tell you to get comfortable (harder than it looks) while they leave the room. Then the touching begins and lasts for what seems like an eternity. Fortunately, I wasn’t totally freaked out by the touching as it was a back and neck massage, and I was lucky that the masseuse wasn’t feeling at all chatty, so the only uncomfortable bit was when my lower back (near my butt) was being massaged. That was a tad awkward for me, as only one woman is OK to go there. But we both felt generally very relaxed afterwards. We decided to have a spot of lunch and spent the afternoon watching some of the latest box sets we are getting into – Season two of the cop drama Ashes to Ashes.
We were so chilled out after the treatment, this was the perfect way to get ready for a gorgeous anniversary meal at the resort restaurant. This was the highlight of my day. A chance to enjoy some very fine food and drink and the company of my best friend and wife. This is somewhat of a rare treat for us, as we both have dietary problems and due to this we normally don’t go out to eat as it can be a nightmare for us; plus, if the kitchen staff/chefs should get things wrong, which can happen, it can make us very poorly or even hospitalise us. The chef had emailed us before we arrived, and had a special menu ready for us, including a new dessert he had specially made for Mrs Bob and boy did it have the wow factor. We really loved the meal and left feeling very full and ready to crash out in our room and get an early night…..
Well it’s official – my holiday has begun; Mrs Bob and I set off yesterday for a lovely little resort in Cornwall. This meant that as we had to stop off at our favourite American-style diner, as we always do when we visit Cornwall, for a nice bite to eat. It’s kind of a routine for us. I always have a burger with cheese double stacked (i.e. 2 burgers not one) as I’m a growing boy. The diner was surprisingly busier than usual which was a little bit of an issue as there was lots of conversations to try and block out, but the food made it worth our while.
Then it was back on the road for the remaining drive to the resort. When we arrived, it was really worth the drive; we have a riverside lodge and, as it’s December,the resort is fairly quiet so we can just relax, enjoy the silence and do as much or as little as we want. The resort has a swimming pool, sauna, gym and spa, etc, so it’s the beginning of three full days of total rest, relaxation, sightseeing. Oh, and it’s also our wedding anniversary while we are away. So today we made the first stop on our tour – the extremely creepy, somewhat harrowing and maybe haunted Bodmin Jail. This building is very large and imposing as you drive up through the entrance gates into the prison like so many of the sad and some innocent souls had done before us. The jail itself has lots of exhibits that told stories of some of the ineatest and what they had been imprisoned for. There were some people that really were despicable and deserved the trip to the gallows. Then there were some who really didn’t deserve to be locked up in such a cold and dank hell hole or in one case executed simply for setting fire to a neighbouring farmers corn in retaliation for the same. As we went round the jail and saw the exhibits there was a real sense of pain and suffering – even when you saw the prison conditions in modern times in comparison, it still left me feeling that if i was locked up at this jail that I would certainly be sharing my cell with more than just the living. I would hazard a guess that the exhibition would certainly come to life late at night when the lights go out and the last mortal leaves the building.
After we finished the tour, we had a nice coffee and looked at our pictures from that morning, and had a chat. We then drove back to the resort for a light lunchtime snack by the lake and some cheesy television like The Goldbergs and Big Bang Theory. It’s times like this that I really appreciate the small things in life, even if it’s just a coffee and a cuddle with the woman I love. My advice to you is that there is always time – if you don’t think you have time, then make time to make the memories.
In reality, everyone with autism is different. Some need support for the rest of their lives and some are able to live independently and start a family. Autism alone does not define what someone can or cannot do.
I know someone with Autism and you’re nothing like them.
“‘I know a neurotypical…person, and you don’t act like he or she does.’” Offended? Well good, because autism is a spectrum disorder, so everyone with it has different expressions of symptoms within their personalities. To quote Dr Stephen Shore, “when you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism”.
Autism is just an excuse to be rude.
Aside from the fact that this statement is rude in itself (oh, the irony!), it’s also untrue for most people on the spectrum. Autistic people struggle socially as they don’t understand or pick up on the social cues, so they might seem rude. If you explain that what they said was offensive, they are often apologetic.
Today has been the start of a well-earned break from work. I’m off for a week as I have holiday time to use up and it’s Mrs Bob and my third wedding anniversary. We have decided to go away for a few days to relax before Christmas begins. So, today (Friday), I met up with a friend of mine, who I know through work, to go and catch this year’s biggest and most eagerly awaited blockbuster – Sully…. who am I kidding? Obviously I mean Star Wars Rogue One, as we’re massive geeks.
I don’t normally go out with people except Mrs Bob anywhere as I’m very uncomfortable doing so, let alone to the cinema. It’s an Aspie’s worst nightmare – lots of people judging you, so many unexpected loud noises and the biggest problem is having to sit still for over an hour (those who know me can attest to how difficult that would be). Anyway, I picked up my friend in the car and chatted excitedly on the twenty minute drive about what we were expecting from this film in terms of storylines, character building plots, new characters and old favourites. The big one being Darth Vader himself as it is set before episode four: A New Hope. If at this point you’re not sure who Darth Vader is, or what A New Hope is, then please walk away from this blog with your head hung in shame! When we got to the cinema we were early so we found a quser part of the cinema complex and had a gossip about life and everything (as my friend used to work with me and now works as a waiter for a tv-chef-owned restaurant). Before we knew it, the anticipation was almost over and it was time to take our seats to see the film we had been waiting 12 months to see…….
The film was everything we expected and more. We were throughly entertained by drama, spaceship and huge land battles, new characters, old favourites, it even had a droid called K-2SO, who was shall we say mildly autistic in his brutal honesty about things. We left the cinema very happy and chatting excitedly like schoolkids on the first day of the six week holidays about all the good bits in the film and more importantly what happens next! I have decided that I actually really enjoyed going out catching a film and socialising with someone I’m happy to call my friend. So hopefully here’s to many more cinema trips and social events
What a day I had yesterday. To begin with, Mrs Bob had an old friend (who I didn’t know at all) coming over to see her for a ‘girly’ catch-up session. This meant that I had a massive panic on first thing in the morning, mainly consisting of trying to make sure the house was immaculately clean and organised. Mrs Bob runs a very tight ship in this respect, but I’m ex military so it can get a little silly and over the top. With all the housework sorted we could finally sit down and one of us could relax. About an hour before I had to leave for work, the wife’s friend wasn’t here yet and sod’s law … I started to get hungry!
This would normally not be an issue, but now I had a dilemma to contend with. Do I go to work for seven hours without eating, or do I do myself something to eat and run the risk of being caught eating when her friend arrived? I’m sure I’ve explained this before, but if I haven’t or you’re new here, as an Aspie I have a great deal of difficulty eating with or in front of people I don’t know or I’m not comfortable around. I decided that the gains outweighed the risks and, well, wouldn’t you know it, Mrs Bob’s friend turned up while I was eating. I tried to do the small talk thing with her and Mrs Bob but despite my years of practice I was rapidly out of my depth and trying desperately to tread water. I could feel that perhaps I was doing something wrong, but couldn’t figure out what it was or how to correct the situation. So I did the best thing I could possibly do (short of sitting in the cupboard under the stairs), I went to work.
Yesterday was a very challenging day. It began with a nice relaxing morning catching up on some comics I have to review and television that I had recorded, which I love but Mrs Bob doesn’t like. The reason I was able to do this was because my good lady was out with an old friend at some Christmas market type thing. I personally don’t like going to these event as they’re not my thing for starters and they usually don’t serve good coffee (yes I’m a snob) plus I find them a bit too peopley for my liking. She enjoys them though, so I will occasionally, if pushed, attend these weird events, and go in search of decent java.
So, a nice relaxing morning of comic books, motorcycle gangs and zombies – just what the doctor ordered. Then it was time to head to work. It was a long day.
It’s one of the downsides of my Aspergers, that it takes so much energy to appear almost NT like. It’s hard to maintain the many conversations and/or interactions with guests and staff, even for someone like me, who most people can’t tell is autistic. After a busy day, I need some time alone to get my head back to where it should be for my next adventure.