Autistic? Moi?

I needed to go into town the other day, to run a few errands: drop a letter off at the accountants, pick some files up, nip into the bank, and do a spot of top-up shopping as there were things missing off the weekly supermarket delivery.  When I’m doing these kinds of things, I need to have some preparation in place, such as the order of doing things, etc.

I said goodbye to Mrs Bob, as I always do before I go out, and was feeling pretty normal (or as normal as I ever feel). I got into the car and set the seat and the volume on my stereo, as Mrs Bob had used my car and fiddled with the settings. I drove over to the accountants with as little hassle and eye contact as I could get away with, and then headed back into the town centre to begin the hunt for the elusive lesser=spotted parking space. After a short hunt, I had found a spot, parked up, and walked through the quiet streets to the bank. I was feeling quite pleased with myself, as for all intents and purposes I was seeming like a normal person.  At this point, I began to think to myself that maybe I’m not that autistic at all, really.

When I arrived at the bank, there was quite a queue. This meant I had to stand about under those incredibly bright lights and listen to everyone’s conversations about bingo, who they had seen in the hairdressers, etc. As I stood in the queue for what seemed like an eternity I began to stim by flapping my fingers on one hand while waiting for my turn. Eventually, it came, and the woman behind the counter had decided that because I was avoiding eye contact, I was obviously up to no good and made me give ID and went to check it all, before letting me pay the money into Mrs Bob’s account. This caused me to get a little frustrated at being given the third degree, so I did what I needed and left with the minimum of conversation, heading  back to the car via the shops.

I was so happy to get back to the car, as it’s like a mobile comfort zone. I control everything that goes on inside my car, and if I want to listen to Justin Bieber and Metallica at silly volumes I can, and no one can say any different. I headed home and began the process of unwinding, when my ‘phone rang.  It was the dealership I got my car from, explaining my MOT was due and did I want to book it in. I told the woman that I wouldn’t ever take my car back there, as I had complained about the MOT procedure to them for a number of years, etc, etc. The line went dead and I assumed she had hung up on me, though she had been speaking at that point

It was at this point that Mrs Bob explained that I had been very aggressive towards the person on the ‘phone and that maybe I should apologise. I respectfully disagreed with her, as I hadn’t got angry or aggressive, I hadn’t sworn, I was just really grumpy nothing more.  It was only a month or so later when Mrs Bob ‘phoned the dealership about a service that she could tell from their reaction to her that my phone-call was an issue. Mrs Bob apologised on my behalf and explained that I have Asperger’s.  She sorted it all out and we gave them some chocolates to apologise.

Then I realised that it was only the other day I was thinking to myself how unautistic I was…Guess I was very wrong on that one really… it hit home quite hard

Stay Safe X

Trains, Podcasts and Days Off

I have been enjoying a few weeks of mix and match shifts, which as you might know by now, is something that I’m not the biggest fan of.  The first week I had my usual two days off, came back to work for one shift, then had three days off as Mrs Bob was lecturing (and not me for once) in Dorset. I was designated driver, as she has a bad back. We spent Thursday and Friday up there, and while she was working her magic I found a comic book store and a nice coffee shop so I was happy to while the hours away before driving back to Devon and relax. Then on the Saturday, I went off on a little adventure  on the train to Exmouth to cover a ComicCon for a geeky website. Surprisingly, for an Aspie, I don’t mind trains as I can read, listen to a podcast and most of the time people leave me alone. Mrs Bob managed to drive me down to the local train station, and as I waited to board the train I saw one of my staff get on board. So I did the socially acceptable thing and tapped her on the shoulder, which made her jump, and I said hi, before fleeing to another carriage.

I  settled down with a couple of podcasts and enjoyed the scenery as it passed by my window. It was a nice relaxing trip with a pretty empty carriage and before I knew it I was at Exeter station ready to change trains to Exmouth. While waiting for the train, I bumped into my colleague again and, this time, began to have a real conversation, which continued on the next train until she got off a couple of stops later. I was then on my own for the last portion of the trip, and before I knew it I had reached my stop and arrived at the convention.  I was like a kid in a candy shop and had a great time catching up with old friends and making some new ones too.

On Sunday, I was back at work for a split shift and it was like any other Sunday really; lunch was busy, as always, with around 40 covers in the two-and-a-half hour lunch service.  and then a very busy but fun evening.   I then had my usual days off, worked the Wednesday and had  another two days off to drive Mrs Bob to Southampton on Thursday lunchtime. We got checked into a hotel ready for another training session on the Friday morning – things didn’t quite go to plan, but then I was back to work for the Saturday and Sunday split shifts, which were both extremely busy, before having another two days off. So, for the past few weeks I hadn’t worked a full week due to my booked holidays and this continued into the third week as this week I worked working for thee days and have been off over this weekend as there is one of the biggest TV, movie and comic book conventions in the south west area. I was given press passes to attend and to interview and report the goings on. I might have also  even purchased some geeky goodies and enjoyed myself!

This, then, is the end of my extended holidays and strange working weeks and it’s back to normality, or at least as normal as my life gets.

No mater how fast my life seems to move it’s always nice to take some time out to just stop and enjoy the time. Whether that means grabbing a caramel latte and watching the world go by, or chatting with an old friend at a geeky convention or just sitting in bed with the person you love watching a favourite show together. You don’t have to fill your days with things, but if you do, make the things you fill your days with count.

Stay Safe X