Offensive? Moi?

I made a huge mistake a while back, which didn’t come to light for some time. In my defence, I didn’t realise it was a mistake at the time or I probably wouldn’t have done it. Ok, I might have done, but I probably would have checked with Mrs Bob first. She says she would have suggested I didn’t post it.

“What was this gargantuan mistake”, I hear you all ask? Well, I had decided to post a joke on a local NHS autism group’s social media site. Other jokes are posted on there, and this one was not rude, racist or sexist at all, just maybe a little ill -advised; in fact, here it is below – you can decide.


I Am Deleting The Following People in This group As They Do Not Contribute or post.

[inserted a long list of fictional names here… none of whom were people in the group]

If you went through this entire list looking for your name, I do apologize for completely wasting your time. I’m not even an admin and have no clue who these people are. I stole this from another page and thought it was funny.”

I had seen this on another group, and thought it was just a harmless bit of fun, so I posted it. Boy, was I wrong. It turns out that one person on the group, who is a new member, became extremely offended by this joke and left fifteen increasingly angry comments on my post. Then, he actually called the group’s administrator on the phone to complain and demand that I was removed from the group. I then found I couldn’t access the group. A bit harsh, I felt, but it’s their group after all.

I eventually established that I had not been booted from the group by the admin, but they did not understand why I was no longer a member, as I had not left. I received a kind email from the group admin, who made it clear that they realised it was a harmless joke, and I’m told that the offended person was spoken to and he issued a public apology to me on the group.

I know, as someone on the Autism Spectrum, that we may not get certain jokes from time-to-time, but was that an acceptable reaction to a genuine error of judgement, even if it did cause offence? I’m going to have to say no. If I had been approached and they had said they found it offensive, I would have removed it. I’m not into upsetting other people, even if I don’t understand what I said that offended them. I see things all the time online that I find highly offensive and it’s clear it was posted provocatively, but I am like many adults, and don’t give the person who posted it the satisfaction of showing any form of reaction. I just scroll on. It seems to me that nowadays people are either very sensitive to the slightest upset online, or that certain people go out of their way to find something to complain about, saying it’s offensive and that it upset them.

Honestly, there are bigger things to be offended by than a silly misplaced joke. I could run a huge list of REAL problems that we could and should be offended by, but it’s common sense to most people.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to be upset or offended by things on social media or the internet in general. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t sweat the small stuff, yeah? There are bigger things to get angry over. Maybe one little joke isn’t it.

Stay Safe X

A Game of Two Halves

Note: this post was written some time ago.

Well this weekend has certainly been a very strange one, in some ways. As the week drew to a close, we’ve seen some great weather – well, truth be told it’s almost a heatwave, and a bank holiday weekend to boot, so I knew that work would be heaving all weekend.

Friday night we started food service early due to a concert at the local church. This meant that we were full for the first part of the shift – no free tables, no exceptions. We were also short-staffed, so we were going to be really tested and, boy, were we. It was a crazy night but thanks to a great team, including the owner and son, with me manning the bar, teamwork made the dreamwork and we really excelled ourselves.

Saturday was a somewhat quieter affair, but still ticking over nicely all day and then in the evening too… ethere are always those customers who try to push reasonable boundaries in time and expectation, but we are here to serve and that’s what we did.

Sunday was a definite game of two halves. Lunch service was exceptionally quiet… in fact it’s the quietest I’ve seen it since I started there. I guess it’s down to the hot weather and some car race or other in Monaco, but it was the calm before the storm. That night we were fully booked all night for our live music and pizza evening, ending the week with one hell of a bang. Having no tables or pizza bases left didn’t deter some customers from asking the owner, after I had explained the situation… as if he could magic some up, but he told them exactly the same.

This always annoys me but thankfully the owner sticks up for me like that. The night went without a hitch and time flew by, as we were pushed to our limits until, finally,an hour before closing it started to calm down and we could breathe again, and I could start restocking the bar and getting ready for a long weekend off work.

As I got in my car and watched the village fade away in my rear view mirror, I was looking forward to a well deserved rest with my Mrs Bob, as we have some great stuff planned…and some sun bathing? Nah, scrap the sunbathing, it’s too hot, and I’m not a big outdoorsy type.

Stay Safe X

Resting Bitch Farce

I recently experienced first hand the effect of something that Mrs Bob has told me about time and time again, regarding facial my expressions, or lack thereof.

The night started off at work as any normal evening would. It was fairly busy, and with a great vibe going on in the restaurant, which carried on throughout the evening, I was even doing the whole walking around talking to the guests and practising my smalltalk.

It was a busy night, and when one of the waiting staff went home, they gave me information about remaining diners. When the kitchen staff checked to see if they were needed further, I checked on what I’d been told was the only table who were considering dessert. They declined, so I informed the kitchen staff that they were finished for the evening.

A couple of minutes later, another table asked about dessert. I asked if they could give me a minute, and went to let the kitchen know not to leave, but this is where it all went wrong. As I returned to the table wanting dessert, one of the diners seemed very annoyed and snapped that I should forget it if I was going to be rude.

I was rather confused and said that I wasn’t being rude at all, but they were convinced that I was. I was unsure what I’d done, so I asked, and was told, “your facial expression.” This was something I hadn’t expected, so I was rather taken aback but when I tried to explain that I don’t really have facial expressions, they just laughed.

The owner went over to apologise to the table and I prepared the front of house for closing, as it was that time. However, when I went to leave as usual, the owner and customers were still there. I was brought into the conversation by the owner, which made my anxiety sky-rocket. It had been explained to the customer that I “see things differently”, and I apologised and assured them again that I genuinely hadn’t meant to seem rude. I explained that I’m autistic and that, as a result, my facial expressions don’t always match my emotional state. That means that I can look angry when I’m really not, and I can’t tell that my expression is giving that impression.

This is often culturally referred to as “resting bitch face”. One psychological term is “Flat Affect”, which describes a lack of emotional facial reactivity or incorrect facial reactivity; basically I get asked regularly why I’m in a bad or sad mood based on my facial expressions. I could be really calm, relaxed and minding my own business; I could be socially anxious, but no matter what my mood, I still get asked what’s wrong.

The fact is that, as an autistic adult, I have difficulty in processing emotions physically and emotionally. Therefore, I’m genuinely not aware of my facial expression and, as with many of us on the spectrum, what is showing on my face is, most of the time, certainly not how I feel inside. I realise that this can be misleading for other people, but I can’t change and suddenly know how to control my expression.

So please, just because we might look angry, try to remember that it’s possibly not how we feel inside. On top of that, there is the anxiety and stress from trying to process the situation we are in, so although we might not be smiling on the outside, inside we might be doing our happy dance. Below is an example of Resting Bitch Face taken when i was not angry at all.

Stay Safe X