Holi Bob

Last week, I had a whole week off work as I had a lot of holiday time to use up, and now that the season is drawing to a close I needed to take some. I haven’t had time off since our cruise in early May, so it was well overdue. I’m actually not a big fan of taking holiday time off work for a few reasons: it disrupts my usual routine, and I lose track of what day it is. Sounds silly, but cast your mind back to last Christmas, when you tried to remember when the bins go out and which bin to put out – see? It’s not only an Aspie problem!

We decided that we’d like to do something different with my time off, and with that in mind, I treated myself to a nice cooked breakfast in town. Then I did some clearing out of my games console, wrote some new scribbles and really started to unwind. One day, I took Mrs Bob to Living Coast, a local penguin sanctuary and although we chose a very windy and slightly chilly, it was a great day. There were very few other people there, so we chilled out and took our time. The highlight of the trip for me (not Mrs Bob) was a little penguin called Evie, who refused to socialise with the other penguins. While Mrs Bob was watching the keeper play with Evie’s brothers and sisters (with a cat toy on a stick … hilarious!) Evie snuck on Mrs Bob and started to peck her leg. Mrs Bob didn’t mind, but the keeper moved us both out of the way pretty sharpish. She was such an adorable little thing and seemed not to fit in. Anyway, after that excitement, and having seen seals, cormorants, other birds and fish and generally had a wonderful time, we grabbed a drink in the cafe before heading home.

Later in the week, we had a movie afternoon with the latest Spider-Man, which we both really enjoyed. The whole week was so relaxing and fun that we even managed to spend a lovely evening with Mrs Bob’s mother, while we tried to teach her how to use her new-fangled iPad, which wasn’t as stressful as I’d thought it would be. Admittedly, I was dipping in and out of the conversation while watching the only sporting event that I’m interested in – the annual collage football game between Harvard vs Yale. This was the 136 match up, and I was gutted that Harvard lost 43-50 in the second overtime slot, but there’s always next year, right?

All in all, this time away from work has really opened my eyes to a lot of things. It’s also made me realise how much I enjoy being at home doing my own thing, and that at some point, should I want to retire, I could happily do it and spend quality time driving Mrs Bob gradually up the wall.

Stay Safe X

Action Plan

If you’re a regular reader of my ramblings (thank you, if you are,) you might recall my post on 22nd September this year, regarding an incident with a supermarket guard. For those that don’t, or who would like a recap, here is the link:

More Reasons to Despair (Bob W Christian)

Last week, unbeknownst to me, Mrs Bob had a meeting with two very senior managers for the south-west region of a certain supermarket chain. I knew it was going to happen, but had no idea when. She knew it would be much less stressful for me if I didn’t know. Considering she suffers from anxiety from dealing with complaints, which is related to her career, it was really wonderful of her to do this for me.

This meeting was as a result of our complaint about an incident in our local branch with an over-zealous, and under-educated member of their security staff. Up to this point, our complaint had been handled poorly. I’m no expert on the subject (unlike Mrs Bob) but I felt my granddaughter could have done a better job. The social media team were saying one thing, and the customer services team were saying something very different about the same incident. It was trying Mrs Bob’s usually endless patience to the very edge, so it was about time this complaint was sorted, once and for all.

Mrs Bob spoke at length with the very senior representatives of the supermarket chain. She explained to them that after my complaint about the particular guard’s attitude towards me & Autism, people had started contacting me with similar stories all connected to the same guard. (By the way, thank you to all the peeps that made me feel less alone after such a horrible, distressing experience).

The long and short of it is that there’s going to be some new procedures put into place nationally, alongside more Autism training for their staff. The south west branch managers will be having 1:1 meetings with their guards, regarding Autism and the subject of training will be included in their contract review with the company that provides the guards. So hopefully this means that it won’t happen to another person on the spectrum within their stores.

Overall, I was very impressed with the action plan from their meeting with Mrs Bob. However, I do think that these things should already be in place in their stores already, Autism isn’t a new thing and they have a quiet hour for people with autism or who like the quiet. The length of time, effort and stress it took to get a supposedly autism-friendly chain to even acknowledge there was an issue is ridiculous. Just sweeping a complaint under the rug might get some people to leave things, but not Mrs Bob – she’s tenacious in sticking up for me and gets things done. Also, I won’t be able to return to our local store since the guard threatened me with the Police if I ever did. Though I’ve been told that is not the case, I still can’t go back. I’d be far too anxious and not being able to use the only supermarket in town and it’s petrol station is a real inconvenience. I’d just rather not risk having a another confrontation like this. I’ve decided to “Try Something New Today” and see what other superstores have to offer. If they’re cheaper, I can live well for less lol.

I would, however, like to say a massive thank-you to Mrs Bob for all her hard work on this, and to all of my friends and people on Insta Google Tweetface who have supported and encouraged me.

Thank-you all.

Stay Safe X

Live Tonight – Tired Out

This afternoon, I’ve been taking lessons in how to speak, act and express the emotions I write about, as I bring them to life. Mrs Bob has taught me to sound less robotic than before, so I decided to video a read of my latest scribble, Panic Disorder, just for fun.

The downside is that while watching it back, I had a real shock to see what you all see, when you talk to me … my lack of eye contact. It astounded me. I’ve always thought I’d managed to pull that trick off when I mask my discomfort with eye contact, but it . appears that I haven’t. That’s not an issue, really, or at least, it’s not one I’m concerned by as I usually wear sunglasses to perform. A tip I took from good old Roy Orbison, as he had crippling stage fright. But it does matter in my job and in life generally.

I could also slow it down, instead of going at it like a 100m sprinter on crack. Again, I can learn to sort out that issue, so all in all it’s looking up. I like it when Mrs Bob films my public readings, so I can see where I can improve.

This, combined with an afternoon of Marvel Lego with Mrs Bob, a video chat with my granddaughter, and a cracking dinner of slow-cooked roast pork, means it’s been a nice, productive and relaxing day off.

Anyway, here is said video. Hope you enjoy it.

Stay Safe X

Panic Disorder Live