Friday, 31 January 2014

Already famous in my new neighberhood

Shortly after moving into my house, I'm bouncing on my trampoline after work, as you do, enjoying a nice summer's afternoon, and I notice a woman coming out of the house facing mine.  I remember the sellers of my house pointing out her house and telling me that someone nice lives there.  

I yell "Hello!" at the top of my voice and wave energetically, whilst still continuing to bounce.

My neighbour crosses the street and talks to me over the hedge and through the trampoline netting.  The conversation goes like this:

"Hello, I'm S."

"Hello, I'm Debi."

"Yes, I know, I've read your website, so I wasn't at all surprised when the trampoline arrived and I knew it wasn't because you had tons of kids!"

I was deeply amused!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Are you a paramedic?

Today, on leaving work, I got on the underground as usual.  A man further up the carriage was asking me something.  Due to a combination of his speaking style and my own auditory processing issues, I couldn't understand what he was saying, so I went to sit opposite him to be able to hear more clearly.

On about the 4th or 5th repetition, I heard him properly, asking me:

"Are you a paramedic?"

Well, that was certainly a new one on me!  A few seconds of confusion later, I realised he may have thought that because of my fluorescent yellow jacket, so I replied:

"No, this is my cycling jacket."  This didn't seem to quite be enough information, so I added: "it helps me be visible to cars when I'm on my bike." 

The man then proceeded to tell me that he was having some lower back pain.  I recommended an emergency section of one of the hospitals if he really needed to see someone about it.

A few more interactions later, I was seriously wondering if I'd just met a fellow aspie.  He told me that he was 40 years old, and wasn't it good that he didn't have any grey hairs.  He also leaned right towards me so the side of his face and his neck was quite near my face, which I wasn't expecting.  I perceived a threat and jumped.  But then, I figured out he wasn't threatening, and just asked him: "so, what am I looking at here?" and he asked me if I could smell his aftershave.  So, I said, "yes, very nice".

He also told me that his back was sore because he had been beaten up by three men with an iron bar and he'd just spent the last 4 months in hospital.  He then got off the underground train (we only travelled together for two stops) and I wished him good luck.

This is the second time in two months I've heard about aspies (or in this case, someone I suspect to be an aspie) being violently attacked and beaten up by strangers.
I cycled home thinking, "gee, it's already bad enough when I lose friends because of my communication style, but being beaten up is even worse".

This is supposed to be a funny blog, but the serious message is could the public please stop attacking people who are different?  Hate crime is never acceptable. 

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Building Society wanted to assess my Christmas

This week, I went to a building society to open a new savings account.  I was served by a very obviously NT woman, who was very charming and did a lot of small talk when she sat down with me: "How are you?", "How was your New Year?", etc.  

As part of her procedure, she read out, in a sing-song voice, a lot of terms and conditions, the end of which finished with: 

"...and now I'm going to ask you some questions to check whether you are eligible for this type of account with us."  

She paused for a fraction of a second, turned towards her computer, and then said in her normal voice:  

"So, how was your Christmas?"

I was slightly stunned.  I replied:  "Fine thanks.  But are you trying to tell me that if my Christmas was sub-standard that you would refuse to open my account?"

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Are you sure you're autistic?

This story is from a while ago, shortly after my diagnosis.

I was visiting some friends, sitting in their kitchen on a tall stool and swinging my legs whilst I explained my surprising discovery that I was on the spectrum.  I was pretty distressed and worried about it, and all the possible implications for my future that I was feverishly imagining. 

I was explaining about how we spectrum people usually like and understand direct, straight-forward communication, but may not understand indirect communication or get subtle hints. 

One of my friends then chimed in with: "Are you sure you're autistic?  Perhaps you are just German!"

My friends patiently listened to me continue to explain for a while more, before reassuring me that it didn't bother them if I was autistic because they already loved me for who I was.  I stopped worrying and went off to do something fun.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Hello, are you training?

After moving into my new house, I organised to get a new boiler under a grant scheme.  This was fairly complicated, and involved a surveyor coming to my house to ask lots of questions.  I arrange a time for the surveyor to call, and I make sure that I'm available.  

Whilst waiting for him to arrive, I'm bouncing on my trampoline, which is highly visible, as it's in my front garden.  I'd intended for it to go in the back garden, but it's very big and there wasn't enough room, and the front garden is the flattest area, which is very important for trampolining, as ideally, trampolines shouldn't have an uphill and downhill dimension.  So, there it had to be.

I'm bouncing quite high and putting in mostly seat drops, front drops and back drops and possibly the odd bounce roll.  I'm not the world's best trampolinist, but it's a lot of fun and very relaxing, and it's lovely to be out in the fresh air.

A man in a business suit parks his car and walks up the steps in my garden.  He says:

"Hello, are you training?"

and I say:  "No, I'm playing!"

I think "gosh, adults sure do have a way of taking the fun out of everything" and I laugh to myself thinking - my goodness, I'm certainly not training for the Garden Trampoline Olympics!