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Coexistence » Blogging AS an Aspie
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Matt has Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is writing this blog so that people can gain more of an insight into how people with the condition process thoughts, feel emotions, react to situations and generally handle life.
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17 Nov 08 Coexistence

In the last two years, I’ve lived in the same place. This year, you’ve heard me whinge about what I hate about it. This post is different, I’m not whinging, but it’s more of an exploration of curiosity.

The hall where I live is surrounded quite nicely by a private school. Now, naturally, that means we’re surrounded each weekday by hoards of screaming kids, a few teachers, and so on. Yet in my two years, I’ve barely seen any interaction between “us and them” as it were. Why? I want to challenge that, and also write about 2 years worth of minor observations.

Firstly, let’s look at the teachers. I know who the headmistress is, she was the one who turned up when the school caught fire last year, and is generally to be found randomly appearing near the crossing with words such as “Katie, tuck your shirt in!” or else “Brian, your tie has turned invisible again.” I can take a guess at one or two others – the large gentleman who parks in the back lane in his 4×4-ish car; I think he may be a head of year, he’s strict when he needs to be, but he’s always so friendly to the students, plenty have I seen him make sure someone wasn’t standing alone in the dark awaiting a lift home. Then there’s the older man who gets off the LRTS at the bus interchange and walks through the civic centre, I can set my watch by his arrival off the 0741; I think he might be a form tutor for the younger year groups. Based on the service he gets off, I can conclude he lives North of the river, towards (or in) the neighbouring town.

I’ve seen one or two of the older ladies come off the buses after school finishes, so I suspect they may be in the humanities department, after all that is where most school trips come from. I think one of them has a daughter at the school, or else some other school-aged member of her family. And you can’t miss the PE department, in their school-branded tracksuits, they’re often found walking a group of young adults to wherever it is they do outdoor sports. I can even tell you that students congregate in a corner of a certain car park before walking down to compulsory games lessons.

But, throughout my time, one student has stood out above the others, and for no other reason than her looks. She is rather well known by most male students in my hall, although until recently nobody knew her name. The rest of this post is a story about how the internet is a risk to privacy, and how such small things can lead you to a mountain of information. This young lady was noticed often in the mornings, waiting for her games lesson, always talking. I think what made it hard for everyone to forget her was the stunning curly auburn hair; that, and something else about her that nobody can describe.

Over the next two years, the students at halls have seen her come from gossipy-style-schoolgirl to a mature sixth former. Of course, she didn’t help us to not notice her. We discovered she had a boyfriend quite easily, as he moved his lips with hers, his hand through her hair, as they fell backwards over the railings at the zebra crossing. It was watching a love story unfold before our very eyes; and to think, people will pay 6 quid to watch inferior actresses in the cinema. Not that we could miss it, most evenings we had to walk past this sweet expression.

Should anybody have managed to ignore it though, there was one time that was so obvious; the two caused quite a fuss within the building! We were sitting waiting for our pizza to arrive, and it so happened to be the school’s open evening, and then one of my mates shouted across, “Isn’t that the fit one from that school – is that her boyfriend!?” After hastily slamming the windows so as not to interrupt their time together, a discussion broke out deciding who the young gentleman in question was; much deliberation settled on him being the ‘school jock’, but we were undecided on the issue of rugby or football. As our pizza arrived we settled in the kitchen, where we ended up with front-row tickets to the latest. There, sitting on our wall was what can only be described in the most intimate you can get without falling foul of the law! Another window-slamming ensures they don’t hear the wolf-whistling and vulgar comments from within, although it does disturb them slightly.

By this point, I know she is 16; I’d defy any visually-typical person to tell me they walked down the street and missed that badge covering her blazer! Not to mention, she was now in the 6th form, so must have been in Year 12. I could also pretty much say she lives in town; she walks down past the day college site, which only leads to the posh area of town or a bus route that stays in town. I also know what school she goes to – obviously! I don’t know her name, but I figure it’s time people in my hall and that school should be talking; for one thing, I ought to apologise for slamming the windows and disturbing her. Of course, in two years, I’d guessed at her name, Amy, Megan, Jessica, Louise, Cheryl, and many others were guessed!

So, in come trusty Google and Facebook. Nothing could be found from Google at this point, except to note that she’d been in the photoshoot for the school’s website when she was younger. Facebook didn’t reveal too much, except two groups related to the school; one of these was a current appreciation group for a current teacher. I couldn’t find anything to help me in the members list, so I posted to the wall and discussion board, hoping for an answer. It didn’t take long for somebody to give me a name, which I searched on to discover she doesn’t have a Facebook profile. Not to worry, as Google came up with plenty…

Put her name into the engine and the first link will tell you that she is 5′ 7″ tall (guessed that), has blue eyes (knew that), auburn hair (knew that), is dress size 10 (guessed that), vital stats of 34B/25/36, shoe size 7, inside leg is 32″, and specialises in photographic modelling! Sorry, but, whoa, isn’t this far too much information to be having on the internet about a 16 year old girl? Next result gave me her old Bebo profile, complete with pictures, and information including that she is a season ticket holder for the local premiership club as well as a “netballer obsessive”. The third result of relevance was a deleted Wikipedia page (information still available on Google’s cache) informing me that her boyfriend played football for a local academy, and lives in a suburb of town. I now also know her boyfriend is the Head Boy at school.

Then, the very next day after discovering all that, I had a random young lady add me on Facebook from this high school. I accepted, placing her onto my limited profile, however going with my ethos of getting some interaction going between the two establishments. After some messages back and forth on the wall, I discovered she added me because “xxx told me to” – my, my, doesn’t popularity do wonders for you these days? Weird how things can happen like that – apparently she had seen my original posting on the appreciation group and wanted to know if she knew me. Not having Facebook herself, she asked one of her friends to check me out…

Finally, this whole story is almost pointless. Her boyfriend has recently passed his test and now drives her home from school each night. I assure you he is a very good driver, and incredibly cautious with reversing! Except to say, the young lady who added me on Facebook will say “hi” if she sees me around – no doubt she will what with me living next to her school!

But back to the original… Why do people seem to have so little time for simple pleasantries such as “Good morning”? It seems sad that, looking back, there has been two attacks on the back lane between “us and them” and neither of the establishments has either been able to help, or cared much about them.

Reader's Comments

  1.    

    you think i added you for popularity?
    im not a little child!!
    You wrote about Emily in a group so obviously her not knowing you is gonna be curious on who you are
    and because im the only one she knows who uses facebook she asked me to add you….what does that have to do with popularity?

    Reply to this comment
  2.    

    No, you misunderstood that bit. My guess is that Emily is probably the most popular girl at school. Therefore, if she asks someone to add anyone on facebook, the won’t say no. On a social level, everybody seems to crave popularity and has a desire to fit in in one way or another.

    Reply to this comment
  3.    

    And perhaps she failed to notice that her boyfriend uses it…
    Or why else has he just added me?

    Reply to this comment
  4.    

    You think Emily is the most popular girl at school?
    We’re abit old to have popular people and least popular people
    Everyone in our year are either friends or not friends and leave it at that
    no one’s a bitch to anyone and no one sucks up to anyone
    thats just how it is, so you need to stop comparing us to every other high school out there
    If our friends need a favour anyone is happy to do it they dont just do it cause of how popular the person is they do it because thats what friends are for

    Reply to this comment
  5.    

    If you say so…
    I mean, hey, I’m just an outsider looking in, albeit it with a more “removed” social point of view than most. Not to mention the blog kinda proves that I’m more observant than people may think!

    I’m not comparing your high school to any others, or to anywhere else, I’m just commenting on what I see, and how “powerful” people’s ‘aura’s’ come across to be.

    I’m going to stop there, before this descends into the type of arguement both of us are trying to avoid. It was only last nice we were at least being civil and polite on the wall!

    Reply to this comment
  6.    

    Fair enough thats your observation
    but you’ve wrote about me on your blog not knowing anything about me
    and if you did know me you’d know im not the type of person to do something just to make someone else happy
    i do things if i want to do them and i’d never do anything for popularity im not fake! being popular is the least thing on my mind these days

    Reply to this comment
  7.    

    Ok, yeah, I accept that. I know little other than your age and school. I’m sorry if I got you al wrong.

    But then, wasn’t that the whole point of the blog post? That the two buildings packed full of 16+ year old students merely co-exist and don’t interact with each other, or know anything about the other.
    I think it’s fair to say that, over the years, both sides have made false associations about the other. I think I’ve just gone and done that now.

    Equally, though, the post did do what I intended it to. Open up some communication between people. But point taken, I shouldn’t make comments without knowing you!

    Reply to this comment
  8.    

    hi matt

    right lets start off by saying thank you for the complint of me being a good driver and congratulate you on your observations.

    and your right i belive they is two much infor about people on the internet and maybe this has highlighted it but i do belive that maybe you have gone about raising this issue in the wrong way.

    highligting this issue in such a blunt way is a bit dangerous and also how could you have found out these details unless you went out of your way to find the info? and then to repost this information several times so even more people have the chance to find this out also seems a bit of a weird aim

    you right emily is always talking and never shuts up shurly before you had said this you shoould have consulted her or the school?

    and manny was right we do not have most popular we merely do every thing that would benifiit any1 else

    Reply to this comment
  9.    

    Hi Lloyd,
    Thank-you for a well thought out response!

    In part, I agree with what you’re saying about it being dangerous. But I would say the publishing of the information is the danger, not the linking to it. I suppose it would have been better not to repost the whole lot to the group.

    Think about it logically. How often must I have walked past your school, you, Emily, Dr Slater, or anyone else? In 2 years, you can pick up an awful lot. Now think, who am I? What item of clothing do I almost always wear? If you don’t know, here’s a hint: I was right in front of your car when you pulled out of the car park!

    I never said she never shuts up! Lol. And maybe I should have consulted her, but wouldn’t she be a little freaked out by a random stranger approaching her in the street and talking to her about it? Not to mention in 2 years of walking past her, I’ve never even had the confidence to smile at her!

    And maybe I got the social ethos of the school wrong. I shouldn’t stereotype, so I’m sorry about that assumption.

    Reply to this comment
  10.    

    hey matt
    i do belive that it is the black/blue couled tank top
    true you might have not have said that but i defo has (she hasnt got this so i am safe) you think she might have been freaked out by you surgesting this to her in the street? imagine how much she is/was been freaked out since you,a random stranger reposted it all in one place? i do belive that that was worse.

    in hindsight it would probibly have been better not to do anything at all and all of this clart on wouldnt have happened

    as for the school ethos……… it is great we dont act as groupes we are all a group and we all stick together from year7-13 everyone knows everyone else

    this is the end of it all as i think emily will still run a mile this has really really scared her and all of this was a big mistake and so long as everyone moves on and this isnt mentioned again i think we can go back to our state of co exsistance which has worked well for many years so far

    Reply to this comment
  11.    

    maybe a letter wrote to the school for them 2 give to emily from yourself saying you never ment to cause any distress/ancitiy to her would possibly end the matter

    Reply to this comment
  12.    

    Good suggestion, but isn't this essentially between me and Emily (and you)?

    What I'd ask is for you to pass on my apologies to Emily for me. I'm sure she's a great girl, who has a lot on with studying for AS levels, without me causing unnecessary stress and anxiety. So I'm really sorry to her.

    Coexistance does work, yeah. But as we've got each other on here, why not just talk about whatever? I'm sure we most likely have something in common aside from Mowbray Road!

    Oh, not quite. Try black bodywarmer, and always smiling! Lol.

    Reply to this comment
  13.    

    I should add, I think it's best if we BOTH delete our wall posts from Hedley group. Stops others from going back and reading the arguement! Lol.

    And if it would make Emily feel better, tell her to slap me when I walk across that crossing next! I think a slap is the least I deserve… Lol.

    Reply to this comment
  14.    

    i dont know if shecould be stoped at a slapthough even if wediddelet themit wouldnt matter they havebeen prontedout many timesand distributed

    asfor the more "togetherness"approach maybe it isnt for uspupils to do andismoreof an instatuitinalthing

    Reply to this comment
  15.    

    btw
    i amsorry i thhough that was the same thing as atank top

    Reply to this comment
  16.    

    No problem, they’re similar enough.

    I’d get shot at college for printing from Facebook! However. Mine are now removed, apart from one asking for it to be dropped by everyone else!

    I’d say don’t stop her! After all, I’m fool enough to deserve my nuts being smashed, if I’m honest about it!

    Reply to this comment

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