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Observational » 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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18 Feb 09 Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill

Disclaimer: I do not, at present, agree to using hormonal contraceptives as a method for controlling behaviour in females with autistic traits!

I don’t want to say too much about this, because it is simply my own personal observations of somebody who may or may not have any autistic traits – certainly I don’t think she is formally diagnosed with anything. This article is a follow up to Maybe, maybe not!

My observations

None of the observations from the previous post have changed, and the young lady concerned is still the same as always when in class. I’ve noticed her more often outside of class, mainly in the college canteen where she is still surrounded by her large group of friends, and, often, her boyfriend.

The difference comes in her behaviour towards me. When I first met her, she was alright with me, not exactly best-of-mates, but certainly no trace of dislike. Admittedly I can be a bit very patronising at times, and that can cause people to dislike me, but I wasn’t expecting her behaviours towards me. Within 2 weeks of meeting her, it would appear to anybody who saw us that she hated me. She would be very ‘bitchy’ to me in class, and my support worker overheard her saying quite a considerable number of horrible things about me to her friend.

Then, for no apparent reason, she simply ignored me, then would talk to me, ignore me, and go back to the bitching. Funny, but that cycle took about 28 days – give or take… After October half-term, it happened all over again, and I basically go used to the fact that she was never going to get on with me, even if her life depended on it! But then, something changed leading up to Xmas. She was civil to me – which was, for this situation, quite a breakthrough. Obviously, I tried to stay civil, and polite with her, although I was very confused by her sudden change; particularly as I was subsconsciously bracing myself for another lesson of bitchiness.

One of the girls I used to know at high school will tell you that I have an almost uncanny ability to predict, with a 1 day accuracy, when a girl’s period will fall; based solely on what one person has told me about her in two weeks. Amazingly, I was spot-on for some considerable time – althought it was never a topic we brought up often!

So, completely confused by what my mind was guessing, and what I was noticing, I quickly flicked through my notebook. One thing I sometimes do is to make notes at the top of any pages when a social situation is turning negative, to see if there is a trend (ie is it getting worse, and is it continual). I wrote the dates where I had made notes (only twice) in the back of the notes, and calculated the interval – 27 days. Then, I worked out the time between the last note and that day – 57 days. Without medical evidence, but using solely mathematics and gut feeling, I assumed I was calculating when she was ‘on’.

Since the Xmas holidays, she’s been even more bubbly than usual, and has started asking me for help. Sometimes complimenting or thanking me, although almost invariably in a sarcastic way. I could be seeing things in too much of a positive way, but I like to at least think that she has become much more civil and polite with me than she was.

The final observation was actually a physical one – and that was thing young lady taking a small white tablet from a foil packet which she kept in her bag. My medical knowledge guessed that it was likely to be a COCP, and based on what I’d seen of them, I would hazard a guess at Microgynon-30.

Conclusions

I can’t really say. I can timeline things, and figure that she started seeing her boyfriend in either October or November, that she became more civil/polite towards me in late December, and that I witnessed her taking a small white pill about 2 weeks ago. But that is all circumstantial.

Whatever has changed her, and stopped her being so bitchy to me, and horrible about me behind my back, is a great thing as far as I’m concerned. I can’t say what it is, but I can guess…

23 Dec 08 Yesterday

Yesterday was a ‘funny day’ for me. I met a friend, who I’m still not supposed to be meeting, then I did 5 hours volunteering, which was absolutely manic (no pun intended), and then went back home. I got an email from my friend, well, she doesn’t consider me a friend.

Let’s start from the beginning. As usual to get to Sunderland from where I’m staying, I got the bus, and it passes through where I used to live. An old man got on board and was walking to the seat opposite me when the bus pulled away. Naturally he stumbled and fell forward towards me, he put his hands out to protect him, and I quickly braced myself to prepare to “control a fall”, with my hands aiming to help brace his arms. As he sat down on his seat, I was totally shocked to hear him say, “I wasn’t being funny or anything there!” Why has the world come to an old man assuming that a teenage lad would think he was trying it on?

Then, I gets to Sunderland, and went off to meet my mate. Bless her, she had bought me a lovely present at very short notice, despite me constantly telling her not to! Thanks! And she adored the necklace and earrings that I bought her. We only had 10 minutes as she had a couple of more presents to buy, and I was due out volunteering.

So, on I go to volunteer, where the service users are getting their Christmas Meal today, and there is also a pool, darts & dominoes competition. Most of the staff & volunteers are working in the kitchen and dining room, and the drop-in supervisor is running the competitions. Leaving me and a new volunteer to run the counter.

Normally the counter is an easy job, and I love it. We make tea, coffee, and chat with service users. Usually I get to read my books and magazines… Today was different, after an initially slow start. Once things got going, I was sitting down for about 1 minute at a time before more people wanted serving, and with the supervisor constantly being called downstairs or having other jobs to do, I ended up as acting-supervisor quite often! At one point, I was the only person in the drop-in, never once away from the boiler!

But that’s all part of the fun, and I don’t mind giving up my time to help out. In fact, I’ll probably be doing New Year’s Eve if they need any volunteers to come in and help out! Hopefully it’ll be a little quieter.

Then, I gets home, have some food, and relax in front of my laptop, as is normal for the holiday time. I’d sent an email to my friend on Sunday night, as she hadn’t been talking to me, and I was wondering why. To be quite honest, I wasn’t expecting her to reply at all. I’d sent her a lovely present by recorded delivery, and also a poem which makes my feelings for her rather clear – I pretty much managed to say “I love you” without using that exact phrase.

At around 11pm, I saw an email flash up from her, so immediately clicked on it. She told me that she no longer considers me to be a friend, I probably don’t know the reason we’re not talking (possibly because she hasn’t told me?), doesn’t feel the same way at all, and can’t cope with me anymore. Once again, this girl had me in tears, although this time with very good reason, because somehow I’d ruined things again.

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.

03 Nov 08 The power of observation

The following is what I noticed from 10 minutes of sitting opposite somebody on a train!

Based on where the 1045 service comes in from, I took a guess that she had travelled via London to get here, more specifically, either Paddington (unlikely), Marylebone, or Vauxhall (unlikely). She appeared to be quite tired, so perhaps she has spent most of her morning travelling.

She also waited until we were 30 seconds away from the platform – well after the guard made his announcement. Barely looking out of the window, and seemingly absorbed in her reading, I would probably say that she is used to this route; possibly it is routine for her to take long weekends at home? She was more than halfway through her book, and barely lifted her head; reading is obviously quite a passion with her.

Then, based on the fact that this was a Monday, and she had a couple of large bags with her, I could assume that she had been home for a long weekend somewhere. Some of the things in her open bag were food-based, including home-made sandwiches for the journey; I think her parents care about her a lot, and she is quite close to those at home.

As it’s early November, and she’s coming across as a confident young lady, she could be a 2nd or 3rd year at one of the universities. There again, I didn’t notice any notes or textbooks in her bags. What I did notice was an offical-type letter in its envelope. Had a tin of food not been in the way, her address would have been on show.

Physically, she was a slim girl, with originally ginger, dyed brown layered hair. She wasn’t wearing much makeup, but she applied some lip gloss as we came into the station. She wasn’t engaged, she had no ring on the finger; but maybe not single, I don’t know what, but something just told me she wasn’t available.

How do I notice so much?

I don’t know. Seriously. That is what I took in and remebered in the space of 10 minutes. I then put it into a note on my phone, and saved it to publish on here. To be honest, I barely looked at that note to type this, it has stuck in my mind.

I know my mind works differently from a neurotypical one, but nobody can quite say much more than “it is wired differently”. Whether that is good or bad, we don’t know. What we can establish is that I have amazing recall, and my experience tells me that this is a common feature of having Asperger’s Syndome!