Sunday, 8 July 2012


My wife thinks I'm probably somewhere at the mild end of the autistic spectrum. Infra red, rather than ultra violet. I've never been diagnosed as such, but that does make some sense to me. It goes some way to explaining why I really didn't get things until really very late in life. I still don't get stuff from time to time, and I even occasionally lose pupils because I'll say or do something, and will be blithely unaware of the consequences.

But social skills can be learned to some extent, andthings are better now than they used to be for sure.

Some observations:

  • When I was a child, my teachers were concerned, and I had to have an EEG
  • People often misread shyness for arrogance.
  • I'm really bad at dealing with when people wrong me. Instead it festers and comes out weeks or months or years later in unexpected ways.
  • I think my Dad may also occupy a similar position on the spectrum.
  • Obsessively maintaining certain behaviours, even when such behaviours seem from outside to be self destructive or extremely boring may also relate back to this.
  • I have a very short attention span if something doesn't interest me.
  • I'm inherently self absorbed, to the point of selfishness or self obsession at times.
  • Although I can talk intellectually about my emotions, I find it far more difficult to talk emotionally.
  • Some of the above is just part of being human, and in particular, being male, particularly the last one.
The medical person who did the EEG told me that it stood for ElectroEncephaloGraphy. I could spell it and pronounce it after a bit of practice. My teachers were concerned because I was in a world of my own, well away from the classroom. The EEG consisted of them taping a thing like a hairnet, that had a load of electrodes in it, firmly to my head. They did all sorts of things, some of which were boring, and others quite pleasant. The best bit was looking, with my eyes closed, at a strobe light that pulsed in a way that sort of made me high. I could have watched the patterns all day. The result of all this, if I recall correctly, was inconclusive. I remembered the exact phrasing of the diagnosis for years, but I don't remember now. "Non specific abnormalities" or something similar.

I once worked in a factory with a guy who was extremely quiet and shy. Half the people I worked with seemed to hate him. then, one day, in the canteen, one girl explained that she didn't like him because she found him arrogant. This was totally at odds with my impression of him but it did give me the insight made in the first point. If you don't know how to fit in or talk, people think you're deliberately being stuck up. this helps to explain some of the beatings I recieved in adolescence from my peers.

I would also say that arrogance is sometimes the nearest I can get to self-confidence. It's a poor substitute. Self confident people don't need to brag.

I've actually got one of those situations where I need to do something that may lead to confrontation happening at the moment. A cheque was paid to me as payment for work, then the cheque was returned by the bank as their account has been closed. I don't think it was a deliberate way of avoiding paying out £60. The people concerned live in a big posh house with two mercedes parked in the driveway. Closing your bank account is a drastic way of avoiding paying something that's probably small change to them. So it's probably something much bigger like a divorce or something.

Anyway, I need to contact them to explain that the cheque has been returned, and that they need to find some alternative means of paying me what they owe me. Yet I'm uncomfortable. I forsee bad vibes from it all, and I shy away from dealing with it. Instead, I feel like an injustice had been done.

This is a pattern of behaviour. It occurs in response to everything from the trivial to the life changing.

From my mid teens to my late 20's I really didn't get on with my Dad. We've belatedly realised that we actually like and respect each other, and that we have a lot in common, but for many years, our relationship was characterised by anger and suppressed confrontation. One of the first steps to repairing this was when I realised that my Dad is actually quite a shy person. Neither of us wanted things to be the way they were. Both of us felt a sense of frustration and injustice. Neither of us could find a way to make things different.

I don't actually rock backwards and forwards, but I will keep going back to the same things. Weeks stretch into months, which become years, and I'm still doing the same things. This is more complex than OCD or autism. It's also a form of existential escapism. A refusal to grow and change.

As a child, I was "into" things. Dinosaurs. Space. Aeroplanes. As I've grown older, the things that interest me have changed, but the underlying behaviour remains the same. I once read as example of autism that an autistic person may become interested in something - photography for example - They will be able to describe and list all sorts of different models of camera, and explain in detail the number of megapixels and the optical zoom range of each, without really being able to take a decent picture. This too is something I recongnise slightly in myself.For example being able to spell and recite words like "ElectroEncephaloGraphy" at a young age, without any real understanding of what it actually meant.

Anyway, night after night is spent up here in my room, farting around on the internet.

The years roll by.

As I come to the short attention span bit, I find I'm getting bored with writing this. It's becoming a bit of a chore. I shall move on to the next bit without further ado.

Well actually the next few points can sort of stand as they are. The last however, merits comment.

According to wikipedia, Boys are at higher risk for ASD than girls. The sex ratio averages 4.3:1 and is greatly modified by cognitive impairment: it may be close to 2:1 with mental retardation and more than 5.5:1 without

My impression is that the vast majority of tainspotters are male. So are the people you'll find outside airports with special band radios and binoculars.

While I was on one of my bikerides the other day, I was going along New Brighton Promenade. The tide was high, so the prom was lined with anglers. I could also say fishermen, because they were all, without exception, male. Each was wearing a light waterproof coat. Each had a blue tacklebox with the brand name, "Shakespeare" written on it. Each had a flask. Each had their own small section of promenade. Angling as Warholian Art Event.

 As seen on Google Earth: The prom, without anglers.

Right. Bored now. Publishing...

driving lessons in Wallasey?

1 comment:

Pete said...

Them anglers, they should have been doing interval training. And you, come to think of it.