On My Way Back…

It’s been a long time since I blogged, but I’m working my way back! There’s a BIG change coming in my life that will give me more time to write/blog/etc. I’ve got a lot of stories to catch up on, as well as comments to reply to.

Thanks for reading and continuing to comment during my hiatus!

Vacation Anxiety

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So last week, my family and I went on vacation to Disney World. We drove all the way to Florida from upstate NY, which wasn’t a major deal considering I work midnights and I’m usually awake at night anyway. Then again, it was a near-24 hour drive, so yeah it kinda sucked. Sleeping in the car was no picnic with my kids singing “Let It Go” over and over again for thirteen hundred miles.

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Yes, I am fully aware that you are one with the wind and sky.

Considering my aspieness, you would think that being on vacation and messing up my normal routines would put me in a bad mood. And yes, I will admit that I end up missing my video games so much that by the end of every vacation I consider bringing my Xbox along on the next one. But it’s actually not that bad for me. I don’t mind being in a weird place because I know that the point of the trip is to experience somewhere new.

The one thing I do really need when I’m on vacation, though, is a “nothing day.” I’m fine with having lots to do on vacation; I just can’t have every moment of every day filled up with activities. If I don’t get any time to relax, then it just feels like work. And when I’m on vaca, bumming around in a cramped hotel room watching non-HD local sports and eating vending machine food is relaxing for me.

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I am so there.

So, as I said, the family and I went to Disneyworld. I don’t know if you know this, but it seems to be a very popular place to visit. My GOD was it crowded. And it was in the middle of the school year! What terrible parents these people must be, pulling their kids out of school to go to an amusement park! Excluding us, of course. 🙂

Anyway, yeah, LOTS of people. But you know what? I handled it fine. My daughter handled it fine. See, it’s not really people themselves that freak us aspies out, it’s the social interaction that goes with being around people. Most aspies are perfectly fine if they can blend in anonymously with a crowd. That’s what Disney felt like;  it felt like walking through Times Square in New York City – tons of people around, but nobody paying attention to anybody else around them. It was great! We had a great time. The kids really enjoyed the rides and stuff, and my wife and I enjoyed being able to act like kids without looking creepy.

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Shit like this don’t fly anywhere else.

The vacation was practically stress free, except for the Disney germs we all came down with when we got back home. I didn’t expect the most stressful part of my trip would be going back to work and having to talk abou my vacation with my coworkers. But that’s another post entirely. 🙂

Funeral Footwork

View of a group of people's feet standing in an office

Now that things have settled down just a bit, perhaps I can get back to blogging.

 My family and I traveled out of state to my father-in-law’s funeral during my last hiatus. I have posted before about the experience of attending a funeral from an aspie standpoint before, so I already knew I was in for a slightly uncomfortable time. However, I was also very aware that I was going to have a very important job at this funeral – my FIL’s death hit my wife pretty hard. She handled it surprisingly well, but she was still emotional. I was there to support her, because aspies are superheroes when it comes to lending support during emotional times.

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Able to not understand what the big deal is in a single shrug.

There were times where I found myself standing around with nothing to do, so I started doing what I enjoy doing in these types of situations: I began to observe human behavior for interesting patterns. It didn’t take me too long to find one. I started noticing how people were standing and talking together. I noticed that when two people stood together, they almost never faced each other. They stood with their feet at an angle to the other person, like a conversation deflection of sorts – I’m not really interested in talking to you, but I don’t want to seem rude and ignore you, so I’ll meet you halfway. It was pretty consistent no matter the age or gender.

I decided that I needed to learn this move, post haste.

Even more interesting was how this dynamic applied when there were more than two people standing together. The “angled feet” behavior was still present, with each person angling themselves to avoid directly facing either of the other people. And as the group grew, the people adjusted their angles to fit the group’s size, often positioning themselves to form a social semicircle.

It was fascinating. Seriously. I felt like Pavlov, only my subjects weren’t drooling dogs.

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And my beard wasn’t quite as bitchin’.

The most interesting thing happened when…

Wait a minute…

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That’s totally Robert Duvall with a humongous beard!

Ok, where was I? Oh yeah…

The most interesting thing happened when two groups came together to form a large “supergroup” of sorts. Each group would open up slightly to accept the merging group, and after a moment or two of jostling, the people would fall perfectly into the angled feet position! The supergroup would often be a fairly large circle at this point, with nobody talking or looking directly at anyone else, yet they were all having a conversation with everyone at the same time.

Amazing!

From here, the supergroup would break up and the participants would float around the room until they joined up with others to form smaller group chains. And this dynamic happened over and over again. It was like watching so weird social cellular cosmos, with people aimlessly colliding with one another over and over again. It was cool to watch. It was even cooler not to join in. Instead, in between consoling hugs for my wife, I was able to let my mind wander onto other meaningless things. Such as….

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See? Didn’t I tell you?

Well, There Goes That Idea

Of course, right after I make the resolution to post more, things happen that will make that tough to do for a little while.

There was a death in the family yesterday, my father-in-law. I realize that the impact that his death has on my blogging abilities is probably the least important thing in the world right now, although the Aspie part of my brain is pissed at why this has to happen to me right now. But I know that’s insensitive; I can’t control how my Aspie brain thinks, but I can give it a hard slap in the face when it gets out of line.

Anyways, due to dealing with certain things (funeral, family fallout, etc.), my posting may need to take a hiatus again. Hopefully not months like last time.

Take care, and well wishes for everyone out there.

Offbeat Circadium

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Think about this for a second: when you are pulling yourself out of bed, trying to jumpstart your morning with a gallon of coffee before you drive off to work in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I’m tucked into bed sleeping s nice and comfortable bed.

It sucks.

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Sacrilege!

See, I work midnights. So, while it’s true that I’m sleeping while you are headed to work, I’ve been working all night long while you have been sleeping. So we are even. Plus, I have to now try to sleep with a huge bright ball of fire in the sky shining light through my window directly onto my eyelids. And how did you sleep last night?

Working midnights isn’t easy. It feels like my whole day disappears before it even happens. I get home in the morning, and my family is already awake. When it’s my turn to go to sleep, I have no idea what to say – Goodnight? Good morning? Good sleep period for me but not you? So I go to sleep, and I wake up mid-afternoon, when it’s pretty much too late to do anything important. At least that’s what my lazy overworked brain tells me when I get up.

Being an Aspie probably doesn’t make things any easier. I’m acutely aware that my body doesn’t want to be awake at 3:25 am, but it’s my job… literally. Staying on my schedule helps a little, but on my days off am I supposed to stay up all night by myself while the rest of my family sleeps?

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Then again…

I may like being alone, but I also like spending time with my family. I know… weird, right?

And the worst part about this week is that work has been so busy, I feel like I’ve been beat up when I get home. So freakin’ tired, I swear. And then I see everyone else – fresh out of bed, relaxed and refreshed, ready to take on the world. And I can’t help but think to myself…

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Gotta Get Back In It

Yeah, I know. I suck. I’ve only posted twice this year, I know. I really suck.

I had some stuff take over my life and got distracted and busy and all the other words I can use as excuses but don’t really work to get me off the hook of one plain and simple fact: I need to post more. I had a good rhythm going, but it got all messed up and the Aspie in me totally lost my groove.

So, I’m going to get the groove back. I’m going to make it a habit to post once a day. That will get me back in it. So you’ll probably be getting a bunch of annoying “boring shit happened to me today” posts. But it’s better than no posts, right? I think so.

Apologies for the dead-ness of this blog lately, and future apologies for the annoying-ness of this blog soon.🙂 But I’m back!

Picturing Aspergers

(It only took me to March to get posting again… not bad, right?)

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There’s nothing I hate more than having my picture taken. It’s not bad enough that I think I look terrible in about 96.318% of the photos I’m in – my wife will argue that it’s way less than that… okay fine, 95.279%, better? Everyone seems to have that problem. My problem is the actual taking of the picture. I can never have my picture taken without standing there and feeling like a complete ass.

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“When you said ‘cheese’ I thought you meant the camera was made of cheese.”

Think about the whole process for a second. I am extremely uncomfortable making eye contact with other people. Now, I have someone pointing a camera at me, most likely zooming in close on my face. It’s very intimidating. At least in regular situations I know when people are looking at me so I can avoid eye contact. With the camera in the way, I’m flying blind. My defenses are down! MAYDAY! MAYDAY!!!!

Hence problem number 1: I always end up looking away from the camera when my picture is taken.

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I call it the “terrified of something just out of frame” look.

Next comes the “direction” phase. Ah yes, how I hate this part with an immeasurable passion. This is the part where the photographer tries to get everything to get everything in the picture to look just right. For most people, this consists mainly of the person taking the photo saying “smile!” and then taking the picture. For me, not so simple. Instead, I get “okay smile… come on, bigger! Whoa, okay, not THAT big. Why are you tilting your head to the side like that? Straighten up a little. No, now you’re tilting farther, the other way. Okay, hold still. And smile… look at me now, and… head up just a bit… okay, you’re smiling too big again… you know what? Fine,” and they take the picture.

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It’s the “whatever is out of frame should be terrified of me” look.

How am I supposed to look normal in a picture when I can’t even make myself normal in real life?

My Bad

Apologies for the absence of posting lately. Life has been very busy lately. Quick updates – I passed my online blood bank class and certification test, so yay for that.  :)  My wife ended up injuring her shoulder bad enough to require surgery, so boo for that.   :(  Most of my time recently has been filled up by doing all of the driving around for the kids, going to work, and sleeping when possible (which has not been much).

But don’t worry… I’m still here. I haven’t disappeared. And when I have a good amount of time to put together a proper post, I will. Thanks for your patience!!!

Top 13 of ’13

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Coming to you a little late this year, but better late then never. Right?

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Whew… tough room.

For your reading pleasure, the 13 best posts of 2013!

13. My Autism Theory (7/27/13) – my crackpot theory about what causes autism

12. Triggers (3/10/13) – the little things that cause big meltdowns

11. My Nemesis (2/13/13) – a coworker of mine WON’T STOP TALKING.

10. Aspie Evolution (5/25/13) – looking at Aspergers as an evolutionary advantage.

9. I Don’t Get It (6/22/13) – I completely miss the point of a joke

8. Autism and Bullying (11/17/13) – avoiding the pitfalls of bullying with your autistic child

7. Fancy NOT Meeting You Here (9/3/13) – I avoid a co-worker in the supermarket

6. An Aspie and a Funeral (7/21/13) – I am extremely confused while attending a funeral

5.  Fighting for… a Cure? (1/17/13) – is autism a disease that can be cured?

4. Bad News is Bad (10/5/13) – I can’t handle hearing bad news from others

3. This is My Aspergers (8/13/13) – the history of my aspergers

2. Family Business (10/13/13) – trying to build an emotional bond with my children

1. What Does Aspergers Feel Like? (7/7/13) – a detailed look at what my Aspergers feels like

If I missed your favorite, please mention it in the comments section.

Happy New Year!!

Happy Holidays!!!

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Many apologies for the recent lack of posts. I’ve been busy trying to decipher my wife’s subtle hints on what she wants for Christmas. Hopefully she likes watching me play video games….

Wishing all of my readers a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season!