It’s been a god-awful couple of weeks in Asparagus-Land. Maybe it’s something in the air — my friend John (aka. Hugo the Dirigible Driver) told me yesterday that he, too, has been debating packing it in and moving to the outer Spiral Arm of the galaxy.
For me, “god-awful” of late includes escalating night-time serenades courtesy of the Ancient Yowling Cat with whom I share my home, and a misunderstanding of epic proportions between me and a couple of people whom I’d really grown to like over the last six weeks or so as we planned (I thought) a big project together.
I can’t say too much here because the wound is still very fresh for me and things are utterly unresolved, but suffice it to say that the project is dead in the water, which is hugely disappointing. Worse, I was made to look and feel like an ass (all in a day’s work in Aspie-Land, some might say) by people who know I have Asperger’s and am thus prone to NOT communicating or understanding the “big picture” well at the best of times — they had one thing in mind, and my understanding of that, as it turned out, was entirely erroneous. Not only were we not on the same page, we weren’t even in the same book. Or possibly in the same library.
And when I pointed this out (probably not as politely or tactfully as I might have, had I not felt so betrayed and angry) I was brushed off, given the tight-lipped HR Smile, and ultimately invited to more or less put on my Big-Girl Bathing Suit and go jump in the lake. “Best of luck in future challenges” is not something one wants or expects to hear from people who, only 24 hours previously, one had (possibly naively) considered friends.
Anyway, the wound is still very, very fresh, and as such it’s somewhat odd to be writing this piece at all — partly because I rarely write about unsolved issues, and especially ones that embarrass me so deeply; and partly because writing this piece was actually the suggestion, weeks ago, of one of the above-mentioned parties.
We had been discussing coping mechanisms in times of stress and pain, and I pointed to the Sue Grafton novel I had open beside me (G is for Gumshoe, if you want to know). I’ve read it two or three times already but when I am feeling lousy, I love nothing more than to pick up one of her mysteries and follow my buddy Kinsey Millhone (Grafton’s cheeky female detective) around for a while. While not exactly predictable, Kinsey is dependable, routine driven (three-mile jog in the morning, shower, cereal and coffee, wash cup and bowl in sink… the occasional Quarter Pounder with Cheese…), and just the sort of friend I’d like to have, actually.
In addition to Sue Grafton’s novels, I have been burying myself in Star Trek: The Next Generation (or STTNG, as Trekkies call it). Again, I’ve seen the episodes countless times, but I am soothed by the familiarity of the characters, by the fact that things WILL work out, as hopeless as they seem, and by Captain Picard‘s kindness and wisdom. I once heard it said that every office needs a Jean-Luc Picard; seems maybe some Aspies do too.
I’ve also been known to play my DVDs of Big Bang Theory more or less constantly, on low volume, in the background while I work, read, or answer emails. I have the first five seasons. This can (and does) go on for a long, long time.
Last week, as the fecal matter was really hitting the fan, I was astonished to find myself playing Angry Birds on my iPad for hours and hours at a time. (This is not as easy as it sounds when you’re bawling like an infant, I discovered.) I first downloaded the game onto my iPhone a couple of summers ago when I was meeting a friend in Washington, DC, and was (correctly) anticipating hours waiting in airports. I played obsessively for a few months and then completely lost interest, so it was a surprise to find myself obsessed with it again. Although, like my other “self-soothers,” it provides repetition, repetition, repetition. Aim birds, kill piggies, smash bricks, repeat.
Anyway, I’m sure that this, too, will pass. I’ve coped with worse, and let’s face it, my coping methods are pretty tame and fairly unlikely to land me in rehab, prison, or a wooden box. Although much of my stress actually comes of being an Aspie, I’m also thankful, ironically, to be an Aspie when the chips are down because I’m that much less likely to rely on booze, drugs, dangerous driving, violence, or risky sex to divert myself from the problems at hand. The worst that will happen to me, God willing, is eye strain and the mackerel-like pallor that comes of sitting indoors licking my wounds for weeks at a stretch.
If you’re so inclined, leave me a comment below and let me know how you cope when all around you is turning to poop-on-a-platter.
If you need me, I’ll be over here with Kinsey, Sheldon, and Jean-Luc, keeping the world safe from little green pigs.
–Asparagus Girl, out.