Earth Hour has just finished and I have been itching to get on my laptop and do some writing. I was surprised how difficult it was to not use any electrical devices that give off light and I failed a number of times. My friend and my wife are playing scrabble in the kitchen by candlelight, and after a draining day I spent the first bit of Earth Hour snoozing on the sofa in another room. I find turning the lights out very restful so I was more than happy to take part in this awareness raising event. Somewhere nearby though others had a different idea, and my dog and I were both brought to consciousness by the sound of fireworks going off. I couldn’t see them though so I have no clue as to why they were lit.
Having been disturbed, I went into the kitchen to see if I had been imagining things, but my thoughts were confirmed though equally not sight was seen, so the mystery continues. Standing in the kitchen I am anxious to know if there is any Aurora Borealis activity tonight because conditions are looking good for star light photography. I consult my mobile but nothing showing unfortunately. I’m not supposed to use my phone though.
I was then asked how to spell something and someone commented on not being able to get the dictionaries whilst I was sleeping, the dictionaries being in the room I was dozing. This statement was a bit of a puzzle to me because my wife had entered the room and looked at the bookshelves, but to rectify the issue, I went back to the room and found a scrabble word list dictionary and our Shorter Oxford dictionary and took the books back to the kitchen. Without thinking though I turned on the lights to find the books. Looking up words by candlelight is not easy but I did find out that “lamas” was an acceptable word.
It is my friends turn and so I look at his tiles and I look at the board. I start pointing out possible high scoring starting places he could use or connect into. It turns out this isn’t helpful because he gets out of his seat and stands away from the board saying something about not being able to think when somebody else is making suggestions. It takes a moment to realise I have upset his concentration, so I apologise for causing a disturbance and return to the sofa room. I want to do some writing but that involves electrical light again, so no laptop and no mobile. I sit down and let my mind process, hoping that the important things will stay around. How to check the time when I can’t look at my phone?
I think about night-time photography; can I be bothered to go out later? Is it worthwhile without the northern lights (I am a bit obsessed because they did appear on Wednesday night when I also thought about going out but decided against it, this before I got the phone app)? I think it is still a good thing to do though I would like a better camera. How can I do better with what I have got? Perhaps I can do some stacking of multiple exposures. I wonder if my friend is autistic in some sense too? I think he fits the talking quickly and at length about his specialised topics stereotype. I then run through a few scenarios of telling him about my diagnosis.
I wonder about referring to two incidents today. I could tell him what happened for me when my wife and I argued a bit at the café stop earlier this afternoon. There were five of us sitting at a table waiting to order something to drink and eat. I was on my mobile looking at the news when I was asked if there was anything interesting. I took this as a coded way of saying I was being rude by looking at my phone rather than conversing with the others sitting at a table but I decided to go with the literal question. I marshalled my thoughts about the two topics that I felt able to comment on and started by saying that Douglas Carswell was quitting UKIP to become an independent MP.
When questioned I confirmed that he was the only former Conservative MP to join UKIP (I hadn’t remembered his name but the article pointed this out). I then went on to talk about a 17 year old who had died during an amateur boxing match. My wife talked over me asking whether I had bought a newspaper to which I answered “no” but when I tried to continue telling her about the news, she talked over me about buying a paper. It was hard for me to get my mind around her behaviour. I quickly grew angry because she wasn’t listen to me. Why ask me a question about the news when she didn’t want to hear my answer? I remember saying something along the lines about talking over me and not to interrupt me but even now it is all a bit of jumble. I was confused, hurt and then went quiet and sullen. I was aware my friend was sitting next to me quietly, he couldn’t have missed what went on, but I guessed he put it down to a short lived married couple spat.
My friend and I came back to the house separately from my wife. When she came home later than planned I was struggling to stay awake. My son wanted to go shopping for food to cook for his contribution to tomorrow’s Mother’s Day celebration so since this involved doing something rather than sitting down we went straightaway and amongst other things got pre-cooked food for tonight. After I had heated up the meal we all sat down to eat. At some point somebody mentioned Earth Hour and I said I would probably take the opportunity for a snooze because I was feeling tired. Again I can’t pull the threads together, but my wife made some comment that implied that I had done nothing all day so I can only be tired because I stayed up too late. I denied this stating that I had woken up naturally earlier than she had which doesn’t happen if I stay up late. I said that I had spent a lot of time with my friend and had walked around a fair bit. She then joked that my friend had worn me out, to which my friend laughed.
The truth though is that my friend had in some sense worn me out. We do talk together, but by far and away he does the most talking and rarely is there any silence. This is okay normally, but after seven and a half hours I was needing a break and was looking forward to my wife fielding the conversation so I could take it. She returned later than she said though, so the shopping was a welcome break. Earth Hour gave me excuse to have a break from my friend, to rest and recover. It wasn’t enough. The hour finished and I started writing these thoughts and I got as far as this paragraph when my wife popped up saying my friend thought that they should join me. After some discussion they did and the two of them continued to talk but now with me in the room.
I listened. This was an opportunity to tell my friend that I have been diagnoised as on the autistic spectrum, citing how I was coping right now with both their presence. I didn’t though. I listened and tried my best to concentrate on the conversation and join in when required. My friend connects me directly with my undergraduate degree days thirty years ago, we spent a lot of time together in those days socialising, going dancing and playing sport. We still see each other after all those years and we still share a lot of the same interests. These facts are incredibly important to me. I suspect if I understood love in a friendship sense, I would say I love my friend. I am sad, there are tears in my eyes, that I do not feel that emotion and I feel bad that I need time apart from him. I know it is not my fault and I shouldn’t feel wrong or guilty about needing my space but I do. And this is probably why for now, I can’t tell him the truth. Why for now, I can’t tell any of my friends. Something else to explore then.