It is 10:19pm and I should be going to bed since a taxi is arriving tomorrow morning at 4.45am. We will be flying from London Stansted airport to Faro in Portugal. At least that is the plan. We are flying with Ryanair so though we know our flight hasn’t been cancelled due to the pilots’ malarkey, until that plane lands in Faro I try not to set my expectations too high. If only it was not so. I guess the anxiety is nothing new really. Yes I can het-up about Ryanair but if it wasn’t them, there would always be some other reason to worry. This is probably an autistic tendency, after all you can’t get much more change than going on in life than jumping on a plane and travelling to another country in a different timezone where my language skills won’t be up to the task of living. I guess harm to property or self might be more challenging. Perhaps it is best to change the subject.

It feels like the last two weeks have been crazy and looking back at my diary, that may well have been the case. That seems like a silly thing to write, but to clarify I think my subjective feeling of craziness may be borne out by an objective view. Actually it all seems to have started three weeks ago when we have a book group meeting. I remember the book because I really struggled not to get annoyed at nearly every page I read. I didn’t finish the book too which on some level I feel guilty about. There was more to the book than I thought though and while most people could take it or leave it having found some redeeming quality or point, some loved it, and only one other verged on disliking it as much as me. I came away thinking that perhaps I had jumped to stereotypical conclusions rather hastily.

Other highlights of that week was going to a new dentist and being official photographer at a Death Caf. The dentist was challenging because I really like my old dentist. Having ones teeth checked feels like an intimate thing to me and I really need to be able to trust them to stand a chance of staying in the chair for treatment. It turned out that she really impressed me with her people skills as well as her professional thoroughness. I don’t think my teeth, gums and tongue have ever been given such a good examination. It was such a difference to previous experiences that I felt a bit bad for thinking that it was good for my teeth that my old dentist retired. Even more bizarre was the fact that I could get follow-up treatment the next week rather than waiting months. I am not sure that I can keep up with this fast pace of living.

The photography had its moments too. Taking pictures of people is not really my thing. I believe that good people portraits require the photographer to develop a good rapport with the sitter so that they can get them to behave in a way that can be captured well on camera. It is no good taking a picture of someone laughing unless the end product looks right. If you have taken pictures of groups whilst people are talking then you will know what I mean. Taking pictures of people talking about death felt rather daunting partly for the above reason but also because I didn’t want to intrude on the conversation. Invisibility rather than rapport was needed. Thankfully nobody objected to photos being taken so I tried my best to find good angles without being intrusive. I did okay too but I wished I have paid more attention to my manual focused wide-angle lens. This is the one I use for astrophotography were I set the focus to infinity and forget about it. This doesn’t work so well in a hotel bar so the pictures weren’t particularly well focused. Thankfully they weren’t being use in a magazine, just on the internet, a much more forgiving media assuming nobody seems them using ultra high-resolution screens.

That weekend we held a celebration ceilidh for our business. The consultancy has been going for twenty years and we wanted to share that with our workers, the companies we work with, and our friends. For some reason, few people in any category came and whilst my kids did a sterling job gathering their friends around it all felt rather empty to me. Unfortunately I am one of those people where actions are a really important part of showing you care about someone else. Whilst friends and colleagues all had perfectly reasonable explanations for why they couldn’t make it, the feeling I was left with was being unwanted and rejected. I also found it hard because I didn’t feel anything when people said they were sorry for not going. It just didn’t help me at all. I also felt bad because afterwards my friends would ask how the dance went and I also had to be honest and say I felt that there could have been more people there. Inevitably they felt the need to explain the reason why they couldn’t come again. I refrained form saying “I know”, and instead tried to appreciate the sentiment they were showing. Eventually I stopped mentioning numbers and focused on the dancing we had. Although I wasn’t lying in my answers, I never really felt I was being honest though.

I am one week down and two to go but this is getting too long. I will try to be brief. The next week saw:

  • A rather stressful delivery of new desks that should have come in 8 boxes together but appeared in dribs and drabs. Communications with the courier was fraught.
  • An appointment with my mental health support worker which whilst good, left me feeling overwhelmed again
  • An unexpected call from the tax office looking to do an inspection of our company books
  • A very difficult treatment visit to the dentist which rather messed me up
  • A demanding residential weekend with my recorder orchestra

This week saw:

  • A rather tense at times family meeting, which I managed not to dash away from
  • All desk parcels being delivered but ending up with four sets of legs and eight table tops. I haven’t managed to coordinate the return of the four extras yet
  • A drive up north and an overnight stay in a B&B where I ended up sleeping (in some sense) on top of the bed because the heating was set too high
  • A brief visit of a dear friend who deserved much more of my time than I could give
  • A rather hurried updating of the work website due to marketing demands combined with impending week’s holiday. Extra spice was added with the internet connection dropping and restarting at random
  • A hurried packing for the holiday functioning on automatic pilot because let’s face it, there was no room left in my head to process what I actually needed. So far I am only missing my swimming trunks and the car SatNav.

Having said all that, I must admit that today has been rather relaxed. I’ve managed to recharge my batteries by writing three blog posts and having a lovely walk exploring a bit of London’s east end. I hope this continues once the taxi, flight and car hire challenges are over tomorrow and we are enjoying some sun in Spain.

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