(THIS POST IS OLD, A RECOVERED DRAFT; THE EVENTS DESCRIBED ARE OVER 1 YEAR OLD)
One negative aspect of relationships with NTs is the following. You make friends, you get comfortable, you get relaxed and let your guard down. Everything from your perspective is just peachy. It feels great, you're happy, you feel like you've found a positive connection, especially if you have a mutual interest in a hobby or whatever. Then one day out of the blue your NT interlocutor, whether face-to-face or online, suddenly seemingly turns on you out of the blue. They're really angry, it seems you've been slowly annoying the sh*t out of them and whatever you just did got on their one last nerve and now they're blowing up at you. It's only clear in hindsight, when they point it out to you, but they've been dropping hints at their displeasure this whole time that you completely missed or misinterpreted. It's all crystal clear in hindsight and you feel like a moron. You just want to crawl into a small dark space and hide. Crawl under a rock and die. Things go south and you just sink into a deep depression for quite some time. Time spent with other Aspies can help heal, but you also genuinely need your "alone time" to process. You torture yourself even in your dreams.
This is a painful, all too familiar pattern that I've lived and re-lived several decades of my life now. It's exhausting. It always seems to strike me down when I'm at my happiest and most exuberant. I'm just "too much", somehow.
I really enjoyed a special screening hosted by Sentai Filmworks here in town, a collection of animated shorts called SHORT PEACE. Like the earlier anthology MEMORIES, it was a collection of anime shorts tied together. Most of the narratives were very Japan-centric so I honestly didn't mind the fact that it was sub-only. The final short especially is worth sticking around for...it's a tale of an ill-fated squad of Japanese Space Marines on a mop-up operation in an deserted, ruined city in a desert climate. The visuals are so stunning, it was a powerful reminder of why I love anime as much as I do. I could probably watch this last story over and over again. So good. And very Bushido as well. Dark & Absurd, combined. Some of the other shorts (GAMBO) are just as action packed, while others are more contemplative and philosophical, or poignant and tragic. All in all, I think I enjoyed SHORT PIECE more than MEMORIES. I didn't win any of the Sentai Filmworks "goodie bags" in the opening drawing, but I'm glad the Sentai Filmworks promotional staff turned out and introduced the anthology.
I'm acquaintances with a Chinese professional woman who works as an engineer in the oil & gas industry, who I met through a local freethought organization. We don't have a lot in common save for our common interest in Japanese anime & sci-fi. Our conversations are often halting and awkward, with lots of pauses. Her command of English is very very good, though not perfect. One time she impulsively asked to swap phone numbers with me. We don't talk much by phone, but sometimes I'll text her and sometimes she responds, though not always. The day before SHORT PEACE screened I told her briefly about it and asked if she'd like to go. I assumed by this point she'd just blow me off, which I was prepared for. I think I might've preferred that.
But to my surprise, she responded, but only to politely decline. She already had plans to see a movie at home with a friend. She did use my name "Thanks John." to open her message. It means nothing and I shouldn't read to much into it. She did say "no". I guess if she'd just blown me off completely and answered with stone cold silence I'd know that it was truly hopeless and that I should just delete her number from my phone. But she responded. Ugh. I'm too absurdly happy that she did, too stupidly joyful she used my name to address me.
Alas, some things have kind of gone "sideways" with the particular Freethought group where we met, particularly the leadership. There's been some pretty serious allegations made that I'm inclined to accept as probable, and thus I don't associate with them anymore. I tend to stick to my more local unaffiliated atheist group now, which meets less often. The Chinese woman lives out in this area too, so she might be up for our Meetup group out this way, but I so far haven't broached the suggestion with her yet. I don't know if she knows about the controversy with our old group where we met or not, and if she does what she thinks. Not the sort of thing you can easily discuss via SMS.
Reportedly she dropped off attending that group anyway, for whatever reason. Her formerly semi-regular attendance was part of what kept me turning out on a Sunday morning where I'd otherwise prefer to sleep in. When she stopped attending regularly, my interest started to wane, and all this before the controversy broke out into the open.
A mutual female friend who observed us both interacting let me know privately that she thought the Chinese woman was mildly interested in me, judging by how she looked at me, body language, etc. One woman's intuition about the motives of another.
I think I may have put her off or startled her once when we were having a group discussion about math education in schools, etc, and our personal experiences. I didn't have the term for it then, but I think I have strong circumstantial evidence that I suffer from Discalculia. It's sort of like dyslexia, but confined to mathematical operations. It's been a source of frustration and difficulty all my life. For my Chinese acquaintance, math's always come easily to her and it's just (to her) a matter of practice & hard work, i.e. conformity to that particularly rigorous Asian immigrant work ethic. I think I got a bit passionate complaining how I had very sub-par math teachers and always had to get outside tutoring, etc. My struggles, etc, and how I managed to get my first "A" on a math test only as a college senior for my very last required math course. For once I felt confident, like I knew what I was doing, and then poof, that's it. I would wrestle with my math demons one last time in graduate school, having to take a statistics course centered around library research methods. It was very hard, and I tried to call upon my old tutors as I had in years past, but they were either unavailable or some social something (see above) had soured relations. I was on my own and relied heavily on the public library system to obtain as much teach-yourself material on statistics I could lay my hands on, from video tapes to DVDs to "For Dummies" books. I took time off from my part time job to devote myself to full days of intensive self study. It was so friggin' hard. But in the end I made a solid "A" on my final and wound up with a respectable "A-" for the course as a whole. I felt so relieved and filled with accomplishment. Earlier in my life I'd had minor successes with Geometry and Trig, too. Someone on Facebook explained to me at some length why certain areas of math probably came easier to me than others owing to my ASD.
Anyway, I think the vehemence with which I expressed my opinion about math education and my experiences were startling to her and may have put her off. I thought about apologizing later but didn't know how to express myself in ways that wouldn't make me look weirder still.
She surprised me that day when we exchanged phone numbers; she talked about her last boyfriend not wanting to have kids but that she does and that would be a deal-breaker. She's so pretty and I said I'd be open to the idea. Which is true. But on the other hand, she'd have to reckon with the possibility of having an ASD child and possibly one with Discalculia as well. I never had kids with my ex-wife, and it does worry me, the idea of passing on my not neurotypical neurology to my potential future children. I don't want that for them, would hope so strongly that they could be spared this condition I've had to suffer through all my life...at the very least I would hope any kids between us would inherit her gift for mathematics, even if they did inherit my social awkwardness, etc.
It's probably all idle speculation not worth the prose I'm expending here. My first wife seems like such an improbably lucky fluke that I'm inherently skeptical such a thing can happen to me twice in one autistic lifetime. Maybe that's being too hard, I did have another girlfriend, Lisa, after the divorce, which was a relationship that lasted a solid 6 months and was ended only due to geographical limitations when I had to accept my (ultimately ill-fated) librarian gig in North Texas. Would I have been happier staying here in town working for my corporate employer? Maybe. But maybe the frustration and "what ifs" and resentments would've scuttled that relationship by those means instead.
I was really happy a few weeks ago when I chatted with a California librarian over Facebook chat, responding to a post I made on a mutual friend's wall thread about my career frustration in librarianship being rooted in probable discrimination because of my ASD. She listened with a sympathetic ear, she herself having once been wrongfully terminated due to a Learning Disability, but her union fought for her and won her a decent severance package. Sounds like working conditions are so much more pro-worker in CA than TX. I'm very envious. It was just nice to be able to vent to a sympathetic person familiar with the profession.
Anyway, apologies for the seemingly aimless nature of this post. I just had to express all this and it's too long to post on Facebook. I'm writing (as always) mostly for myself. I was gonna update my anime blog, but it seems Typepad is down for the day, sadly. And Japanator just gives me performance anxiety, since it shoots your posts straight to the news feed, and I don't have near the self-confidence to write in such a public way. Ani.Me had the right approach. You could blog there fairly innocuously, and mainly it was the editors who would look at your posts and infrequently respond to them, which always felt good. I'm sorry Ani.Me went away, and sorry that I lost all those posts without backing them up and expanding them on Typepad. I'm a lazy writer that way.