Sunday, August 8, 2010


It's been an interesting week I guess. On Tuesday I applied for a job online - a three-month temporary position at one of the finance companies that hasn't gone under yet - and the next morning I got a phone call from someone wanting to interview me that afternoon. They weren't hanging around. As it happened, this bloke knew some of the people at my last job, including my most recent boss. This is nothing out of the ordinary in New Zealand, where everybody knows everybody, but even so I figured my chances were boosted by this, to maybe 30% or so. Also helping my cause was that I really did want this job; that hasn't always been the case. At the interview itself he wanted rather a lot of information for just a temporary role. "So where do you see myself in five years' time?" He commented on my CV, saying I was underselling my achievements in my last job. I could see where he was coming from: I'd put down six bullet points - roughly one for every year I'd worked there - but in reality I'd had to scrape the barrel even to come up with those. On Friday I found out I didn't get the job - I think I'd have been perfectly fine but as always there was someone else who had more experience of this or that.

Yesterday I saw a movie at St Lukes mall with some of the Aspergers bunch. There must have been nine or ten of us - quite a turnout. Before the movie I ate downstairs in the food court with Adam, who would be one of the older regulars at the monthly Aspergers group. He's 49 (though he looks a few years older) and sports a bushy beard and a pony-tail. He's a font of knowledge on all kinds of subjects. One of his favourite topics is chess, which isn't something I know a whole lot about. I did play a chess tournament in Peterborough when I was eight. I didn't win a single game, but in my very last match I was thrashing the other kid, only for time to run out and our game to be scored a draw. I went home in tears and I haven't played since. Several years later my brother for some reason also attempted a chess competition. If memory serves, it was played at the Perse, a private school in Cambridge. My "little" brother was already a six-foot brute by then, and he'd never been an academic, or someone particularly interested in subtle strategies or subtle anything. By contrast his opponents were mostly bespectacled, bookish boys, and I'm pretty sure he never won a game either. Anyway I digress. As we ate our curries, Adam bemoaned the current trend for playing chess by the book; it appeared that style and flair were frowned upon. I suggested he take up poker, where all that really matters is your bottom line. If that's positive, any style will do. Our conversation then moved from chess to Adam's living arrangements. "I've had a bit of a pong in my fridge for a while," he said. "I kind of ignored it - I thought it was just rotting vegetables - but eventually I had a look and there were dead rats in there." He then explained that some of the rats had been eaten by other rats. Meanwhile I was trying to eat my chicken tikka masala, or was it rat rogan josh? With all this talk of cannibalistic rats, I was no longer sure.

We didn't all see the same film, but I went with the majority and saw Inception which starred Leonardo DiCaprio. I liked the concept and was looking forward to it, but I was tired and I found it all too weird, too loud and too long. That I sat next to Adam probably didn't enhance my enjoyment of the film. His fridge isn't the only thing that pongs: he has what you might call a Bravo Oscar problem. Towards the end Adam saw me looking at my watch, and he said (out loud), "yeah, I wanna know when's this bullshit gonna end."

It was good to catch up with so many people from the group. Hats off to Richard for organising it all. Hopefully we can do something similar in the near future. I dropped one of the guys off in the city and all I wanted to do was get home (I don't know why I was so tired), but instead I drove to Browns Bay where the French Society were running a quiz. The real reason I made the trek up there wasn't for the quiz (though that was interesting in itself) but for a prize draw where you could win a trip for two to New Caledonia. In other words quite a big prize and not bad odds. However, when the draw was made I was glad someone with a partner and a family won it. If I'd won who would I take with me?

Today I met up with Julie for a coffee. She recently came off Efexor and has been suffering withdrawal symptoms. We also bumped into a woman who bought a shop in Devonport a few months ago. She was clearly going through a very severe bout of depression. To see her in such a state was quite upsetting; there was little Julie or I could do to help her. I'm hoping I can be in a position to help one day.

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