We had another big turnout at tonight's autism meeting. Seventeen showed up including a stand-in facilitator from South Africa who did a good job I thought. We were split into two groups - the loud group and the one I was in. Being in the quiet group gave me the opportunity to talk more than usual; I talked frankly about my inability to form relationships and my desire to work for myself some day. I took the email address of a timid guy who's had as much success in relationships as me (albeit in less time); I'm hoping we can share some ideas. Tracy was there - she really hasn't been well lately. Her number one goal was to start a family. Another woman had a goal (or rather an un-goal) never to have kids. The South African woman said to me, "you seem to lead a pretty normal life" when I told her about my job and my flat. But that's exactly it. It might look normal but it sure as hell ain't.
I've been feeling a bit low the last couple of days. Yesterday was another beautiful day. I went to the waterfront market, bought lunch (a butter chicken wrap) and enough fruit to feed a small army (the stonefruit has been great this summer), then took a walk along Oriental Parade. They were taking the Hobbit frontage down from the Embassy with a giant crane. There were a lot of teenagers milling about by the waterfront, doing all the things I never did at that age, and that's often a trigger for a downswing in my mood. Bizarrely I'll sometimes feel better in bad weather because I won't see so many people out enjoying themselves to compare myself against. I slipped and slapped yesterday but neglected to slop - as a consequence my knees and ankles turned bright red.
I've just finished another book. This one was a true story about a group of MIT students who lived the high life for a couple of years by beating blackjack for millions of dollars. Word of their exploits gradually got around, they had to take more desperate measures (like wearing disguises) to keep their operation going, and eventually they packed it in. Fascinating stuff, and I was firmly on the side of the students while reading the story because card counting (in my book) isn't cheating at all. I had no idea quite how sophisticated the big casinos' camera networks were (and that book was written ten years ago).
Julie, who turned 67 last week, goes into a rest home on Wednesday. I hope it's just a temporary measure. It's so sad to see someone in that much pain, with no friends or family for support. I'll still pop in to see her every Tuesday.
The Solomon Islands were hit by a massive earthquake last week. The quake caused a tsunami and for a short while New Zealand was on a kind of yellow alert. Nothing came of it and we could all just carry on with our lives. In the Solomons, where they keep getting strong aftershocks, the situation is rather different.