Monday, August 12, 2013


One of the topics at tonight's autism group was finances. That's quite a pertinent subject for me at the moment so I'd prepared a list of tips to help people on the spectrum with both the "ins" and "outs" of money, only I wasn't able to get very far when it was my turn to talk.

At work today we had afternoon tea - savouries and mocktails - to celebrate the new team structure. I happily partook in the food and drink but I couldn't see what there was to celebrate. I'm now officially part of a much bigger team with a more ruthless manager who has the same first name as my mother. My old boss is sticking around until mid-September. Last week he did my interim review, as they call it. We dashed into a meeting room and were done and dusted within five minutes.

On Saturday I signed up to play pool with the anxiety group on I don't like pool that much, and I like sitting round a table with lots of people, drinking, even less. And that's what we did for an eternity (I think it was nearly three hours) before we even played pool. The woman next to me was extremely loud and kept saying "totes". That's short for "totally", which is bad enough as it is. I'd only heard "totes" as a joke before; I never thought, like, real people, like, totally said "totes" in general conversation. I'd totes had enough before the pool, and once I'd played a couple of games and blown what felt like dumb money on drinks, I was glad to get home.

On Friday night Julie put the phone down on me again. This time I didn't feel as guilty as I have in the past (my counsellor has helped here I think). I haven't called her back.

I attended the games evening at the library on Wednesday. I played canasta with the same woman from the previous week. She works at the library, doing some kind of strategic planning or something. In other words nothing to do with books. I really had no clue how to play canasta. She plays every other week, and my cluelessness soon became obvious. My family played a long time ago when the game was popular, and once in the early nineties I did join in without ever properly knowing the rules. My dad tape-recorded our canasta session (he'll still have the tape somewhere), hoping to get a few snippets from my grandfather who had Alzheimer's. Unfortunately my grandad didn't say a lot (he was very quiet, and placid, in his later years). Anyway, there are two main types of card games: trick-taking games and rummy-type games. Canasta is a rummy game but it doesn't really play as one. My instinct was to try and get rid of all my cards, as you do in most rummy games, but in canasta you often want to do the exact opposite - pick up a whole bunch of cards from the discard pile which you use to form melds that score points. This took some getting used to. It's not a quick game - it took me 1¾ hours to come second.

I've been reading a book called Truth in Advertising. In places it's hilarious. Slightly alarmingly for me, a lot of the humour revolves around the narrator's disillusion in his job, but he's actually less disillusioned by his made-up job than I am in my real one.

I've now seen the latest seismic reports for our apartment block. It appears my flat is in fact in the dodgy zone rather than the "safe" zone. By the way I now pay $1750 a year in insurance through my body corp fees. One highlight I just remembered from the body corp AGM: when asked if any firm decisions have been made about earthquake strengthening, a committee member said the process was currently at "ground zero".

Car number plates beginning with H appeared on our roads last week; it took a smidgen over two years to get through the G's. In the UK you can tell the age of a vehicle directly from its number plate. When I was growing up, the new letter (an H-registration, say) came out on 1st August each year, to a big fanfare. A few doors down from us was a garage; people would take off in their new cars on the stroke of midnight. Such is the status symbol that a new car provides in the UK. Used cars in the UK lose their value extremely rapidly; my brother has just bought a not-that-old Audi A4 for only £600. (It looks like my brother has got his old marine security job back. He's only been back ten days and things are already looking up for him. Hopefully he can consign his NZ experience to history.)

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