Tuesday, August 27, 2013


One minute I'm sitting out on the balcony on an unusually balmy Sunday in August and the next ... oh dear. The door has locked behind me, the key's inside and I'm trapped. No phone, no nothing. What the hell do I do? I'm only on the first floor but there's also a step up from the ground. I'm looking at 13 feet. I think of ways down but decide there's no real way of getting down other than stepping out onto the beam that connects the balconies, and jumping. I use a long stick to knock on my neighbour's window but they're obviously out. Eventually I attract the attention of a Chinese family who live above me and are about to head off in their car. The mum phones the property manager, who I thought had a key to all the apartments, but apparently not. She tells me not to even think of jumping. "I'll call 111. The police." "Um, you should probably ask for the fire brigade." Oh god. Is this really happening? It's happened in bad dreams enough times. I hear her half of the 111 call. "Nothing's on fire and nobody's injured." Five minutes later three firemen are on the scene and I'm suitably embarrassed by the whole situation. They put a ladder up and I get down. I've left one of the downstairs windows open a few inches with the "security" stay which the firemen break very easily, and I'm back inside without having to shell out for a locksmith.

I bought the people upstairs some lilies and a box of chocolates but they haven't been back since. It makes a nice change to sense the aroma of flowers as I walk into my flat. There are a couple of things I can take out of being trapped (I was stuck for about an hour). One, I've locked myself out before (far less dramatically) and I'm bound to do it again. It's just too damn easy to do. Having flatmates will help but in the meantime I'd better make sure my property manager has one of my spare keys (there's no-one around here I really trust with them). Secondly the window stays are so feeble that I must never leave the downstairs windows ajar, not even an inch.

In other news, we had a very good session at last night's autism group. People have really come on in leaps and bounds. Tom, for instance, has become (and this sounds terrible) much less robotic and more human. This time last year he'd hardly say anything at the group and his face would be almost expressionless the whole time. Now he contributes quite a lot. He must have a good sense of humour, if all the comedy programmes he put on my computer are anything to go by, but up until recently you never would have known it. We talked about skills that people on the spectrum sometimes have. The date calculation thing always blows me away. In fact there is no calculation that I can see. You input a date, sometimes years into the past or future, and out pops the day of the week. Almost instantly. How? It's the same with mental arithmetic. I'm quite good at that (it's one of the few things I can confidently say I am good at) but I still have to calculate the answer, and I make mistakes sometimes. How some people are able to bypass all those calculation steps and get straight to the answer I have no idea.

One of the comedy shows Tom gave me was Look Around You. It's a spoof educational programme, where they do supposedly serious experiments that are in fact complete bollocks. It's a take-off of the programmes they produced for schools in the UK in the late seventies and early eighties, and must have repeated for a few years after that because it all seems quite familiar to me. The attention to detail is excellent and makes the whole thing even more hilarious. Here's the bit where they boil an egg. Enjoy.

We moved desks at work on Friday. I've now got less space but I've got a window. I'm now miles from the loo but people can't see what I'm doing very easily. You win some, you lose some I guess.

My chances of being stuck on the balcony were increased by Wellington's warmest winter on record. Climate change has all kinds of knock-on effects.

I've started caring about politics a bit more of late (and it's funny that after my last post when I talked about Key, and not trusting, I should lock myself out). We've got a prime minister who basically thinks he can do what he likes, and I don't like that. His comments about the GCSB bill didn't wash with me, and as for the saying "if you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear", well that might be true, but the fact is we've all got something to hide, dammit, even if it's perfectly legal. I really hope that whoever wins the Labour leadership contest can shake things up at next year's election.

I haven't heard from Julie at all since I wrote that letter.

Mum and Dad arrive on Friday. I haven't told them about the lock-out incident.

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