Today I shall be forgetting lots of important stuff and -

- practically almost remembering everything I should have done yesterday.

Then afterwards making a note on the phone's calendar and setting the little reminder so it can pop up and remind me what I forgot to do the other day. By which time I'll be so bored of thinking about it that I'll press cancel instead of snooze, promising myself that I'll definitely do the thing so it's fine to press cancel.

At some stage, I'll remember (briefly) what I forgot or, more likely, there will be a small crisis caused by what I forgot to keep remembering, followed by an even briefer spell of guilt before I make another reminder because I'm far too busy to do the thing right now.

And repeat, for as many times as it takes for the thing to wear out and not need doing, or for that spark of ingenuity which makes me do it at the moment it needs to be done. Or for as long as it takes for the moon to slingshot around the sun and for me and the rest of the planet to plunge into the temporary darkness caused by an over-excited imagination with too little time to worry about reminders.

The strangest part being that if I am organised enough to do the current thing and not have any reminders, it feels strange and uncomfortable. Like new shoes and thick socks, it feels like I'm not quite me and there is more danger of tripping. It's not that I want to be disorganised (promise!), I just am so used to flying about and hoping for the best that having everything done upfront feels too much like someone stepped in and sorted me out.

When all of these current events line up and my phone reminds me, I divert to do something far more interesting, full of good intentions. Then, a few seconds later, engulfed by the wondrous sense of awe which comes with new discoveries, I have completely forgotten the existence of the sensible thing I needed to remember.

And really, who needs to be sensible? I mean, if you forget things for long enough they either sort themselves out or, finally, irrevocably, need doing and you do them anyway. One way or the other, that reminder is only there as a guilt-fuelled interruption. Better to wait for the real-life reminder to pop up and let you know you are needed, now, get up and do it, or else.

It's at this point it usually becomes obvious that real-life does not have a snooze or cancel button (except for the very big cancel button usually avoided for as long as possible) and that when it steps up with a job, it is better to do it.

Until then, merry on and be diverted. What could possibly go wrong with such a fun-filled way of living? And if all else does really fail, set a reminder to yourself to do better in future. Right after this now, when you are quite taken up with the amazing moment you are having and can't quite face real-life and all its reminders.


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When aspies are right, they're right.

I'm often a wrong aspie, as are lots of other aspies I know. We don't like being wrong but we're well used to it. We know how hard it can be when someone points out our faults and explains how we got it wrong all over again. It means we become awkward under criticism - obnoxious at our worst.

So it's ironic that an aspie in the right is such a big pain in the butt. (Yes, you are, you know it). If being wrong is painful to the aspie, then being right is at least as big a pain to everyone else.

It's not so much gloating (though some do like to gloat); rather it's to do with:

Making sure the person realises they are wrong, understands how they are wrong and can show the aspie they know they are wrong otherwise there will be absolutely no shutting up about it.

It's almost helpful, this need to point out your wrongness. If we tell you how you went wrong and the many vivid details of your errors, then you'll know not to do it again. We don't like to be wrong and always try to avoid it so we don't mind repaying the favour and helping others avoid wrongness too. It's a public service.

If you do something the wrong way and we know the right way then we will tell you the right way. And when good manners or social shock cause you to clam up and just let us go on, we will take that as your misunderstanding of what we are trying to explain and so we'll continue explaining. And there will be hand gestures and show-and-tells and detailed explanations with figure diagrams and also references to your wholly wrong effort, so you know where you went wrong.

None of this will be meant unkindly but there will be a firmness about it, as if you are 5 again and having it explained to you why it's a bad idea to talk and eat at the same time. You will be left in no doubt as to how you went wrong and that you are being Put Right.

At the end you have the choice to accept the staunch advice from your helpful aspie or venture a small complaint about the method of correction. This would be the moment when you try to explain how the aspie made the lecture kind of painful and did they know they had hurt your feelings?

If you manage to finish the sentence, your aspie will be dumbfounded, appalled, just totally brimming with disbelief - not at having hurt your feelings but at your ability to sidestep the whole point of this exchange and move onto your emotions (again!). All the effort put into explaining how you went wrong seems to have been wasted. How is your aspie expected to help you if all you do is lose concentration? No wonder you get things wrong!

The suggestion that the way your aspie explains things might be slightly abrasive or hurtful is irrelevant. As usual, if it wasn't meant this way then there's no point in you taking it this way. If you can't use good advice when it's offered, your aspie might have to stop offering it (no, there's no real hope of this happening, sorry).

Sadly, your aspie wanders off, secretly plotting how to help you be right once you've stopped being silly and are ready to listen. Or maybe you can just be shown the right way to do something? Be converted by the brilliance of the finished effort?

Smiling to themselves, your aspie closes the door, leaving you to wonder what on earth you did to deserve a ten minute lecture on the right way to clean a sink. Especially as you're the only one who ever does it!

Sighing, you take up the cloth and then hesitate, looking guiltily at the kitchen door as you start to clean the sink the way you were told. Sometimes it's better just to do things right...


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In the absence of understanding, you blame yourself

One half of the conversation is fine, the usual friendly comments, nothing very deep, what you say each time you meet. Then the second half begins and it's obvious the other person is now annoyed. A quick flashback through what you both did and said reveals nothing. What could be wrong?

A little battle goes on here. I try not to blame myself for everything these days, so I quickly look at the evidence. Line up the words, the phrases, the visible nuances which passed between us. Did something happen? Was there a chance for misunderstanding? Did I frown at the wrong time?

It comes back too easily to self-blame and I try to remember: It Is Not Always My Fault.

Keeping this mantra in mind, in the time left between us I try it again, a quick sweep-through our conversation and still I find no explanation for the shift in mood and the obviously irritated, verging on angry expression on the other face.

Oh dear, though. Oh very dear! What is a person supposed to do in this situation? I'm not with someone I know well enough to ask what is the matter. I can't 'joke' it into the conversation for the same reasons. I have no idea what might have gone wrong. All I have to go on is my own continued presence in the time it took for this normally cheerful person to turn thin-lipped and tongue-biting.

Sometimes you do come back around and take responsibility. In the absence of understanding what has gone wrong, you blame yourself. If there seems no other explanation for the offence taken and you are the one standing there, still flapping your mouth while you try to work it out, then what else can you do?

Brutal, unswerving honesty might make me say to them, 'Look here now, what's wrong? Have I put my foot in it?' And then what happens after? If you are to blame, you make the other person feel at least as awkward as yourself and risk them having to lie because most people don't like unswerving honesty.

If it was nothing to do with you, it might be far too personal to talk about and again with the awkwardness.

And if they are really annoyed at someone else, you might be lucky and they slot in a throwaway comment that explains it is nothing to do with you.

With the evidence before me and no appetite for awkwardness, I left in something of a hurry, hoping the mood would be back to normal the next time we met. I can add this extra complication onto the pile of niggles which tag along every time I have to interact with people who I don't know well.

Being on high alert already, I'll be on the lookout for any clues as to what went wrong. If nothing happens ever again, it wasn't me. If something comes out later, my brain will pick it up and lob it back to these strained moments when I was trying not to blame myself.

Either way, I will be acting as if there is another great mystery to solve, one which requires all the usual suspects to gather in the room while I accuse them one by one, finally settling on the right culprit. And, more often than not, the right culprit is one I never suspected, forgotten almost to the end and who only made sense once I could view them all together.


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