Alan McAlan 23, a technical consultant for ninjahackers.com, has worked in Silicon Valley for two years, and decided to come out as non-autistic after being diagnosed by his doctor.
"I finally felt a sense of relief, and acceptance in myself," says Alan, as we both sit in a McDonald's Drive-Thru eating potatoes, "It had been such a struggle up til then to try and fit in with society. It was as if the rules and conventions that everybody there seemed intuitively to know just weren't compatible with my brain."
McAlan 23, 24, relates how each morning he would wake with a feeling that he "should be more interested in banal shit" and "would stare at his kitchen, trying to find fascination with its geometry" but instead, would simply sit down at his breakfast table, switch on the breakfast news, and eat his breakfast.
He knew there was something wrong when he first sat down in the Silicon Valley Canteen and witnessed a conversation taking part between two autistic communists about whether the price of toast was rising in accordance with projected VAT rises or whether they were part of an organised attempt to undermine the workers' rights. A bearded man, he remembers, called Henry Jeery, used to come up to him and challenge him to formulate the nth prime number if n was 4. Alan's reply of '4' would give rise to peals of laughter resounding around the canteen.
At one point someone pushed the food tray he was holding onto the floor, which was when Alan knew that things had gotten out of hand. Specifically, the tray. Luckily, says McAlan, "there was no food or plates on it - but if there had been, the incident would have been far more interesting."
Things came to a head when, during an outing to the pub quiz with some colleagues, their dedication to answering the questions correctly resulted in one of them using a mobile phone to cheat. Alan attempted to explain the morality of not cheating, which resulted in "a table of blank faces." Alan then, undergoing what he now understands to be a nervous breakdown, stood up on the table and shouted that all he cared about was getting his next paycheck, getting laid now and then, watching the football, and having a laugh with his mates.
He was thrown comically out the door and left to soak in the rain, at which point he hit an all-time-low. Then a pancake tortoise did a nearby limbo, at which he realised he'd seen an all-space low.
In conclusion, Alan says, coming out "should help raise awareness of the condition of normals like me. It's not easy out there. People come up to you and expect you not to talk to them. If you do, they scream at you. And that's not the worst part. They don't even make eye contact, most of them. Some days I just feel like walking in there and shooting the whole lot of them. Then I realise they're the next level of evolution and I despair. It makes me feel like the world's biggest idiot. And a bit of a fascist, murdering type."
I gently recommended that Alan take a sabbatical, due to his displaying murderous tendencies. He says he may take me up on it. I told him that he needs to otherwise I'll report him to the police for being mental.
Written by John Android Data Spock Smith