Thursday, 26 June 2014

i don't even know what's right anymore man

Having just watched a few episodes of Breaking Bad, for some reason I wrote this story and heard it read out in the voice of Mike as well as Jesse, but mostly Mike. I don't know why. That's just what happens
sometimes. I hear something long enough, I fall into its rhythms.

so yeah basically when i get home i talk about my day with my mum and/or dad - usually i relate whatever funny or insane shit i hear in the day. usually it's this one kid who happens to be the only girl in the department. she talks about funny stuff and reminds me of my two nieces - and it's nice for me to be able to kind of transfer the skills i learned talking to two cute little girls to another cute little girl, albeit one who sadly happens to have the mental age of someone nine years younger than she is. like, i talk to my four year old niece now in a more advanced way than i do this twelve year old kid.

so anyway, my dad is like "i'm curious as to what she looks like" in a totally innocent way - i mean, when anyone talks about someone enough times and tells enough funny stories about someone, we always form an image in our head of that person. of course, because ultimately we are all good people and what not, we all know you don't just randomly take a picture of a kid in school just because of some funny stories. anyway. my mum and i are talking and i mention there's a photo of this kid on the wall from a trip out and i say "would it be weird to take a picture of a picture?" my mum's like "yeah it's fine why not?" so yeah and so yesterday i find myself in a corridor by myself taking a picture of this kid, realising how creepy this whole thing is. then i get home, show my dad the girl, he's like "oh ok, can't really see it very clearly but that's nice" then i immediately delete the picture. and i start thinking: is this all wrong, or actually maybe has society become so fucked up we can't even just show someone a picture of someone who brightens up our godamned day? so many sick shit we hear about on tv, saville and what not - why does that have to taint the rest of us? when did innocence die? it's not the kids we should be worried about, it's the adults. jeez.

so anyway there i am feeling like i've done something wrong, and maybe i have, who the hell even knows anymore, and then today i bring in a comic that i happened to have that i hoped a couple of kids might like. i actually had another student in mind when i bought it in, but she ends up reading it. i didn't even know she'd read it, but apparently she had. during lunch i'm on duty and she randomly starts asking me about it. the comic is based on zelda, and immediately she's off, entering this fantasy story land about zelda and link and hyrule and whatever. so i'm sitting there answering her questions - an example "what is hyrule" and it's fine. she's stupid, it's just one of those random conversations you get with aspie kids who get into some fantasy work.

and so yeah about an hour later i'm trying to teach this lesson about spreadsheets. i say lesson, it's just a really basic thing showing kids how to use AutoSum on Excel. simple as anything. and all the while i'm trying to teach this lesson, she keeps popping up on my left saying "oh and by the way..." followed up by some inane question about zelda. i'm all like "i'm trying to teach the lesson, give it a minute please" and then she asks again about something. because i'm patient, i keep repeating the phrase, deadpan, and she gets the message eventually. the lesson goes as planned - it's not the greatest lesson i've ever done, i'll admit - but it's done. then there's chillout time. now, with aspie kids, especially low-functioning aspie kids, you've got to give them their time. chillout time does not mean chillout time. it means head space, relaxation, coming back to one's self, processing all the shit that's happened. a kid like that for example has a slow mind. it works - it's just kind of slow.

so this slow-minded kid, she immediately takes the chillout time to mean that she wants my attention.
"sit here so we can continue the lunchtime story."
and i'm like fuck. what the hell can i do? part of me's all like 'look - you got her godamn picture, you should stay away, you're one of Those Bad Guys' and there's the other part - the real part, the part untainted by all the bullshit floating around, the part that sees this kid's like my little nieces and just wants a few moments of your time for once - that part of me who takes a seat and lets whatever needs to be said get said.
"So I'm a random person in hyrule and you're a guard and i want to see the princess what would you say."

And so I enter into a theoretical discussion about the story she's now got firmly planted in that head of hers. And all the while I'm doing my job, taking notes: for a start, she's using complex sentence structures. She's also remembering things she said a minute ago - something that doesn't usually happen. She's now recalling information from the comic that I literally only brought in this morning. Now, she's entering a really deep thought process - that of creativity. Using specific details from the comic and making up her own story.
And now, the moment that just got me:
"The monster came. It was The King of all Beasts." (you could practically hear the capital letters.) "It had three heads, the body of a lion, and wings."

I mean, shit.
The kid's never used that kind of language before. Poetic. Descriptive. Metaphorical.

The other member of staff in the room I hope was listening to shit as well as I was. She probably wasn't. Probably just dismissed it as a random conversation between me and the kid. Who knows. What I heard was a sign of advanced development, and imagination gone wild, and a future. And you know what, man? I felt proud. If I had a kid who could make up stories like that, and tell them straight for half a fucking hour like she said, I'd be proud of my kid. Who cares if she's autistic, or low ability, or whatever. I've seen her mum pick her up, and it warms my heart how much love you can see there. Imagine that. Having a kid and knowing that you've made something that has that much imagination. I only know one other kid in the department who could come up with stories and shit like that, and he left two weeks ago.
"So I guess this is it," he said, in his stylised, copycat turn of phrase, and extended a hand to me. I shook his hand, grinned, and he returned the grin, before going on his way.

I got into the staff room a minute later, and tried in vain to swallow away the lump in my throat. Holy shit. Kids are stronger than grown ups. Most of the time they're a pain in the arse.

Kids just blow your mind sometimes.

Don't get me wrong, the girl I've been talking about can be irritating. I would find it really really difficult to raise any child, let alone one with autism. Last week she refused to come to the canteen to eat her lunch, and I felt nothing but frustration. Frustration tempered with amusement and slight smugness at the fact that she was not once rude to me during the conversation:
"Follow my path."
"No way."
"Come on. You can do it."
"No, thank you."
"You're brave."
"No, I'm weak."
"I know you can do it."
"No thank you."
"Please."
"No, thank you, Mr. Neale."

At which point I had to go lunch because it was that mixture of cuteness and stubbornness that made me want to just laugh and say "fuck it, just stay in your land of fairies and make believe. Canteens suck. Making up stories is much more fun."

It's the thing though with kids, especially schoolkids. You see them as they ought to be in ten years' time. If you can't see them doing something productive, being an active member of society and - most importantly - being happy, then you need to keep working on them. I've got this one kid who's struggling to overcome his confusion with people. I'm trying my best - I'm the only member of staff in my department who has still got enough patience to talk to him - but it's not working. Or at least it's not working fast enough.

But yeah. The point of this whole thing was that I feel bad for taking a picture of a picture. And also I guess I'm confused by... well, everything basically. I suppose that's why I'm so 'good' with the students. I get it. I understand it. For the boy who's perpetually confused, I feel like I can read his mind all the time. I understand what the system is inside his head; I know it's broken, and sadly I can't really fix it because it's the same system I use to categorise things and people, only it's accentuated to a degree that it feels like it's been perfected whereas it's actually become a stagnated, obsolete mess of a thing.

The girl in the essay I hope will grow up to have a steady job. These kids... they're going to be kids for their whole lives as far as I can see. It's sad, and it's cute at the same time. A boy today who has recently decided to fit in with the 'cool' crowd by wearing sunglasses indoors came up to me and said, in deadly seriousness, "I can't stop being in gangster mode."

It's all so sad, and ridiculous, and pathetic, and amazing. Moments of fragmented beauty in a world of banal normality. Little aliens, little freaks, all trying to attain normality, not quite realising yet they'll never find it. The ones who've realised that - the older ones - are now the depressed ones. They're lost. We keep them as warnings for other pupils. I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for all of them.

I care for them. And I feel anxious that saying that makes me sound Wrong. Where's this come from? Why should I feel bad? I do care for them. All twenty of them. I want to see them all happy. I want to go home from work knowing I've done the best for them, knowing I've said the right things, or at least said something to make them think about their future in a positive way.

Sadly, the ones who suffer are the ones whose parents shield and protect them from pain. Those are the spoilt ones, the ones who refuse to follow the most banal instructions... those who fake autism but, to quote a conversation I had yesterday, "use the excuse of their autism, not realising that in itself is a symptom of their autism." A meta-illness. A disease of reality. Anxiousness to the max. Confusion reigns supreme. Misunderstandings. All the answers: none of the right ones. Fantasy stronger than reality. Senses overwhelming all else. It's like an eclipse: amazing, and painful to look at.

Go again tomorrow. All their batteries may or may not have reset from today. My theory is that the girl who told me that wonderful story will have forgotten it all by tomorrow - not only the story, but the happiness she felt in relating it to me. That momentary awakening - the letting in of somebody else into the world of her imagination. A world where words come freely, and demands are not made, and someone is really and truly listening, as well as taking part. Where the play is actually watched and the curtains not torn down like usual. Tomorrow, the curtains will not rise. Tomorrow, the banality of reality will come again. Perhaps she'll find another source of mirth. That's how the autistic mind works. Reality is not good enough, only the knowledge that reality is a joke.

So if you ever work with autistic kids, Matt... think of them as people on a trip. Kids are little drunk people - this is fact. Autistic kids are little stoned people. Sometimes the trip is too much, and paranoia sets in, and anxiety. This is where they need guidance, either to snap out of the trip and return to reality, or let the trip take its course and see what happens once they come out on the other side. And sometimes, in those moments of magic, they may have yielded something of absolute beauty.

The boy who left, who can draw comics as well as professionals.
The annoying boy who acts like a whiny five year old but who can draw incredibly detailed and accurate aeroplane designs, and created cookies shaped like "Viking ships" yesterday.
The boy who makes humming noises and laughs at nothing who, out of nothing, will tell me about a console so obscure I have to actually google it in front of him to verify its truth, and who giggles when I discover it was real. Example: the Tiger game com.
The boy who tried to hit me in a furious rage, but who can talk as well as someone five years older than him about computer games and life in general.
The boy who can understand emotions and ironic humour but cannot control himself around more than one person... a kid who I have had some awesome conversations with this year.
The twelve year old boy who still wears nappies but has a sophisticated understanding of the plot of Eastenders.
The twelve year old boy who last week could not tell me what town he was from, only the street - but who, when happy, has the most winning, happy smile, and it breaks my heart to see it because I know in his life he won't get many moments to show it.

Fuck, I'd better get to bed. I'm getting emotional over these annoying little kids. I mean jeez, literally today I told one of them he was annoying me, and he replied that I was annoying him, and yet I know that I mean a lot to him and he means something to me and that tomorrow we'll try again to see if he can be better, but only one of us knows he's too fucked up ever to be the kid he should be, but as long as it's only one of us who knows, we might as well go round that carousel again for a few more weeks.

Next year, I will not be in the tutor group of any of these guys. Will I miss them? Nah. Even the girl? Nah. All emotion is temporary - we create them in our head so that we can fit in with whatever society we've been placed in. Once that society is gone, the emotions go too. Let's not beat around the bush - we got over shit quickly, and wonder why we ever cared that much. Anyone still mourning for Robb Stark?

But man... the king of all beasts. where in god's name did she get that name from? oh, and I think this got me too:
"I got all my tools and equipment. A book with two billion pages which I used on ganon's minions to bore tham all to sleep. ketchup which i threw into their..."
"Faces?"
"Faces. And... and ice cream!"
"Oh my God! Ice cream?"
"Yeah. And also I got... I got..."
Cue about seven seconds of waiting.
"I got rope."
"Oh, right. Why?"
"Because everyone needs rope."
"'Ah, right. Everyone does need rope. It's very useful."
"And then the baddie came along and I threw ketchup on his face and used the book to make him go to sleep."
I'm just lolling now. Can't help it.
"But I took 500 damage."
"Oh," I said, holding back a chortle, "So that means... you were, what? Dead?"
"No, not dead, just weakened."
"Ah right. Did you need health?"
And shit got serious then, like she started actually thinking about it.
"No I didn't need health I was just tired."
"Oh ok."
"Then I found a friend and went to sleep and when I woke up my health was restored."
At which point I just had to start laughing because this stupid kid just cracks me up.

I know she'll be ok. It's weird - you try and look out for these guys, nagging them, telling them about this and that, teaching them lessons and shit... you know none of it's going to stick. It won't be remembered. They choose things, and that's what they like or care about. Today she found something she liked - the comic I brought in - and so that was her brain done for the day. It's weird. Why do their brains do that? Just pick one thing and forget everything else? Anxiety? Familiarity? Semiotics taken to the extreme: 'I only like this because it reminds me of this which is something that's ok.'

Sorry man this essay's a mess. Work's kind of stressing me out in all honesty - I'm trying to take whatever beauty I can find in the whole thing because at the moment it's just boring and stressful at the same time. Sick of people. Sick of kids. Sick of neediness. Just want to be left alone I think.

Update:

And on Friday, the next day, Andy had been sitting with the girl. He said to me as I took over from lunch duty that he'd been listening to and seeing pictures about The Random Person who had ketchup and ice cream as weapons. The story has been shared. That makes me happy.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Gotta Go Faster

The Anthropocene period began approximately one million years ago in 2016. At this time, humanity was devised of numerous sub-species (although the argument remains over whether these sub-species were, in fact, all one species of homo sapiens) - these sub-species, at least according to numerous authorities [who?] were made up of numerous different factoids.

The findings of e-archaeologists have discovered numerous 'funny quotes' on a hitherto undiscovered corner of the archive pertaining to establish tongue-in-cheek [citation needed] statements dividing the world into two distinct categories. In 2134 the following 'funny quote' was discovered.

There are two types of people: those who find me awesome, and those who are liars.

According to researchers made in 2134, the statement was initially considered as a legitimate statement on the divisions of human characteristics, until the researcher "thought about it" and realised it was a non sequiter leading nowhere, and proceeded to undertake further research and learn more about 2012 humour.

One clear fact was that, over a period of a hundred and fifty years, humanity's evolution increased exponentially. Scientists have been so certain about this that last week Dr. Veronica Clogge said that the number of evolution was

"two"

 whereas in 1850 it had only been

"one"

.

Why the sudden upturn in evolution?

Clogge attributed the cause to "butter", a claim that has seen her name struck off the Doctor List for two weeks. In her place strode Dr. Gelignite, a man. He concluded that it was the use of recreational drugs that had increased humanity's evolution, as well as two world wars, "but mostly drugs".

Pointing a finger at a board, he pointed out pointedly that around 2015, a surge in the use of the newly introduced, and very deadly drug Sonic hedgehog led to a sudden downturn in population owing to death. He then very pointedly showed that in 2030 the average intelligence of the human race increased threefold. What Gelignite then did was take his pointy pen, put it in his pocket, and declare "I would come to a conclusion but I am too polite to do so. I hand you over to my colleague, John."

John, a non-doctor - the janitor of the building - took the microphone in his hands. "Sonic the hedgehog killed off all the stupid people."
"Sonic hedgehog," corrected Gelignite, before apologising.

I can't be arsed to write any more but I like this:


Criticism of the name[edit]

Some clinicians and scientists criticize giving genes frivolous, whimsical, or quirky names,[9] calling it inappropriate that patients with "a serious illness or disability are told that they or their child have a mutation in a gene such as sonic hedgehog.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Let's Do This

A manacled man strove forth amongst the grot-faced lichenheads of the locust-filled pub named the Charles Holden (formerly the Colliers Tup) and reached into a leathery container resembling a Necronomicon that the residents of this postule country liked to call a wallet, and which he, for reasons unknown, chose to call a Wallet. Nobody ever heard the capital W, and that's the way he liked it.

His moustache, which had entered moments before, made itself noticable for the first time when he felt an urge to sneeze. The sensation of being stoppered by his fluffy tuft was as alien a feeling as being inside a car mechanic's palace: privilege mixed with awareness of one's own class. But there it remained - the moustache that complemented his beard so well that they were both virtually indistinguishable from one another save the minutest discrepancy in colouration caused by the potentiality invoked by a four centimetre drop in gravity between the zone of the philtrum and the zone of the chin.
"The chin-philtrum divergence was," he began, placing his Wallet upon the already sticky oakwood counter, "first documented in," he middled, seeking for eye-based purchase, "an essay written in 2003 by the late, great artiste [sic]."
"[Sic] what?" said a voice to his left, presumably belonging to the person opening their mouth in accordance to the rhythm of the sputtering utterances being pitched forth like tar ejected from a mental mixer.
"No, sic. Not [sic]."
"What?"
"That was her name. Sic."
"Sic [sic]?"
"Exactly."
"How did you hear the brackets?" said the barman, sidling conversationally downwards in a locus offwards from the main tangent and away from the radius of the payment towards the orbit of the new, the vital, the knowledgeable, the gap between what is and what could be, the Eureka moment in-waiting like David Icke sitting with flowers before rising to his feet and staring starry-gazed into the face of a giant lizard-headed woman called Irene.
"They're not brackets," said the hipster, as he lay his Contactless Card so deftly, secretly, subtly and generally snakeishly onto the machine that nobody even noticed the transaction. This was the future, and it was now. Sure, they weren't creds, but it was all computerised and shit. That was a sign, if any, that the future was now. Computers of a type never seen before - and for a moment, he felt sure he was onto something profound, but then someone cut him short: oh yeah, the guy in his face with the drinks that they called the barman but whose name was actually Gary. "They're crochets, or square brackets."
"Why use square brackets instead of normal brackets for [sic]?"
"It doesn't matter? [sic]" said Janine, desperately entering the bar, spin-wheeling on her eighteen selective nerve endings, all of which had presumably being put on end, and struck - her tethers alone had reached their final destinations, because of what's his name.
"Fucking Jason," she said, slumping beside the hipster, occupying the right side of his face, completing a stereoscopic experience: the best night he'd ever had was when he'd been standing in a pub with six interesting people all around his vicinity - two behind, two to the side, one in front - and he was able to conduct them in a manner that allowed him to enjoy a harmonised contrapuntal experience of interchanging conversations. Later, he learned that, by sheer coincidence, every one of these people had been named Dolby.
The beer arrived into his hand, already locked into position like a player awaiting the joystick. Pint One Ready. This time, the pint would make a difference. This time, the liquid perspective would seep into the correct aspects of his brain, seeking his cerebellum, piercing his hippocampus, and infiltrating the correct nodules of his frontal lobe to produce a perfect sentence (even a word would do (well actually, even a letter would do) - the perfect word to set things in place - the perfect word of course being Eureka) and that actually there was only one perfect sentence and it was recently named in The Times Culture, and it went thus:

Forgotten dreams often end in

The hipster remembered. It said some bollocks about the sentence being perfect because it was never finished, thus reflecting the nature of its statement. He remembered, and remembered, and thought about it, and remembered, and thought, and remembered, and all the while Gary was wheedling away the minutes by saying something to the stranger on his left and Janine on his right was nodding her head in nameless decorum to the music being played over the Jukebox of Irony (But Actually Authenticity).
"So what did Jason do," produced the hipster, having finished gulping half of the Theakston in his Traditional Pint Tankard.
Smoky smell of barbecues and unfulfilled potential in the air.
"It doesn't matter," said Janine.
The air hung with the noise. The lament. The passive-aggressive statement, prompting a response but not getting one. The hipster thought he cared then realised he didn't. Perhaps this was it. The moment. When his life changed and he was someone else. Someone good. Yeah. Like those people on TV who change. Or in books. The characters learn stuff that make the right decisions and become good people suddenly. Chasing dreams and finding them with themselves. Love is all talk.
Packets of Mr. Porky hung from the alcoves. Those alcoves were placed there deliberately. Nothing genuine about these alcoves.
"You guys ever seen In Bruges?" he began, before faltering and saying "You guys ever seen - "
"Ever seen what?"
He retreated into his pint. "Nah, you probably haven't seen it."
"Just say the title," said Janine, but was cut off by her own politeness and saying "Ju."
"I'm not a jew," said the hipster.
"No, I was saying 'just' but was interrupted."
"No one said anything."
"By my politeness."
The hipster frowned. Perhaps this was a real conversation. Perhaps this was where the night would be real and he'd one of those moments where he was taking part in something interesting - so interesting, that it wouldn't surprise him if was secretly being filmed for posterity. People are filmed for their wit whilst watching TV - so why not film a pub in secret and broadcast the best highlights? If this conversation would be one of them, they would want something and someone with real spunk and attitude.
"Don't be polite," he said. "Be honest."
Gary and the guy on his left were talking about work.
"You're a hipster. That's what I said," said Janine. "Or wanted to say."
"I'm a hipster?" said the hipster.
"Yeah."
"Oh."
"Don't you care?"
"No. I know I'm a hipster. I don't think any of you would understand my reference to In Bruges, so I didn't say anything else about it."
"She's right," said Gary, pouring the drinks. "You really are a fucking hipster cunt."
"I would have got the quote," said Janine.
Sensing victory, the hipster downed the last half of his beer, before slamming it on the table and nodding for another. "Which makes you a hipster."
Janine turned away as if slapped. "Shit."
There was a moment's pause during which Janine silently, regretfully downed her shot of absinthe.
"Two more shots of that please, Gary," said the hipster. "Player 2 has joined the absinthe game."
The night had begun.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

copypasta that reminds me of olde bollocke :P

What slanderous attacks hast thou thrown against my good name, thou contemptible wench? Whereas I have risen even unto the foremost rank in the Royal Admiralty; whereas I have on many an occasion partaken in clandestine crusades against the Saracens; whereas by mine hands have fallen barbarians numbering some fifteen score; whereas I am most skilled in the ways of the ape warrior; whereas I am the premier marksman amongst all of our Kingdom's knights: Thou art in my sights but yet another quarry. The Lord be my witness, I shall smite thee as no-one under the sun hath heretofore been smitten. Dost thou deign to fancy thyself secure to cast thy spittle upon my face from behind the Spider's Veil? Then thou hast wandered into grievous error. Yea, even at this very moment, I am sending word across the land to my fellow Templars, and the provenance of thy scrivenings shall in short time become known unto me. A veritable maelstrom of vengeance is upon thy gates, thou wretched worm, which surely shall obliterate thy loathsome pretension of life. Truly, thou art foregone, child. I move as swift as the wind, and with mine own two hands I may at my pleasure slay thee in any of thirty and five score modes. For verily as I am a master in the pugilistic arts, even so doth the manifold armory of the Royal Guard lie at my beck and call, which in its plenitude of power I shall not delay to unleash upon thee, that thy fœtid flesh may no longer pollute this land with its presence, thou pitiful putrescence. Would that thou couldst have foreseen what great wrath thou hast by thy "brazen" jocosity summoned upon thyself! Perhaps thou wouldst have rather kept shut thy filth-spewing mouth. But neither couldst thou thus foresee, nor didst thou take heed of prudence, and thou art now reaping what thou hast sown, thou accursèd simpleton. I will excrete rage all round about thee, wherein shalt thou be consumed. Thou hast shuffled off this mortal coil, urchin.