He says he is my friend and I want to believe his sweet words. However, his words are not always so measured or kind. His actions too, can be somewhat chaotic, and I am beginning to think this friendship comes at a high price.
He is Prince Charming. He is interesting and interested in everything around him. He comments astutely on the issues of the day, and I find myself in the company of a man who makes me think and ponder. I see new perspectives through his eyes but am never left feeling my own perspectives lack value. Hours pass and are barely noticed as we rally back and forth. Wit and charm married together in one man who seeks out my company. So what's the problem!
He is a drunk. Sometimes, by ten, the conversation is already a little muddled and a few times recently I've found myself in heavy waters. His patience wears thin and I feel blamed for his loss of concentration. With reduced focus comes a loss of veneer and, when the charm disappears, what lies beneath is not too savoury. A short temper is the most noticeable. Never directed at me, yet, but skulking in the background like a surly dog, he snarls at the people he loves. He becomes more negative about life and will cut people with a tongue that seems to sharpen in alcohol. When he is like this, I keep a metaphorical eye on exits and I am on tenterhooks.
So I have a rarely seen friend and an often times worrying companion. It's time to let this friendship slide into the cool waters of acquaintance. A kindly nod and a friendly hello with a distance kept. The next time I am texted beseechingly, I will remember that it is Lady Alcohol and not Prince Charming who is seeking my company. I will miss my friend. I do already, for I haven't seen him sober for a while.
This chaos is my life. This wonderful, amazing life I am leading is just a sequence of disasters held together by a touch of bravado and good deal of hoping that everything will be all right. I have never had dreams or ambitions. There isn’t a someone I forgot to be. I am here and now and I’ve got my wits about me.
So I career, without a career plan, across jobs, countries and friends. My life is like bunting. Piece after piece, each little moment of beauty is separate and yet strung together hanging in the breeze for all to see.
Many of my colleagues in the spectrum disordered world have strong deep passions and life long obsessions. My obsession, if I have one, is with the new. I can’t bear to bored or stuck in a routine though ironically I create them. I hem myself in, experience a moment or two of safe, comfortable acceptance before I feel it. That irritating itch as if I am allergic to my own contentment.
I don’t have dreams. My life is lived in stark reality. I’m on my own and I have created the Asperger Path and this, this chaos, this is my life.
Cambodia, the Kingdom of Wonder has me in its hot sweaty palms. I’m gripped, hooked, stuck or maybe even seduced by its charm. There are obvious down sides. The poverty, corruption and the rather undemocratic democracy, all of which leave me reeling. The health care is so bad that rich go abroad and the poor go without.
I am not Cambodian, I am barang, a foreigner, and freely admit I have no real understanding of the culture into which I’ve slipped. But my, how this country has me wondering.
Firstly everybody seems so happy. Smiles are freely given with the greeting sok sabay, peace and happiness. Of course Cambodians have their woes, probably disproportionately more so than many other nationalities. Culturally woe not worn the face and if a smile disappears then a line has been crossed.
Also everything works despite nothing appealing to my pedantic sense of logic and order. The traffic system is perhaps based on a traditional criss cross pattern of a Krama. Everyone has an equal right of way and somehow we all weave through with a smile.
My biggest wonder though is that I can finally work at a slower pace. Long lazy breakfasts with the laptop and a coffee and then home for cool shower before a spot of teaching in the afternoon. The climate and culture imbue a languor and my how it suits me. The smile spreads easily onto my face in the languid liquid evenings as my brow is soothed smooth in the hot breeze. The Asperger Path is still an uptight and anxious one but for how long, I wonder.