Tag Archives: routine

Small

I lead a very small life. I get up and go about my business and to most I am an unknown. I am a nameless stranger on the streets of a city whose language I cannot read or speak. 
Yet, everyday I feel welcomed. When shopping, the generosity of a smile, when I struggle to communicate, calms me down. The old ladies of the market laugh at me but I can see the kindly twinkle in their eyes as I stumble through buying my vegetables. The toddlers, standing on the footplate of their parents’ scooter even shout hello as they go past. So I may be unknown but I’m not unnoticed. As a foreigner, a barang, I stand out. I am tall, even by British standards, so here in Cambodia I feel as if I’ve come down a bean stalk. I sail around the town on a big old fashioned bike, having eschewed the ubiquitous motorbike, gathering smiles. 
In my small life, these seemingly meaningless interactions are anything but. Each one contributes to a sense of happiness. Here in Cambodia people are shy but they are not wary. Having come from Europe where the single adult male is shunned as potential stranger danger it is lovely to receive happy waves and carefree waves and hear parents encouraging their children to say hello. 
I will never change the world and I have no aspiration to do so. Nor will many of the people I see every day. However, a cheery hello or an open smile can change someone’s day. I know this because the good people of Battambang share their small city and their kind, friendly nature with me, making my small life a happier one. 

The Kindness of Strangers

A streetcar named desire stopped in my town the other day. A stranger disembarked and before he got back on he got and the bell clanged to signal his departure he declared that I looked comfortable in my own skin.  Such a lovely compliment, thrown as he sped away to elsewhere. 

We had spent such a short time together but looking back, the conversation was deep and the humour dry and sparkling like a good champagne. Certainly I had felt easy in the to and fro of the friendly conversational joust in which neither of us were tilted from our seats. We were well matched. 

I’ve never depended on the kindness of strangers but when you’re travelling alone a stranger’s takes can light up dark unknown skies. I thrive on meeting new people. The relationships are superficial even if the conversations are deep and the torturously subtle complexities and conventions of long term relationships are hazards that need not be traversed. 

As I travel alone on the Asperger Path, I realise that my life has acquired an openness and sense of freedom that it had often lacked. I have neither the time nor the ability to set up bizarre rules and restrictions. My life, so often run around a set of self constructed, constrictive mantras, is now open to the four winds and whoever they blow my way. 

I have made some unusual choices and I’m sure the odd eyebrow is raised in my honour. However I took the road less travelled so I grateful when the streetcar drops off a stranger and he walks a block or two with me.  I don’t depend on their kindness but it is most welcome. 

This Chaos

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. 

Hot and Sticky

It’s hot and sticky in Cambodia right now. Twenty seven degrees at five in the morning and set to rise with the sun. When I lived in Britain I constantly craved the sun and the light. It’s warmth was rare and precious and I wanted to bathe in its golden glory.  

How I of all people ended up in these climes is one of those bizarre accidents. The Asperger Path is currently being planned with a haphazard carelessness that is a source of much joy. Before I came away, life had become a series of well executed tasks done without thought on a tight schedule. Waking at six and catching a bus at seven so that the gym could be visited and work commenced by eight. I was awake but there was no time to smell the coffee. It was gulped. A reverse procedure at the end of the working day delivered me fed, fed up and tired on the sofa by seven.  My life in the rat race needed few decisions as the routine was followed doggedly and variations could cause a tailspin of indecision. As one grey week would end, another would loom and the weekend would evaporate. Golden moments were grasped before Monday arrived and the self imposed routine took hold of me again. 

So here I am. I have escaped myself and I am meandering on the road to nowhere. Cambodia is as good a place as any to stop and smell the coffee. My life is less structured because everything  is different here. I am different here.  I will move on one day but for now my life is like the chilli sauce the old lady sells outside the Chinese school. It is hot and sticky but it’s so sweet.