Pay it no heed, t’is just a muse to dress in—
It is not uncommon for me to awake and only realise it because I must be in order to be thinking, before thinking I’m up and it’s time I should be able to think. Which can be disconcerting because of the realisation that all the preceding thoughts were a waste and an ultimately useless praxis of sleep-like consciousness. I mention it not because I consider the act of thinking without my knowledge or prior consent useless, but because I was thinking about, well…
Woman has been described in many fashions over the years— some have dated and many are just of an odd and barely bearable manner. But, thanks to man’s ineptitude for timely invention for all our sakes, few have been recorded.
From the foul creatures of bygone days, ingratiating and nefarious— to the ne’er do-wellers unheard of on the Earth today— there is a prism strong with the clutches of obsequiousness at the one end and oblique at t’other. Suggesting a submissive who ‘ain’t got no straight dice’ in her, on her, with her, or indeed ever-ever.
Naturally, I consider it a duty to expound such hostile ‘truths’ and then obliterate such indifferences if I found them to be harbouring even the slightest shreds of unfounded poppycock. Unfortunately, I think on the whole, a completely objective opinion is impossible to find, so I’ll not even attempt one.
The morning I’m in question with, saw me becoming aware that I was awake and thinking about Woman, which considering the previous post is hardly surprising. There was no specific article or example, but more the age-old what are they? Which of course, any self-aware man will tell you who has taken the trouble to observe one for any period— and it needn’t even be considerable: they are anything they bloody well want to be when ever they damn well choose. Though on the face of it, this may seem unfair— there is a but.
It doesn’t stop man from secretly desiring the chance to be one, for a period— and it needn’t even be considerable.
I like to choose my words carefully and I would hate to think my last sentence was a badly phrased pun, as much as it was just badly phrased, because I can’t think of anything I’d like less than never having been one.
Unfortunately for me, I grew up only having Cauldron-stirrers to watch; and although they speak a little more whilst saying a little less than most, requiring the maximum of concentration for the minimum of reward— I’d have to experience the condition personally before forming an opinion as to why. That said, I’d rather not have to endure my time as Woman as a witch or hag should the opportunity for a touch of gender-bending ever arise.
What would be most satisfying though, would be to suffer despicably, at the hands of those ghastly hormones that run ruin throughout their bodies. I’d like to be ill with ovulation and feel the ‘eggs being fired out’, as an old friend once described it. Maybe a spot of pregnancy too— not so much as to over-stay my welcome by any means, but enough to know what the unusual cravings are like, and just perhaps, a little of the moaning, groaning and agonies of a thirteen hour labour.
I am a great fan of Woman and enjoy them on a daily basis in some way or another and I can’t help but feel they’ve been treated most meanly over the years and deserve to have things put right. With opinions like:
Woman’s at best a contradiction still…
Most woman have no characters at all…
Because women can do nothing except love, they’ve given it ridiculous importance…
A woman is only a woman, but a cigar is a good smoke…
You’d be forgiven for wondering why it has failed to stop man from wanting one. Strange isn’t it? Man likes nothing more than crediting Woman with innate deviance, perhaps even more than Woman herself…
There’s something so desperately feeble about it all. Woman though has her answers to certain profound quandaries— and enlightenment when it matters, ‘[they] have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size…’
But how wonderful it would be— as long as I could have the worst bits— how ever many there may be— just, to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. Anyway, it’s what I woke up in the middle of realising— when I was in fact already awake and thinking of something more wonderful than usual.
Terence, Heauton Timorumenos
And pre-cursing concerns: Point B…
It’d be an understatement to describe my feelings regarding discrimination, injustice and inequality as something I dislike. But as things, they denote unambiguous concepts which I like. One of the greatest challenges someone like me faces in the world growing up, is deciding what things are and how we can define them in stasis, as a unit of information we can be certain of and depend on: something inflexible if you like—but because no unit of information is ever completely still when it’s used situationally, more and more definitions are required that are context dependant; and you can be rest assured that those contexts are never dependant on just the one unit of information.
It’s one of the reasons why autistics are described as natural outside-the-box thinkers. There is truth in this, but only in as far as we’re never actually in the box. The box is jam-packed with the wheres, whys and whatfors of any of a hundred variations of contextual, situational determinant based on previous outcomes and strategies: whether they worked or not, but also an unimaginable series of permutations of static definitions that are in constant flux.
When we get it wrong it can be hilariously inappropriate and embarrassing for all concerned, but not always entirely pleasant. But this is the reason some environments are so exhausting— while the processes I describe take little discernible time, they are constantly active: we receive the information, intellectualise the information, throw it away, add it to the box, or discard something that’s no longer required— it’s a form over-clocking which is difficult to maintain for very long without practice and even then, it’s not something I’d describe as best practise. Far from it.
The reason I mention it, is to offer a context; describe the box as it were, because how stuff sometimes comes out is a mystery— links, overlaps, patterns, systems and definitions frequently collide and contexts are sometimes erroneously cast-off. But sometimes it’s nice to just, not throw these things away because they serve no purpose— because whether we like it or not, we are in some way defining ourselves as much as we’re trying to make sense of the world by defining what’s in it. Sometimes however, some things just will not be put in a box. No matter how much we’d prefer it.
“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and … as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same.”
Those of you who are familiar with that piece of text will know it be the work of H. G. Wells. It’s twenty words longer and less snappy than Jeff Wayne’s adaptation, but far fitter for the purpose of elaborating the work of John Gray Ph.D. I’m sure at the time of writing it, he considered women to be from Venus to be quite original, but I think the switch in celestial body was more a ploy to conceal his inspiration, just as Wells may have, regarding his epiphany about the Martians’ hostile take-over of the planet.
I certainly can’t see the problem with finding it analogous to certain gender-identity stereotypes, at least not with all these planets and primates whizzing around, and almost impossible not to with the application of the odd suppostion-paradigm to the text. I find it quite amusing how much Woman and aliens have in common in this respect— mass destruction and want to annihilate the species excepted.
But for starters, the period is a little off, so we’ll bring it forward a hundred years, at least in line with the post-internet shopping revolution, but for purely cosmetic reasons you understand: lipsticks and what have you. If I’m going to go-there, I want to get the scenery correct.
From there it’s easier to allude to the concept of being watched keenly and closely, for this is one of the more astute gifts Woman possesses: they will observe shoes, handbags and precious stones in great detail and all manner of things they rather like, whilst at the same time and without remorse find error in them; then tell each other about it. This is because Woman possess intelligences greater than man’s and were it not for other women, they might have nothing whatsoever to talk about.
That said however, I draw the line at making inferences suggesting Woman’s ability to reason is better than man’s, because I cannot and nor can anyone on Earth— which is quite fitting as I have imagery of Woman having man scrutinised and studied [like] creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water and finding error with them, just whizzing around. I think I’ll let the ‘drip’ similes speak for themselves, of which there are many, as it seems especially pertinent when comparing man to the contents of a Petri-dish— and by water, I do not mean Coco Channel.
Woman is not afflicted with infinite complacency either and though man may be serene in [his] assurance of their empire over matter, they are not when it comes to Woman: Woman is less straightforward than that. Matter has rules which govern it: Woman does not.
And so on and so forth…
Personally, I have always found this streamlining of humanity problematic; as much as I need definition to function properly, I resent pigeon-holing, and no doubt the invaders did too. I don’t even associate masculinity and femininity as too separate an entity, or even two too separate entities, considering instead gender-identity to be more in-keeping with sexuality; more along the lines of a spectrum— quite where I’d place Martians on the scale is by the by, but for all their questionable habits, I wouldn’t discount the possibility of the odd conscientious objector.
Whether it is intended or otherwise, discrimination will always occur with such binary systems, hence the medieval logic earlier: conflict cannot be avoided. It’s why I don’t think I’ve never met a feminist, despite meeting a lot of people who claim to be.
I find it’s as much a language issue than anything, because I’ve never heard the same definition twice and I’ve heard thousands— as such the term is completely without meaning to me; and I’ve always felt that tacking it on to what are sometimes supportable, passionate and well reasoned individual beliefs to be utterly devaluing to the person having them because of it.
Just because [some] feminists: “embody an ideology based on what is best about our species both emotionally and spiritually for the betterment and improvement of the world,” doesn’t make them separate beings.
That’s not equality— which is one of the things they seem to agree with: equality that is, but you’d be surprised by the number that don’t. With equality however, it’s far easier to ask: what is Woman, if not the heart of the world?
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Those familiar, would know Montmorency:
And those not, should be; a dog born with more than his fair share of original sin…
I was a familiar stranger once in a city of few lights past the open fridges in Electrical Appliance Retail, which glowed as cigarettes do in darkened rooms. These are reflections which inevitably lead to what I describe as: Klapka moments.
I was a student at the time— a status which allowed a certain degree of latitude with tardiness, which is all well and good since my time spend horizontal was more circumferential than to a certain degree. Sometimes it overlapped and sometimes it crossed; sometimes into a whole new day and sometimes I didn’t have to move a single muscle. This was speculative posturing, tailor-made for study, especially in front of the television: it was all about the visual learning experience.
I remember discussing the prospects of sharing such moments— a moment shared is a moment halved after all— and a bonus surely, since the other half could clearly be made up elsewhere. The idea however was dismissed as foolish— in fact the very notion was rejected so effortlessly; done so with nothing but an unimpressed twitch: I’ve seen shuffles and glances last longer. Unperturbed, I proudly informed her— the effortless shuffler— that I could sit for days without moving, but again, was greeted with another sideways look that this-time almost breached the perpendicular.
It was a subtlety that was again to be misplaced, although this time only ever–so briefly. I can only describe it as a moment of empathic clumsiness on my part. I made the mistake of offering to ‘lend a hand’ to a man who was struggling to retrieve a dropped wallet. It was a comment that wouldn’t have been quite so Caligulan had the man— on closer inspection, been in possession of both his arms. I don’t blame him for the stern expression he imparted, but its implying wish to take from me, that what he was sadly lacking was unmistakable. Personally, I don’t blame him.
It wasn’t an intentional blaze of cruelty— I actually felt for the chap despite feeling amused by my own lack of tact…
It was wonderfully surreal accompaniment: a side platter:
A salad bar on a day of free pizza…
The secret to humour is surprise.
A moot point perhaps, but oblivious in this case to the signifiers that make the ‘everyday’ flow seamlessly from one interaction to the other; if they weren’t, you’d find yourself hopping madly all day. Whatever it may be, obvious, deliberate, debatable, moot? A couple of years ago my mother discovered a reservoir of previously untapped ‘ridiculous’. It’d become, after a fractious few years— a pleasure spending time with her, if not for the first time— but the first time in a long time. She’d seemed to be a little more understanding and accepting of my foibles, and I of them, which makes all the difference in the world. It helps relieve a little of the ‘complicated’. The fact that my mother’d discovered comedy and was making me snort on a regular basis was merely a bonus.
But this is irrelevant, a long-winded introduction and steady build up leading to a crescendo of noise— which is not entirely bunkum as it happens. It’s a story involving balloons…
My nephew loves balloons, especially the kind that when released, fly around exulting a harrowing scream, flitter then drop excitedly with one good spasm before expiring. Louis and I had been synchronising the take-offs of them all morning, much to the delight of the little man and thought what a wonderful idea it would be to release even more. Amz was on her laptop, but my mother was hands-free…
So Louis and I filled some balloons, gave them to her and instructed her that under no circumstances was she to release them. Even now, I feel as though I should’ve added something.
Anyway, Louis and I expended what little breath we had left into the remaining balloons and poised at the ready. The scene was to be spectacular; six whirling tubes of shrill screech, dancing unpredictably towards an enthusiastic death-knell. However, I failed to entertain the one element of unpredictability.
‘Ready,’ I said, ‘on one . Three… two… one… release…release…release!’
Louis and I had a successful launches. But my mother held firm. Even upon the final release! Even though the room was filled with the sound of screaming babies Even though the launch command had become a desperate, personal plea for her to relinquish her grip…
‘Why the bloody hell didn’t you launch? We’ve just done this ten times … at what point did you not think I was talking to you?’ A reasonable question in the circumstances I thought.
‘Because,’ she said, ‘you told me that under no circumstances was I to release them.’
Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled…
Not unlike those sodding balloons!
Every man dies— Not every man really lives…
William Ross Wallace
If ever I reach the after-life— and this really doesn’t hurt thinking about by the way. I’d hate to just turn up, be spoilt for choice or so unprepared I’d have to wing it— I’d like to think that I would trundle as opposed to walk from place to place. Trindle or trendle, I don’t mind. Call me a romantic, but it has an air of clumsiness to it— something, when it all comes down to it, I’m rather fond of. I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending what remains of whatever without even the slightest trip to boast of.
Anyway, If I’d ever find my self trundling across a beach with a wireless stuck to my ear— I’d hope whomever were in charge would have the wisdom to employ the right crowd. None of these shock-jock bastards or flash-pan prats who shout a lot and are generally mean. But people who already have the misfortune to be dead.
These are my thoughts precisely when I tune into Test Match Special during rain delays and listen to Blowers, Aggers and Boycs paint pictures and speak of the mothers— very talented some of them. Unfortunately, I very nearly spoil it by taking a peek outside. It’s can be grey, miserable looking and decidedly home-made. The birds are off doing otherwhiles and of course there’s the damp. I am not to be undone however— not while romanticising about dead people and green fields.
Back to the beaches I think— back to the wireless. You see, I’d find the idea of owning anything other than a wireless when I’m dead a trifle distasteful. After all, what could you possibly want to listen to that your personal broadcaster wouldn’t have: he’d have wings for Pete’s sake— or jet packs or whatever, presuming ‘he’ was not a ‘she’ and that ‘they’ had passed all their necessaries before taking to the air.
My idea of perfection would be a live, ball-by-ball commentary of from 1932-33 Ashes Tour Down Under. I’d have Blowers in the box with BJ, Arlo and Fingo. Anywhere else of course, this wouldn’t be possible as Fingleton was actually playing at the time; but who better to describe his own batting?
Of course, you might say, it’d be easier to just go and watch the matches myself and yes— you’d be absolutely right, but time-travel’s impossible. Were it though, then this would be my destination one— so what would be better than to drag my favourites along to commentate. The fact that they’re all legendary drinkers and that Arlo would’ve had his wine cellar with him at all times, hadn’t even crossed my mind…
And then there was television—
Or just the listings perhaps…
Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is right at their heels.
I am fascinated by the heroic age of Antarctic expedition, history, education, great sex, openness, cats, cameras; the space race; sentence-structure, lexis, discourse conventions and phatic communication; cinema; the sounds of cricket and its numbers; golf swings, sortes, piropo, productivity, logical fallacies; fagottists— which leads to the double-o phoneme and coda-less syllables; falderals, nonsense; nanism— my fear of developing it and albino-clowns who already have. Ironing, long-sleeves, compound swearing, yellow pads, yoof-speak and linguistic representations— meh. Books, tea, science, feets, unnecessary plurals and corrugated-cardboard to name but a few.
It’s a pointless list because there isn’t much I’m not interested in. I like the feeling of insignificance in knowing how little I know; and how each little thing helps me know what I already know a little better.
And I still don’t know what this makes me, but it kind of works like this:
Perhaps it just makes me English since ‘England is the paradise of individuality, eccentricity … hobbies and humors.’1 Quite whether the world thinks we are small or great, but such is the context of opinion. Goethe wrote that, ‘people of uncommon abilities generally fall into eccentricities when their sphere of life is not adequate to their abilities.’ Well spheres be damned as, ‘No one can be profoundly original who does not avoid eccentricity.’2 But to what end is thought’d: ‘eccentricity in small things [is] crazy’3 and though it ‘destroys reason, [it does] not [the] wit?’4
All I’m really trying to do here is to show a little of what it’s like to be autistic— from the ground up I’ve taken my traits and applied them to certain functions within the texts: from word orders and word types, semantic variances, repetitions and rhetorical devices— even archaic syntax to the very deliberate structure I use to present things. It’s not always easy to read and it’s not meant to be, It’s supposed to be a little overwhelming at times and take the reader in circles— but it’s a desirable difficulty designed to stimulate a little over-processing, in the same way real life does to me. It’s the only way I know how to present what it’s like to me: to demonstrate it, not write about it— especially when there are a million people out there able to just describe it so much better.
I was going to just post the blueprint, but thought the meta-language would just make it pointless— like the list…
I’m not just a linguist or educator or golfer or cricket fanatic or autistic or anything for that matter—
I’m just curious…
And I guess lists should be conspiculous by its absense, but it’s really not…
One’s real life is so often the life one does not lead…
Such are the senses, that we have more than five and fewer than six. Try tasting something without seeing it for instance; it almost always tastes like something other than what it’s supposed to and rarely anything other than chicken; listen to someone speak without seeing their mouths move or those unusual sounds that keep you awake at night when you’re trying to sleep that never turn out to be two thousand pound mice and you’ll forever be in that darkness— or even tasting something without smelling it and so on and so forth. Life is so much more than it appears to be, though it’s little more than it actually ever is. Unless of course, there is such a thing a two thousand pound mouse or you really were asked to shake and squeeze the band which gave King Tut its mildew…
My real life is far cry from the award winning, affluent, multi-faceted and admired jaunt and jolly through which my other self is no doubt enjoying somewhere where the senses are better understood and household pets and rodents are disproportionately large; but that’s not to say I’ll ever be to old to be everything I could have been-or too small for Autumn to call me sweetheart.
It puts me in mind somewhat rather of him— S; a splendid chap and so was his wife— K. At least she was when I knew her. She was smart too, in that sensible way that can get up the noses of people who try to sit down to quickly wearing tight pants, smoking whilst owning chest complaints and the intolerably foolish doing well, anything. She could and would point out the obvious with a style and punctuation, few of us would or could even dream about. I remember one such occasion at college, when she was trying to persuade S to disband one of his pro-radical movements— he liked to use meaningless compound phrases in those days— retro-activist-avist was his favourite— he said that it left dangling inferences suggesting guile and determination. K said it left an unpleasant odour in the air and a salty taste in her mouth whenever he said it. Her favourite saying on the other hand was, What’s with the finger E.T.? They were a charming bunch.
Anyway, he claimed the campus anti-everything lobby weren’t doing enough complaining about things that didn’t matter to anyone, so he founded the double A. E. B. The Anti-Anti-Everything Brigade, to which K merely pointed out that its tautology gave it ’all the noise of a harmless educational committee. Trying to point out the pointlessness of rebellion in the civilised world— is rather like an unwanted splinter’ she meant this quite literally; ‘a forgotten part of the Nation Union of Teachers perhaps’ she fancied, and besides, wasn’t it dishonest describing himself as a brigade, especially since he hadn‘t persuaded anyone else in actually joining him; that to disband an army of one was something that ‘reality just wouldn’t allow’ and perhaps he should try doing something useful instead like, drawing up a petition against himself and joining the N.U.T., ‘allergies allowing of course’, maintaining that she had read somewhere that ‘at least education had an ethos…’
S had missed the train again. It was the third time in as many days and he was starting to take the whole thing very personally. He wouldn’t have minded had it not been for the decrepit old fool in front of him who insisted on buying his ticket with an exact change he couldn’t really see; unless demonstrating the ability to distinguish the denomination of a coin by rubbing them against his eyeball counted as seeing.
As for me,I have a new cafeteria— reward for installing a utility next door, which brings me to my last point in a pointless exercise…
If you ask for and are expecting a cup of tea— but are given a mug of coffee instead…
It doesn’t taste well, and quite unlike either.
It’s habit, but what exactly to call it—
And would it smell as sweet?
I am terribly fond of trifles— a trifle cleverness for instance, provided it’s not too early in the morning. There’s always so much to do and what with wakefulness becoming such an undertaking, I find it unnecessary in the extreme. I’m far too fond of taking my particulars in a pedestrian manner— just one of the customary customs I’m accustomed to, to speak nil of the custumal. I’d call it routine were I able to abide the laziness of it— there’s far too much of that about, especially when everything else I have to write about is stripped of unnecessary words. And while nude text is most effective when dealing with the real world, I must confess how partial I am to the eccentricities of abusing syllables to the dozen when a few would certainly do. Suffice to say this trifle is rather filling. But let’s see…
I like a particular light, a particular quiet, in a particular room; two particular pints of one particular tea in twice the particular mug— though I’d refrain from describing this as fussy; not in the slightest— just a superficial type, more trinket than trapping that I’d hate to break: habits are most certainly not records.
By pint number three I may have settled into my reading, sometimes it’s hard to tell— the simmering awkwardness that accompanies me throughout the day’s most noticeable at this time, so it’s best to tread carefully. It’s also so rather dependant on the weather— the rain makes a racket and the gloom makes the room; then there’re those bloody wind-chimes: there really ought to be some observances regarding their uses enforceable by civilians prone to a little grumpy now and then.
Whether ritual or routine, it isn’t any wonder why we’re co-dependant, or simply compatible; or whether we’re just mutually beneficial— there’s always an elegant symmetry in antistrophe: I to the text, the text to I— to say nothing of the tea… or the light, or the quiet, the mug, weather or…
Each year one vicious habit discarded, in time might make the worst of us good.
Or at the very least, freak out a tad before doing so…
Excuse me, can I have a quick word?
Sure, you can have two: whoosh and zoom…
There are certain things that really bug me in the morning. And it’s not always the morning’s fault. It’s not the fault of those certain things which depending on the wheel of fortune of the day, just so happening to pause between one of the anythings that irk. Then there are people and every other thing.
I’m certainly not a gripper who goes to bed in surley-boots and wakes ready to extract joy, quite the opposite, but phone calls, sunshine and a blatant disregard for the effects of unnecessary exuberance count. I’m not sure which category it would fit into, but enthusiasm really waffles me when it’s unwarranted, unsolicited and before breakfast, appreciably so.
When I’m asleep, I like to think that I’m minding my own business. I like to think that it’s not out of the question to expect anything any different. But what do I know? I do know that there are people that phone your house sounding so fucking excited to be alive and lottery-winner jolly, wanting to give you free windows and trips to the moon, that make me want to disown my own face if I allow them more than minute or two.
So when I heard the phone ringing this morning; dragged my body over to it; answered it and Life is Beautiful introduced himself as, Trevor from Sunshine Travel. I knew I wasn’t asleep. I knew in those first few moments that I’d had a grim rest and no amount of happy-talk or freebies were going to supplant the misanthrope I felt at that moment.
‘I’m sorry’ I said, ‘but no. No, no, no, no. No. I’m not going talk to you…‘
‘Would you mind explaining why?’
It’s not everyday an opportunity like this arises, it just doesn’t, but Trevor from Sunshine Travel got brownie-points for being ballsy, and a free-pass. And I just can’t abide rudeness … the irony.