Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Love, death and Asperger's Syndrome

My mate's mum just died. I feel really helpless.

Usually when shit things happen there's something you can do. Somehow buying and delivering a sympathy card doesn't seem enough. I'd like to think my own experience gives me a bit of insight, and I know you just have to be around and be prepared. Much as I wish I could protect my mates from horrible things I know I can't.

A young guy wandered up to me and Barnes in the pub on Sunday. He had a pretty good introduction prepared, then he seemed to run out of conversation and look at the ground. I was beginning to suspect Aspergers. When Barnes came back from the bar he was telling me about ther colours of different banknotes.

"It's getting dark in the evenings."

"Yeah, you notice it once the clocks go back."

"It's traditional."

"I don't have to be here", he told me.

"Of course you don't. No-one has to."

"It's traditional." A long pause. I started to write a text. "I'm going to die one day."


"One day."

"Does that bother you?" Psychology 101.

"It's traditional. I don't know why."

"Everything's got to die. That's the point of being alive."

"It's traditional."

"It's more than that. Summer wouldn't exist without winter. Daytime wouldn't mean anything without knowing nighttime is coming."

A long pause. "It's traditional."

Death's probably scarier if you can't do abstract concepts. I still stand by this cycle of life stuff, and day will always follow night, Spring from winter and, at least in terms of atoms it's spiritually and scientifically true. But unless you buy into the reincarnation of the soul or the promise of eternal life, it's not much comfort on an individual level to know your loved one's molecules will live again.

Shopping for sympathy cards was a trial. They're full of nice, poetic images about passing over to the Other Side. Very comforting if you believe in an Other Side, otherwise you need to keep looking.

I think I looked at one card too many.


Blogger Papotine said...

i'm not sure what you mean by "aspergers" ?

6:41 pm


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