Alecia Nominated Me For The Versatile Blogger Award

Well. This is something different. Alecia has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you, Alecia. Of course, I accept this. So, now it’s my turn to follow the rules of the award.

You can learn about Alecia here – And you can read her blog here –

Now, here are seven little details about me.

1. I am, and have been, married for 28 years, and hope she and I figure out how to stay happily married for the rest of our time on this Earth.

2. Both our children have moved out of the house, leaving us with the three cats.

3. I don’t read a lot. It’s not that I don’t want to read, or that I can’t read. For me, reading takes a lot of time. And I never seem to have enough time to read very much.

4. Don’t ask me what  want to be when I grow up. I haven’t figured that out yet.

5. I refuse to own a smart phone. For lots of reasons. They break. Lots. Their charging ports wear out too often. You can’t get one without having to buy a monthly data plan. Do you know how much it costs to fix one if it breaks? Geeze.

6. Pizza! Wendy’s Large Vanilla Frosty! White Chocolate! Peanut Butter with Agave Honey stirred in.

7. Don’t be surprised if you ever meet me, if I don’t say much. I mean. I do live on the Autism Spectrum. And talking is rather stressful sometimes.

Lastly, I’m supposed to nominate fifteen (15) bloggers for the award. Here’s the list, in no particular order. Go read their blogs. They’re gifted people, in my view. I’m also certain some of them have already done this, so they won’t have to repeat it.

Sydney Aaliyah Michelle
Tales of a Writer’s Life
The Tsuruoka Files
Michela Walters
Joanne Wadsworth
A Scrapbook for Jenny
A Little Bird Tweets
Angela Goff
The Last Krystallos
Alex Brightsmith
Minstrels and Heroes
Ailsa Abraham
One Word At A Time



#ThursThreads Week 62 : Not That He Knew It

I watched him pace back and forth across the far side of the deck, standing as far away from everyone as he could. He kept looking cross the deck at all of us, like he was watching us. Like we were some kind of science experiment, and he was recording his observations, and would try to make sense out of them later.

Becky nudged me, and asked, so quietly it was almost a whisper, “Is he OK?”

“Does he look OK to you?”

She shook her head. “He needs help, doesn’t he?”

“Yes. He probably does.”

Richard noticed us talking. “He’s scary, ain’t he? The way he stays off to one side, and just watches? It’s like something’s wrong with him. And I can’t tell what it is. And that’s just damn creepy.”

“Do you think he knows?” Becky asked. Her eyes told me she wanted me to answer yes.

“He’s gotta know. How can he not know?” I sighed. “I mean, look at him. The way he’s been getting stranger the last couple of months. He’s gotta know something’s wrong.”

Richard chimed back in, “I tried to tell him. They’re gonna fire him. Or something like that. Get him out of the workplace. Tried to tell him he’s becoming too disturbing and disruptive at work. And they get rid of people when that happens.” He shook his head. “So, yeah. He knows.”

Greg injected himself into the conversation. “No. He doesn’t. He’s not going to see Monday coming.” He tried to smile. “They’re gonna send him home on Monday. Tell him to apply for medical leave. And he’s not gonna know why.”

“How can you say that? How can he not know?” Becky was always concerned for him, for some reason we could never figure out. “The way he behaves. The way people act around him. The way we avoid him. How people like Richard talk to him, and flat-out tell him what’s going on, and what’s going to happen. How can he not know?” She took a deep breath. We all did. We needed it. “Hell, I’ve even talked to him. Told him he needed help.”

Greg just grimaced. “He talked to me, Friday.” He nodded at Richard. “Said you talked with him. And he had no idea what you were trying to say. Something about people who don’t behave appropriately being removed from work. But he didn’t understand why you were telling him that.” Greg just sat there, closed his eyes, and shook his head. “Yeah, we know he’s screwed up. And we know they’re sending him out on Monday. And he’ll get angry. And who knows how it’ll end.”

“It’s not going to be a problem, is it? Sending him home? He’ll go. No one will get hurt?”

Greg shrugged. “How can anyone tell? Can you tell? I can’t tell what he’s going to do.” He took another deep breath. “They’re sending him home Monday Morning. First thing. They’ll call him in, talk to him, send him home on leave without pay. Tell him to talk with his doctor about getting put on medical leave. It’s going to happen. Not that he knows it.”

Becky always chewed on her thumbs when she was nervous, or stressed. She did then. Put a thumb right up to her mouth, and left tooth prints on it. “How can he not know?”

We found out, three months later, that he hadn’t known. He hadn’t seen it coming at all. That he felt betrayed by all of us. And, we found out too, he’d been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. And never even knew he’d been acting in ways that were disturbing and disruptive to all of us. Not that he knew it. He didn’t. He just knew we all felt he was a problem. One we’d had to get rid of.

And his diagnosis with an ASD was the last nail in the coffin of his time at work. We all knew that the day we learned about it. Not that he knew it. But he’d learn. Like he’d learned his behavior was unacceptable. He’d learn. People like us don’t work with people like him.

None of us ever spoke to him again.

It was just better that way.

I’ll never forget that night, even after I’m dead.

755 Totally Disqualified Words

I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 62. It’s somewhat over the 250 word limit, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

Because I Can

The last time I visited my doctor,
I took a copy of something
That I’d written.
And I had him read it.
Then, we spoke about it
For a little while.

I told him,
“If the people I once knew
Had said such a thing to me,
Things would have been
So very different.”

He just nodded,
And smiled.
Because he knew
That I knew
Why they hadn’t.

“But they couldn’t.
Not one of them could have.
Because the social rules
They live within
Get in the way.”

It’s true.
I’ve always know that.
Always heard that.
All my life.

“Do you know how strong
You have to be
To say the things
You say?
To do the things
You do?”

I don’t.
The truth is
Until recently,
I’ve never understood
Why other people can’t.
And now that I do,
I find my heart aches,
And my soul cries
Tears of pain
For them.

How can people
Go through life
So very much afraid?

Yes, I am autistic.
Diagnosed with an ASD.
An ASD that does not
Define me.

I do that.
I define me.

And when I see
Someone around me
In pain.
In tears.

I do what I believe.
What I know
To be true.
What I wish
My friends would do
For me.
In the times I’m hurt.
In the times I’m blue.

But no one ever does.

It’s not that they can’t.
That they don’t know how.
That they don’t want to.

It’s the social rules
They live within,
That fuck things up.

The social rules
That cause them to
Back away
When someone’s hurt.
So they don’t get hurt too.
So they stay safe, and sound.

But you see.
I don’t have those rules.
They don’t exist to me.
I don’t feel them.
I don’t see them.

The very thing that stops my friends
From doing what I do
Simply does not exist
For me.

So it isn’t strength at all
That lets me do
The things I do.

It’s an unchained
Heart and soul.
Set free
From those social rules
That keep other people

But as you can see,
I’ve learned enough
In my life time
That I know,
And understand,
What’s happening.
Why people are surprised
At some of the things
I can do,
And say,
And write.

And I could elect
To be like them.
To behave
The way they do.
For I know
Why they behave
The way they do.

But if I did,
I wouldn’t do
What my heart tells me to.
I wouldn’t do the things
I know to do.
The things I believe
Are true.

So I elect instead
To simply watch
How those social rules
Cause so much pain

In a world
I never made.

The Prompt Was A Song

I wanted to try my hand
At a new flash fiction challenge.
So last night,
I visited the site
Of the challenge.
I reviewed the rules,
To make sure I knew
What I was doing.
And then I read the prompt.

The prompt was a song.
One I’d never heard before.
The kind of music
I don’t listen to.
But, change is good.
Different is good too.
So I listened to the song.
To see what I could come up with
In 500 words or less,
When using the song
As a source of inspiration.

And over and over again
That song said just one thing.
“C’mon. Talk.”

That’s when I became

Memories flooded me.
Of countless times
I couldn’t talk.
I couldn’t say a word.
Times my voice,
My body,
My emotions,
All ran wild.
And I couldn’t talk at all.

Times when I was a church.
In high school.
35 years ago.
“Talk to me!”
She begged.
She pleaded.
And I couldn’t say a word.

I wanted to!
Oh, God, how I wanted to!
No one will ever know
How much I wished
I could have found a way
To talk.

But that part of me
Just didn’t work.
No matter what I did.
No matter how I tried.

The times the church group
Had an event,
Where everyone attended.
And I wound up
Left out
Yet again.

Because I couldn’t talk.
I couldn’t ask
To be let in.
I couldn’t say,
“Don’t leave me as
The odd one out

The times my friends
All said to me,
“You can’t be that way.
It’s wrong.
You have to change.”

And I wanted to ask why.
What was I doing wrong.
How could they be
The way they were.
I didn’t understand.

But no words ever came.
No words ever came.

My days in college
Were the same.
There were times
I couldn’t talk.

I remember the computer lab
On one Friday morning
Around 0500 hours.
When the pretty girl and I
Sat in the lab.
Waiting for the computers
To come back on-line
From maintenance,
As we ate junk food
From 7-11.

I remember how
I never really said a word.
It never even occurred to me
To ask her out
To a movie.

I let her talk,
When she wanted to.
But like always
I couldn’t find a thing
To say.

Not one damn thing.

The list of memories
Goes on and on and on.
The stories are so plentiful
They all blur together.

Like one from July,
Just 2 years ago.
When a friend of mine
Saw me walking in the hall
At work.

She took me by the hand
And said so many times,
“Talk to me, Mark.
Talk to me, please!”

It was the first time
I found any words at all.
And she will never know
How hard it was to talk.
How much it hurt my
To say just two words.
“Don’t leave.”

I’ve learned,
After all these years,
What was going on.
That my inability to talk
Was just another symptom
Of my ASD.
That sometimes things just happen
That overwhelm me.

I can’t figure those things out.
And I feel completely lost.
Not knowing what to do.
Not knowing what to say.
With a million thoughts
Racing through my mind
All at the same time.

Everything locks up.
And I just can’t talk.

If you ever talk with me.
And you find a time
When I can’t say a word.
Please know
It’s not that I don’t want
To talk with you.

It’s that I’m overwhelmed.
That I need time to clear my head.
I need time to think.
And that I don’t understand at all
What’s happening
Right then.

It’s that I just don’t understand
At all.