It hasn't been an easy week. We had our work function on Wednesday. It was a well-organised event I must say, but for someone like me it was always going to be hard work. It always amazes me how much people get into that kind of thing. Why can't I be one of those people who can enjoy themselves? Life would be so much easier. I would much rather have stayed at home. I would even have preferred to stay on at work for an extra five hours: that kind of work would have been considerably easier than the work involved in attending an office do. What the hell is wrong with me?
We had the function to spend the prize money we'd been awarded for selling lots of stuff. We all had to dress up according to what team we were in (teams had been allocated beforehand). Luckily our team leader just bought a load of Zorro masks, hats and swords from the $2 shop, so I didn't have to think. The focal point of the evening was a quiz that took about three hours. In between rounds there were bits where you could sing and dance in front of everybody to win spot prizes and extra points for your team (which could lead to more prizes). At ten-ish the quiz was blissfully over (our team finished slap-bang in the middle so we didn't even win the booby prize) and although my colleagues would be going for hours, taking advantage of the free bar, I snuck out, knowing I wouldn't really be able to leave any other way. I'd left a bag at work so I stopped off there on the way home. One of the call centre guys was there, looking worse for wear, waiting for his girlfriend to pick him up. "I got kicked out for pissing on the balcony." That's what free booze does to people.
Wednesday night was a reminder that I will need to change jobs at some stage (next month we'll have the Christmas party - ugh). Unfortunately the job market isn't very good, and anyway just about any job which I'd need to apply for will have the same problem. On Wednesday I tried to follow the US election during work; that's not easy when I sit next to my boss. I was happy to see Obama re-elected, and Nate Silver's predictions all come to fruition (of course Silver never said that Romney wouldn't win - he just said it was unlikely). I hope Obama is able to make a positive change in the next four years without being hamstrung by his opposition in parliament.
Today I went paintballing out near Porirua with six others from the depression group. And I got shot. A lot. In just about every place imaginable. It was inside (not what I expected); we were split into two teams and joined by expert paintballers (the expertise of the bloke with the orange balls was made obvious just by looking at my clothes). I'll be nursing those bruises for the next few days. And some people from the group want to go again!
Tomorrow we've got the autism group. On Wednesday I had lunch with Tracy. We talked about the changes to the group in 2012 and we agreed that they haven't been for the better. The increased attendance (it's roughly doubled) has brought about some more complex dynamics; one or two of the new attendees make for a tense atmosphere. In 2011 the main purpose of the group, it seemed, was to enable people on the spectrum to meet up and have a chat in an environment where they felt at ease. Now the purpose seems to be "practice" for the real world. One of the faciliators is rather patronising and talks to us like a teacher might do in a classroom of ten-year-olds. Believe it or not, we've all survived in the real world, in our own ways, some of us for over thirty years! Many of us - heaven forbid - even have jobs! OK, we all find social situations hard, to a greater or lesser extent, but at this rate the autism group will become just as hard for us.
My cold, while still lurking under the surface (it never totally goes away) but it's much better now.