Just a brief update, I finished my chapter translation and forwarded copies to John Elder Robision, Steve Silberman and Uta Frith, all of whom thanked me. I’m currently working on translating a couple of articles from Die Wiener Zeitung but have taken a break for now but will get back into it very soon.
It’s been an exhausting week and I’ve actually worked pretty hard most of the workdays; I also took care of some personal business like getting a haircut and going to my dentist today. I watched the last episode of the current volume of Treme that we have on Netflix rental DVD with my mom, then I tried to watch the Rockets game but was so tired I went to bed not long after my mom retired for the night. If I had just laid down in bed and remained motionless, sleep would’ve overtaken me and I would be snoozing right now.
When I was a teenager through most of my 30s, there was one thing that worked as well as any sleeping pill to get me to doze off to la la land. Masturbation. That would typically put me out like a light, i.e. afterward. But now that I’m in my 40s, it just doesn’t have the same knock-out effect on me that it used to. If anything, it often gives me a “second wind” and makes me more wide awake afterwards. Or rather, all that is required to get to the end point really riles up my body and the after effect of the orgasm isn’t enough to render me unconscious, isn’t enough to counteract the earlier getting riled up phase. That stimulation dominates and makes me more wide awake most of the time. It’s no longer the reliable “natural sleep aid” it used to be. I think, also, that being married and being a considerate lover as a husband might have changed me as well, since there I also did just immediately doze off, out of respect for my partner. I would tolerate post-coital cuddling to some degree, but I would resist trying to fall asleep in my wife’s arms or her in mine. Lovemaking is one thing, sleep is quite another matter and any partner of mine needs to keep on their side of the bed when I’m trying to sleep. We can kiss & cuddle in the morning but when it’s time to sleep, we need to sleep. My ex-wife more or less accepted this about life with me, though she would NOT tolerate my wanting to change sleeping locations if I woke up during the night (a habit I’d developed as a bachelor and undiagnosed Aspie). Anyway, I do need to get up relatively early in the AM to go get my car’s oil changed. I predict I’ll be tired again tomorrow but at least I can take an afternoon nap after lunch to try and get a little more “caught up” on sleep.
My libido isn’t quite as revved up as high as it was in my teens through my 30s (thank goodness) but it’s still pretty strong.
The usual Aspie awkwardness aside for a moment, though, I think hearing the words “my church” are just as crushingly disappointing to hear from a woman’s lips as hearing “my boyfriend”. Boyfriends come and go, but church affiliation is a much tougher nut to crack and usually not worth trying. I’d really hoped my ex-wife was on the verge of chucking her religious faith once and for all, but to my great chagrin, not only did that NOT happen, she doubled-down on her religiosity to an unbearable degree and became increasingly dissatisfied with being married to an unapologetic atheist and kept trying to actively shame and guilt me into converting, which just irritated and annoyed me, and my defiance angered her. We “lived in sin” for quite some time before she could no longer bear her religious guilt and insisted we marry or break up. I married because I still loved her at the time and did NOT want to let what felt like a good thing go. I wanted to make an honest effort of it and I did, it just wound up being an impossible situation in the long run and I had to bail. I gave it my best, but it as a no-win scenario.
I still have fond memories of my former wife, and when it was good, it was REALLY good. We had some really wonderful and precious moments together that I’ll treasure in my heart always. I hope she allows herself to feel those emotions in her memories as well. She has grudgingly admitted long after the fact that I wasn’t a bad husband. That’s good enough for me. I know I rehash this particular relationship a lot in these posts, but it really had a profound impact on my life and upon my awakening as an Aspie, so I beg the reader’s indulgence. Writing is also something I do as a night owl to chase elusive ZZZs and give my restless brain something constructive to do in the hopes it will bring on exhaustion and sleep. Sometimes it actually works.
I tend to find things to write about mostly when something is bothering me, so I thought I’d post something happy while nothing is bothering me. I don’t really have anything specific planned to write. I just wanted to wiggle my fingers on the keyboard for a bit and see what words come out.
Since I got my lens back from Canon and switched to Linux Mint on my main computer, I’ve felt very satisfied as far as my aspie obsessions are concerned. I take a lot of pictures, I get to use a variety of operating systems among my various devices (desktop with Linux, tablet with Windows 10, and Kindle Fire running Kindle’s version of Android), I’m not sick or injured, I’m in a wonderful relationship, and I just discovered that I have powers like Superman.
You would think that this would be the part where I confess that I’m just kidding, but no. I’m Superman. Deal with it. :p
Just got back from a social night out with my local Atheist meetup group that I am the organizer and host for. Turnout was moderate but congenial. I had an Indian pizza and two pints of beer. Conversation was good, but we pretty much adjourned by 8:45 or so. It is a work night, but if I were in my 20s and 30s, I would probably want to keep hanging out and keep drinking and maybe listening to music or just sitting in a corner listening to whatever the bartender is playing on the PA system and drinking and thinking thoughts to myself. At 44 going on 45, I think about that option briefly, then I decide I’d much rather just go on home and use my time to get caught up watching Japanese Anime instead. Hanging out drinking all night just doesn’t have any appeal to me anymore, thank goodness. The pull of Anime is a welcome change of priorities for me. When I was younger and undiagnosed, my drinking was a way to self-medicate against my inherent social awkwardness and lower my inhibitions sufficiently to give me the liquid courage to initiate and sustain conversations with people. Drinking buddies aren’t real friends, of course, but when they’re all you’ve got, well…they can be a (temporary) comfort. And you just lack perspective in your 20s and 30s. Probably wasn’t the best judge of character in those days either. These days I only consume adult beverages in moderation on weekends with a meal at lunch, and usually sitting alone with my headphones in, just listening to relaxing music or my favorite podcasts, enjoying quality “me” time while getting out of the house for a bit. I don’t drink to use it as a social lubricant to facilitate meeting people. I’ve long ago given up on drinking establishments not located near college campuses…no intelligent conversations to be had. That was the appeal–back then–of college bars. Get sufficiently toasted to have an intellectually stimulating conversation with equally smart or smarter people into the wee hours. That’s only possible in an on campus or near-campus venue, in my experience. I’ve long ago accepted that all that is a younger man’s game and really isn’t open to me anymore. I tried and failed (so far) to stake out a career in academia through the side-door of librarianship. It seems as if it just wasn’t meant to be at this stage, and I’m weary and tired of trying. Tired of being rejected and misunderstood and yes, probably fired because of my ASD. I just want to do my current job and be left alone, for the most part.
Feeling a little sad that a really cute Asian librarian that had been newly working in our department after transferring from upstairs will be leaving us soon, having accepted a full-time job with another library system in a neighboring county. I’m happy for her, of course, but still sad I won’t get to see her and say “hi” anymore. I probably never would’ve worked up the guts to ask her out, and she probably would’ve said no, but it was fun to see her daily and fantasize. Oh well.
My book arrived, and I’ve photocopied then scanned the relevant pages as a single PDF. I will begin working on its translation this weekend in earnest.
So anyway, I’ve been in email contact with John Elder Robison recently and have offered to translate a chapter out of a German book on Hans Asperger that was contributed by Austrian researcher Herwig Czech. I managed to order it from U.S. Amazon, through an American used bookseller, but it is taking quite some time to arrive so I’m kinda wondering if they had to acquire theirs through back channels overseas first. Who knows? Anyway, it’s making me fidget having to wait so long, and I’m annoyed at the contributor for not having the paper easily available online. Most of it can be gotten at for free via Google Books and some creative use of screen capture, but I want the full text, not an excerpt. The chapter in question is at the heart of a controversy about Asperger’s relationship to the NSDAP regime that seized power in Austria during his tenure at the the Kinderklinik. While I happen to still agree with Steve Silberman’s assessment that Hans Asperger’s wider conception of Autism was correct and Kanner’s was too narrow (with tragic consequences), the good doctor himself may not have gone through that time and place completely unscathed and untainted. I am eager to make Herr Czech’s work more widely available in English to a wider world, so at least it can be out there and debated, and we must follow the evidence where it leads. My gut impression is that Dr. Asperger may have made some morally gray “Sophie’s choice” type decisions, sacrificing some to save others (and himself). But I don’t want to say much until I have Herwig Czech’s printed work in my own hands to read and translate for myself. There is a newspaper interview and follow-up article in Die Wiener Zeitung that I could be translating in the meantime, but I want to hold off doing so until I have the primary source in hand first. There have also been follow up articles in English that again, I’m putting off for now until I have all the materials in front of me to work with. I hate the idea of going off half-cocked, as it were.
My initial exchanges with John Elder were a bit stumbling and awkward, and I’m afraid I may have left the impression that I’m a bit flaky, but I am committed to doing this project properly. I’m eager to put my German skills to good use in service of our community. I just hope John Elder hasn’t written me off quite yet as an unreliable flake or worse someone else has beaten me to the punch and gotten their hands on the book sooner than I managed. I had assumed (wrongly) that the essay in question was easily available online and cited in a prominent journal. When John Elder got back to me with the suggestion to just Google a certain string of keywords and have at it, I balked and asked for the specific citation, only to find he didn’t have it. Flustered, I did my own searching, and got in touch with Herwig Czech directly, and was able to determine from multiple sources that the essay exists only in offline printed form in the pages of that specific printed monograph, which Herr Czech confirmed himself. Anyway, it’s been a bit anxiety inducing having to sit on my hands and let this important project sit on hold while the used book makes its way to me seemingly via slow boat from Hamburg or wherever.
I’ve read online that Steve Silberman had also gotten in touch with Herr Czech directly, and that Herr Czech had rebuffed Silberman’s request for access to the archival material cited in his research. Rather bad form, if true. But in any case, I am hoping the essay also has a “works cited” page and references that I can also translate for others to track down, though of course if these include private manuscripts then the Austrians need to be persuaded to make them available digitally to the wider research community. I’ve been trying to bone up my German skills in the meantime, listening to German news podcasts and video podcasts (tape delay) of tv news from Germany.