7 min read

New Year in The Hague

Trying to reduce sharing outrage. [issue 38]
New Year in The Hague

hello friend

How are you this week? It’s week n of Lockdown or Semi-lockdown or Laxdown or whatever this is. Are you doing ok?

After getting caught up in Cancel Culture recently, with the best of intentions to do some good, I took a long hard look at my use of the news and social media. I concluded that I am what I eat. I’m only eating other peoples issues which makes me ill and I vomit them up onto social media for others to do the same. I had all the best intentions to do some good. I’m sure the people behind the campaign did too.

In all honesty I just don’t think I’m smart enough to fully wrap my head around the complexity of some issues. That’s ok. I need to educate myself and learn from my mistakes. I came to realise that its just too darn easy to share and what that can lead to.

Sam Neil, him from Jurassic Park, said it best.

“We really don’t need someone else shouting”

I appreciate that there are many, many, many issues in the world right now that need fighting and it is important to fight for what you believe in. I’ve just decided that the world doesn’t need another man shouting so I’m not going to. I’m going to do my best to put some joy into the world instead. I try and tell myself “Is this safe to share?” If something makes me go “Oh no!” That’s not something I need to share. There are plenty of experts who expertly expert on things they expert on.

I love making this newsletter. I really enjoy writing because it gives me a voice that is very different from my photography and allows me to create something without the need for objects in front of my camera. But whether it is writing or photography I do my best work when I’m happy. When writing or editing photos I used to put some film score on but now it’s the Foo Fighters or Chemical Brothers. Something with a beat and with a strong energy to it. It fires me up and that helps me find the joy in my photos that I maybe lost along the way.

I don’t want to be the cause of someone else’s depression, anxiety, stress or to trigger someone accidentally by sharing something that made me go “Argh!” I want to try and make people’s day a little bit better.


photography

In an effort to put more nice things out into the world here are some photos from New Years Eve in The Hague, Amsterdam. Where it’s totally fine to launch fireworks from absolutely anywhere. Street bench next to your kid? Sure. Rooftop terrace? Sure. Bin? Cool yeah. Middle of the street so cars have to drive around the box? Okie dokie. Totally bizarre experience. I spent the night wondering if our front windows were about to explode from all the cherry bombs.

Our original plan was to see the spectacular bonfires they have on the beach but they were cancelled after last years firenados. That is what it sounds like. A tornado of fire. It also rained fire. So maybe it was a good idea to cancel that?

We started the night at the beach where the bonfires would have been. We watched the sunset over the North Sea and saw the Big Dipper in the sky. As soon as the sun set the fireworks went off and the night was totally surreal. Was it foggy or was it all the fireworks? We never really found out.

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autism

Being literal. Something I don’t see often discussed is how autism affects the way I see the world? I’m not good at reading between the lines which affected my A level English Literature studies. Day to day it complicates general human interaction. I will build up the courage to say “Hi” to a neighbour and they’ll respond with “Ya’ll right?” In literal English that translates to “Are you alright?” So I respond with “Yes.” They don’t want me to respond with “Yes.” They want me to use the secret colloquial friend or foe response phrase that lets them know I am human, not a threat and open for small talk or even, dare I say… bants.

It is so instinctual too. Someone will say something. I will respond and instantly go “Ah nuts. They meant this instead.” This isn’t a life threatening issue in any way but it can be frustrating to live with. I can get into many an argument over semantics or the little things because someone said something the “normal” way and I took it the “wrong” way.

“Can you pass me the salt?” … “Yes.”

Asked and answered. I can pass the salt. Thing is they’re not asking if I can they’re asking me to pass it now. It’s one of the more “fun” aspects of being autistic. You really wish people would simply say what needs to be said rather than hoping you can read between the lines.

How I’ve somehow learned to cope with this issue is to, totally unconsciously, develop a sense of humour based on Airplane.

Handing Lady: Nervous?

Ted Striker: Yes. Very.

Handing Lady: First time?

Ted Striker: No, I’ve been nervous lots of times.
Ted Striker: These people need to go to a hospital.

Elaine Dickinson: What is it?

Ted Striker: It’s a big place where sick people go
Dr. Rumack: Captain, these passengers don’t have much time. How soon can we land?

Oveur: I can’t tell.

Dr. Rumack: You can tell me, I’m a doctor.

Oveur: What I mean is, I don’t know.

Dr. Rumack: Well can’t you take a guess?

Oveur: …Not for another two hours.

Dr. Rumack: You can’t take a guess for another two hours?

Oveur: No what I’m saying is we can’t land for another two hours.

Now quite often that’s just how I am with people. I don’t mean any offence. It’s just how my brain reacts. Thankfully I’ve leaned to cope by brushing it off as deadpan humour. It is my natural go to, that and sarcasm. Annoyingly it is entirely possible people think you’re a dick though. Which is a problem. It’s funny in a comedy film but living with it for 40 years? Well not all my friends enjoy my conversation style.

I wish I had a series of links for you on ways to cope with this issue but unfortunately it doesn’t seem like one people have fixed. They’re aware of it and they ask Neuro-Typical people to speak clearly and directly but that’s about it. You can’t spend your life questioning everything or taking a minute to process every statement before responding. Maybe it all comes down to patience and acceptance? Shirley I can’t be serious?


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beam out

That is incredible. Also;