A Stupid Question/Learning Something New

“Did you enjoy the football this weekend?”

That was the question I was greeted with by an unwanted guest today, not my guest I must point out, I personally have guests that are not of an official nature well, never. They weren’t here to see me, but that didn’t stop them from talking to me unfortunately. If the person in question did not like or follow football, the question would not be an unreasonable one. I know that I can’t expect everyone to keep track of my interests or to be aware of such things and I don’t expect them to. But this person does like football, so I just figured they hadn’t seen the league table or the outcomes of the games on the final day of the season. That could have been a possibility, after all their team is not a Bundesliga team. I told them Freiburg had been relegated and asked if they had seen the league table. To my great surprise they answered yes. Unbelievable, how insensitive can you get. Despite having seen the table, or maybe because they had, that was still their opening question.  They must have been trying to get a response out of me, with a question like that, there can be no other option.

I can’t say that I didn’t get mad at them or show any signs of doing so, I did but I didn’t rant at them or give them the kind of response they seemed to want. Though I can’t take the credit for this, not much of it anyway. The other person present can take a great deal of the credit and strangely enough so can Hansi Flick. It was once again a case of Hansi to the rescue.

This post and what I’m about to write about ties nicely into something I was thinking about last night, an article I had read about meltdowns and the stages that occur in such an event. You would think by now I’d read everything there was to read about autism and that there wasn’t anything new to learn. That would be incorrect, for last night I did learn something new. I knew that there were stages to the meltdown process, a beginning, middle and end but I didn’t know that there was a very apt phrase coined for just before a meltdown starts, the rumbling stage is the phrase in question.

I didn’t see the signs, not then, looking back I can see them but I didn’t at the time. The aforementioned person did however and with some quick thinking rescued the situation. I didn’t notice the change in my voice, nor did I notice how twitchy I was all of a sudden. Their response was simply excellent, simple but effective. They didn’t make a big deal out of it, they didn’t draw my attention to how angry I was about to become and they didn’t tell me to calm down. Instead they asked to see the rest of my new pictures of Hansi, hence how he helped to save the day. A nice redirection, after all if there’s one thing I can always be relied upon to do, it’s talk about Hansi or Jogi.

Just the other day I was thinking about special interests and obsessions and the dark side of it all, about what happens when you get fixated on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. When this is bothersome to not only everyone else but to yourself as well, in this case it’s what happened on Saturday, that terrible second goal. I’ve been fixated on that ever since it happened. I’ve watched it way too many times, taken screen-shots of it, written about it far too much and played it back in my head over and over again.

Today when I woke up I was determined not to think about it, not to be completely miserable. Instead I wanted to read more of my book, to beat the 130 pages I read yesterday and to watch Belgium v Germany from 2010. The book in question is Midwinter Sacrifice, it’s not a great book or not even a very good one but with murder mysteries like that, you have to keep reading whether you want to or not. Though I was amused by the fact that there are characters named Andreas and Joakim (no I didn’t spell his name wrong, that’s how it’s spelt in the book, it’s Swedish). I managed to do the last three at least. Obviously my ability to achieve the first two was somewhat compromised.

Nevertheless after some quiet time I resumed my plans and watched the game, the first complete game I’ve seen since the weekend. There wasn’t a good option in terms of what game I should watch, it was a question of the least worst option. Watch a Freiburg game, any of them and I would be utterly miserable, watch any other Bundesliga game and get close to the same result, watch a Bayern Champions League game and end up feeling broken hearted all over again. If I had done any of those things I would have tested the theory about whether or not I am all out of tears yet. Watching a Germany game was the not only the least worst option, it was the only option left. I know seeing Jogi is a reminder too, but seeing him and Hansi together always makes me happy.

To get back to special interests and obsessions and the dark side of it all, I was thinking how interesting it is that one special interest was used to distract me from the at the moment, problematic aspect of another special interest. It’s not a case of whether or not they are good or bad, or whether a particular interest is bad or not. Like many other things they can be many things and all at the same time.

What’s good is that I managed to work it out by myself, that I had been too fixated on one thing. That kind of self awareness is important, there’s not always going to be someone around to tell me about this stuff, to offer some redirection or to be aware of and spot the signs in potentially troublesome situations. It’s important that I learn to recognise for myself when I’m getting too fixated on something. Of equal importance is being able to spot when I need to walk away from a situation. It’s also good that I’ve learnt something from all of this, that instead of just getting angry, losing control and then feeling terrible about having done so and then sleeping it off, with some help that was prevented from happening and I managed to learn something from the whole thing. Not just about this but about something that took place a while back.  The disagreement that resulted in the post titled “Have Another Hansi Star.”

Reading about the warning signs for meltdowns, a particular story I’m working on related to Saturday’s events and what I’ve written here helped me to make sense of that. To gain a new perspective of the whole incident and to see the signs that I missed that were telling me to walk away. I didn’t listen to my initial instinct to walk away, I should have done. In retrospect there were so many signs that I either didn’t see or decided to ignore, some subtle and some not so subtle. One of the latter was the phrase that was stuck in my head which was “angry Hansi.” Some of the other things I should have noticed was my fiddling with my scarf, how restless I was overall and how difficult it was to find not just the right words, but any words at all.

There’s also two other things I’ve realised whilst thinking about all of this, the first is to not eat sugar filled snacks whilst in a state like this. Munching on three double chocolate chip cookies one after the other is not a good idea in such a situation, all that sugar just made me all the more restless. Second is that when I wanted to put my headphones on and watch some of my favourite videos, I should have done so. I didn’t because strangely after everything that had happened, there was still a part of me that was worrying about socially appropriate behaviour which is patently ridiculous. I suppose I can chalk that up as something as learnt from all of this.

Watching those videos can be added to my list of strategies, along with counting and checking my Jogi cards (and my soon to be created Hansi cards), wrapping and unwrapping the lanyard attached to said cards round one of my hands and most importantly of all not talking. That last one is not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes, I persist in attempting to talk even though it’s obvious (at least to everyone else that I really shouldn’t). When you try to talk in a situation in which you are getting worked up, it just makes things worse, it just provides one more source of frustration, one more thing to get angry about. And I have what I think may be the perfect solution, of course it’s Jogi related. In the video Löw in Love he’s upset about not being able to find a shirt. When she finds the shirt he wants, she hands to him saying “ganz Ruhig.” In other words calm down, take it easy, I should remember that, doing that in theory would not be difficult, I’ve only seen it about fifty times by now.

Here’s the video below, just for fun. I really like that video, I especially like the title “Immer das Gleiche.” Always the same. I know it’s not intentional, that it’s not what the video is getting at, but I can’t help but think of that video as being an autism joke. How can I not, he likes everything to be the same and he’s obsessed with white shirts to the exclusion of everything else. I do love weird Jogi. I think the video is making fun of him a little, of his accent and his shirts that seem to be very, how shall I put it, well fitting. That makes me feel a little guilty for liking it, but I can’t help it, it’s just so funny. I feel less guilty because I like both those things about him, especially his accent.

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