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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Legend of Christmas short story 2014

The Legend of Christmas
Alex Jahans

When people speak of the legends of the multiverse they speak of the trinity of chaos: Bam-Kursh the Accursed, the Farsh-nuke the Mad and Gfaxxy Quluwmcy the Sane. And maybe in huddled whispers of the great mother of chaos and father of logic but no more. It is believed and widely accepted that the Elder Gods were born long before the universes and that none have been born since. Haha! They are so so wrong! Let me tell you of the God humanity created for itself, the one they call Christmas.

The Doctor stands before the console, hair raked away from his face, proud, noble, terrified. “This is one of those moments isn't it? The Darkest Day. The Blackest Night. The Moment When All Hope Is Lost.”

The Nurse laughs “Fred you're only working the night shift on Christmass Eve, don't be so melodramatic.

Doctor Fred Constantine turns away from reception and sighs “Yes I know but Christmass is special isn't it? Any other day of the year? Fine, I'll be hungover and feel like death but Christmass is the day when magic can still be felt in the early morning air and the weight of the entire world waiting in baited breath to open their presents and cards hangs over it.”

The Nurse rolls her eyes “I'm sorry Doctor, you drew the short straw, so what if you celebrtate christmass a day late.”

The Doctor looks imploringly at her “Do you have any idea how many different cultures celebrate something at christmass, it's a near universal idea that during the blackest moments in life we shirk off responsibility so we can turn to each other and say 'Well done, we are halfway out of the dark'”

The Nurse laughs and walks away.

Weeks pass and Doctor Fred Constantine gets halfway through his Christmas Eve shift relatively uneventfully. It's 4am and he goes outside for a smoke.

Further on Nurse Ann Chapel and Doctor India Fulcrum are on their fag breaks too.

Ann says between puffs “You know what I don't get is why Christmas is only one day. Half a year of build up for one day of gorging and I'm going to miss it”

India coughs from laughing “No, I couldn't deal with Christmas lasting more than one year, it's just an excuse to buy a load of crap. That's why I'm working this shift. Fuck Christmas.”

Fred fumbles with his cigarettes and lighter, trying to light it three times before at last it gave light. He took a long drag and coughed. He spots a shooting star and mutters “Here Santa, why don't I get to have Christmas, yeah? I've worked all my life to give back to people and here I am warming my lungs on fucking nicotine in the cold of Christmas morning.”

Nothing happens.

Fred laughs “Fuck Christmas, I prefer a vindaloo to Christmas dinner anyway”

Fred finishes his cigarette in silence, stamps it out on the ground and heads back inside but he slips on a back of ice and as he falls a shooting star hits him.

Fred wakes up in a white void before a fat fellow dressed in red “I believe you understand how this works, you've seen this enough times.”

Fred and the Ghost of Christmas Past take a whistle stop through history watching every festival held at the darkest part of winter.

Fred nods, understanding “Every culture has had some variation of Christmas, some great hero to celebrate who will lead them out of darkness.”

The Ghost of Christmas past pats Fred on the back “Aye, you'll do well lad. You'll know the next one by her green eyes. Now about your business.”

Fred wakes up outside the hospital and gingerly runs inside.

Doctor India is checking the vital signs of a patient when she comments to Nurse Ann. “You know every year at Christmas idiot parents get brought in because they snuck down to do the job of Father Christmas.”

Fred turns at the mention of Christmas and sees India's eyes glow green.

Doctor India adds “If only Santa Claus did exist, there'd be a lot less people needing to be tret on Christmas Eve.”

A tall fat man with a long white beard dressed all in red taps Fred on the shoulder.

Fred stares up at the man in red who looked rather like himself “Let me guess, Ghost of Christmas Future?”

The older Fred dressed as Santa Claus nodded and led Fred back outside.

Fred stared down at where his body lay after he'd slipped on the ice, blood pooling behind Fred's head. “Of course. If I'm the Ghost of Christmas Future then I need to be shown my grave.”

All those festivals celebrating all those heroes. You are beings of logic and in the multiverse logic is always made real. You cried out for a hero so here I am. said the Ghost of Christmas Future.

Fred nodded “But how do I become you?”

Spoilers! Ho! Ho! Ho!

And the Ghost of Christmass Future vanished.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

My experience of autism and introversion.

Fair warning I have not studied Aspergrer's Syndrome, autism, introversion and I have no degree in any related field to understanding people. This is not a scientific paper and I speak for noone but myself.

I have always tried to live as though I did not have autism and I genuinely don't know where I sit on the spectrum to introversion. I do know however that I lack the roadmap to social interactions most people seem to have automatically. I liken it to my not having a sense of smell. I don't perceive much of a difference but others judge me differently because I don't react as they do under certain situations and this can lead to massive misunderstandings. Unlike not having a sense of smell though, not having an instinctual sense of social ettiquette is not treated with understanding, There is no "Oh that's why? Okay I'll tell you if you smell good or bad". My mother is a trained psychiatric nurse and she uses my social disability as a reason to try and deny me agency. "Oh the reason you don't want to do what I want is because of a condition you were born with and have no control over, that means you can't make decisions properly so I'll make them for you"

People with social understanding really do not know how to deal with people with no social understanding because they can't seem to imagine what a world looks like without social understanding. That's a problem some people get with my inability to smell too "But taste is ninety percent smell?" they say as though they've caught me in a lie. "How can something so integral to understanding the world vanish and you still function?" Most people can understand the principle though. They can close their eyes to experience a world without sight, they can temporarily experience what it's like to be deaf so they can imagine what a world without smell would look like. Hell that's TV. When you lack a sense of social ettiquette though that goes far beyond anything we can reasonably extrapolate from our own experiences and imagine.

How do you love? How do you make friends? How do you work with people? How do you function in society when society is by its very nature social and you have no sense of social understanding? The same way I understand a machine or physics. Philosophers have been debating the social aspects of life for millenia and I can use that to build a hard learned replacement for social understanding. Like a blind man using touch and sound and his own imagination to build a representation of the world in his head that he can navigate. The issue there though is that the philosophers that can be learned about are generally serious and important, not "Why drinking, dancing and listening to loud annoying music is enjoyable" so I pursue introverted hobbies built on facts and knowledge. There is science behind why media is good or bad. This though leads to the flipside that I and many other autistic people see opinions on fiction as objectively right or wrong as it is the only way we can function. Therefore we end up alone or with friends that greatly irritate us because disagreements are dangerous.

Ironically despite all of this, in terms of the dictionary definition of extraversion meaning gaining energy from other people, I am absolutely an extrovert. I crave social contact and kind of get high from it if it goes well. The chances of it going well considering my condition are slim though. I am at my best where is an objective well of information between us that we can talk about on end should the conversation dry up. I also need to know that debates or discussions can end well.

I know I have problems changing my opinions in discussions or debates, this is because if I didn't know what to think I wouldn't have the confidence to begin or continue the conversation. So please don't make a big deal of it or lecture me. This is how I am and yes it makes me a bit of a dick but until they come up with a way to restore my sense of social ettiquette I am doomed to make do as best I can and that means being annoying to argue with unfortunately.