I mentioned the supervisor, she was growing more and more irrational and angry as her long term relationship broke up, she crashed the works van a few times, and she was really laying into us, calling me stupid when I asked her a genuine question about what saw to use for my work and asking me why I couldn’t do an absolutely straight line when putting in a new edge on a border – because I was not as perfect as she was, but the worst thing she was doing was taking her anger out on my epileptic colleague, causing him to drink and neglect himself and not turn up for work and to have constant fits, which upset me a lot, he lost teeth while I was there because his fits got so bad.
I stuck my neck out to defend him repeatedly and determinedly, which brought her utter wrath down on my head, ‘STOP TAKING YOUR ANGER OUT ON SOMEONE WHO IS EPILEPTIC!’ I shouted, me, the quietest person on site, I was misunderstood even on this site for disabled people, because I spoke so little and couldn’t greet people, I was not diagnosed autistic, and so no one knew why I was silent.
(Which, until I was diagnosed, and even since, has caused a lot of people to be angry with me).
But my outbursts of anger came as this woman started to wind everyone up, she snapped at good-natured ***** and *****, so **** kept storming out and going home cursing her, *** was in so much trouble with fits and not coming to work, and *****was depressed and going drinking at the club, the team was in disarray when I went and told the Boss that I was not working for this supervisor any more.
And then JM involved herself, behind my back, against my wishes, and certainly not to my benefit, and caused me great embarrassment and she seemed to think, without knowing anything, that I was to blame for the confrontation, JM wasn’t there to see this stupid woman coming to work with a hangover and admitting she had drunk a whole bottle of wine the previous night, and so JM’s damaging interference that had started at college went on, and on throughout my adult life. I badly fell out with JM and told her off, but I also let it blow over as I loved her, she actually seemed surprised when I told her we could put it behind us, and she was pleased too. And the boss began to clamp down on this stupid supervisor who tried very hard to ensure she did not get into any trouble for her behaviour, used JM to help with that, because she had decided to train as a teacher and did not want a black mark on her record for bullying me and ***, but her behaviour was not just to me, and was not unnoticed, and I worked with the chargehand from then on, as I looked for a new job.
Employment officers, the original man who had helped me into employment and supported me went to work in another department, I was provided with another employment officer, this was during the supervisor’s reign of terror, he was an impatient man and when he met with me and I couldn’t say nothing he shouted at me, I told him, without swearing or cussing, to go away and never get in my away again, DO NOT SHOUT AT CLIENTS. He obliged, and along came a very dynamic South African man instead, to replace him, who had tremendous similarities to the man at College who had been my mentor and had had so many fictitious careers and experiences.
This new man was dynamic, he was determined to change my world and make me into a high flyer. But he was overambitious and obviously had problems of his own, this could be nothing but a repeat of the previous disaster.
This man kept going on about how he had to gain my trust and how he wanted me to trust him, I was puzzled, why? He told me had he was a South African Diplomat who had been an ambassador for South Africa, and how he had had a big house with servants and everything paid for by the government and how they had had a beautiful garden and a pony in a paddock and how he had had to get permission to marry his wife, and how he used to be in navy, at the time I just took all this at face value, though I didn’t understand why he had moved from that to a miserable terraced house in Portsmouth and then to a miserable little house in my town, he was very open about where he lived, his family, the children’s schools and things, I wondered why he was telling me all about his personal life, and I wasn’t very interested, but he told me it was because he wanted me to trust him. A few years later as a delivery driver I used to deliver takeaways to his house, he was surprised to see that I had passed my driving test and was working unsupported and in an industry that required customer service, albeit minimal and scripted.
He even wanted me to meet his wife and for JM to meet him.
My boyfriend, G, had moved back to Southampton and was working for the council looking after the cemetery, and for a while we decided it was too far away for us to continue our relationship, which was very sad.
But then something unexpected happened in my life, I met a girl, I never expected such a thing to happen, but there one evening was a girl sitting on the wall near the concrete, she was crying, I soon found out that this was very rare for her, but there she was crying, and despite my autism and communication problems, I do ask people if they need help if I find them crying, so I asked her if she was ok, she didn’t say anything, so I stood there, then she told me her guitar string was broken, I puzzled over that and wondered if she was like me, as I was sure it was not the end of the world, but somehow we got talking; she had black hair with green streaks, she was a talented musician and singer, she like Goth things and art, she was very different from me in many ways, but in some ways we were the same, we got to know each other and I was jealous of her musical talents because I have music going through my veins and I wanted so much to learn to express it.
I got my own guitar so she could teach me, she also played and loved her banjo, I had a keyboard, but my playing was slow, one handed and by ear, so I tried hard to sing along to her playing, but my dysphasia made it difficult.
Her name was ****, she was gay, we got on well, I got involved, I started reading ‘Diva’ and going to the gay club with her, but there was one thing I couldn’t do, I couldn’t sleep with her.
**** was quiet but she had a wicked temper very occasionally, same as me, and I remember JM laughing when I told her I had been hit by a flying saucepan, she said something to one of the church about me having a saucepan shaped bruise which was why I couldn’t kneel at the altar, JM seemed to like me being gay, she never met ****, but she met G.
When G. and I got back in touch I told him sadly that I thought I was gay, he said he didn’t mind, he wanted to marry me anyway, I don’t things could have got more complicated than that.
G. was very straightforward, me having a slight confusion about who I was, didn’t phase him.
But because I could not bring myself to sleep with ****, and dancing was not enough for her, we were struggling, I am sad about this, it got more and more upsetting, **** went to Ireland to her mother.
And as for me, I have never puzzled out my sexual orientation because I am not really mature enough to have one or care.
I missed **** and was lost, but G. comforted me, I started to make that long journey to Southampton to meet up with him, we would walk round Southampton holding hands, we would stop and have a cool glass of coke at the pub, we would go to the Cinema, I wasn’t used to cinema, but he was and he taught me how to buy tickets, so I soon relaxed, it is actually a reasonably comfortable environment for me, the sound is a bit loud and the screen a bit bright, but I can cope. I remember us seeing a gangster film while we held hands and behaved ourselves in the back row, and G’s dad, a senior police officer, gave us a lift home, he listened to us plotting robberies and drugs hauls as he drove us home, he thought we were hilarious.
So, my confidence was rocked by work difficulties, but it wasn’t surprising that in an environment where even the supervisor had problems and needed support, there would be problems, and my lack of diagnosis made it harder for everyone.
But this was also the time when I almost matured into an adult in the relationships sense, I didn’t quite make it, but I am lucky to remember two sweet friendships at that time, G, and ****.