Guinea Pig (and a few other bits)

To start with, a nomination for stupidest piece of parking of the year: Somebody had parked right at the bottom corner of the Fakenham Fleapit (formally known as Hollywood Cinemas), where the buses have to turn on their way back out of Fakenham. This is a tight corner in any circumstance for a bus, but when a car has been parked right on said corner it becomes exceedingly tight as evidenced by the fact that the driver of the bus I was on took four attempts to get past said car without hitting it (I was not alone among the passengers in reckoning that anyone parking there deserved to have the car get hit). There was someone in uniform standing near the car by the time we got through, so maybe the driver will be somewhat poorer as punishment for their selfishness. The final point to emphasise how stupid this piece of parking was is that the places one wants to visit in Fakenham are all very close together, and one can park free for up the three hours in the Tesco car park (more than long enough to get everything done).

Now to the main body of the piece. Yesterday was the first of two successive Fridays on which I am taking part in some tests relating to Autistic Spectrum Conditions and a substance called Oxytocin. In preparation I was required to abstain from alcohol for 24 hours prior to the start of the session (no great difficulty) and also caffinated products (I bought a jar of decaf since I was not prepared to sacrifice my morning coffee altogether).

I arrived at the testing suite a mere ten minutes before my session was due to begin (it is tucked away in an obscure corner of the Addenbrookes complex and took me about 20 minutes to locate following a 45 minute walk from the station), but fortunately recovered quickly from the journey and was ready by the appointed time. The session began with some visual/spatial tasks which I had done twice before as part of other research and hence found easy, with my memory helping where native skill did not. Then came the nasal spray part of the session. Before the spray could be administered the medic had to take a blood pressure reading which came out at a satisfactory 127 over 64. I had to put the nozzle of the spray in one nostril while holding the other closed and press the spray once, then repeat for other nostril, and twice more for each nostril.

This done there followed a 45 minute break before the second part of the process took place. These were all computer tasks and ranged from fitting adjectives to facial expressions (toughest), through fitting adjectives to a combination of facial expressions and voices to locating a small, simple shape in a bigger complex shape (the easiest by far). This done, there were a few questions to answer, an expenses form to fill, a second blood pressure test to conclude the session (129 over 75) and then head for home.

I suspect next Friday will be tougher for two reasons. One is that I am pretty sure that I received the placebo yesterday and will therefore get the oxytocin active spray next week. The second reason is that whereas yesterday once the session was over I was able to head for home, next Friday I will have to go straight to the meeting of the King’s Lynn Social and Support Club for Adults with Aspergers Syndrome, and will therefore be out doing various things from 8:45 when I will set off to my placement until about 9:15PM when I will finally arrive home. Just how hard will I find such a day? Watch this space to find out.

We seem (at least in Norfolk) to have skipped spring this year and moved straight into summer – I sat out on my terrace on Tuesday, for Wednesday lunch (taking full advantage of having a placement a few minutes walk from home and a whole hour lunch break), and was outside for as much of Thursday as I could engineer (effectively all save the two bus trips between Lynn and Fakenham), wore short sleeves yesterday and did not utilise the jumper I had equipped myself with until steeping of the train at Lynn at 6:30. I will be moving outside as soon as the sun is over my terrace today which will probably be around 10:30. The view from the rooftop confirms this optimism, showing the top of the Granaries, a contrail (a word made by splicing condensation and trail, and a more accurate descriptor than the older vapour trail), and a hint of heat haze (yes – in an English March).

Author: Thomas

I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk and #actuallyautistic (diagnosed 10 years ago at the comparatively advanced age of 31). I am a keen photographer, so that most of my own posts contain photos. I am a keen cricket fan and often write about that subject. I also focus a lot on politics and on nature.

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