Around three months ago, I wrote a post called “Billy No Mates,” where I explained how the lack of friends during the period that inspired me to write “He Was Weird,” has given me much anxieties over the years that passed. I was and sometimes am still worried that nobody is going to like me and no one is going to be my friend. Recently, I realise that there is another aspect to these anxieties that I didn’t think about then. So, I’ll post about that now.
Last week, I had a small vacation with my wife and two of my step-granddaughters in the Northern British city of Newcastle Upon Tyne. My wife goes every year (she loves the city) but this was the first time, I accompanied her in four years but that’s not important. Our routine is that at night, she settles down by reading and spending quality time with the grand-kids while I go out and have a few pints. I usually toddle home sometime between 11 or 12 and never intoxicated.
Well that was before our first night there. Now, before I go on, what you are about to read is not an attempt by me to make any excuses. I went to the only rock bar left in Newcastle and was enjoying my beer while listening to good tunes. A small group of people were nearby and the lady in the group points out my t-shirt and says it’s cool. (My shirt displayed pictures of George Bush and George W Bush about a caption that read ‘Dumb and Dumber.’) Anyway, I join these people and we get along famously. The pub closes and it is suggested we go to a place that’s open longer, so I follow them. When that place closes, we hit another place and then another. It turned out that the one guy was determined to drink Newcastle dry this night. When we hit another bar, it is now three AM and I am thinking that I should return to my hotel but this guy states that he just paid for me to get in the place so I went in. In the end, I didn’t get back to my hotel room until after five in the morning. My wife wasn’t best pleased especially as I wrongly assumed that she would be so tired from our trip and the day that she would be asleep. She was worried that something happened to me and yes, I did have to do a lot of apologising that morning.
Why did I do it? Everyone says that that was completely out of character for me. Here’s my explanation which is not an attempted justification. On reflection, because of my worry about having no friends, I have been known to respond to anyone who shows the slightest hint of friendship towards me. Like so many times in my life, these people on the night offered their friendship and in my mind, I was so grateful of this that I had to take them up on it. Furthermore, wanting to be a good friend, I was willing to stay out to the wee hours of the morning, although I didn’t consume nearly as much alcohol as the gentleman who wanted to drink the town dry. When that guy paid my way into the one club, I thought it unfriendly to then go and leave, so I stayed even though I knew deep down it wasn’t the right thing to do.
Another related topic was that throughout my early life, bullies and others would exploit my desire for friends. They would have me do things for their amusement or that would get me in trouble. While, I didn’t engage in any such activity this night except for staying out late, nor do I think that those persons would do such things, it did happen in the past. I do touch on this in “He Was Weird.” When Mark is in sixth grade, many of his classmates use his desire for friends to make him a laughingstock and then a target.
I think that friendship is a mine field with many people who contend with Asperger’s Syndrome. Like me, they want friends but don’t always have the correct social reading skills to make friends correctly. The results of this can often times be disasterous. While I wouldn’t say that about this experience because that was quite positive, I can see the potential danger it can cause.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1472674930&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird