Life update (09/20/2022)

Yesterday I started a new work week, a Monday that I knew would involve preparing eight PCs and setting them up to fill a room for doctors and nurses. At a quarter past eight I left the office and walked to the bathroom to take my first shit of the morning (of about twelve on average; I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome), but as soon as I touched my belt, it came apart in my hands. Some metallic piece broke, and I couldn’t fix the belt.

From that moment onwards and until I got back home, my day involved stopping every couple of minutes to pull my pants back up. Other days I would have sat at the office and connected remotely to the users’ machines, but today I had to visit the local server room to physically load the eight PCs into one of those big shopping carts, then cart the PCs through the hospital complex to the workshop. Once I configured them so they would work properly at their new destination, I had to cart them to the fifth floor of a different building. Along the way I was forced to gesture for a couple of patients/visitors to get the fuck out of the way, because they were blocking some narrow path by standing there looking down at their phones. Also, for whatever reason three people considered that the unfriendly-looking big guy pushing a cart full of PCs was the person to stop for directions.

I didn’t mind the peace and quiet I got at the workshop, working alone to configure the eight PCs. I took the opportunity to continue reading David Wong’s/Jason Pargin’s John Dies at the End, a story that I actually started reading in its web format back in 2001, because I frequented the guy’s forums (Pointless Waste of Time back in the day). Entertaining book that has captured my attention, although I have some issues with it.

In any case, I carted the eight computers in groups of four. It turned out that no elevator goes to the fifth of that building for whatever reason (a fact I knew in advance but that I had forgotten). I had to unload each PC at the bottom landing of the fourth floor, then walk all the way to the fifth and to the room where I had to connect the PCs. At one point I ended up holding a PC in my left hand, a couple of keyboards, a mouse and an ethernet cable in my right, while my pants were bunched around my ankles. Thankfully there was no one around. I suspect that my other coworkers would have asked for help, but the presence of other human beings as I tried to get through yesterday’s nightmare would have only damaged my mental health further.

As I was on my knees to connect the power plug, as well as the corresponding RJ45 cable, of one of the computers, I started feeling a tingling sensation in my chest. These days I always fear that any exertion will trigger another episode of atrial fibrillation (a physical issue with my heart that the latest booster vaccine caused), but fortunately I survived the task without my heart betraying me.

I finished the task thirty minutes before I had to leave for the day. Although there was network flow in the switch after I plugged in a RJ45 for each computer, when I returned to the office I couldn’t get the computers to ping back, so now I’m going to interrupt the act of writing this entry to walk to the fifth of that building and push an ipconfig /release on all eight PCs.

I just walked back from the other end of the hospital complex. They were using the room for a meeting, so except for exercise, I wasted the trip there. I’ll try again in an hour. Anyway, when I got home yesterday I considered that I could have avoided the belt issue if I had cut a network cable and used it as a belt by tying it up in a knot. Stupid-looking, but it would have worked.

I haven’t felt young in many years, and my body no longer tolerates physical exertion gracefully. Exhausted, I had to take a nap that ruined half of my afternoon, and afterwards I was only able to order my notes for the upcoming chapter 74 of my novel.

Currently I have all the symptoms of a major depression (feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness; angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters; loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports; sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much; tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort; reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain; slowed thinking, speaking or body movements; feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame; trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things; etc.). In addition, it seems that the current episode has grown into the psychotic variety of depression: whenever someone’s conversation (mainly at the office) annoys me, I feel like they are doing it to fuck with me, and I regularly feel that others, even strangers, are glancing at me looking for an opening to bother me in ways that will waste my time and energies. Until this passes, I’ll reduce my interactions with humans to the bare minimum.

Last night I went to bed at ten, but I woke up spontaneously at two in the morning. When I finally managed to fall asleep again, I had vivid dreams of the unpleasant variety. The first one was mostly weird: my dream self was watching a porn video in which eight or so people were about to have an orgy. Most of the video was setup to get to know the actors and actresses. I don’t know why I would be watching such a video; my preferred pornos only involve two people. In any case, turns out that one of the actors in the video was my teenage self. I ended up sandwiched in uncomfortable ways.

Afterwards the video showed the involved actors and actresses walking around in the late evening, wearing autumn clothes. The dream switched to me hanging out with extended family members that I haven’t seen since I was a teenager. We were walking around a strange city when a dread started building up in my stomach. We came across people who were hurling Molotov cocktails. As we were fleeing from the disturbances, I ended up getting involved, along with my parents, with the breakdown of modern society: the banks blocked transactions, the power companies shut off service to people’s homes but not to business centers, and gangs immediately went out with guns to shoot each other and bystanders up. I remember flashes of my dream self running among screaming people.

My phone’s alarm extracted me from the dream/nightmare at six in the morning, so I could prepare my physical body to endure a different, more mundane nightmare, one from which I still haven’t woken up (don’t ever work for a living, kids). I hope that when I return home this afternoon, I’ll get to write at least four or five hundred words of my next chapter, which is the only reason I keep going these days.

Anyway, nice talking to you. Until next time.

Life update (09/15/2022)

I’m writing this down because the process of putting my thoughts into words usually unloads some of my anxiety.

I haven’t been doing well recently; I tolerate very little, I get overwhelmed with intrusive thoughts of deletion that searches for targets everywhere, although more often than not it looks inward, and I want to switch my brain off as often as possible, either by sleeping or by closing my eyes whenever I’m forced to sit or stand in a vehicle. I suspect that I’m going through another depression.

I happen to work as an IT guy at a hospital. A garbage job: you never know what you’ll have to deal with that day, any single problem can balloon into a monster that you’ll have to struggle with for potentially weeks, and worst of all, it forces you to interact with many people. I’m autistic, so I’m simply unsuited for it. I understand that dealing with our users, who are mostly doctors and nurses, has to be troublesome potentially, because they wouldn’t contact us if they didn’t have a problem. What I shouldn’t need to tolerate is wasting eight hours in an office where three guys keep yapping like children during recess, very loudly, forcing us to endure their infuriating prattle about football, TV series and such stuff, as well as constant “jokes” about how fat one of them is.

The worst part of it is: the worst one is my brother. Back when I was seven, my parents seemingly concluded that my birth was a mistake, and they forced me to vacate my room and “share” a bedroom with my older brother. I spent eleven years treated like an unwanted guest. I couldn’t hear the music I wanted, I couldn’t put on the TV the programs I could have liked, I couldn’t read, I couldn’t study. I’m autistic and noises kill me, yet that guy needed constant noise to muffle his internal thoughts. He even had the TV and the radio on at the same time throughout the night; the radio speaker was installed maybe a foot and a half away from my head. Whenever I complained to my mother about it (my father was virtually non-existent), the answer was always the same: “You gotta understand it, he has problems.”

For those eleven years my mental health deteriorated into straight psychosis, and I only survived because I’m a fucking coward and I didn’t dare to kill myself like I wanted. After an argument that nearly ended in blows, my parents agreed that I could move out of my brother’s bedroom into my previous one (this country, as well as most of Europe, isn’t like the US, where you are expected to leave your parents’ place at eighteen years old; here the average age for that is about thirty. Housing is way too expensive anyway).

After that day, I have wished that I wouldn’t spend a single minute in the same room as him. Because my life is a fucking cosmic joke, the only job that has called me regularly these last two years and a half is the one that my brother works at. I’m thirty-seven years old, half-crazy and out of options. I can’t imagine myself finding another job that would pay similarly.

Having to endure my brother talking at an obnoxiously loud volume about utter garbage, as well as laughing like a clown, causes in me something akin to PTSD flashbacks, on top of the sensory processing issues that autism involves. My health worsened recently: I went through an episode of atrial fibrillation that triggered (and I doubt that it was a coincidence) during a particularly thorny problem I had to handle at work and that I knew would involve having to interact with pissed off users. Whenever the adult schoolchildren at the office start yapping again, my anxiety spikes from already high levels. Our boss hears them, but has never reprimanded them. Nobody else has complained, perhaps because they don’t want to bring attention to themselves and become a target.

Anyway, recently I considered that I needed to create an island of isolation for myself at the office, so I bought some noise-cancelling headphones. In summary: today, maybe half an hour after those bastards started yapping, apparently someone tried to get my attention, but I didn’t notice. The woman who was taking calls was seated to my left and she would have tapped me on the shoulder if someone on the phone had asked for me. I didn’t have any ticket assigned, so it wasn’t related to one of the problems I was already told to handle. Either I had the really bad luck that the big boss went out of his way to address me from the other end of the office and yet nobody pointed it out to my oblivious self (and in that case the boss gave up shortly after), or more likely, someone tried to get my attention so I would listen to an inane comment. That person could have likely been one of the clowns.

In any case, after today’s drudgery, someone pointed the “incident” out to me, and said that it would be better if I didn’t wear headphones, because it could cause issues. So from now on I won’t feel comfortable wearing them at the office, because the people I work with would consider that me isolating myself from sources of such noise is worse than the fucking people creating the noise contamination during work hours.

I haven’t gotten any writing done this afternoon. My state of mind has reverted to the current of thought that constantly flows under the desperate efforts I make to distract myself: the voice that repeats I need to die, I need to die, I need to die, I need to die. My mental health is that fucking brittle. And I do want to be dead, as I have wanted to be since I was a child, back when I dunked my head in cold water so it would flood my lungs and take me to a faraway place.

For as long as I remember, every morning I have woken up into a nightmare. Everything feels like an unbearable struggle. I’m trapped as an “adult” that has to waste himself at a job that ruins my creative energies and that frays my nerves, and it’s not like any of that is ever going to change, because I won’t earn remotely enough money writing, and I’m too mentally incompetent to figure out some alternative.

Now that I’ve written these thoughts down, maybe I’ll get enough sleep tonight. And tomorrow, after I get off work, maybe I’ll be able to disappear into the reverie of writing the current chapter of my novel, so I can forget for a while that I’ve existed for thirty-seven years as someone that I don’t want to be.

Life update (08/28/2022)

This is the second time that I attempt to write a current update on how my life’s going; a few minutes ago I accidentally pressed the power button of my computer as I was plugging in a pair of headphones, and because Goodreads doesn’t keep drafts, I lost the previous text. More shit for the pile that my last four days have been.

I haven’t written a single word of my ongoing novel in four days, although I have arranged the notes for the next chapter, and trimmed them down. I feel like I weigh twice as much, my thoughts are slow and muddled, everything feels pointless, and I want to disappear either through sleep or through more drastic means. Maybe the black beast is visiting me again.

It can’t be a coincidence, though, that my short vacations have ended, and that last Friday I returned to work. I’m an IT guy at a big regional hospital, but some days I barely have to do anything. Last Friday I wasn’t assigned any tasks. I decided to study a bit for my upcoming public exam in November. However, at about eleven I gave up and imploded in an existential crisis.

You see, I was born with neurological problems, the main one called high-functioning autism. Part of it is an inability to process sensory stimuli properly. I have issues dealing with lights and getting touched in general, but I have a huge problem with noises: even the regular ones of an office stress me out to no end. It’s bad enough that it can probably be classified as misophonia. The best way I can put it is that my brain feels like it’s getting harassed if not downright attacked by sounds, and it triggers a flight-or-fight response. The conscious part of my brain can’t counter any of those feelings nor can it rationalize them in any way, it just convinces me to avoid snapping at whoever or whatever is producing the noise.

It just happens that I work with a few guys who may as well be schoolchildren. The rest of us have to endure hours upon hours every workday of second-hand embarrassment because the aforementioned few can’t shut the fuck up. These are also the kind who would throw tantrums if told off, particularly one of them. I had been spared that experience for as long as the vacations lasted, so when I was forced to face it again, it hit me harder. I considered if I should just self-destruct as I’ve done in the past and quit, or refuse a new contract when they recall me. It’s not just those people or the rest of the noises: the presence of twelve or so people around me, as well as interacting with them and with our users, stresses me out real bad. However, if I were to self-destruct, I would be fucked: I’m thirty-seven years old, my curriculum is full of holes, and I’d have to retrain myself as a programmer.

A few months ago I suffered through my first episode of atrial fibrillation, a physical issue with my heart that was caused by the latest booster vaccine (I started experiencing related heart-hiccups the same day I got the jab). I endured the arrhythmia for a couple of hours at work until I got home because I thought that maybe it would go away, but I was becoming weaker and weaker and felt like I would end up passing out, so I visited the emergency department of the local hospital. They hooked me up to a machine and gave me some hardcore drug that made me break out in a cold sweat and get nauseous unless I was lying down. Anyway, stress could trigger such episodes, which put me at a vastly increased risk for stroke because the organs need a steady flow of blood.

So why the hell was I sitting at work in an environment that I can only tolerate because I’m single and have no social life (when I get home I sit down and rest, and I’m lucky if I can write anything of value for an hour and a half or two hours), that has already made me sprout a few gray hairs, and that can trigger a heart condition that could put me in a wheelchair? Merely having to listen to mainly two complete morons and their child-like interactions for hours every day makes me anxious as hell.

I already bring earplugs to the office, but they don’t muffle the noise remotely enough. I can’t shove some earbuds in and blast music at the volume that I’d need, because I’d bother my coworkers and in the end destroy my eardrums. I browsed for noise-canceling headphones; they come with microphones that listen in to the surrounding noise, then they create sound waves that cancel the noise. On Friday, right after I got out of the office, I went to the nearest store that had them and bought the Sony WH-1000XM5. Four hundred euros. Sound-quality-wise, they are the best headphones I’ve ever owned (also the most expensive), and the noise-canceling feature is impressive; I had them on as I binge watched Better Call Saul for a few hours this weekend, and I couldn’t hear my fan nor the traffic and people outside. However, they seem quite incapable of blocking noises such as typing, sudden banging and stuff like that. For now, however, they will have to do.

So I plan to spend as much time as possible at the office with the headphones on. It will likely bother some people (for example the couple of women who love to walk behind you, talk to you about nothing of value, and touch you without your permission), and it may cause me issues such as the guy on phone duty trying to alert me that someone is asking for me, and instead of just passing the call, informing me from the other end of the office then asking for my number. If my boss mentions it, I’ll remind him that I’m classified as disabled by the regional government (52%), and if he wants details, I’ll clarify that I’m autistic and that noises fuck me up bad.

Last Friday, my first day back, I also experienced the usual disgrace of returning home physically and mentally drained from having ventured through the fucking zoo of society, then finding myself too exhausted to write anything of value. And that was apart from what I fear is another period of depression.

Tomorrow I’ll wake up a bit later, because I’m scheduled for an echocardiogram at my local hospital. I hope I’ll start feeling better in a short while; this is getting old real fast.

Life update (08/20/2022)

Today was one of those summer days in which the weather is good enough that I would feel like I wasted it if I stayed inside, but I was progressing nicely on the 69th chapter of my ongoing novel. I decided to go to the balcony and lie down in front of the privacy screen to read in peace for a while.

The peace lasted two minutes. Some guy starts screaming on the phone right under my balcony. Whatever conversation he was having with his girlfriend kept getting more and more heated; apparently the girlfriend didn’t want to come to the date with this charming individual. He insulted her on the phone loud enough that every person at the nearby park kept shooting glances, and people were avoiding the plaza where the shouting was taking place. Eventually the guy said on the phone that he was breaking up with her, that he never wanted to see her again, etc. Once he terminated the call, he stuck around to grumble for a while.

I was trying to get back into reading when I heard that moron’s voice again. His stupid girlfriend decided to come and meet someone who only failed to hit her before because he was talking to her on the phone. It didn’t take longer than a couple of minutes until he started screaming at her semi-incoherently with the kind of stuff these cretins shout in such circumstances (“you must have been with some other guy”, “you don’t do anything for me”, “I ask you to do something and you ignore me”, etc.) I couldn’t hear the woman saying anything.

Then he starts breaking stuff. First his cellphone against the plaza’s pavement, then some other item (possibly her phone). Then he wanders away a bit to kick as hard as he can the roller blinds of the office right under my balcony. I hear her warning him in a meek voice that someone will call the police. He screams that he doesn’t care, that nothing is going to happen to him, etc.

A moment later I hear the noise of something hitting wood: the guy is punching and/or kicking the bench that the woman was sitting on. Then I hear the noise of flesh getting punched. I stood up and got a still shot, through the branches of a tree, of the woman protecting herself with her arms while leaning to the side, and the guy standing next to her and screaming at her.

I go back into the apartment, then walk all the way to the landline. I call the police while I still hear the guy screaming in the background. They asked for my name for whatever reason. When I return to the balcony, it was one of those situations in which the moment you call the police, the altercation stops immediately. A middle-aged guy is standing nearby. He asks the woman, who seems to be in her late twenties, possibly hispanic, if she needs any help, if someone should call the police. She doesn’t answer. I recall vaguely that she was rubbing her arm.

A patrol car arrives less than a minute later. Either someone else called as well, or they were in the area. Every single police officer I’ve seen in this province is well-built and fit, including the women; they kinda look like models (so they haven’t gotten around to lowering standards yet).

The police officers look up at me. I point down at the woman, who’s close to the bench, crying in silence. Then the guy who started this whole shit made the mistake of returning. The moment the police officers lay eyes on him, he became all meek and reasonable. “Did you verbally or physically assault your girlfriend?” the police guy asks. “No, no, nothing of that sort. Just a simple argument.”

Turns out he had hashish on him. The guy tries to school the police officer on its use (here it’s only legal to smoke it at home or at certain clubs). I was sitting behind the privacy screen of my balcony. Although I couldn’t hear much else, one of the police officers took the woman aside to speak to her in private. When that police officer returned, the woman was gone, and I heard the police officers tell the guy that they were going to wait for another patrol car.

When that new patrol car arrived, another couple of officers came out and informed the guy that he was getting arrested for domestic violence. I heard that she would visit the hospital to assess the injuries. I didn’t leave until I saw the handcuffed guy getting helped into the patrol car.

I suspect that if anyone other than the police had interfered, the woman in question would have sided with her boyfriend. That seemed very clear from her actions and demeanour. In such cases it’s far better to force her hand. However, if she baited him to have this confrontation in public because she knew how both of them were going to end up, good for her.

So all’s well that ends well, I guess.

EDIT: I realized that the last sentence of the latest chapter I uploaded is, “Well, let’s make sure we don’t give anyone cause to call the police.” Life is one strange bitch.

Life update (08/12/2022)

For today I had planned to visit a park located near the home where a character of mine, Jacqueline, lives. When I woke up, my digestive tract was more screwed up than usual (I have IBS): apart from the near-liquid shits, I also bled out of my ass. I’m beyond questioning what the hell goes on any given day with my body unless it pertains to my heart, and one of these days I’ll stop caring about that too.

Usually when my health issues attempt to ruin my plans, I give in and spend the rest of the day either writing or wasting my time. However, I felt that walking the whole way up from the Lugaritz Euskotren station to Jacqueline’s house was a sort of penance that I had to undergo.

Yesterday we were enduring temperatures of 35 grades Celsius, but today the weather was stuck in that extremely humid state that announces that in a day or two the clouds are going to burst in a tremendous storm. So by the time I got off at the Lugaritz station, I was already drenched in sweat.

That’s the Lugaritz Euskotren station in Donostia, which is the local train slash subway system. I love to complain about everything, but I can’t say many negative things about the public transport system of this region.

That’s the parking lot where Jacqueline stops her car to have a conversation in chapter sixty-one.

That building is mentioned a couple of times in the novel, because it’s on the way to Jacqueline’s place.

I had to trudge up a slope all the way there. As expected, the narrow sidewalks were deserted.

Most of the homes in this area are about four or five times more expensive than what your regular computer technician could afford. Further ahead families were swimming in their private pools.

I took plenty of photos of the apartment building where I decided that Jacqueline lives (and where Leire spends most of her spare time now). However, it feels wrong to show it, so I won’t. As soon as I turned around after taking those photos, a guy was standing still further down the street as he stared at me with what looked like suspicion. This is one of those neighborhoods. Besides, I’m a bearded, shady-looking, deranged guy who tends to freak people out the moment they interact with me, so I just walked out of sight as casually as possible.

I was about to ask for the whereabouts of the park that Jacqueline mentioned in the most recent chapter; I had looked it up in Google Maps, but it was even closer than I expected, and very secluded. Real treasure for the locals.

That mountain over there is Mount Igueldo, and the complex on top is an amusement park.

That’s as much documentation as I needed, added to the notes I took of how it felt to be there. I considered returning to the Lugaritz station and taking a train straight home, but instead I decided to walk down to Ondarreta beach, which would be packed with tourists at this time of the year.

I don’t know what this building is supposed to be, but it looked really impressive.

On the other side of the beach there are tennis courts, as well as a fancy pub called “Wimbledon” where I set up the sequence that starts in chapter fifty-three.

That island looks like a whale from certain angles, particularly from the top of Mount Igueldo.

Life update (08/09/2022)

This morning I posted the sixty-sixth chapter of the novel I’m working on. After I finish a chapter, for a few hours I feel fulfilled, as if I have earned the right to exist, so I decided to take a walk in the sun while reading a new book. I did very little reading (I’m very impatient with books these days), but I ended up walking to France (Jacqueline’s home country), which isn’t saying much because I live right in the border. It’s a picturesque town called Hendaye, de jure part of the ancient kingdom of Aquitaine. I’m thirty-seven years old now, but it was the first time in my life that I walked through Hendaye; as a child my father drove us through it plenty of times during the summer, because the local beach is great.

The town’s sidewalks are narrow and poorly maintained. Half of the stores have closed down, and of those that remain, plenty of the owners are old enough to retire. Even as a child I had a hard time believing that anyone lived in Hendaye throughout the year. Most of the people you come across are tourists and tend to hang out near the beach, and most of the buildings in that area look like vacation homes.

The more I walked around and checked out the sights, the more melancholic I felt. I also came across quite a few French beauties, which didn’t help my mood. I often daydream about being able to teleport; apart from emptying the treasuries of a few notorious gangs so I wouldn’t need to work, I’d spend my days teleporting from town to town. If any cop asked for my ID, I would teleport away. I’d absorb dozens of new sights every day. I’d write in deserted coffee shops and sleep in a new hotel every night.

I’ve mentioned before that whenever I do something more compelling than work at my office or sit at home, I feel like a prisoner on a furlough; I’ve had to endure health or health-adjacent issues from birth, from high-functioning autism to the intrusive troubles of OCD, hormonal issues thanks to a tumor, and an Irritable Bowel Syndrome that inflames my intestines if I don’t go to the bathroom every forty-five minutes or so. I also can’t drive around; I never got a driver’s license because I’m more likely to crash my car into a wall or a truck deliberately than arrive safely at my destination.

Anyway, at one point I came across a deserted graveyard. I took a stroll through it, checking out every tomb and reading to the best of my abilities the dedication plaques, which were obviously written in French. So many variations of, “to my beloved father”, “to my friend, who will never be forgotten” and such made me sad. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any ghost.

At that point I realized that I was carrying my tablet, so I figured that I may as well take some photos of my mundane journey.

Nearby, close to spectacular views of the Txingudi bay, I took a few photos of a grandiose memorial for the locals who got pointlessly massacred during the first World War. I also photographed the surrounding park.

At some point the locals decided to build a walkway along the coast, even in front of the backyards of expensive houses; the owners must have been pissed. In any case, it’s a pleasant and reasonably isolated path.

That’s my thumb, because I’m a fucking idiot. In my defense, the sun was blinding me.

It was getting late and I needed to find a bathroom. As I walked back home, I took a few more pictures.

The rest of the photos were taken on my side of the border.

In general, today’s was one of those afternoons in which I resented that I was born as someone who can’t even aspire to a normal life, that has to lose himself in elaborate daydreams just to tolerate the nightmare of having to exist in his brain.

Life update (08/01/2022)

I’m not sure if anyone besides me cares about it, but I haven’t posted a chapter of my ongoing novel for two weeks. Although I’ve already forgotten the details of that first week, the week that just ended was hellish due to work: I spent the first half of every morning on phone duty (and by far, the worst part of my job as an IT guy at a big hospital complex is dealing with human beings), and the remaining half rushing to solve weird issues. Last Wednesday I got so stressed that if extreme anxiety was an immediate trigger for my heart issues (atrial fibrillation), by mid-morning I would have had to endure a new episode. It didn’t happen, though, which saved me from another trip to the ER.

Three of those workdays, after I got home and ate, I was forced to take a nap so I wouldn’t waste the rest of the afternoon fighting sleepiness. It’s a good thing that I lack a social life; back when I had to maintain a romantic relationship and a job at the same time, not only I passed out twice at my then girlfriend’s place, but I also came to resent how exhausted her need to meet nearly every day made me. I can only consider this job tolerable because I leave the office at three in the afternoon (but I work some Saturdays, including this week), and because I’m not forced to interact with other human beings in my spare time.

Regarding my then girlfriend, the relationship was already doomed at that point. I think I only ever dated because I thought I was supposed to; I’ve never gotten enough out of intimate relationship as I assume normal people do, and sex didn’t feel that great, maybe because I wasn’t particularly attracted to the ones I could get. Thank the heavens for virtual reality and my right hand. I’m guessing most men are driven to pursue women because their balls are full. Once that’s taken care of, I just want peace and quiet.

Anyway, even after I woke up from the naps last week, I barely managed to write a few sentences. I figured that once the weekend came I would be able to push out the current chapter, which at that point felt cursed. However, when I woke up at nine in the morning on this Saturday, I realized that I simply didn’t feel like writing. My subconscious hadn’t produced any new notes for a while, which means that the core of my being was currently disengaged from the material.

I have always had a terrible time trying to focus on anything I honestly couldn’t care about; back in high school I did terribly not only because I was surrounded by savages, but because the material felt pointless to my goal of either programming or writing for a living. During my first few jobs, the tasks they assigned to me felt so boring and pointless that I knew I was wasting my life there. The whole time I was aching to sneak in as much writing time as I could to assuage my despair (which is in part how the whole deal of my current protagonist, Leire, came to be; I’m quite sure that there’s a Japanese verb that means both “to write” and “to jerk off”, which psychologically for me serves a similar purpose).

The way my brain works, I have to take advantage of what little free time I have to write as much as possible, because soon enough I’ll find myself in a blizzard in which I will feel unable to move or see anything beyond a few feet in front of me. During such periods I can do nothing but wait until the weather clears up. The circuits in my brain that produce meaning are faulty and unreliable, and of course this universe is meaningless beyond what the brains of living beings assign to certain stuff. During this last week and a half or so, it wasn’t only the act of writing that felt pointless; as I tried to fill my free time with board games, books, mangas or other interests that have satisfied me in the past, nothing felt worth the effort, so I spent most of last week at home in a catatonic state while my brain felt filled with lead. I still haven’t recovered fully; it’s taking me a lot to put my thoughts down, and I doubt I’m doing it coherently enough.

A bottomless hunger in me drives me to write every day, or else I’ll have to deal with a growing despair that may eventually kill me. This strange, somewhat demonic creative force gets bored or distracted from time to time, sometimes for a few days, weeks or even months, and abandons an obsession to sink its claws into something else. It did it again during these past two weeks: I suddenly felt an urge to get back into the COIN series of games, order the Tru’ng bot for the “Fire in the Lake” game and play it for four or five hours-long sessions on the Vassal engine.

I also got interested in Android Netrunner again, one of the most intriguing Living Card Games I have come across, but that I couldn’t play because it’s a player-versus-player game that uses hidden information and bluffing as some of its most notorious mechanics, so the game can’t be played solo. It had also been discontinued by its company despite having a loyal audience, but I was stunned to find out that a group of fans had rebranded the game, produced whole new series of cards and improved past ones while learning from the mistakes that the original company made. This rebranded version is called Nisei (this is its official page), it’s supported in the netrunnerdb page for reliable deckbuilding, and the cards can be printed for relatively cheap at a couple of partnered companies. More importantly, some hero has programmed a browser app that allows anyone to play the game against an AI opponent using the main sets of new cards: here’s the site.

I could feel my hunger wanting to sink its claws into this new subject to turn it into an obsession. How about I get back into programming and implement bots for one of my favorite games, maybe one of the COIN ones, which should be video games in the first place? Or surely I could design my own deckbuilding card game and implement it digitally. I wouldn’t even need to commission the artwork now that I can exploit an AI to produce the images, and the license states that you are free to use the generated images for commercial purposes.

However, I stopped myself. I know what awaits me further down that path: programming has never fulfilled me enough, not remotely to the extent that writing does. I’d start a new programming project only to abandon it halfway through as if I had never bothered to start it. So instead I forced myself to focus on progressing through the draft of the current chapter. Thankfully, I finished it; the chapter is now at that state in which I would consider it good enough for publication, but as usual I’ll subject it to another creative pass line by line, which will take a couple of days. The events and interactions depicted in this chapter aren’t particularly hard to handle (nor that compelling, to be honest). I fear that my difficulties with it stem from the fact that I may be sliding down into another depression, even though the previous one ended three or so weeks ago.

Unexpectedly, last Thursday I received the best news in a good while. When they hired me for my current contract, I was told that it would last until October, and possibly until November if they could work something out. However, the big boss of my department called me in and told me that they had failed to mention that my current contract actually ends this Sunday (I work on Saturday), because they guy I’m covering for, who has been relieved of his tasks for an special project, has three weeks of holiday, so I can’t legally cover his schedule in the meantime. That means that I have three weeks of (unpaid) holiday as well.

That will be the first time in my adult life in which during a period of unemployment I won’t be either trying to get hired or waiting for my place of employment to call me and offer a new contract. However, I’m not guaranteed to be offered the next contract that will last until October or November; they will use the public rankings for that, which change from time to time. Some kid who just got his degree but knows how to speak Basque may rank higher than me; the regional government grants 18 points to people who can speak Basque, while I have only accrued about 3 points due to professional experience after the three or so years I’ve spent working here. We don’t even need to speak Basque at work, it’s a political matter.

The next day, my direct boss called me into his office. He told me that he wasn’t aware that I wouldn’t be working here for those three weeks in August, that he was counting on me, and asked for my permission to figure out how to secure a contract that would keep me here for those weeks. Fuck no. Emotional manipulation doesn’t work on me; these people don’t even know me, they have only interacted with the mask I’m forced to wear to survive in society. If they knew my true self, most of them would be horrified. It’s almost insulting to expect me to be grateful that I would have been “rescued” from three weeks of holiday because I would be paid in return, when my coworkers have spent the past two months counting the days until they could finally escape from this office.

I may take a trip somewhere for a few days. Apart from that, I intend to spend a whole day or two in Donostia (I live thirty kilometers away, and I also go there 5 to 6 days a week for work) to research specific locations where Leire and Jacqueline will hang out soon. Both of the novels that I have written in English (one ongoing) are set in cities or general areas that I’ve known personally; I think the farthest that my characters went was Asturias during a bittersweet sequence in my beloved previous novel (self-promotion!). Although I’ll have to study for an upcoming public examination during my holidays, I hope to cram as much writing time as possible. At this rate it will take me a whole year to write this cursed novel; I started it back in October of 2021.

Yesterday I got together with my family to celebrate my father’s birthday. He’s in his seventies. I wish I dared to avoid these reunions entirely, but I think some of my family members would go out of their way to annoy me even more in that case. I don’t have anything in common with my family beyond the genetic links. I barely got along with them before, but ever since my nephew was born five or six years ago, the experience has worsened. I can’t relate to that kid at all. I will never have children and I don’t want to deal with other people’s kids either. I can tell that the person I have to call my sister-in-law, with whom I’ve never talked more than a minute at time, resents that I refuse to accept the role of uncle. She’s also the passive-aggressive type; if I had ended up dating someone like her, let alone being married to one, I would have wanted to cut my balls off.

Anyway, we went to the Hondarribia marina for lunch (the restaurant visible to the right at this point of the linked video). Whenever I visit such places, I feel like a prisoner on a prison furlough (if that’s how they are called). The heated air of a sunny day, the smell of brine and sunscreen, the beautiful views that included attractive tourists in summer dresses… Such sensations nearly made me teary-eyed.

However, the older I get the worse my sensory issues become (mine, autism-related, have to do with noises), and as usual, human beings were the worst part of that experience. As if I didn’t find the conversation of my family members intolerable enough, other people decided to bring their screaming babies to the restaurant. I suppose they are entitled to. By the time I got back home, I was drained, crabby and sad. Fortunately I managed to finish the first draft of my current chapter by nine; by ten I need to go to bed, or else I won’t get the potential eight hours of sleep that I desperately need to avoid feeling like a zombie on Mondays.

Anyway, this whole load of pointlessness ended up longer than the chapter I’ve yet to post. I suppose that I needed to get my thoughts in order. I don’t know why you (yes, the nosy stranger who’s reading this) went through the trouble of taking time out of your day to get through this text, but I hope I didn’t waste your time as much as I’ve wasted my own this past couple of weeks.

Life update (07/08/2022)

I haven’t been able to write anything of value in days. I’d say that I haven’t had such a dry spell for a long time, but I barely remember what I did yesterday. When I get home from work I’m so exhausted and deflated that I can only slump in the chair and waste the rest of the afternoon in a vegetative state. Yesterday I went a bit further: I got in bed and fell asleep as I listened to storm sounds. I was glad to be gone at least for a while.

Half of the days that I’ve woken up at six in the morning recently I’ve regretted that I didn’t die in my sleep. Such is my mental state when I get to the office and I’m forced to deal with people and their computer problems. I’m sluggish, I have trouble thinking, and I can’t remotely begin to care about anything. I don’t know how people even approach me, because as I sit at my desk I’m burning in the black flame of my misery. As usual, the worst part of this job is dealing with human beings (it has always been the case in any setting I’ve been involved in), whether they are my coworkers or the generally clueless users.

The following are examples from a single day:

-Someone asked to get the professional version of Access installed in his computer, which is fine, but then he emailed me because the upgraded version of Excel (we install the whole upgraded Office package) no longer allowed him to do something it used to. He turned out to be the only person I’ve come across on this job that sets up Excel workbooks as data sources for his personal Excel projects at the office. I talked with HQ and it seems that this will fail with every upgraded version of Excel for all the regions of my country that HQ covers. I’m still dealing with reverting the upgrade so the guy can do what he used to, nevermind upgrading Access. I was tempted to tell him that if he’s using Excel in a way that nobody else is at work, then he should do it at home. In any case, his boss took the opportunity to ask me personally to upgrade Access in other computers (they know they should mail our office, and not individual workers, when making these requests), but then he gave me the names of computers that already have Access upgraded. I told him that if there’s any issue to call HQ so they open a ticket.

-A user stated something of the effect of, “our computer no longer opens [a program related to sterilization]”, but failed to mention any detail about the computer or its physical location. I emailed her for details. After she failed to reply, I ended up phoning her department until they located her. She gave me the computer’s name. The network connection for that computer was down, so I likely would have to check its physical connections. When I asked for its location, the woman told me that she had no time to handle my problem now, and that I should call some time later. That sentence took longer to say than what it would have taken her to share where in the hospital the computer is located. In the end one of the corresponding cables at the network rack was faulty.

-Someone told me that a vitals monitor was failing, but she also failed to tell me its physical location. It’s amazing how often we are assumed to be omniscient. I think some people just have a hard time understanding that we aren’t in their heads.

-Some request stated that “the Maintenance Department has finished the installation that should allow you to move the computer of X room at Y building”. Of course, I had no foreknowledge of this move, nor the specifics of what the Maintenance Department has done (which means I’ll have to waste time going there and getting the specific details that they should have provided). I email her asking if that X room is the origin or the destination of the move, or both (in case they want to move it from a table to another), and if the computer has already been moved (they know they have to call the department that handles moving installed material from one place to another; they get paid for that, we don’t). She tells me that the move is from a table in that room to another one in that same room. Later on her supervisor tells me that the move is from one room to another. They fail to mention if anyone has already moved the computer and its unmentioned associated devices (such as a phone, a printer, etc.) to its destination; my department is only supposed to handle hooking up the computer to the network and making sure it works properly when it’s already at the location. I expect that when I show up later today with a cart, they’ll tell me to come later, even though I will have arrived at the time they specified (they do this relatively often).

My basic psychological defenses, the “callus” that allows me to withstand the regular assaults of noise (usually in the form of incredibly annoying interactions between childish coworkers), the high light levels that people want to work under, and the closeness of so many humans, are worn down, and I force myself to resemble a functioning human being although in the background of my mind I keep hearing that I need to die. If there’s such a thing as a medical leave for mental illness, I should probably be on it, but in that case I would disappear from the office for weeks at a time every month and a half or so (maybe even more often). I’m simply not built to exist in such environments nor deal with human beings to this complexity of interactions and for the required length of time every day. I’m the kind of person who would have been posted at a lighthouse a couple hundred years ago. I also want to masturbate as I gaze into the eldritch light of some fancifully designed lens.

At times like this I wonder why on earth did I ever think that I was capable of handling the responsibilities of a normal adult when I’m 52 percent disabled according to our regional government, was diagnosed with so-called “high-functioning” autism (by a couple of psychiatrists that said that my autism was obvious, something that previous therapists missed completely) and I was also diagnosed at different times with avoidant personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (apparently OCPD and OCD are not the same thing), a generalized anxiety disorder and a clinical depression “resistant to treatment”.

My current period of cyclical depression has coincided with the confirmation that my heart has a physical problem, even though it may be among the mildest possible: atrial fibrillation. My health has failed me from birth: my first memory was of waking up from an operation in which they had to fix a couple of physical issues. Then in my twenties I discovered that I was born with a pituitary tumor which has fucked me up permanently, and throughout I’ve had to endure an Irritable Bowel Syndrome that only gets worse with age. You can usually tell who has serious IBS from their pictures, because those people look worn out and miserable, as it befits the human beings that a few times a day are a distraction and a loose sphincter away from shitting themselves. Now my fucking heart is compromised. I suspect I’ve been in shock, or affected somehow, ever since I spent hours at the Observation Unit of that Emergency Department. I’m waiting for the next time that my heart will fuck me over again, and unfortunately the two treatments I’ve been offered for it are troubling prospects.

I’m also in the kind of mood in which I’m eager to get rid of any person that annoys me even slightly, from online contacts that somehow have ended up in my friends lists on social sites, to coworkers that bother me unnecessarily or disturb my peace of mind in any way. There’s no point in compromising my mental health and principles except to the absolutely minimal extent required to keep a job. Anyone else can rightly fuck off, especially those who have made me up to be someone I’m not to fit a mental image of theirs. I’m sick of dealing with the delusional projections that human beings regularly force upon others. Just stare into a fucking mirror and leave me alone.

Life update (07/05/2022)

Lately I’ve been in a daze, trying to daydream my way through the workday, or at least operating as mechanically as possible, while I feel that nothing going on in this world has anything to do with me. I only look forward to the moment I’ll be able to sit down in front of my PC at home and continue working on my current novel, or else lose myself in another board gaming session.

I went to see a cardiologist due to my recent episode of atrial fibrillation. The guy seemed annoyed already, but he got even more testy when I merely informed him that the first instance in my whole life when I experienced these “heart hiccups” was the same day that I got my latest booster vaccine. He proceeded to assure me that the vaccine had nothing to do with it. When I looked up the matter a few days ago, I came across medical articles such as this one that state, “reported data shows a possible correlation between the Pfizer COVID vaccine and [atrial fibrillation]”. As small as it might be, it doesn’t invalidate the factual reality that I got my first instance of such issues after I got jabbed, as my fever was rising.

He told me that enduring through another episode of atrial fibrillation was a matter of when, not if, and the treatment would depend on their frequency. Apparently the treatment consists on either prescribing me flecainide to take it if the episode of atrial fibrillation lasts a few hours, or else I should undergo ablation. When the word ‘ablation’ came out of his mouth, the image of a clitoris popped up in my mind, and I couldn’t pay attention to the following sentences. According to the internet, the procedure consists of “[using] small burns or freezes to cause some scarring on the inside of the heart to help break up the electrical signals that cause irregular heartbeats.” Wonderful.

So it’s either heart surgery or taking flecainide, a drug that “[has a] chance that [it] may cause new or make worse existing heart rhythm problems when it is used. Since it has been shown to cause severe problems in some patients, it is only used to treat serious heart rhythm problems.” Another site states, “if you’ve had a heart attack within the past two years, flecainide may raise your risk of having another heart attack, which can be fatal. This drug should only be used if you have a life-threatening irregular heart rate.”

I don’t trust people in general, and I’ve already been treated as a guinea pig by smiling psychiatrists, one of whom prescribed me an anti-depressant that caused permanent physical scarring, and another one who prescribed me hypnotics for my terrible insomnia issues back then (which thankfully I’ve managed to regulate thanks to extreme exhaustion from work as well as regular masturbation), and who stated that I could keep taking the hypnotics for months or years (by the way, this video is the closest depiction I’ve found of how it feels to be drugged with that stuff); I ended up experiencing even worse depression, which felt like I was wading through mud every second, and lo and behold, the indications of the drug stated that it shouldn’t be used for more than a couple of weeks, because it could vastly worsen depression and other nasty stuff.

The reaction of such professionals to the notion of covid vaccines causing any health issues at all is just another case of normal people being terrified of social suicide and of potentially losing their jobs. That’s how the vast majority also fall in line with mass migrations that are ethnically cleansing the native populations, with the increased influence of certain religions, with the pronouns craze and such. Increasingly totalitarian regimes, as virtually all Western governments are becoming, work not only by directly punishing their citizens but by inducing in them such social pressure that they’ll eagerly police other citizens so they keep their mouths shut and agree with whatever insanity they otherwise reject in private. In my case, I already avoid human beings, so if someone stops interacting with me they are usually doing me a favor.

As a single, unattached man with a regular wage, I have some money to spare. I love living card games, and my favorite one so far is ‘Arkham Horror’. However, they revised the original living card game they made of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ back in 2012 or so. I bought the entire series of revised products, which consists on the revised core game, the ‘Dark of Mirkwood’ scenario, the four starter decks and the ‘Angmar Awakened’ hero expansion. So far I’ve only succeeded at one of the missions, the very first one of the core campaign, thanks to my custom decks ‘Monster Hunters of the Realm’ and ‘Scouts of Mirkwood’.

Right now I look forward to playing more of this living card game than of ‘Arkham Horror’, although part of it must be the novelty. I love, however, the art on these cards, the synergies that you can build with them and the sense of leading bands of fantasy peoples against a whole variety of monsters and treacheries. Although the ‘Lord of the Rings’ LCG has a simple Location system, with only one active location to explore at a time instead of a board made of cards as in ‘Arkham Horror’, I’ve always had the nagging feeling that the other game overcomplicated the matter. As usual, as much as I’ve loved videogames, few things beat entertainment-wise the tactile and brain-burning experience of having a well designed problem to solve with some fancy tools at my disposal. It’s to a certain extent how I feel about putting texts together, whether they are poems or scenes for an ongoing story, but in that case I use words instead of cards.

Otherwise, I’m at work and I wish I wasn’t. Having a job sucks, having to deal with people is harrowing, and I can’t rest nor be alone remotely as much as I need.

Life update (06/27/2022)

Last Wednesday I went through my first hours-long episode of atrial fibrillation, which confirmed that my heart has a physical issue. I already suspected it because I had been experiencing weird heart hiccups. I ended up lying in a bed of the Observation Unit at the local hospital for hours, and the episode of atrial fibrillation only passed because they gave me 300 mg of flecainide, an apparently hardcore medicine that comes with plenty of warnings against its use. That medicine made me unable to even sit down for the remainder of the day, unless I wanted to break in cold sweat and get dizzy and nauseous. It took two days to get the drug out of my system.

I didn’t go to work for those two days, but I intended to return the following week unless I endured through a new episode of atrial fibrillation, which would have suggested that my heart was in an even worse state than I suspected. The doctor and nurses that attended me told me that I should monitor my heart rate in my spare time with a pulse oximeter, which I have access to because my mother was a nurse. I have a scheduled visit with a cardiologist in August, but apart from that, they told me that if another episode of atrial fibrillation starts, I should leave whatever I’m doing and go immediately to the nearest Emergency Department to get an ECG and possibly take some medicine. The related information I’ve found online is confusing and often contradictory, but in general people who suffer through atrial fibrillation are much more likely to suffer terrible issues such as ischemic strokes and other conditions caused by irregular blood flow or clots to vital organs.

This Sunday I woke up, prepared myself a cup of coffee and monitored my heart rate. It was in the mid 40s, the lowest I had ever noticed it. I walked around for a bit and it increased to the high 50s and low 60s, but it quickly fell to the 40s again. My heart still felt (and still does) sore, weird and weak in general. The doctor had told me I should monitor my heart rate, and this seemed like a bad sign, so I called to ask what I should do. They told me to visit the Emergency Department and get an ECG, at least to record that my heart rate had gotten that low, in case that factors in when I visit the cardiologist. After I lay on a different bed of the Observation Unit for half an hour, an attractive doctor in her early twenties told me that I shouldn’t worry about such a low heart rate, only if it fails to go up after some movement. She suggested that I have an athlete’s heart because I walk around quite a bit in the hospital complex where I work, and because I’ve lifted weights semi-regularly for years. I doubt that anyone who looks at me would seriously think that I’m an athlete of any sort.

Also, getting touched by the warm hands of attractive young women made me face that although I can’t stand to be around human beings for long, I do need to get touched. If I wasn’t so ashamed of my penis, I may consider visiting some professional.

As a somewhat random comment, suffering through a physical heart issue reminded me of Hisao Nakai from my favorite visual novel/dating sim ‘Katawa Shoujo’ (an obscure reference). I could swear that I played the game back in 2008, but the information I’ve found suggests it was released in 2012. Anyway, its protagonist suffers a heart attack in the very first scene, then he gets diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia and congenital heart muscle deficiency. He ends up getting sent to a private school for disabled students in which he may get to befriend, romance and possibly frick some peculiar, pained students who endure their own unfair disabilities. The director of this game suffered from the same heart issues, and he ended up passing away due to them a couple of years ago.

Back when I was lying in bed at the Observation Unit, I asked every professional who treated me if the stress I have to deal with on a regular basis contributed to this sudden health issue. They told me that atrial fibrillation is purely a physical matter, unrelated to stress. However, those professionals (all of them suspiciously young) were either ignorant or bold-faced liars, because every article I come across online states the opposite. For example, the following article says that stress and mental health issues may cause atrial fibrillation symptoms to worsen, and it adds that “there is a complex relationship between atrial fibrillation and anxiety and depression. Some research shows that people with atrial fibrillation may be more affected by depression and anxiety.”

I was born with high-functioning autism (formerly Asperger’s), dealing with increasing anxiety is a constant struggle from the moment I leave the safety of a locked room in which I’m alone, and I endure through cycles of a depression that a former psychiatrist diagnosed as “resistant to treatment”. Obviously I’m fucked. I have to assume that heart failure or a serious stroke is on the horizon for me. I don’t think I will go through the pain of trying to find another job that I can tolerate better. I am too old for that already, and although my current job as a computer technician at a hospital only keeps me employed for eight or so months out of a year, it’s still the most reliable job I’ve ever had. Previously I was a programmer; when I managed to get hired, half of the time I worked as an unpaid intern, and exploited as such.

These last four days I’ve rested as much as I could. Instead of writing as feverishly as I used to, I played a couple of sessions of my favorite card/board game of all time: ‘Arkham Horror’. I’m halfway through the ‘Edge of the Earth’ campaign with my personal decks for Zoey Samaras (who’s an OP beast with the Cyclopean Hammer; I suspect it’ll get tabooed at some point), Monterey Jack and my beloved Jacqueline Fine (unrelated), whose ability to manipulate the Chaos Bag makes for a very peculiar playstyle. I’m already playing with premium tokens from BuyTheSameToken (I had to pay sixty-five or so euros just to import them from the UK, though), and I’m waiting to receive in the mail additional 3D-printed stuff such as this fantastic deck/discard holder combo.

In general, movies and shows fail to grab my attention enough (in part because I can’t connect with people); I have very little patience with books and I bail on them if they annoy me, which happens more often than not; and videogames these days are almost fraudulent, or the dreaded FOMO causes me to wait until some vital updates/mods come out. I’m waiting for the Elder Scrolls mod to come out for ‘Crusader Kings 3’, and I’m also waiting for ‘Victoria 3’, the Steam version of ‘Dwarf Fortress’, and ‘Starfield’ to be released. Board games give me a tight, tense two-to-three hours of gameplay, which can go up to four in the case of ‘Arkham Horror’, then I can shelve them for another day.

Anyway, I’m trying to get back into writing my current novel. Plenty of increasingly deranged stuff to come as we head into what will pass for a traditional third act in this tale. I’ll also try not to die, at least until I finish what I must.