Life update (03/18/2023)

I have barely written anything this week; my old pal darkness itself has paid me a visit. When I wake up I want to go back to sleep. After I drag myself out of bed, I lack the energy and mental focus to do anything but vegetate around. Although I force myself to go outside for a walk and to read in some coffee shop, every sensation feels grating. I try to avoid landing my gaze on any human being. Both the present and future seem hopeless. I think often of how lovely it would be if I hadn’t been born. So in general, the usual stuff that goes on when I end up depressed again. The only thing that has made me feel better is lying on a massage mat with my eyes closed while listening to ASMR through my noise-cancelling headphones.

I’m sure that the lack of a new chapter of my ongoing novel will be a tragedy for the five people or so that follow it, probably for sick reasons. I’m writing the stuff that I need to write; it just happens that I may be the only person who actually wants to read such a story.

I have been unemployed since January, and living on unemployment benefits that will last for eight more months. Honestly, I hope I don’t get a job until then. For the last few years I have been working as an IT guy at a hospital. I hated that job, but I thought I could tolerate it, until I developed heart problems that get triggered by the stress I endure at the job. I have gone through two episodes of serious arrhythmia so far, and both landed me in the ER. Going back to work, possibly to any job, will initiate a countdown until the next time that my heart fails me again. I only work to earn money, of course; if I could get away with it, I would write for a living. In addition, having a job from now on not only will steal my time, my energy and my mental health, but it could also cause a stroke, an aneurysm or who knows what other nasty shit due to my heart issues.

On top of that, I was working regularly in that health organization because I was ranked first in the list of people to call when regular workers get sick or go on holiday. However, some political bullshit has given further importance to being able to speak Basque, the regional language, to the extent that I’m now ranked the eight. If I don’t get called for the upcoming holidays in a couple of weeks, I’m unlikely to get any contract at all for the foreseeable future. Very few people who aren’t native speakers of that horrid language (that was cobbled together artificially in the seventies, because different regions of the Basque Country could barely understand each other) can get the certification, and their horror stories involve ceasing to read or watch any movie/show in their spare time except in Basque. The instructors that teach the language in publically funded courses seem to always be political activists for whom the language is inextricably linked to fighting for the independence of this region, as well as communism.

In my case, reading and writing the stuff that I need to read and write is the only thing that has kept me alive so far; I didn’t see myself living past eighteen years old, and I would have spared myself tons of horrors if I hadn’t. In addition, I loathe that fucking language, Basque; as if I didn’t find it ugly and useless to begin with, I have many bad memories of random adults related to the school reprimanding me for speaking in Spanish during recess, or even when I was walking around town in my free time. Joke’s on them, though: about half of the time you hear anyone speak on the streets these days, you hear neither Spanish nor Basque. Well, joke’s on all of us for that.

In summary, I may need to figure out what to do to earn money. I doubt I can go back to programming; I haven’t learned any programming of note in years, and I’m far too old already (I’ll turn thirty-eight in a couple of weeks) for an industry that recycles young programmers because they accept terrible wages.

Other than that, I’m loving the manga series Dungeon Meshi, about a group of D&D-like folks delving into a dungeon partly to eat every monster they come across. Well-realized and flawed characters, the way seemingly only the Japanese know how to do it anymore. Here’s a video review by someone who does good job extolling the virtues of that story.

Anyway, back to the winter prediction: it’s going to be cold, it’s going to be grey, and it’s going to last you for the rest of your life.

Life update (02/11/2023)

A couple of days ago I had my yearly check up with my usual endocrinologist. Back in my mid-twenties, after my body started doing stuff that a man shouldn’t be able to, I got an MRI done. It discovered a pituitary tumor. I was likely born with it. In retrospect, it should have been discovered back when I was still a child; after all, gynecomastia isn’t something that just happens. If my parents hadn’t been generally neglectful, I would have been spared the permanent effects of becoming an adult in a boddy riddled with hormonal imbalances.

If you want to know how that’s like, I guess you can check out the videos of the adults that were put in feminizing/masculinizing hormone therapy back when they could barely understand what would be done to them or why, only to regret it later (and be censored for it). In my case, whatever defect in my DNA, or poison in my environment, created the tumor, was the one responsible for this alteration, which may be worse because I never consented to anything. In all cases mentioned, the person ends up fucked for life.

Obviously there are sex differences in brain anatomy (quick google: “On average, males and females showed greater volume in different areas of the cortex, the outer brain layer that controls thinking and voluntary movements. Females had greater volume in the prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, superior temporal cortex, lateral parietal cortex, and insula. Males, on average, had greater volume in the ventral temporal and occipital regions. Each of these regions is responsible for processing different types of information”), and due to my hormonal imbalances, my brain must be more female than the average guy’s. I guess that may explain in part why I feel comfortable writing female characters.

Anyway, my hormones have been under control for the last eleven years or so thanks to the medication I have to take two times a week. And ever since I’m producing healthy levels of testosterone, I want to fuck everything that moves and that may remotely be considered female (slight exaggeration).

Going back to the initial topic: I have no problem using public transport, but my elderly father offered to drive me to the hospital for my scheduled visit. I never got a driver’s license, and likely never will. Partly because I was born with so-called high-functioning autism; my mind makes me lose myself in daydreams in which I don’t recall entering, and when I “wake up” from them, I’m surprised that I didn’t fall through an open manhole or get hit by a car along the way. In addition, and worse, either I was born with or developed OCD (often comorbid with autism). This OCD of mine generates a myriad of intrusive thoughts, plenty of which involve violence either towards others or myself. If I were to drive a car, I would find myself having to drive out of my mind the urge to veer into oncoming traffic or drive straight into a wall.

I suppose that I’m something of a barely restrained public menace. Sometimes when I’m about to grab my coffee, my brain presents me with vivid sequences of me tipping the cup so that it spills the hot coffee all over my or someone else’s skin. Unfortunately that actually happened, although just once: as I was about to take my coffee from the counter, one of those intrusive “animations” came up, and next thing I knew, my thumb had slid in such a way that I ended up spilling the coffee all over a customer’s lap. He was surprisingly cool about it.

I’ve dropped valuable stuff that I was holding because my mind got filled with images of me dropping it. I’ve never held a baby because I don’t want to live with the consequences of possibly dropping them; back when I was a teenager, a cousin nearly booted me out from her apartment because I didn’t want to hold her spawn, and she stormed out offended while saying, “you better change your mind about that!”

I nearly bit off the nipple of a girlfriend of mine because at that very moment the enticing prospect flashed, vividly rendered, through my brain. I still remember the gasp she let out. I miss sucking on tits.

Of course, because I live in an increasingly chaotic Europe (it will last at the most one or two generations), whenever I go out I have to endure vivid sequences of me defending myself from attacks due to the proximity of some group of shady, malicious-looking, military-aged men from some remote shithole, and it doesn’t help that I’ve seen in person shit done by such men, have been harassed by some, and my apartment was nearly broken into in the middle of the day by, again, such people.

Anyway, I wouldn’t have been able to drive myself to the hospital. As my elderly father attempted to find a parking space, I told him, “you don’t need to park, I’ll just get out. And don’t wait for me, because afterwards I’ll walk somewhere to get a cup of coffee.” My father stopped the car almost immediately and let me out. He didn’t say anything. A couple of hours later, I was reading in a coffee shop when my father called. He asked where I was, because he didn’t see me leave the hospital. I reminded him that I had told him not to wait for me. He said that he had told me that when I left the doctor’s office, I should call him to pick me up. He hadn’t.

The situation with my father, as in general with the rest of my family, is more peculiar than that of most people’s families (and so is my own personal situation). My father was regularly beaten as a child to an extent that it gave him notorious brain damage. I’ve never had anything resembling a normal conversation with him. In his early seventies, he’s now a frail-looking, stooped old man whose head wobbles constantly like a bobblehead doll due to whatever damage was done back in the day. For most effects and purposes, I didn’t have a father figure growing up, resulting in all the damage that does to someone.

I thought about growing old. I’ll be thirty-eight in a couple of months. I’ve never felt older than eighteen or twenty. I’m appalled by how fast my body has broken down, including my heart ever since a certain jab.

I have never felt fully human, but the older I get, the less I want to interact with human beings in any capacity. Far more often than not, whenever I listen to other people’s opinions I’m disturbed by what comes out of their mouths, as well as their notions of what is good or preferable. A few times I thought I was fine with someone as a person, only for them to open up and for me to realize that I had only fabricated in my mind a version of this person, one that never existed. And due to autism plus OCD and the way they wired my brain, I simply don’t feel the need to be in the presence of other humans. In fact, doing so repels me: I feel like I’m surrounded by wild, barely predictable animals. Truly, if it wasn’t because I can’t afford it, and because I wouldn’t know how to organize myself to do so, I would live far, far away from civilization, or at least far enough where I would still have access to the internet.

Apparently a significant portion of the world’s population cannot generate images in their brains. I read that somewhere. My mind deals more in images than in words, and I’m constantly aware that language is a very imperfect tool to translate what pops in my mind as images. But due to the conditions I was born with, my mind is a regular whirlpool of images, mostly negative ones, many of them bad memories, that pop up without my control and that force me to deal with them. Two nights ago I barely slept three hours or so, and the rest of the time I kept swatting back the visual sequences that my brain kept presenting to me. For example, how many times do I have to picture the face of agony that my beloved first cat made when she was mortally wounded by a dog? How many times do I have to recall the moments in which I realized that a girlfriend of mine was cheating and was trying to get rid of me? How many times do I have to see the faces of children mocking me for one reason or another? Most of the memories aren’t traumatic per se, but they still leave a foul taste in my mouth.

I have to be careful with the experiences I expose myself to, because any new memory (and they are almost always bad; my brain seems very reluctant to retain positive memories) will visit me for years, possibly for the rest of my life, and I suppose there’s a point in any human in which he’ll have no choice but to go “fuck this” and jump off a bridge.

It’s not all bad regarding mental images, though; for years I’ve found solace in very elaborate daydreams that I can run whenever I want, and that rescue me from the harsh surroundings. One of them starts when three people from the future discover that they all came from an isolated group of Icelanders from the Middle Ages, who were about to starve from a little ice age. The future people, who researched time travel, rescue their ancestors and bring them to the Americas. They provide some future technology, artificial intelligence and such to give them a major edge, but they also give them the task of becoming the sentinels of the New World for when Europeans come and unwittingly kill most of the population through disease, and ruin the treasures of the past through Christianity. An elaborate fantasy that despite how much I’ve worked mentally on many of the characters, will never become a written story, because daydreams are terrible story material; stories are about tension and struggle (and usually end with a definite win or loss), daydreams are about winning as often as possible.

I can’t come up with a proper segue into the following topic, but the fact is that I feel like I’ve been dead for years and years, maybe since my early twenties. Ever since, I’ve slowly been erasing myself from the world. The way Patricia Highsmith put it (someone else who was autistic), the artistic life is a “long and lovely suicide.” You are mining from yourself raw material to construct valuable artifacts out of it, and you do so, if you are lucky, for as long as your body lasts, but someone who is interested in the world and in living doesn’t sit in front of a screen (or stand in front of a canvas) for hours upon hours to escape from reality. And there’s a good chance that giving in to the impulse to escape from reality through writing, painting, etc. actually prevents you from learning to cope or even appreciate the whole of reality. But fuck reality; it’s just an inferior version of whatever goes on in the mind anyway.

Life update (01/14/2023)

It’s a quarter to midnight over here and today I’ve gone through a surreal nightmare. Granted, most experiences feel like surreal nightmares when your neurological makeup is as screwed up as mine.

I woke up at seven to get on a taxi to get on a train straight to Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of Álava, a neighboring province, because I had to take a bullshit public exam that would determine if in three years or so, for a period of about eight months, they would keep calling me to work as an IT guy at some hospital (usually the main hospital at Donostia).

Whenever I travel somewhere new or that I don’t visit often, I love the sights on the way. There’s a curious mountain somewhere between my city and Vitoria-Gasteiz that looks like hundreds of meters of gray bones sticking out of the ground. The surroundings are flat, and the couple of neighboring towns look quiet and peaceful. I wonder how it would be like to live in such places.

There’s a sequence in my beloved previous novel, “My Own Desert Places”, when the main guy/girl and his/her love interest take a trip to Asturias. I wrote that sequence in a single Sunday (I have no clue how I managed to write so quickly back then; I wrote the novel in a couple of months). Along the way, the protagonist slowly loses her mind, with hilarious slash disturbing results. I felt pretty much the same on the way back home today, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, I reached Vitoria-Gasteiz, which is a pretty cool city. At least the architecture is intriguing, but my experience, as usual, went something like this: “What a nice and spacious avenue. But why is that retard blasting the morning news so loudly?” “What a picturesque little shop that sells antiques. Oh, that man just hacked up a phlegm and spat it onto the pavement.” “Look at that lovely, centuries-old plaza. But why do these people have to speak so loud?” In short, human beings are the worst part of every single fucking experience. Just imagine how lovely a sudden lack of human beings would be. Or at least if they had learned to keep quiet and reproduce responsibly along the way.

I ate a greasy combo plate at some restaurant that turned out to serve huge portions, but whose patrons were, expectedly, obnoxiously loud. I was seated next to a woman in maybe her mid to late thirties whose husband looked like he was in his late forties or early fifties. They had three young boys who wouldn’t stop annoying each other. The mother looked exasperated. At one point she leaned towards one of her boys and said something like, “do not snatch the toy out of my hand like that. Do you understand me? If you want it ask for it. Say, ‘can you please give me the toy?’ Do not forcefully grab it from my hand,” in a voice that sounded like she resented the kid. A bit later, the youngest of her crotch goblins started bawling. The mother went, “I wish I had come alone, that I had left you three at home so I could have a good time for a change,” or something to that effect. The husband wasn’t around to witness these interactions.

I will never become pregnant no matter what kind viscous experiment I may partake in, but if I were a woman, I think that one of my worst fears would be to have children only to years later resent having to spend my precious time dealing with them. I’ve been near a few women when they gave off that impression (another one I remember was a tired-looking woman in her thirties who was writing on a notebook at a coffee shop only for her son to topple her cup, then wander away non-chalantly as the mother was berating him. The woman then started crying softly), and it made me sad. I wanted to stand up and tell those women to shoot their kids in the face and then ride into the sunset with me. I would become their new son if they so pleased. I tend to fantasize about having sex with virtually every moderately attractive woman I come across.

I was dealing with acid reflux and lots of gas when five in the afternoon came around. I joined a few dozen people at some local college to subject myself to the harrowing experience of having to pass some bullshit exam. Turns out that whoever was in charge of choosing the questions for this exam was an idiot, incompetent, or both: about forty percent of the questions were only tangentially related to anything we do at work as IT guys for hospitals. For example, they asked shit like “what is the Spanish authority that provides guidelines to audit the security of information systems?” Bitch, we have nothing to do with network security nor audits. Those are engineers at a completely different job. I don’t recall even reading about most of that stuff in the books they told us to buy for this exam.

As if the infuriatingly ridiculous questions weren’t enough, the dickhead they put in charge of my classroom only informed us of the remaining time when there were only fifteen minutes left. I didn’t even have time to reread all the questions I had left unanswered. In all the other exams, the examiners started informing us of the remaining time with forty-five minutes left. This, along with the questions they chose for the exam, is the kind of shit that happens when both the jury and the examiners are chosen by lottery.

When I got out of that campus, it was dark outside. I was sure that I had flunked the exam. Seated at a coffee table in the mostly deserted train station, because I had to wait an hour until my train back home arrived, I felt utterly miserable. It’s not the kind of miserable that someone as broken as me felt back in the day; I’m fully aware that I’m not built for this world, that most of the sensory information it provides on a daily basis feels like nails on a chalkboard, and that I will never feel comfortable among human beings. I have long ceased to fight against any of that. I was just exhausted, defeated, and wanted to go home.

The ride was a blur of pitch-blackness outside, me wanting to have sex with the stylish fake blonde that was seated in front of me, and me wondering how such sexual encounter would work, given that I had spent the last hour and a half holding my farts.

When I got home at about eleven at night, I found out that I actually passed the exam. Barely. So instead of writing an utterly miserable entry, I’ve written this crap because I feel a bit better. Tomorrow I’ll go back to focusing on writing my novel, which is the only thing that truly matters in this world as far as I’m concerned, at least until I finish it and move on to the next thing.

Life update (01/10/2023)

Today I have travelled to the hills of Donostia for a cardiology appointment. I had sought a second opinion because the first doctor that treated me had performed an echocardiogram then failed to share the results (he was already ending the visit when I reminded him), had gotten annoyed at me when I told him the objective fact that I had never experienced heart issues until the very same day I received the latest “booster vaccine” (he told me, “[manufactured virus of unspecified origin] vaccines have nothing to do with heart issues, erase that from your mind”), and in general behaved like a prick.

This second doctor looked close to retirement, and was cold and abrasive. He simultaneously seemed to believe that patients shouldn’t research their symptoms on their own (“because Google mostly lies”) and that details about cardiological afflictions and their treatments should be common knowledge.

He told me that acid reflux likely triggered my latest episode of arrhythmia, that I possibly have some esophageal hernia too close to the left ventricle of my heart. It may be the reason why I felt like some pressure was coming up my esophagus, only to “inflate” in the general area of my heart, and then break out into an arrhythmia the moment the pressure deflated. However, he told me that I shouldn’t bother to get my esophagus looked at, because the treatment would be the same. Or some shit like that, I’m not sure on that point.

He clarified that I can lift weights, but not heavily (low weights, high repetitions), and that I should focus on cardio instead (I hate cardio). I also shouldn’t consume alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages or even too cold stuff (like ice cream) preferably ever again. I can’t think of anything that has kept me running as much as caffeine has for the last couple of decades, so I don’t know how I’ll handle that.

What infuriated me was the following (paraphrased) exchange:

Doctor: “When was the first time you experienced such issues with your heart?”
Jon: “Well, the last doctor who wanted an answer to that question got pissed at me when I told him, but here it goes: my heart was healthy until the day I received the latest “booster vaccine,” as I was burning up a fever, and I have experienced palpitations ever since.”
Doctor: “[Manufactured virus of unspecified origin] is known to damage the electrical functions of the heart, and therefore the vaccine does as well.”
Jon: “The other doctor told me that these vaccines are unrelated to heart issues.”
The doctor leaned forward.
Doctor: “That’s what they are saying because they don’t want to discourage people from getting it. But of course the vaccine can cause permanent heart damage, because the virus itself is known to attack such tissues. I have treated, for example, many young women that come from other doctors because they are experiencing what is called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS); other doctors have told them that it was anxiety related, but these women could tell that the only factor that changed in their lives was getting jabbed.”

I would like to put the following text in all caps, but it would look ugly as hell, so I’ll use italics instead:

Even though these vaccines don’t prevent contagion, don’t prevent transmission, don’t prevent mutation, that at the most (supposedly) they make the symptoms less severe, even groups that aren’t at risk (such as young people) have been mandated to receive them, despite the fact that a sizeable percentage of them will develop permanent health issues as a consequence, issues that could cause their deaths. In addition, some doctors, by lying about the dangers, are deliberately stealing their patients’ right to make an informed decision regarding whether or not they should get jabbed.

In case you didn’t know, Musk divulged emails from some big shot at Pfizer that used government channels to push for censorship of other doctors that stated that the index of mortality regarding this virus in young people was less than zero percent, and that therefore they shouldn’t get vaccinated. So many people’s heads should roll, but I’ll be extremely surprised if any of them end up defending themselves in a courtroom.

Anyway, my doctor emphasized that I should never get a [manufactured virus of unspecified origin] vaccine again. I suspect that the next time some people order us all into lockdown with whatever excuse, I’d need some signed exemption, or else I would likely lose my job.

This doctor prescribed me three different drugs: one to handle my acid reflux (that I should take every day before dinner), a beta blocker that is supposed to reduce blood pressure (and that could make me seriously dizzy on top of how out of it I generally am, partly thanks to the drug I take for my pituitary tumor), and flecainide in case I find myself out in the wild when the next arrhythmia hits. If my heart rhythm doesn’t revert in four hours after taking flecainide, I should visit the ER.

In the end, this new doctor was a bit of a prick, but an honest prick, and that’s the best kind. In addition, he didn’t fucking charge me for the visit.

I’m unemployed as of last Friday, and I have nothing going on until this Saturday, when I’ll have to travel to Vitoria-Gasteiz and pass some bullshit exam. Hopefully in the meantime I’ll manage to make enough progress with my novel.

Life update (01/07/2023)

My latest job contract has ended, so I’m currently unemployed. I always used to feel relief whenever I found myself jobless, because that meant spending far more time away from people, and conserving my energy to write. However, in three days I have a check up scheduled with a cardiologist (a new one, because I wanted a second opinion), and next saturday I will travel to Vitoria-Gasteiz on train for a public exam that I have been preparing (and dreading) for months, although in the end it will only determine for less than a year (whenever the results come into effect in this weird system they have set up) whether or not they will call me to work at some hospital as an IT guy.

Ten days from now I’ll have to visit my previous cardiologist for another check up; when I first met him, he got pissy when I told him the objective fact that I had never experienced heart issues until the very day I got the latest “booster vaccine” (I have experienced palpitations and weird electrical sensations since, which progressed into two episodes of atrial fibrillation that landed me in the ER). The guy told me that the [manufactured virus of unspecified origen] vaccines are unrelated to heart issues, even though journals of colleges of cardiology say otherwise. After he performed an echocardiogram on me, he was already ending the visit when I had to remind him that he hadn’t told me about the results. He said that my left ventricle was too big, and that I should never ever drink alcohol again (I don’t drink). I don’t trust the prick.

Yesterday I woke up exhausted and with a headache. By four in the afternoon I wanted to go to sleep, so I took a nap. I woke up at half past six. I wasted the rest of the day visiting shady websites to watch grim videos of pedestrians getting hit by vehicles (mostly in Russia, because they have cameras in their cars, and also because they’re nuts), and of other ghastly occurrences such as people getting electrocuted or getting involved in deadly firefights. Sometimes I become entranced by such moments in which, for example, a woman is absentmindedly crossing the train tracks, only to lift her gaze toward her impending death in the form of a rushing hunk of machinery: someone was living their normal life only to suddenly switch and become something else entirely, whether that means dead or crippled in some way for the rest of their lives.

I also watched a few videos of a paraplegic woman from Ontario who has to stimulate her sphincter digitally to poo, and who was so horrified by that propect that she convinced her mother to do it for her from her paralysis at thirteen years old until she moved out.

I have been using VR porn for a few years. Regarding masturbation, nothing so far has beat being able to choose the environment, the “doll,” what she’s wearing, how she sounds like, the pose, and the rhythm, etc. It tricks my mind so well that I have consistenly had better orgasms through VR porn than those I remember from having actual sex, with the added bonus that I don’t have to deal with a flesh-and-bone person. Last time, I loaded a room with a Christmas tree and jingles playing, to make it festive, and as the woman I chose a slim, doll-faced blonde who moaned in French. She mounted my avatar in cowgirl. After I came down from the blissful break from reality and I took my headset off carefully to avoid staining it with cum, I got reminded of the most recent reason why I chose that look for the doll.

Back in summer I visited Hendaye, a French commune within walking distance (I live in the border). It was the first time in my life that I walked around in that town, even though my parents used to drive through it every year to go to the beach. The experience was haunting, partly because it felt like I was traversing through memories, and because the layout of the town itself feels ancient and the town in general uninhabited.

Anyway, as I was approaching their local train station, I lifted my gaze and found myself staring back at a woman in her thirties, perhaps late thirties. She was blonde and slim, and wearing a modest summer dress. Beautiful pale gray eyes. She gave me the impression some women give off: as if yesterday they were in their late tens, only to blink and find themselves aged and not knowing how that happened. But what impacted me the most was that she looked sad, with the kind of haunted resignation that often yearns for an easy way out. The poor woman was likely wary of me, a 6’15 tall, bearded, broad, crazy-looking guy.

I’ll likely never see that woman again, not that it would particularly matter if I did. But the thing is: although VR porn takes care wonderfully of a man’s sexual urges, I still find myself going to sleep and having to run some elaborate scenario in my mind, complete with settings and clothing and dialogue, of me or an avatar getting to know some woman and ending up cuddling in bed with her. You can’t recreate hugs and cuddles through VR, I’m afraid. And it must be important to me, given that I regularly rely on such simulations just to fall asleep, and the protagonist of my current novel, Leire, got infatuated with her lover, Jacqueline (who’s also French, but that’s likely a coincidence), because the latter hugged and comforted the protagonist after she was found crying.

I was born with a very similar mind to that of writer Patricia Highsmith; after I read a single one of her books (I don’t recall which), it became obvious to me that she was autistic and likely had OCD as well. I went straight to reading a biography of hers (Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith, by an author who was clearly infatuated with her), which solidified my certainty. Patricia died before doctors were detecting most cases of autism, but a friend of hers diagnosed Patricia post-mortem as having had Asperger’s.

Famously, Patricia worked at a retail store for maybe a few weeks. One of her clients was a beautiful blonde with a regal demeanour. I doubt that Patricia talked to this woman more than once, but it was love (or more accurately, obsession) at first sight. She figured out where this lady lived, and without this woman’s knowledge, Patricia observed her from a distance. The woman was married and had kids. Years later, Patricia mentioned this woman as the love of her life, and even became the subject of her novel and later movie The Price of Salt (also named Carol). Autistic people, even more when they also have OCD as comorbidity, can build up in their minds such elaborate fantasies that they overwhelm reality to the extent that the person no longer sees any point in interacting with anyone or anything else.

I also have a savior complex of some kind. It’s part of why my mind tortures me with memories of girls I knew growing up and whose troubles I didn’t manage to fix (of a couple, I wonder if they are even alive), why my favorite manga is Asano’s Oyasumi Punpun, maybe also partly why I sometimes go down the rabbit hole of watching pedestrians getting obliterated by vehicles, and why the moment last night when I rested my head on a pillow and closed my eyes, I pictured myself walking around in Hendaye and coming across a softly crying blond, slim woman who told me about her woes and who then later sobbed in my arms, before inviting me to her apartment to give each other warmth under a blanket throughout the night.

Too bad I’m an old, crazy, dead-eyed loon.

Life update (12/21/2022)

I have returned to work after it took me a week and a half to recover from my latest episode of atrial fibrillation, which somehow made it difficult for me to breathe. I’m writing this at the office. I’m not well: I remain very tired, I’m dealing with a pretty overwhelming mind-fog, and I feel that at any moment, as if as switch had been flipped, I’ll suffer heart problems again. It’s just a matter of when. I’m probably in shock to whatever extent.

I have yet to start ordering my notes for the next chapter of my novel. The notes alone are 3,100 words long, which is bad enough: it’s taking me a week and a half to write two thousand words-long chapters due to the obsessively fastidious way I work. I haven’t touched the notes at all in the last couple of days, and I’m already feeling the psychological effects of wandering away from writing for about 48 hours; writing for me is psychological masturbation, necessary to release the build-up of tension and general insanity due to the way my fucked up neurological make-up works, and if I don’t release that tension daily to a certain extent, I feel like I’m rolling down the slope of despair towards obliteration. I’m an unhinged human being, barely able to keep it together on a day-to-day basis, unable to hold down any kind of complex relationship with any person, because I can barely deal with myself.

I spent plenty of hours yesterday, to distract myself from the general panic of knowing that I had to return to work today, playing Morrowind, a twenty-year-old game that remains the best Bethesda-y game (I don’t know what else to call the MorrowindSkyrim and Bethesda’s Fallout games’ genre) that has been made. The video game industry is in decline in general because of the same reasons that the movie industry is: they have become dominated by morons that are more interested in cult behavior than in creating good things. We can’t expect the next GTA to be good (the people responsible for those great titles, as well as Red Dead Redemption 2, have left the company), and Bethesda itself has a lot to prove with Starfield after their disastrous Fallout 76.

Anyway, an amazing team of modders have been working hard these last few years developing an engine from scratch that runs Morrowind using Bethesda’s assets. It’s called OpenMW. They have improved the original game in many ways, supporting “modern” capabilities such as normal mapping, shaders, etc., not to mention that the game is far more stable now. And fortunately they are now working in a way of de-hardcoding the original sound effects so modders can replace them with sensible ones. Here’s a video of the current state of their project:

I gathered about 400 mods for the game, following a Total Overhaul guide, and two days ago I started playing the game from zero. I used to love the game as a teen, although I understood little of it (I understood very little of anything as a teen, as I existed in a semi-constant state of psychosis); I only remembered hanging out in Seyda Neen, walking around Balmora, and getting pestered by cliff racers.

For one, cliff racers no longer assault you as if they were suffering from late-stage rabies; the mods have made it so that animals are trying to survive instead of attacking you for no reason. Through the experiences I had in the game during the hours I played these last couple of days, I got reminded of how much fun it can be to escape reality through one of these all-encompassing RPGs.

I played as Leire, the protagonist of my current novel; I pictured her getting sent to a fantasy world through some sort of isekai situation. Made her a mage with reality-altering abilities through Mysticism and Alteration, and enough skill to bonk people over the head with staves (a huge deal in Morrowind; your chance of hitting enemies in that game depends on your skill and how fatigued you are. It doesn’t matter if the 3D model of your weapon is passing through your enemy).

Anyway, the most interesting chain of events so far was exploring the outskirts of Seyda Neen and coming across a shipyard, where a shady Dunmer called me out from his hiding place and tried to convince me to drive the shipyard’s guard away so the Dunmer could threaten the owner of the place into selling it to a pawn of House Hlaalu. Typical Dunmer anti-occupation stuff; plenty of them are very rabid against Imperials. The Dunmer gave me a couple of scrolls that would make the guard invisible, silent, and pliable enough that he would follow me out of his post.

I was playing as a Breton, I’m generally on the Imperials’ side, and I dislike gray-skinned people, so instead of obeying the Dunmer, I talked with the owner, who hired me to guard the place. I told the other guard that I had seen a shady individual on the other side of the shipyard. When we walked over there, the Dunmer killed the guard, and I found myself having to flee from the guy while he kept calling me a racial slur. Fortunately I had come across a ring that shoots lightning; after about ten minutes of taking potshots at the Dunmer, he finally fell dead. I looted a nice glass dagger from him, and then I disposed of his body. The owner of the shipyard fired me because he no longer needed a guard.

My travels led me to Balmora. After I met a bare-chested skooma addict who enlisted me into his organization, I visited the nearby Imperial fort because some guy there was looking for me. Turns out they were having trouble rooting out corruption in the city because a local gang, called the Camonna Tong, were bribing the local governor to pardon all kinds of crimes. I visited the hangout of this gang to talk to them and figure out if they were that bad; they were very open about the fact that they intended to murder every foreigner in their sleep the moment the local Imperial governance seemed weak enough.

The Imperial officer wanted me to murder five of these gang members. A very tough job for an early-level character, made more difficult because those gang members never leave their hideout. But turns out that the Dunmer from the aforementioned shipyard-related misadventure never took back his scrolls. I used them to render a couple of those gang members silent, invisible and pliable. One by one, I drove them to the outskirts of Balmora, and on the deserted stretch of road between the city and Fort Moonmoth, a conjured ancestor ghost and I fought the two gang members to their demise. Don’t know how I’ll deal with the remaining three, though, now that I’m out of date-rape scrolls. I’ll probably have to figure out who can teach me the Command spell, then I’ll visit the local Mages Guild quarter to create three semi-equivalent scrolls.

Anyway, this afternoon after work I’ll focus on writing. It’s better to use unproductive stuff such as gaming as a reward for hard work, which is what I’ll do tonight for an hour and a half or so.

Life update (12/14/2022)

I’m on medical leave due to an episode of arrhythmia I endured last Friday. Here are the two entries I wrote on the subject: first onesecond one. After my first episode of atrial fibrillation, that happened back in June, I recovered in about three or four days. Today is my fifth, and I feel much more diminished than after the first episode: I have a throbbing headache, my neck hurts, the whole left side of my upper torso aches (I have intermittent chest pains since a certain injection gave me heart issues, but after the latest arrhythmia, it has spread to my back).

I stayed at home for four days to rest and recover. Yesterday I called our secretary at work to give her an update, and she pointed out that I was having trouble breathing. Because I hadn’t been talking before, I hadn’t noticed it, but yes, I kept having to stop mid-sentence to inhale enough air to continue.

My worry now is that I may have suffered a heart attack in addition to the arrhythmia, or that the arrhythmia may have been a result of the heart attack. I keep thinking back to that moment when I felt a pressure inflating in the left side of my chest, only to trigger an arrhythmia the moment the pressure lessened. I’m supposed to wait for my cardiologist to contact me (I didn’t like nor trust the guy, and I’m not confident that he may call me) to write down the details of this episode and figure out if he’ll need to prescribe me some chronic medication. Apparently a riskier treatment involves opening an artery in my thigh, travelling all the way up to my heart with some tube-like apparatus and burning the inner surface of my ventricle. I’d rather leave that as a last resort.

An hour an a half ago I went outside to take a walk and figure out if my body can take that (I don’t have a car, and merely getting to work involves walking up through the center of my city to the train station, then from the train station in Donostia to a bus station, then through the hospital complex until I reach my office). I took the opportunity to read more of Cormac McCarthy’s Stella Maris, the much lazier companion to his latest (probably last) novel The Passenger .

Anyway, I could hardly handle a thirty minutes long walk: my head throbbed harder, my lungs didn’t want to cooperate, the back pain spread to my right side, and my body in general felt heavier and sluggish. Not only I’m unlikely to return to work until next week (I don’t know if they’ll want to prolong my contract another week; that’s a different matter), but my body doesn’t seem willing to heal at the moment.

Thankfully, the only thing that truly matters to me besides distractions and passing joys, writing, has continued, despite much slower. If I end up in a wheelchair due to this bullshit, I’ll be fine as long as my brain and my fingers work. If I suffer a stroke during one of these episodes of atrial fibrillation, though, that would likely end up as a very different matter.

As a summary: I don’t have to go to work, which is great, but I’m fucked otherwise, which is bad.

In completely different news, who else has been looking forward to a new episode of Chainsaw Man every week? Apparently making paint versions of the opening has become a new internet activity. Here’s a meme-filled entry. Also, why not, here’s the clip of last week’s glorious massacre (warning: gory and possibly spoilers). EDIT: they deleted the video. Just watch the ninth episode.

Ended up in the hospital (as a patient), Pt. 2

At half past two in the afternoon of today, Friday, half an hour before my weekend started, I finished configuring a laptop to solve an issue at the warehouse of the operating rooms (I work at a hospital). As I was walking back to the office from the warehouse, I felt a hot snake crawling up my guts; a sensation different from the Irritable Bowel Syndrome that is one of the banes of my existence. When I sat at my desk, I felt a pressure in my chest like the beginning of a burp, or a bubble expanding. When the sensation of pressure subsided, my heart suddenly went haywire with the worst case of arrhythmia I’ve ever had, which I guess isn’t saying much because this is the second time my heart has betrayed me.

Back in June I posted an entry about the first time such a thing happened to me. I got diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, caused by a physical issue in my personal engine. Here’s the link to that entry. I bought a portable Wellue ECG Monitor, which allowed me to assuage my paranoia regarding how my heart was behaving on any given day. Today, as I realized that I was coming down with another arrhythmia, I relied on the ECG monitor, which showed me that I had a heart rate of about 200.

A kind coworker of mine, a woman who unfortunately shares her name with an ex of mine, accompanied me to the ER. They wheeled me to the Observation Unit, where I undressed, lay on a bed and allowed a bunch of nurses and a doctor to hook me up to a couple of monitors. The male nurse kept rubbing his crotch along my right arm; he may be partial to bearded, disheveled men who seem unhinged even before they open their mouths. Because the arrhythmia refused to let me be, they gave me a couple of pills of flecainide, 100 mgs less than what a different doctor prescribed the last time; the current doctor considered the previous dose too high. Flecainide is a drug with a black box label; apparently if you rely on it for chronic arrhythmia, it may give you a heart attack or possibly worse.

Here’s the photographic proof of this whole regrettable incident:

I have already forgotten plenty of details of this afternoon; I’m exhausted. However, as I was lying there waiting for the flecainide to take effect (when I closed my eyes, the light that slipped through my eyelids swirled from red to green to blue to pink and back to red), I thought to myself that maybe this was it: my heart is going to fail me worse and worse until one day I simply drop dead. Then again, so what? What I fear of dying is the agony. If this affliction killed me, what would I miss that truly matters? The only thing that has fulfilled me enough in the last few years has been writing, the single activity that has worked for me to cope with the general nightmare of existing as this creature I’m forced to be: a bundle of high-functioning autism, OCD, neglect, a body permanently wrecked by a pituitary tumor that didn’t get discovered until my mid-twenties, IBS, and so on. If I were dead, I wouldn’t need to cope with anything.

When my heart rate decreased, they wheeled me to the so-called Results Unit, where I was supposed to wait for the consequences of the drug they gave me. I waited there for about three hours. As I was monitoring my heart rate, which refused to calm itself, a guy in his mid-twenties kept infuriating the nurses by constantly muttering to himself, trying to get down from the bed although he couldn’t stand straight, and demanding to be guided to the bathroom, where the nurses would be forced to hold his dick as he pissed. The nurses wheeled him into the bathroom four times, and although they spent minutes with him inside, presumably holding his dick, he didn’t piss a single drop, a fact that they readily shared with the rest of the room. I personally would have loved to strangle that guy, if only because he was worsening my heart rate. He was clearly crazy, though; he seemed to be stuck in a mental loop.

What are the odds that just this morning (at the office) I wrote a review for McCarthy’s The Passenger (here’s the review, by the way), a story through which McCarthy contemplated his mortality, and that focused on a schizophrenic character, only to end up wasting my afternoon contemplating my own mortality and being forced to tolerate an insane guy who kept muttering to nobody? Who came up with this cosmic joke of a life? Because I ain’t laughing.

Anyway, four hours had passed but my arrhythmia persevered. The doctor seemed a bit worried. She decided that I would spend the night in the Observation Unit, and if my heart hadn’t returned to normal in the morning, they would consider nastier treatments. They shoved a stick down each of my nostrils to figure out if I’m also infected with covid, then they wheeled me back to the Results Unit. As I was waiting there, my heart returned to sinus rhythm as if a switch had been flipped. Who the fuck knows. My doctor told me to fuck off and go home, in nicer words.

So now I’m at home in my underwear, sitting at my desk and writing these words. The left side of my chest feels as if someone had punched me repeatedly. I don’t know what else to say in that regard.

I can’t properly explain the feeling I’ve been stuck with since last June, when my heart, an engine that is supposed to work tirelessly for the rest of my life, proved unreliable. At work, I no longer pursue any user when they don’t pick up the phone or answer the e-mails. When they fail to include necessary details in the tickets, which happens every day, instead of calling them, I write them an e-mail and shelve that task until they themselves show that they care enough about their own problems. I also avoid dealing with coworkers if they are the kind to annoy me or cause conflict to any extent, which has already resulted in a few ceasing to interact with me (it has been a blessing). In my spare time few things have changed, because I don’t have a social life and I haven’t lifted weights since spring. However, sometimes during masturbation, as my heart was going nuts with excitement, I wondered if I should take it easy. I’m unlikely to do so, though; I have very few things left that affect me positively.

Now what? Tomorrow, when I wake up at around ten in the morning, I’ll try to progress on the current chapter of my novel. In the afternoon I’ll go out and take a walk unless it rains too much. All I can do is hope that whenever I come down with the next episode of atrial fibrillation, it won’t catch me on the train, or sleeping (just in case I wake up to find out I have suffered a stroke due to an untreated arrhythmia). I’ll try to finish my current story before anything even worse happens.