Life update (10/11/2022)

This Monday, shortly after I sat at my desk in the office, someone mentioned that the brother of one of our coworkers had died. Two days ago, the aforementioned brother had gone to sleep and never woke up again. We are talking about a twenty-two-year-old kid in peak physical condition. He had gone through the youth program at Donostia’s football team, and he was currently residing in Pamplona. Sudden death, no warning of any kind.

The coworker in question was due to start a new contract on Monday. Nobody expected him to come, but he did. He went straight to our director and told him in person that he was sorry, but he was going to abandon the contract, because his brother had just died. Our boss looked like he was sorry himself that in some way he had forced the guy to come, and assured him that legally he wasn’t in any trouble, because he hadn’t signed anything yet. I got a glimpse of the shock in the kid’s face.

My on-and-off coworker is a guy in his early twenties. Good-looking, whitens his teeth although it’s rare for anyone in this part of the world to do it. He’s someone who instead of fucking around when he didn’t have any task assigned, he put together very professional-looking manuals about everything he had learned. He was always cheerful, which annoyed me at times, particularly when we ended up working some afternoon shifts together; forcing myself to talk and not look as miserable as I usually am takes me a lot of energy.

He had mentioned his brother before, in the kind of way that a proud sibling does it when he’s eager to share the other’s achievements. His brother’s death has ended up in the papers. I don’t feel comfortable sharing the links here, though. This young coworker was also present the couple of times we mentioned casually that the sudden deaths of very young athletes worldwide (or at least in the Western world) had multiplied in the last few years. Of course that’s eerier for me, given that I have a heart condition caused by the measures taken against a certain biological weapon of unspecified origin.

A few hours after the young coworker left, some of my coworkers were already joking around, making cringey comments and having inane discussions; the same garbage that kills my brain cells on a regular basis. That afternoon I got home, finished writing the latest chapter of my ongoing novel, listened to cool music through my expensive headphones, masturbated to the usual filth, and went to bed. Before I fell asleep, I daydreamed of Punpun and Aiko having a good time.

Work has gotten harder. Two of my three bosses are on holiday, one of the pros is down with covid, and two of the other pros won’t come for a couple of days, so I’ll likely end up getting most of the complicated stuff assigned to me. I’m also on phone duty. Everybody is annoyed, everyone wants their stuff solved immediately. “My mouse was moving jerkily earlier, it seems to be working fine now, but you should write in the ticket that they should fix this problem with the utmost urgency. Hur hur hur!”

Human beings are the most bothersome, irritating creatures on Earth apart from mosquitoes. I have no clue how you people stand each other.

Anyway, the first episode of the anime adaptation of Chainsaw Man, a grim, utterly bonkers manga, is already out! Mappa, the company in charge of the adaptation, has done very interesting stuff with it so far, and the CGI is better than I expected. Even if you don’t care about this story, or didn’t like the manga, you should check out the following awesome preview they made of it for the anime:

Life update (10/09/2022)

I had gotten into the groove of working throughout the week on a chapter and then posting it on the weekend, but that won’t happen this time; I wasted three afternoons due to extreme exhaustion, and each of those days I lay in bed for a couple of hours while listening to ASMR or music and pretending to be far away from my worries and responsibilities. The next chapter of my novel requires at least two more days.

This past week I was on phone duty, and I’m also on phone duty throughout the next. Terrible stuff for an autistic guy who’s as “introverted” as they come (I wish I could live alone in an island, but I need the internet and medicine. Also, I can’t afford it). On top of that, the person in charge of assigning tickets made it so tomorrow I’ll have to leave the office at about twelve in the morning and travel to another city, one I’ve never been in, to configure a fixed electrocardiograph machine so it connects to the WiFi. I’m not sure if I will be able to do it in one go.

There’s also the possibility that the person who assigned me the ticket mistook me for a coworker who has the same first and middle names. The person in charge of assigning the tickets might have sent me mistakenly to another city just because she couldn’t be arsed to read the last name of the worker she picked to fulfill the task (although they are very, very well aware of the fact that there are two people with same first and middle names in the office, not that it stops them from calling out in our direction using only our name, which causes us to have to clarify almost every day who they want to reach), but confirming that act of carelessness would anger me so much that it would likely ruin my morning. Still, it would save me from the trip, so I’ll have to ask.

Oh, how I hate my job. I can’t drop it, though. No other job has paid me that much and that regularly, and I’m too old to reinvent myself in that regard. However, I’m going to end up with a full head of white hair, if I don’t throw myself out of a window first.

As I was attempting to relax earlier, I came across another lovely video from a Westerner who spends his days walking around in Japan and recording it in 4K. I’ve watched his stuff for years. Videos such as this one (link), in which the guy strolls at night in a park/museum filled with changing lights, made me wish again that I could spend eternity as a ghost walking around in Japan. With my luck, though, ghosts likely don’t exist, and even if they did, I’d find myself trapped in whatever dingy apartment in which I killed myself (by the way, I wrote a full novel about a bored ghost woman! It’s pretty good, although it likely needs a revision).

Anyway, living in Japan must be pretty cool, at least for rich Japanese people. Check out more of the guy’s videos (here’s the link to his channel); an unsung hero, that one.

It’s ten at night and I’m going to bed because I’ll have to wake up at six in the morning. I’m like eighteen years old at the most in my mind, but my body only gets older. People have called me “sir” unironically for years. It’s no wonder I keep daydreaming of wealthy mommies saving me from this mundane hell.

Life update (10/06/2022)

This work week started with me being disturbed at seven in the morning, as I was trying to lose myself in the music that was playing through my headphones; a homeless-looking middle-aged man had gone out of his way to sit in front of me in a mostly empty train car and then reached over, attempting to touch me. I raised my voice at the prick to say something like, “hey, what the fuck are you doing?”, which attracted the attention of the only woman sitting nearby (who was so young that she may have been a high school student, but I can’t tell these days; many of the nurses I come across at work look like high school students).

The man babbled incoherently while staring at me as if I were about to punch him, which I would have loved to do, as I hate being touched in general, and in particular by random men. To be honest, I’d love to pummel into a paste plenty of people throughout any given week, but I don’t want to get arrested. In the end I just stood up and walked away. I sat at the other end of the train car. The woman must have become the next target of the guy, or she simply wasn’t comfortable, because she followed me and sat nearby. I did feel a bit better knowing that this (hot) young woman considered me a better option to sit next to than a rambling, homeless-looking man.

Ever since I bought these headphones, I’ve had a few cases of people trying to have a conversation with me or wanting to ask me for information while I’m wearing big headphones, often while being surrounded by people who are clearly not wearing headphones. Are people retarded? Do they enjoy going out of their way to inconvenience and bother strangers?

Regarding my current novel, for two days in a row I have sat in front of my notes for the next chapter, but I’ve been unable to write a single word. It’s not due to “writer’s block”, which I don’t believe exists (that supposed problem is about not knowing what to write, usually because of lack of planning or simply because nothing comes to you, which means that you shouldn’t be writing anyway). I’m simply too mentally drained from work.

Getting anything done in the afternoons after work is always a struggle, but these two weeks I’ll be lucky if I do anything productive, because I’m on phone duty. In our office you are only supposed to be on phone duty a week out of several, but they ended up exchanging my original schedule for that of one of my coworkers, because he’ll have to drive around the province to solve thorny issues, and I don’t have a car (nor can/should drive because of my neurological problems).

Our province has announced the next round of “vaccine boosting”. Mostly pensioners are lining up to get jabbed, which will possibly boost their defenses against the biological weapon, and potentially cause them other permanent issues, including death (the latest booster gave me atrial fibrillation, a permanent heart issue). In any case, our hospital complex is the HQ that is supposed to handle the computer problems of way smaller clinics located in a twenty or so kilometer radius. That’s a terrible idea, because every clinic should have at least one or two technicians of their own; the doctors and nurses who work in clinics complain constantly about that, as if we could do anything about it.

Although our bosses had been informed beforehand about which towns were going to open vaccination centers, in order to set up their systems, these past couple of days we’ve received frantic calls from random clinics where the nurses can’t figure out how to organize themselves or use the computers they’ve found in storage to open their vaccination centers, which nobody had informed that were going to be opened. When we told them to talk to their supervisors so they would contact with our bosses (so they would explain, to begin with, why the hell they hadn’t informed that a vaccination center would open in their clinic), a few of those nurses told me that they didn’t know who was in charge.

Do you have any clue how hard/maddeningly absurd it is to have to solve the computer issues of PCs you can’t connect to remotely? Those vaccination centers mostly use laptops, and they call us to figure out how to connect to the WiFi through USB devices. They are usually given written/printed instructions, but they lose them, or simply refuse to read them. Some can’t seem to follow simple instructions.

We also receive calls from nurses and doctors who are trying to work remotely from home; just yesterday I got a call from someone who had been authorized to work from home, but “it doesn’t work”. As I was walking her through the process of entering her username and password, I ended up realizing that she wasn’t reading the couple of sentences that clearly explained that she had to mark the checkbox to accept the terms and conditions, or else it wouldn’t let her into the system. People blatantly refusing to read what’s on the screen even as they are trying to explain to you the problem they have encountered is a common issue; it’s like plenty of people are half-blind but refuse to admit it, or are simply that obscenely idiotic.

Apart from the constant annoyance of dealing with humans who want their problems to be solved right now, the act of interacting with people just squeezes my remaining energy, so I return home utterly drained. These past two days I had no choice but to give up on my attempts at writing. I got in bed, put my fancy headphones on, covered my head with the sheets, and allowed my brain to drift off into daydreams as I listened either to music or to ASMR. Lying in bed half-lost in elaborate hallucinations feels so good that I’m tempted to believe that those people sleep deprived for days in a row risk dying just because the process of existing in this world is unbearable unless you get those (hopefully) eight hours-long breaks in between.

Unfortunately, my regular dreams would likely count as nightmares for most people. I’ve forgotten the details of last night’s dream, but I know it involved walking around some ungraspable setting while trying to solve some problem under duress. I woke up exhausted, which is a wonderful way to start a workday.

Anyway, I’m at work, and I have written this shit between calls. I better get back to writing fiction soon; my psyche is a house of cards, and living vicariously through my fictional characters is the only thing that nowadays keeps it from collapsing.

Life update (09/29/2022)

I’m working afternoons this week. I suppose that people who have a social life, nevermind a family, hate working afternoons, but I’d rather always work such shifts; they allow me to write for a couple of hours first thing in the morning. Once I’ve already put in enough work to calm down whatever otherworldly demon forces me to create stuff, I can waste the rest of my energies and the afternoon at the office (until ten at night) in a sort of generally unproductive daze.

Anyway, somehow the subject came up that these last couple of months I’ve arrived late a few times, and my coworker (a kind woman with children who lives in my city) didn’t know why. I told her about the heart issues I developed (pretty sure I told her back in the day, but I guess she forgot) as well as my current knowledge about it after a visit to the cardiologist and a couple of blood tests: I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, and my left ventricle is considerably larger than normal, although without signs of myocarditis or pericarditis. Even my cholesterol levels are healty; I had suspected otherwise due to the amount of pastries I had eaten recently “for research.” The cardiologist believes that my enlarged ventricle is due to me lifting weights on-and-off since I was a teen. Who knows. I’m no athlete.

We talked for a bit about the enraging absurdity of medical professionals getting pissy about the link between these “booster vaccines”, or the original vaccines for that matter, and heart issues. There are articles online from societies of cardiologists worldwide that suggest an about four percent risk of atrial fibrillation with these jabs (among other things). My cardiologist got pissy when I stated the fact that I never experienced heart issues of any kind until the very same day I received the second “booster vaccine”: as I was building up a fever, I experienced palpitations, “heart hiccups,” that have remained to this day. Some of these professionals claim that there’s no data to support the link, then they don’t write down in the episodes the mentioned “circumstantial evidence” of the problems arising immediately after the vaccination. Very sinister shit.

One day a few months ago, as I was going through another one of my depressions (I had wished to die in my sleep that previous night, in a fucked up ritual I’ve gotten used to since I was much, much younger), and as I was wasting my morning at work, my heart went haywire with an arrhythmia that ended up landing me in the ER. They gave me some flecainide, a drug with a “black box warning” that suggests you can suffer heart attacks if you decide to take it regularly (which they suggested I did if I went through other episodes of atrial fibrillation). Fortunately, the medicine, apart from making me break in cold sweat the moment I ceased to be in a horizontal position, stopped my arrhythmia; they would have had to defibrillate me otherwise, which didn’t sound palatable.

That stuff may not sound like much to some people, but it was the worst health-related episode in my whole life so far (not counting self-destructive episodes). I’ve been paranoid about my heart failing ever since, because you are far more likely to suffer a stroke during an arrhythmia among other things, and I’ve changed how I approach stuff in my day to day: I no longer hurry to solve an issue at work, I’m far more careful when moving equipment, and I don’t want to get involved with the kind of coworkers that feed off conflict (which has made me stop talking to one of those people entirely).

The point of this entry, though, is that I ended up admitting to my coworker that I’m autistic; I was diagnosed with it in my mid-twenties, after a few other diagnoses. I have the now defunct variant of Asperger’s Syndrome (these days it’s simply considered high-functioning autism). I can’t think of any time that I haven’t regretted in one way or another admitting this autism of mine to people (online doesn’t matter, though, as for all I know, you people are imaginary); however, my life is a series of “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

My coworker reacted nonchalantly. I suspect she already knew. My brother happens to work in the same office, so maybe years ago he mentioned that his brother was autistic. I’m uncomfortable with the notion that people with whom I interact in person may treat me in strange ways because they know I’m autistic; my own parents, who are quite idiotic in general, ever since they found out that I was autistic, find it impossible to imagine that I would be able to figure out how to arrive at a destination by myself. Even after I send them a screenshot of the route and the image of the location from Google Maps, they still attempt to explain to me step by step how to get there. Again, idiots.

In any case, shortly after the chat with my coworker, a technician from a company that provides barcode scanners showed up, because some nurse had dropped the scanner to the floor of its operating room (happens relatively often), and something had ceased to work internally. I could open the machine and try to connect the cables properly (I did it once in the past), but these technicians get paid for it, so why would I bother?

Well, the reason why I would bother to deal with the barcode scanner’s internal cables myself is because otherwise I have to talk to a complete stranger, which involves me playing a role, behaving like a person completely unlike myself. After the person leaves, my skin crawls, and I feel disgusted for the basic dishonesty and degradation of having to pretend to be a complete stranger just to talk to another human being in person.

And why wouldn’t I act instinctually with humans? Because my natural reaction is to remain silent and stare blankly, and by that I mean literally uttering not a single word. I’ve had plenty of instances in the past in which someone caused trouble for me merely for the fact that I couldn’t figure out what words to come up with, usually because I was exhausted or in a bad mood. In other cases I refused to acknowledge those people, and they looked at me as if I was a ghost or Death itself. I have to walk through my decaying city at half past six in the morning five days a week, so I’ve had a few people try to get my attention. I just walk faster. Some guy working for the town hall attempted to stop me for some sort of quiz (judging by his clipboard), but I walked past without even looking at him. Behind me, the guy went, “hey, hey! Hello? Hello?! Hello!” Random people aren’t entitled to my attention.

But apart from random people and potential muggers, I recall an instance during the last time I considered that attending a writing course was a good idea: a refined-seeming woman in her early thirties, who was seated in front of me, turned around and asked me something. I don’t remember what. I merely stared at her blankly, and as my brain was working to string together a few words, the woman looked disturbed and said, “Sorry for bothering you, I didn’t mean anything by it.” Bitch, I’m retarded. Give me a fucking break. Anyway, she avoided me for the rest of the course, not that I wanted to interact with her or the other attendees anyway.

What l learned from writing courses is that most aspiring writers want to be Authors and Famous. They seek the status. They want the glitz of being present in writing-themed events. Or at least they want to meet new people. Most of them hadn’t even finished a short story in years. Many wanted to be convinced to write.

In the end I was even accused, or so I heard through the grapevine, of causing the stroke of an elderly “writing instructor” with plenty of books published. His course was fraudulent: every class was a guilt trip to get us to buy his books, and he admitted that he hadn’t read fiction in decades. To fill time, he told us to bring our own texts. It seems that my stuff disturbed him tremendously; for the last class of his I attended, he even refused to let me present more material. The texts I used to write back then were far milder than my current nonsense. Anyway, after that class, I simply quit, not only that course but the couple of others I was attending. I don’t think I’ll ever get together with writers again. They can keep sucking and licking each others’ dicks and vaginas.

Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, the notion of starting an interaction with another human being just doesn’t cross my mind. I’m receptive to others contacting me if they are interesting, but I simply lack the instinct for including people in my routines. I was the kind of child that walked around like a monk while holding a notebook, scribbling stuff, sometimes muttering to himself (I act out the scenes I write, at the very least with my facial expressions, and I rarely notice myself doing it, so I can’t write in public).

I never, ever went out of my way to make friends. Because teachers seem to be do-gooders with very little common sense, particularly those that tend to children, a few of them pushed me towards other kids, and even convinced them to call me so I would hang out with them after school. My mother’s whole intention was for me to “act normal and eventually it will become second nature” (fuck you, mom), so I was also pushed by them to hang out with randos.

That way I ended up meeting a malignant narcissist who attempted to ruin my life literally until he died in a car crash, a jock for whom bullying came naturally and innocently (he ended up becoming a soldier), coke addicts, a cat torturer, a run-of-the-mill sociopath, a pyromaniac who was also a compulsive thief (he wasn’t that bad of a guy, he just couldn’t help himself; he ended up OD-ing or killing himself), girls who wanted to feel like good people for helping a special needs kid but who were otherwise like “ew,” etc. Probably plenty of other people that I have forgotten.

I never felt like I belonged in any of those groups, because I didn’t. I was told a couple of times (in two different groups) that I was considered a sort of “corner plant.” I was there but I wasn’t. I spoke if others addressed me, but I didn’t contribute much of anything. I doubt most of them wanted me there. I recall an instance in which they passed me the controller to play GTA (the third one), and the people around me were amazed that I was able to play it properly. Of course I tried to date, mostly because I wanted to have sex, and it was a disaster. I also nearly got raped by some guy when I was fourteen, because I couldn’t tell that he only approached me for predatory purposes. Thankfully I knew the city, and he didn’t (it happened during some local festivities).

My longest romantic relationship only happened because I pushed myself to want and be something I didn’t and wasn’t. I’m not built to be anyone’s romantic partner. Paying attention to the other person felt like a chore. I recall that when we started dating, she was confused because I only wanted to meet like once a week, and it came as a shock to me that we were supposed not only to try to see each other almost every day, but keep texting each other or call each other throughout the day. Don’t other people have hobbies, interests, or even their own internal dialogues to tend to?

Regarding sex these days, VR porn is fantastic.

At times I’ve thought that if people were interesting enough, I’d care, but virtually nobody I have ever met seems as interesting as the stuff I can play out in my mind. As that Modest Mouse song put it, “I eat my own blood and get filled up.” It’s unfair for me to seek human relationships, because I’d only end up hurting those people. Spreading misery has always been one of my talents. In my circumstances, I would only consider getting a romantic partner because there’s no other reasonable way of having children, but I don’t want children in the first place (sorry, Ice Age spawns). But what kind of person who suffers from depression and autism (and OCD, etc.) would want to produce a new human being who would likely also be exposed to such torture? To me that seems like extreme cruelty.

My brain must be a mess of recursive wiring, given the amount of random nonsense that pops in and the daydreams into which it traps me. Those two fuel my writing, so that’s alright (although I shouldn’t handle heavy machinery, nor drive, nor hold babies for that matter). What isn’t fine is the daily bobbing in the maelström of thoughts and memories, usually the same ones, that force me to justify my existence, as well as face memories such as, “hey, remember that one time when you were eight years old and you wore mismatched sneakers, so other kids came to point at them and laugh?” (and that’s by far one of the mildest ones), a process that I can’t control in any way. Knowing that every new experience will end up processed into its more painful parts (usually getting rid of any good ones) with which my brain will bother me for the rest of my life has made me a let’s say cautious person.

Anyway, it’s half past seven in the afternoon and I feel as good as someone at work and who suffers from severe anxiety and a bad case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome can feel. The next chapter of my current novel is going just fine, my recent period of depression has ended, and my heart hasn’t exploded yet. See ya, fuckers.

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.