Thursday, June 29, 2017

Latter day musings on being part of the community

I have always tried to be engaged in the community, even though this seems to be something that runs against the natural inclinations of an autistic person who finds engaging in social relationships somewhat difficult, but I have an over riding sense of moral responsibility, which I have to say I do not always enjoy.

After my mum died, I continued my involvement in those organisations and causes that were dear to her, albeit not everyone agreed that I should be her natural successor, and indeed I lacked many of the qualities she had.

Closer to home though, in my local area, I did engage very much with local health issues and tenancy issues, but over time I moved on to other things more related to autism, and I think that left a gap.

In my latter days I have become involved locally again, being chair of the allotment association, and also the local ward labour party, not because I particularly enjoy doing either, but because I could see that somebody needed to do these things as I don't think anybody ever comes to choice and most want to avoid the role.

There are aspects I enjoy, I did enjoy campaigning for Labour during the recent Mayoral, and General Elections, and yes there is comradeship amongst campaigners. The allotments are more difficult though, it has been very tough having chaired two very different committees and not necessarily sharing the opinions of those who are more eager to have a water supply at any cost than others. It is difficult being neutral and I can't say I have always been a success.

The worst of it all is that it takes up my time when I would rather be doing other things, and the same with the NAS, as although initially it was good to have an excuse to go down to London with someone else paying my train fare, it is not much fun now as I have never been very good at claiming my expenses and inevitably end up funding more of it myself than I need to because I do not have the MP's expertise in filling out claims forms and inventing expenses.

Another of my more recent involvements has been with the National Autism Project which was always going to be controversial, that has meant additional journeys down to London which for the record, I do not find travelling by Virgin Trains even when I reserve a seat, comfortable to do or without anxiety. It has not been plain sailing either, and it was touch and go whether all of us would remain on board for the Autism Dividend report, but we did, and perhaps the greatest personal highlight for me was speaking at a House of Lords reception, as the last speaker, after the Minister for Social Responsibility who was doing the usual politicking, and the challenge for me was remaining polite, but I did. Marcus my brother on seeing the pictures said I looked like Fidel Castro!

Well now the election is out of the way I hope I can spend a bit more time pushing that particular cause through my political networking.

Oh well Autscape creeping up on me, and this time I shall neither be staying on site or locally, I expect I shall be travelling down each day. It is also the first time ever when I made a proposal for a presentation that was turned down. Not that I mind too much, it will be a full schedule of presentations and it is less for me to worry about.