I Love You

First day back at work. Having used the summer to progress along the autism spectrum the prospect of returning to work was not exactly a Mexican wave. I struggled to find a coordinated outfit and left the house this morning looking like a dream-reader from Topanga valley. Not funny when you’re on the tube via London Bridge and class war has silently been declared. Suits versus non-suits.

My workplace, like many others, has gone through another restructuring over the quiet and disinterested summer months. Why waste a good Olympics while we’re distracted by a seduction with human excellence? Arriving at work was a bump. Red-faced ladies in the loos  trying to digest a new reality, propelled from institutionalized loyalty to an eye watering capacity for swearing and spitting. Ladies, I salute you. You are my tribe.

As I was tip toeing my way through the bodies of a public sector, I realise that it is exactly one year to the day that I started this blog. Last year I was put in a compulsory redundancy pool for the first time in my life. This was a shock because I didn’t see it coming, nor did I anticipate the impact it would have on my sense of self and belief in a benevolent universe. Having spent most of my adult life as a trade unionist  I had to take it on the chin that I still have a lot to learn.

Just as my thoughts started taking a bitter turn,  I see Dave walking towards me. Dave is an old beardy bloke scientist who stood up for me in my redundancy interview. This king amongst men effectively saved my job.   Despite my putting on quite a show, quoting Durkheim’s On Suicide turning the whole procedure into bad panto, he valued me and my work and persuaded an indifferent panel not to sack me.

As Dave walks towards me the world turns into a talcum powder Monet landscape. We are now in the corridor of love and I find myself mouthing the words “I love you”, with hand movements. I repeat, with hand movements. Thinking back a risky communication strategy because an attempt at creating a heart shape could oh so easily be confused with an internationally recognized bum related insult.

In that brilliant British way, his eyes rolled back into his head and he kept walking. Despite a momentary foot stumble which threatened to end in an embrace, we managed to retain our splendid isolation and carry on as if nothing had happened. But something did happen between me and Dave. He taught me that surviving work means letting other people stick up for us.

In these cautious weeks of returning to work you might like to have a Survivor’s Guide  with you. I wrote this guide for you, and you can send it to someone you love. Goodbye omnipotence, hello humanity.

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