Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

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Goodbye, Mrs. Jeppsen!

(The subject of this entry is an obscure in-joke/reference)

This morning, Stella and I both took a while to wake up; as a result, we missed the first two hours of church and didn't go till fast and testimony meeting.

Due to a good connection in Wilhelmsburg, we were there about ten minutes before Sunday School was over; there were already a few people standing outside in the hallway.

Brigitte told me that Brother Winterstein had shaved off his beard, and that Brother Warncke and Brother Back from the stake presidency were there—surely no coincidence? She also said that when she commented on his having cut off his beard, he replied, "Yes, just like fourteen years ago." While the number didn't ring a bell, I do know that he had been a bishop in this ward previously….

And indeed, that was the reason. The stake president release Bishop Gerulat after seven years of service and announced that Brother Winterstein had been selected as the new bishop and asked the members of the ward to sustain him by a show of hands. The bishop's counsellors were also released—but Bishop Winterstein chose to have those two brethren as counsellors as well, so they'll have been set apart along with him after church today. (Bishop Winterstein won't have to be ordained, though! Since he was already a bishop in the past. So he would only have been set apart as bishop of this ward.)

Incidentally, I found that I don't recognise Brother Winterstein without his beard—his face looks completely different, I thought. I'll have to get used to his new look.

After the announcement, it was time for Lasse Heyen to be blessed. Oliver and Brigitte had asked that I take notes of the blessing. Apparently, Brigitte thought I knew shorthand? Not such an irrational idea to have, though unfortunately a false one. So I tried to jot down key words at least, since even reducing words to a couple of initial letters, I couldn't follow along with everything. And it became increasingly difficult to understand the blessing since Lasse started crying part way through, and a bit later Amy joined in with little hoots and other sounds.

And I think that whole situation was what prompted a withdrawal.

Most commonly, I withdraw when I find myself in an awkward situation where I don't know how to behave; a good example is when someone tells an urban legend as true fact or a "faith-promoting rumour" as church doctrine, but I feel that it's inappropriate to stand up in the middle of a meeting and point this out, so I usually hum a little tune to myself to block out the outside world and retreat into myself for a couple of minutes.

This time, I think it was the fact that Lasse was crying and crying and Oliver kept talking and while he almost certainly felt sorry for his son, wanted to give him a decent blessing. But I didn't know how to handle that, and after he was done, I carefully turned over my sheet of paper and placed my pen on it and held it with the fingertips of my two hands. I probably sat like that for at least a quarter of an hour, just thinking, listening politely to what was going on around me but not "partaking" of it. Stella tried to put her arm around me—I guess she sensed that something was "wrong"—but I felt uncomfortable with physical contact.

This strange feeling lasted for quite a while; it's not even over now (thought I did feel prompted to hug Stella just now, after she asked me whether she was allowed to kiss me).

Brother Liebich gave me a clap on the shoulder, as is his wont, when he said goodbye; I retreated a step since that was physical contact I couldn't deal with at the moment. Poor chap, almost certainly doesn't know what he did "wrong", since I doubt people can tell when I'm in a mood like that if they don't know me.

I've also found that I can still talk when I'm in a mood like that, but I tend to enunciate much more clearly; endings that usually get slurred in conversational speech tend to come out with real vowels rather than syllabic consonants, and so on. On the other hand, my dynamic range is reduced: while I think I don't talk in a complete monotone, my voice is probably a lot more expressionless than usual. (But then, I think that in such situations, my feelings and my whole emotional side takes a back seat to things.) I think I might also be a bit more polite than usual.

It's partly also things such as those that make me wonder where on the autistic spectrum I fit in. Often, I can pass as neurotypical but occasionally, to a greater or lesser extent, I find I'm different, and pretending I'm NT would be a fiction even if I can't say exactly how I differ.

It'll probably pass. And maybe I could force it to pass more quickly by trying to act "normal", but I usually "wait it out".

And what's "normal", anyway? (This ties in to what Stella asked me on the way from church to the bus stop: she asked me whether there was something wrong me with. I answer Kind of, thought it depends on how you define "wrong"—after all, if this is part of my personality, then it's not "feeling bad" but just one of the common range of feelings or moods I display. I'm glad she's known me for long enough to know that I occasionally act "that way", and she respects that and attempts to accommodate that, for example, by trying to prevent Amy from touching me with her feet while she sat on Stella's lap next to me on the bus.)

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