Monday, 23 May 2016


There's a big issue in life with being on time for things; as a species we are more dominated by time constraints than any of our fellow earth-inhabitants (Alice's White Rabbit aside!)

I would always prefer to sit around having arrived somewhere ridiculously early than to be caught in a situation where time is slipping away from me and I run the risk of being late. This doesn't always go to plan and I have friends who will happily speak of many times I have dashed into a restaurant/bar/party a lot later than I was supposed to arrive - inevitably with words spilling out my lips trying to explain the latest round of Helen vs the world. Truthfully I am just very bad at judging how long things will take; I can massively overestimate how long a journey may take me yet think drying my hair will take just a few minutes despite years of experience telling me it takes at least 10!

The understanding of the passage of time is something that can be linked to executive functioning - something that research tells us Autistic people can struggle with. I find my problems are not so much with the planning part of the process, as a former scientist I still have the numerical brain that makes all plans into Gantt charts and plots the most efficient path to completion of tasks. The trouble arises when the time I assign to each subtask is incorrect wildly knocking my plan out of sync! Even though this happens more often than I would like I still struggle to compensate and can't quite make myself change the next stage of plans quickly enough to gain back the time lost, although this is often because I have trimmed the plans to the point of not being able to loose anything - even if I'm running late for work I can't skip brushing my teeth or putting my shoes on! The few times I have tried to hasten my leaving the house I will find on my return that I have left lights on or my lunch is still sat in the fridge.

As we are forced into tighter and tighter schedules it's not surprising that more and more of my generation are eschewing 'going out' for nights in on out own terms. I feel I spend half my life trying to meet time constraints set for me: work deadlines, train departures, match KOs, assignment hand ins, even trying to remember to return phone calls at appropriate times for other people schedules!

Maybe as a society we need to slow down a bit and realise that not everyone can always keep up with the manic pace that is being demanded. Maybe we need to realise that each and every one of us is a human being who operates on their own processing speed and allow people just a bit of breathing space sometimes. Maybe one day we'll realise that we've made this world just a bit too hard for some people and have lost our way as a progressive society.


Maybe next time I come into London I won't be sat around in a reception for over an hour because I'm ridiculously early for an appointment!

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