mood enhancer

Salt is supposed to be a mood enhancer. Well, I’ve instinctively veered towards this feel-good drug since early childhood. OK, but I will not go into medical horrors or gastronomic travesties here. We’ll just discuss the joys of food, and the terrors of living with extreme opposites of humanity.

I cooked pork belly roast again today. And a whole bunch of kale. I needed the salty fatty pork and crunchy kale – badly. I am chuffed. The pork belly came out better than before. I marinaded it and left it overnight in a container in the fridge. Light soy sauce, a tinge of sesame oil, skin side up. This morning, before putting it into the oven, I poked little holes on the skin, using a fork, then smeared a mixture of organic apple cider vinegar and sesame oil over the skin and finally covered the skin with a layer of coarse sea salt. Baked 20 minutes (it is a small piece) at low heat, about 130 C. Removed the sea salt, smeared a bit more of the vinegar mix over the skin, and baked again for 10 minutes at high heat to crackle the skin. Voila! The kale was stir fried in a large wok with coconut oil and a sprinkling of chicken stock powder.

So, why the need for a mood enhancer?

The Extreme Neurotypical Bulldozer has overstepped yet another boundary. This time, a serious one. And this time, I stood firm. Shaking, but resolutely firm. He demanded, in his Amiable Bulldozer way, that I do a bank transfer of his rental deposit back to his account, even before he had left the house. He loomed stolidly at my bedroom door, booming down at me in his ‘friendly’ but overwhelmingly pushy way, insisting that it would be best for him that I do that. I acquiesced. Yup, I did. I caved in under the sheer weight of nausea and revulsion, triggered by the aura and smell of that person bearing down on my fragile senses. Thanks to my baby girl, however, I regained some semblance of sanity, when out walking her. I treasure our walks together. I hope she enjoys them too, though sometimes I know I am rather boring company. Walking with Lucy helps me to breathe deeper, stretch my limbs, clear my head and muse on things frivolous and important, and sometimes making valuable connections between the myriad threads inside my mind.

I realised that I have once again been badgered by that person into a vulnerable position – disadvantageous for me, but beneficial to him. Regardless of whether he planned to do me harm or was just acting out of selfish gain (usually the latter), this is not the way to operate. So, this morning, I told him I will not do the transfer as he wanted. I will return the full amount in cash, the moment he vacates the house. This is more than fair. In my last house share, the main tenant didn’t return my deposit until a week after I had left. I told him I’d like to do things the proper way. Well, suddenly, he became Mr. Unfriendly. I had just taken the delicious smelling pork roast out of the oven and was cutting out a piece for my lunch. He raised his voice at me, “So, you’re not going to do the bank transfer?” and I said, “No, I would like to do this properly. I will give you the cash when you leave.” He huffed loudly and stormed out of the kitchen, cursing under his breath and stomping into the backyard. My heart was beating at double rate, I looked down at my hands and they were shaking, they felt disembodied. But I was proud of myself. It was a good feeling. That at last, I had stood up for myself and done what is good for me, as well as what is proper and right.

So, no more Mr. Sociable Amiable Hey Ya Guy. But of course. What did I expect from this type of human? I have met and lived with many a specimen. One such specimen, almost a long lost twin of this one, claimed to be my best girl friend for almost three decades. She was a confusing tangle of amiability, caring and bullying. On one hand, she’d cook for me when I was unwell, but she’d also help herself to my personal things, and scold me roundly for making mountains out of molehills, if and when I protested. Needless to say, I was so glad when she exited my life. But it is difficult for an Aspie to deal with the Extreme Neurotypical. They can be very charming, and our Aspie protests are easily made into petty little hissy fits by their amiable jokes mocking our intensity. “Relax!” “Lighten up!” That’s always their jeering line. And other less extreme neurotypicals are swayed towards them. My so-called best gal pal even used to verbally abuse me when she was in the wrong – the turn-the-tables trick always worked, never failed to cow me.

But no more. Time to draw the line. I just wish the many “socialisation programmes” designed by “experts” would teach Aspie kids (and others with neurodiverse profiles) how to deal with this breed of neurotypical. Not all NTs are like them, I have many ordinary NT friends who are good people and would never dream of overstepping boundaries or disrespecting anyone’s personal space. The Extreme Neurotypical is the breed of NT who we need to study and learn how to navigate around and away from if necessary. They don’t teach us this enough. They should.

Better late than never, anyway. So this middle aged Aspie Bunny is learning at last. It’s all good. Skill to do comes from doing, so the grannies say. Practice makes perfect. Just like the pork belly roast. It does get better with time. And… There is always the police that one can call in a dire emergency. With the Extreme NT, I mean, not the pork belly. And I don’t think it will come to that anyway. So, for now, I can enjoy two more portions of that salty fatty roast pork belly! Hurrah for salt!

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