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I love my neighbourhood. I’ve lived here since coming to Sydney, with a brief 8 month interruption last year. The separation was traumatic, and both Lucy and I were so relieved and glad to be back. I am about to move on again, though, and I am very sad. Nobody likes change, but for the autistic person, change is a huge challenge. It isn’t that our minds are slower to process, or that we somehow lack the logical ability to grasp the inevitability of transformation, transfiguration and transmutation. In fact, quite the opposite. My mindscape is so inundated with a plethora of small bits of data gleaned from vibrant elemental interlocutions – patterns, shapes, sounds, smells, tastes, from the heartbeat and breath of cosmic life itself – that my cognizance needs peaceful anchorage, order and sympathetic familiarity. However, that is not a luxury that I am able to relish at this point. After the frenetic anxious flurry of the next one and a half months, as soon as my exhibition, Sonata in Z, is complete, I shall have to move on yet again.

I do not relish the change. I am growing weary and tired of the physical effort involved in moving house, of course, but more than that, I am sad to leave my little microcosmos. Yes, I shall miss my lovely neighbours – relationships founded upon daily doggy walks and brief salutations. Almost four years on, what began as mere phatic exchange has now slowly developed depth, and a genuine fondness has grown. The repetition and rhythm of my daily sameness has inexorably woven a rich and eclectic tapestry of gentle benevolence.

A few days ago, I stepped across the threshold of half a century… It was a day like any other. I do not enjoy birthday celebrations at all. Yet, it was a special day that created its own niche in my memory. The morning was spent in a flurry of frenetic sensory overloading shopping at Spotlight for fabric and wild dashes in and out of supermarkets for various foodly rations. My friend Rick kindly provided the hard labour (carrying shopping bags) and even paid for the taxi ride home, with pizza thrown in. Throbbing headache and exhaustion set in and I crashed into bed with my Angel Hound till late afternoon. We set off on our daily walk: same time, same route, and same friendly neighbours in their same old same old spots. A little surprise was in store, an interjection into the repetition: a box of chocolates and a very lovely birthday card for me!

In the evening, an old friend, also a former neighbour, dropped by briefly, bearing flowers and another birthday card. We were supposed to have dinner together and I had cooked burgers, but he was unable to stay after all. I do not mind last minute cancellations of plans – I do not have an issue with being left alone. I actually like aloneness, as I do not feel lonely at all. It was lovely just to see my friend for a few short moments. We are never short of hilarious laughter whenever we get together, us two.

Today, as I walked along and performed the regular rituals, I realised that it won’t be long before this comes to an end. And this little song from Sesame Street came wafting into my consciousness. Here is the clip from 1969, when I first began watching Sesame Street.


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