THE BLOG
14/09/2015 07:14 BST | Updated 11/09/2016 06:12 BST

R&R on the King's Road, Spectre of a Glorious Summer

You'd think a fiftysomething Asperger would be the worst possible choice for a job like this; but over the last seven years I've found that, autism or not, my late father's public speaking ability has been downloaded directly into me - I can socialize, cope with travel and talk to an audience at the drop of a hat - and I understand how the neuro-typical world works.

"...You should take some time to yourself and do some stuff you've been meaning to do ... you've earned a bit of R&R."

Typical.

Whenever Jim, my consultant at the National Autistic Society Scotland, says something like that to me, I just know something like this is going to happen.

And that's why, with a Nissan Micra rather than an Aston Martin, I make my way to Edinburgh Airport and thence to Chelsea's King's Road. Ostensibly taking some overdue holiday. In actuality attending an entertaining evening in a basement venue watching Alexander Bermange and his West End friends perform; and despite my social ineptitude, networking and making connections to help get the musical version of Dear Miss Landau off the ground.

You'd think a fiftysomething Asperger would be the worst possible choice for a job like this; but over the last seven years I've found that, autism or not, my late father's public speaking ability has been downloaded directly into me - I can socialize, cope with travel and talk to an audience at the drop of a hat - and I understand how the neuro-typical world works. Contacts are everything. Autism really is quite a broad spectrum disorder, and it's amazing what some of us can do.

And despite the supposed weight of my years, I carry another advantage: the so-called "Peter Pan" gene. More precisely, the lack of a couple of gene sequences and longer-than-average telomeres (characteristics quite a few Autists have) which mean that I literally don't age as quickly as my neuro-typical peers. That I can stroll along the King's Road thirty years later than I might otherwise have done without a single strand of grey in my hair, without (as Rod Liddle recently said in The Sunday Times) "the wrinkles, the jowls, the burgeoning decrepitude, and the sad stench of decay."

For that, I am relieved and grateful. For while I'll always have to nurse along part of my brain whose information processing abilities will be forever pathetic, worry how to keep an eye on the traffic while I guide the Micra through a roundabout (it's not quite as bad for me as that little joust Luke Skywalker had above the Death Star a long time ago in the faraway year of 1977, but it's not good) and anxiously sweat it out wondering how to make my way to the long-stay car park despite the confusing maze of daggers I see before me; it's also as if I, the impetuous youth, can walk through time's door and know that what should be my winter of growing discontent is instead made glorious summer. That though I was a grown and adult male in 1985, I can look upon the mod and stylish streets of a mega-city in the science-fictiony (to me) year of 2015, and still be part of it.

And if all the world truly is a stage, live to see my tale told upon it.

James Christie is the author of Dear Miss Landau. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of autism, at the age of 37 in 2002. He lives in the Scottish Borders.

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