Rainbows and Spectrums

Why is it rainbows are splashed around everywhere during this “Coronavirus epidemic”? I thought the rainbow was an illustration of God’s promise not to rain down rain for 40 days and 40 nights again, the symbol, or at least the colours of which were hijacked adopted by the whole “BLT” thing, if I’m not mistaken. Did he keep his promise? I’m not sure; there have certainly been many floods around the world since the whole Noah and his Ark debarkle. Perhaps The Bible itself hijacked the rainbow and that story also.

I’m not anti-rainbow; I quite like them, they are colourful. I’ll also unashamedly admit that I find it amusing when PFUs dance on them (links below). There is something that makes me feel uneasy about the rainbow things though, something akin to hand-clapping.

“Hand-clapping?” you say.

Yes, hand-clapping.

You see, it seems to be that my brain got reprogrammed some years back in a hand-clapping situation. NLP if you will. I was at an event, somewhat as an outsider, I had been invited by a family member and her partner. At the end of the event there was a gathering with awards being handed out, and much hand-clapping with each hand-out. I of course followed suit, but I became aware in that moment of the fact that I was an outsider, saying “well done” (through the act of clapping) to complete strangers whom I cared diddly squat about. But, I couldn’t just stand there and not clap, could I?

I think back to my school years which were probably when I last clapped to that kind of degree. I certainly wasn’t self-conscious of my clapping then, only perhaps of the risk of clapping out of time, so I’m not sure what had changed since then. Maybe I had been shut away too long. In one’s younger years we have little say in what social conventions we adhere to, but now progressing through my 30s I question a lot more what social norms exist and why people might stick to them. I also think how I can avoid them. Just like Christmas*.

“Like Christmas?” you say.

Yes. This whole rainbow-coloured time, I’ve come to realise, is one of those Christmas times where I want to either avoid, or do my own thing, or stick to the routines I’m familiar with.

This rainbow-coloured time involves queuing outside shops (well it would, except I mostly avoid that), following arrows when inside shops, and being aware of the whole ‘social-distancing’ thing, which actually feels like anti-social-distancing to me. The dances I find myself trying to actually avoid doing around people, and them around me (but with less avoiding of the act it seems) makes me feel immensely awkward.

It’s not just the shops either, but work too. I visit clients, some of which are playing this whole social-distancing/coronavirus game**, while others, like me aren’t bothered about it. But it’s hard to know who is in and who is out; like doing the Hokey Cokey whilst inebriated, I suppose. Like the football games at break time at school, if you’re standing on the playground you risk becoming part of the game (I once scored a goal that way, which annoyed the actual players because they didn’t know which team I was on, and whether it was a goal or a home-goal!) With ‘social distancing’ I feel silly unnecessarily dancing around people when I don’t need to; if they’re not bothered, then I’m not bothered, but until a dialogue is opened, how are you to know? I had some thoughts about devising various T-shirt designs, but I was troubled by the possibility it might be deemed offensive. And then I went ahead with it anyway.

These, and more, are available on Redbubble.

It seemed ironic to choose the mask option, but I went with that too, along with stickers and pin badges. Knock yourself out. Just hug responsibly.

Also available on Redbubble!

Anyway, there was a more serious point to this topic and that was the whole spectrum thing. I got creative with that title because of the following of rules thing, and social distancing, and just wanting to stick to familiar routines, and even making a joke out of something that I’m aware some people are taking very seriously, aligned itself more when I found myself watching videos about autism and Asperger’s.

It was a good few years ago when someone, seemingly out of the blue, and that didn’t really know me all that well, asked me if I was Bipolar. I had barely an inkling of what that was, perhaps a polar bear that likes rainbows, and I was puzzled by being asked that, and why. Gradually I looked into it, and some time later I did one of those online questionnaire things (I’ve likely done a few different ones now) that give you a number at the end, or a bunch of letters, and I came away accepting I was “on the spectrum”. Lucky for me I like rainbows.

The problem I find with these kinds of online “Do I have this condition?” things is that I am conscious of potentially thinking I maybe have something because I can relate to what a person is saying about their experiences regarding having said condition. Also, while it can help to have a diagnosis, or label to label yourself with, what you do with that diagnosis or label is the key. I’m not a fan of labels, which is partly why I take issue with the whole BLT thing, or BLM, or “coming out” (no I’m not) or so-and-so’s-rights. Surely we’re all somewhere on a spectrum, it just depends, I suppose, how much it impacts your life and how you can mitigate that.

So, in all of that, I think it has been little appreciated how certain people are more challenged, day-to-day, in various ways, about the whole lockdown, social distancing, and new rules thing.

I like having my time away from other people, but making me keep a distance from other people bothers me.

Queuing outside a shop, and then having to follow arrows and not get too close to people, bothers me, because I usually just want to get in, get around, get what I want, and get out again. While I don’t have any conscious anxiety issues with going shopping, this is because, I realise, I typically shut myself away in my own little world, I exist a lot inside my head, and having interactions with others (which I actually like and realise I need) do challenge me… usually after the fact, because I’ve rushed a random interaction, because I’ve focused on only one thing (like shopping) and I’ve not “gone with the flow” (something I realised not all that long ago was a habit of mine).

Any seemingly minor “altercation” can trouble, or stick with me for a loooong time. I got “shouted at” once for not following arrows before I realised they were there, and I sense people frowning at me if I fail to “social distance”. Part of me feels like I don’t care to social distance, but I’m now thinking I have enough to contend with when shopping, which is actually more than just shopping, it’s getting a social interaction; it’s why I prefer to avoid the self-service checkouts (something that has become increasingly difficult due to the changes in shops).

Anyway, here is that Youtube video I watched, titled ‘Seven Signs of Autism’… I seem to be able to get 7 out of 7.


*Actually, I’m not so bothered by Christmas these days, but I did go through a phase a for a few years, a few years back, where I didn’t want to take part in it. These days I simply focus on the aspects of it that I do like, like the silly jumpers, socks and stuffing.

**Social distancing does feel like a game at times, the way some people are doing their up-most to adhere to the rules, like a game of Monopoly when the rule book has been read and is being properly followed.

PFUDOR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRC4Vk6kisY

Also featured here (at 4:36): https://youtu.be/mO1qOu7RdDY

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