Entry #37 – May 31, 2016

The video card in my desktop computer got fried last week, and I’m still waiting for the replacement to arrive in the mail. This isn’t a metaphor; I know all the jokes about how the people in my generation are all like computers, and from the last entry you can tell that I’m getting rather fried myself. I mean my computer hasn’t worked for several days and it’s incredibly irritating to me. I still have my laptop, but there’s a lot of multimedia files on the other computer that I can’t access, and I can’t play a lot of games on the laptop because it isn’t powerful enough. The stress from the school year is starting to pile on as we get near the end, meaning that I need all the methods to relax that I can get. I can’t talk to many of my online friends as much because we talk while playing games that I can’t play right now. Mark has his job, which makes plans to go over to his place much more difficult. He’s probably also stressed out from the past nine months of this routine. I think that we all are, since meltdowns tend to skyrocket around this time. We had two this past week, whereas we only had a one in the previous three months.

I finished my third and fourth driving lessons. I did better the second time around with the parallel parking, although I’m still a ways away from trying it between real cars instead of traffic cones. The fourth lesson was fine, it mostly re-covered what I did in the first one and I could tell the difference that a couple of weeks makes. I was much more comfortable behind the wheel, not perfectly but enough that I could do most of the getting on the road drill instinctively without thinking about every step. Now it’s up to my parents to help me practice, which may have to wait until after the school year is over so I won’t have another thing to stress out about before it’s over.

At least my family is well. Both parents are home and our schedules are set in stone again, which brings important stability to my life. There haven’t been any fights that distract me from my work and drive my stress levels up even further. I haven’t had a meltdown at home for over two years now, and I’m sure my parents and neighbors would prefer to keep it that way. At least it would be less embarrassing than a meltdown at school, but either way I don’t want to lose control like that ever again anywhere. I just have to keep doing the relaxation techniques they taught us in social skills classes, avoid overstimulation, and try not to get into situations I know could trigger a meltdown. Having a dedicated therapist from the school is a big help. The end of the year is less than a month away, so it I should be able to make it.

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Entry #36 – May 23, 2016

A couple days after Kat confessed her feelings to me Paul made a comment about her seeming “clingy” for saying she loved me before we even dated, which angered me and I told him not to say it again. He hasn’t, even if he said he was absolutely correct. It bothered me because it suggests that she chose to feel this way. Do you think that somebody wakes up and decides that their life is too boring, and that maybe they should develop an unhealthy obsession with someone that occupies all of their thoughts despite not having any chance of ever being together with them, causing them to become depressed and irritable and their grades to suffer and people to stop talking to them because they think they’re “clingy” or something. She can’t control how she feels about me. I mean, why develop them for me instead of Mark, who has been sitting at the table with her the same amount of time as I have. He even has a job! I don’t know because reasons why we feel the ways we do about one another are mysterious and we have very little idea of how they work. If I could choose to feel the same way about her that she does about me in order to make her happy, I would. But I can’t choose to, I just don’t feel that way, and I’m certainly not going to lie about it to make her feel better in the short term because it’ll result in devastation in the long run.

If she decided to act out on her feelings in unethical ways, like repeatedly manipulating me into getting me to love her or stalking me, then that’s definitely a problem that needs to be dealt with. But all she did was be honest with her feelings to me, as is now acting honestly in accordance with her feeling of being upset that I don’t feel the same way. And I understand that. Feelings of rejection have fueled thousands of works of art, because it’s both common and painful. And of course there are thousands of more works of art based on mutual love that has been found. And those art forms may influence the way we engaging in romance but the feelings towards one another were there first otherwise the people making that art wouldn’t have been born. Some people feel pulled towards others, and some people don’t. Yes, it may be uncomfortable for someone your age to hear kids talk about wanting each other, but it happens. We can’t control how we feel, but we can control how we consciously judge people. People shouldn’t be mocked because of how deeply they feel about somebody, or how little other people seem attracted to them, or how many people they have mutual attraction with. Because nobody, not even people like you or Paul, can see what is entirely going on in another person’s mind. We can only judge people on how they act, in particular how well they treat others around them.

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Entry #35 – May 16, 2016

Today Kat pulled me aside before we got into the lunch room. At first she didn’t say anything, but when I went to leave she told me to wait. It took another minute before she said anything else, and even then she was stammering. She tried to get me to guess what she was trying to say, but I couldn’t begin to. She eventually managed to tell me that she loved me, not as a friend but romantically. She said that it was different than with Daniel, because she could talk to me and I was willing to put up with her even when he was all she could talk about. I told her that I was sorry that I didn’t feel that way about her, and she replied that she didn’t know but she needed to tell me how she felt anyway. We both went into the lunch room after that.

Despite my shock I managed to get to the lunch table before Kat did. Paul came right out and asked if Kat and I were late because we were making out in a broom closest or something. I asked him what he was talking about and he told me about how obvious it was that Kat had feelings for me. I then asked him whether or not the fact that I didn’t have those same feelings for her was as obvious to him, and he said that they weren’t. He said that here it’s sometimes it’s incredibly easy to tell when someone is feeling an emotion, even if they aren’t showing the one he would expect. But the rest of the time he can’t tell whether or not we’re feeling anything at all. So he figured she may have been one of the former instances and I was one of the latter. I replied that he was incorrect and that I didn’t share her feelings. Finally Kat came to the table so we stopped talking about it.

The rest of the day was pretty uncomfortable. Kat spent gym as far across the room from me as she could get, and you probably know better than I do how she was acting in your class. Mark called me after he got off work to ask me what I thought about the situation, and I told him that I had no idea. Since she sat with us at lunch afterwards I said I guess she’s willing to keep talking with us there even with her feelings for me. Mark agreed, adding that she’s probably felt this way for at least a few weeks now and she hasn’t stopped sitting with us. And now that she doesn’t have to keep it a secret any longer, maybe it’ll be less awkward for her. He also added that we have no way of knowing for certain what is going to happen. I said that was true, and we would have to wait and see. After that, we hung up, and I went to eat dinner then finished this assignment.

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Entry #34 – May 9, 2016

Last week my mother went on her spring vacation. This time she took visited Niagara Falls, with plenty of pictures to prove it, and then went up to Montreal. She didn’t like Montreal as much, not because she didn’t like the city but because it makes her anxious when most of the people around her are speaking a language she doesn’t understand completely. It isn’t a major problem for her, especially since that will describe a lot of places in the United States in a few years, but it is an issue when you’re on the vacation to relieve the stress of the past few months and prepare yourself to be fully prepared to take on any challenges of the next few months. Overall, though, she said she enjoyed the trip and, while happy to see us again, is still excited for her next vacation in November.

My father and I spent the time pretty much in the same way as we spent the last vacation. He’d been sick of even seeing the kitchen after cooking for the past few months, so we went out to eat four nights that week. And after all of them he would drop me off at home and go hang out at the bar with his friends. One night he didn’t even come home, and he never explained why. But then I’m not entirely certain about everything my mother does when she goes on vacation, so I’m not casting any judgement. Thankfully, I knew the steps required to make the same breakfast I always have, so I didn’t have to go to school hungry.

I had my second driving lesson this past weekend. This one covered parallel parking, and it was kind of a nightmare. I followed every instruction the best that I could, and even when I had memorized all of them I couldn’t seem to do them correctly. I was always hitting one of the cones, whether going forwards, backwards, turning, or especially turning while backing up. It’s very confusing to me trying to figure out which way I need to turn the wheel to turn the car in the direction I want it to go when I’m in reverse. If I think about it, I can figure it out, but eventually I’m going to have to be able to back up and turn without spending half a minute remembering which direction I should be turning the wheel. Anyway, my performance was so inadequate they suggested another lesson just focusing on the parking. My parents won’t be very happy having to pay for at least four lessons instead of three, but at least when they take me to practice they won’t be as frustrated with my ineptitude. That’s where the real difficulty begins, since I’ll be using my parent’s cars to do the practicing. Not only do they not have brakes on the passenger side, if I damage them bad enough they’ll have to spend time in the shop, or worse. At least there’s car insurance and just enough public transportation available here in case that happens.

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Entry #33 – May 2, 2016

I took my first driving lesson on Saturday. I’d spent enough time the past few months in the simulator to make sure I could finish it without crashing the car, and since I’m writing this you can see I succeeded. But the simulator wasn’t great for demonstrating what driving a real car was like. I mean, I know it’s difficult to simulate the environment, plus other cars, plus the actual driving mechanics. But until you deal with a real vehicle, with actual people driving the other cars, pedestrians crossing the road and roads that all have different sizes, shapes, and speed limits, then you can’t know what it’s like. I mean, you’re in control of an incredibly heavy high-speed vehicle that can cause, and receive, massive damage if improperly directed.

It all starts when you’re sitting in the car listening to instructions. I have to try and remember all the little facts from driver’s ed, but it turns out there are many things that they didn’t bother teaching you there. For example, the turn signal stalk on this car also has dials that control the windshield wipers and lights, and you have to remember all the different settings on them. For example, how many turns it takes to make the wipers constantly on, how you turn the rear ones on, or how to turn on the headlights without turning the dial too far and turning them to high and blinding the driver coming towards you. You find out that there are about a dozen different steps before you can even get out of the parking space and onto the road. Check back, check left, check front, put the key in the ignition, turn the key, put the car in drive, turn the steering wheel, put on the gas, and turn the steering wheel again. I was already tired just getting the car started much less driving it.

Luckily, the rest of the lesson went better than I was expecting. There were still a lot of rules I had to learn on the fly, and I made quite a few mistakes along the way, but thankfully there weren’t any major issues. It helped that there weren’t many people on the roads today, but I still had to deal with cars parked on the side of the road. I had to make sure that I wasn’t hitting those cars while remaining on my side of the road, which was exceedingly difficult. We went on a more rural road, which didn’t have any other cars on the side but did have hills. I was just getting used to the speed of the car when I learned about how you need to put more gas going uphill and less going downhill to maintain your speed. It seems it would be easier for the driver if the gas pedal always set a constant speed. The important thing is I made it through the lesson, and it gives me hope that I can pass the driving exam at some point.

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