More bureaucracy weirdness. I got a letter last week saying that my doctor’s certificate was about to run out. As I had been told I wasn’t going to be eligible for benefits, and as the letter telling me the certificate was about to run out was dated after the time it said the certificate would run out (classic Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) incompetence) I just shoved it in a drawer and forgot about it. Now I’ve received a letter saying that I am going to be getting Employment Support Allowance for a year. Despite being told that my doctor’s certificate was not correct and then being told it was out of date, as well as being told that I don’t have the right amount of NI contributions. All very strange, but I’m not going to complain – but similarly if it somehow doesn’t materialise, I won’t be surprised either. Hopefully by the time it runs out next year I’ll have a better idea of where I stand with my autism diagnosis and whether that leaves me eligible for anything, although I suspect I’m too high functioning. I seem to be too high functioning to claim much for depression too, especially as the assessment forms are geared towards physical disability. I swear the DWP live on another planet though. Their communication skills are appalling.
Friday night was good, given how exhausted I was. I got through shul (synagogue) OK, even joining the circle dance in Kaballat Shabbat. I do find it awkward holding hands with other people, plus the room, full of chairs and tables, isn’t really laid out for that kind of thing and we get a bit squashed in (the “dance” is more of an awkward walk around the room).
I went to Shabbat dinner at one of my shul friends’ flat and enjoyed it. I think I joined in the conversation more than I used to. My friend and the other friend there are on the mailing list for my weekly devar Torah (Torah thought) email and I was persuaded to read it aloud at the table (he had printed it off in advance). I only shook very slightly, interestingly when I was self-conscious, either about something that I had written (referencing a non-religious Bible critic) or just about shaking. There were a couple of awkward moments, when I was asked how my parents were and I didn’t want to lie, but wasn’t sure how much to say, and when one of my friends suddenly asked me apropos of nothing in particular, if I had ever thought of writing a book. I was rather astonished and I think I lapsed into incoherence before saying I’ve been published in a couple of places and am writing a novel. I didn’t mention the Doctor Who book, partly because I wasn’t sure what frum (religious) people would say about a book about television, but also because I feel even for a non-frum audience, it’s a strange thing to admit to. I mean, I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent on that book in the last seven years. A lot. It does seem slightly odd to invest so much time in a family TV programme for such little return.
I got home about 10.00pm, spoke to my parents for a bit and did some Torah study, although the Talmud I was trying to prepare just confused me. I couldn’t sleep and stayed up late reading Alex cartoons. I missed shul again this morning and fell asleep after lunch. I don’t want to sleep so much, but heavy Shabbat lunch makes me so drowsy that I just want to wrap myself in my duvet (a classic autistic habit I’ve had since childhood) and inevitably I drift off after a few minutes. When I woke up I finished re-reading The Art of Biblical Poetry and went to shul, where I was baffled by the Talmud shiur (I could not understand it easier with a group at 6.00pm than I had by myself at 10.30pm the previous night). I managed to speak to the person I saw at the shiur (class) I went to last week, which I wouldn’t have done in the past. I also told an (I hope) amusing anecdote to people in the car on the way home when my friend offered me a lift, which I also would not have done in the past. So I guess Shabbat was more good than bad.
I got a couple of job rejections in the last few days. I have nothing to say about this any more, so I will resort to emoji. 😦
I’m planning on going to the rabbi’s inauguration ceremony at shul tomorrow, but fortunately I didn’t need to book so I won’t feel bad if I don’t feel up to it. To be honest, I expect it will be a bunch of long speeches and then refreshments where I’ll find it awkward to talk to anyone. I suspect I will spend the whole evening longing to go back home and watch tomorrow’s Doctor Who series finale (the first episode I’ve been anxious to watch in some weeks, thanks to a quite good and intriguing first half last week). Nevertheless, given my patchy shul attendance, I feel I should show my face if I can, even if I don’t last the entire evening (although walking out in front of the various dignitaries could be awkward. I should try to get a seat near the door).