“It’s No Safe Here Constable!”
“What on EARTH possessed you Rory?” My father hollered at me during the drive home. “You were bloody lucky they didn’t lock you up and throw away the key!!”
“For what? Calling the detective a moron or lambasting his absolute stupidity?” I yelled back. “I think you fail to understand something here Dad, they were accusing me of shifting the Chunky Chubb fifty foot down a bloody corridor! They were trying to suggest that l was a thief!! I may be many things but l am not a thief, and l am not bloody stupid to try and steal three quarters of a tonne of metal which is basically what the safe is!”
It’s safe to say that the journey home was highly unpleasant. My Father was only concerned that his credentials as a whatever or a whatnot had been damaged, never mind that his Son had spent 8 hours in a police cell for being cocky to an imbecile.
You see that is how l viewed it, l didn’t stop for one moment and consider that perhaps l should have just answered the questions in a civil manner. In my eyes l had been civil and only become somewhat annoyed when it was being suggested that l wasn’t taking the whole debacle seriously ….. which truth be known, l sort of hadn’t. Even in the cell, l was chuckling, over the incredulousness of how someone in their right mind could have possibly thought that they could have shifted the chunk not only out of the building using a smooth floor to shift it along, but thought that somehow they were going to slide it over the rough gravelled area of the back court car parking yard??
“Well you have to answer to the Chief constable for your actions of inappropriate behaviour to one of his detectives next week.” My Father continued.
“This is ridiculous Dad, what for? I am not guilty, l wasn’t charged with anything, l wasn’t even cautioned, and yet they put cuffs on me! They said l resisted arrest, l didn’t l was squirming. Squirming is NOT resisting arrest! This whole affair is bollocks!”
“Be that as it may, you have to answer for your actions. Where exactly were you last night, anyway?”
“What? I stayed over with friends. Then got up this morning, showered and came into work to start my shift, and low and behold the chunk was in the middle of the corridor with police all around it, looking somewhat baffled.”
“What is the chunk?”
“The safe is a Chubb safe; my nickname for it is the ‘chunk’. I answered.
“So the chun..safe was not moved by you then?”
“No of course not, l left work yesterday afternoon. Otto gave me the afternoon off, so l went to visit friends, went to the library, basically just took some time out.”
“Rory, you have got to understand that you cannot speak to people the way you do, and most assuredly not like that to people in authority!”
“It began as a bit of humour Dad, l mean it was funny seeing it there, you will laugh about this honestly you will, it WAS funny!”
“You have a very warped sense of humour Son, l have said this to your Mother. That l think there is something wrong with you. Ever since school you have got into trouble with your inappropriate behaviour and that cursed sense of humour of yours and now here as living proof, you were taken care of for those very same actions. Well l can only hope that we are able to sort this mess out, otherwise your life will have this hanging over you for a very long time!”
At 22, l had no idea l was on the spectrum of autism, l had no real clue that my behaviour was really that bad, l wasn’t particularly ‘naughty’ as the desk sergeant had suggested, but as l had struggled with so many things, l used humour as a get out clause for many of life’s tricky moments and sitting there that night on the way home, l had to concede that maybe there was something wrong with me. Maybe l was mentally unsound, unstable, perhaps l was ill. Maybe my Fathers’ continued accusations and slating’s of being mentally ill were not as farfetched as l had originally assumed.
Had l acted so dreadfully that morning? Did l warrant the actions that had been undertaken by the police? Did l need perhaps not locking up in a cell, but maybe l was best left in an institution, and then the key could be thrown away? That type of question stayed with me l would say till my early forties prior to being diagnosed with my Asperger’s Syndrome, when and only then was it suggested that l could be misunderstood by people … upon hearing that much of my life fell into place.
It would not be uncommon for me to hear from that day forward, people constantly saying that l was rude, or unsympathetic or inappropriate or childlike, that my behaviour or poorly chosen humour had not been well received, that l had caused offence or laughed at something which l should not have.
So, that night l sat down and talked to myself and tried to make a committed vow to think before l acted in the future, and whilst not specifically a devout religious anything, prayed that everything was going to be alright.
The next day at work, l found out further to my horror that whilst l HAD not been suspended, that l was to return the safe key l always had on me, was demoted to an assistant banqueting manager whilst head office investigated me on suspicion of ‘moving the safe with an intent of breaking into it!’
It was an utterly horrible series of unfortunate events l have to say and one that left me more than shaken. That one line of humour had rendered me into some kind of human monstrosity overnight? That my company who l had been with for several years thought so very little of me, that they actually believed that l was guilty of moving the chunk out of my office, fifty foot down a corridor with the intent of stealing from it??
I will say that with hand upon heart, back then whilst that wasn’t the most dreadful thing that had happened to me during my life, that it was one moment that would stay with me for a very long time as a nightmare. It was a moment that did more mental harm than many could imagine. I began to doubt myself as a stable human being.
I didn’t meet with the Chief constable, l met with a very senior detective, who upon greeting both my Father and myself that day, first and foremost told me off for my actions which lasted a good thirty minutes. Then apologised for the greenness of the detective working the case, then finally sent me out of the office and stayed with my Father for a further forty five minutes laughing about the whole affair, whilst l sat in the next room hearing everything that was said, until they decided to whisper about the state of my mental health.
Whoever moved the chunk that night was never found, my company pardoned me and said that l was innocent if not just a little naïve and perhaps wet behind the ears. They then moved me out to a pub in Ockley, which was being run down by real thieves [aka their staff] and happened to be the local for Sir Oliver Reed who enjoyed quite the lifestyle around that area although not particularly the pub l was working in, but whilst not a regular l did see him on occasion.
I stayed there for a duration of six months, minding my own business and doing what l was good at , number crunching, but l made my vow, and that was to leave that company which l did not long after that.
There are times when my Asperger’s does indeed have a sense of humour, sometimes not always in my favour and NOT always that funny. I have always tried where ever and when ever possible to be mindful of others, however sometimes, yes sometimes l think my mind detaches from my logical brain and develops into a seperate behaviour all of its own. There are stories to come that prove this time and time again!!
Thanks for reading.