Sunday, 18 July 2010

Aspergers Syndrome and The Polish Muslim

Saturday 18th July 2010.2pm-10pm.

Arrived for work nearly an hour early clad in sweaty football training kit and lunch from Marks and Sparks.

The cash office rotweiller,the high pitched weekend supervisor and another member of staff were smoking outside the station.After trying to be amusing they left me alone and i basked in the pleasant sunshine until the beginning of my shift.

I was feeling tired after a kids mini World Cup tournament and a parents versus coaches football match.

The first issue were my hours for next week.Basically my hours have been slashed like a round of austerity cuts.I have only 16 hours next week compared to 35-40 hours the previous 6 weeks.However,its not a bad thing because physically its taking its toll.

The troubleshooter is very well informed because all the weekend supervisors are Pakistani and they let him in on the secrets.The area manager has demanded that they trim £9000 off the monthly expenditure this month.That's after the King's assistant told me "it will be very busy from next week and there are loads of shifts available".

Anyway 2 hours on my own in the big unit with mounting queues and irate punters.An old woman of about 70 demanded i produce more staff out of thin air.I told her i can't do that and when she had paid she walked out of the shop calling me a "prat".
These staffing levels are ridiculous,i was the only member of staff in the whole unit and couldn't even help the punters.The French females were turning up by the dozen and when the Polish Muslim arrived at 4pm i could start working my magic.

If i speak French they respond in English with smiles that could melt a pound of President butter.

I had noticed out of the corner of my eye a buxom brunette of about 35 talking on her mobile in French.The shop happened to be quiet at this moment,

"Bonjour,comment allez vous?" i began
"Very well thank you,how are you?" she replied
" I would like a package of Marlboro menthols please" she continued.
"We are out of those" i answered.
"Ok a package of Mayfair please" she said.

I couldn't understand her pronounciation of menthols.I taught her how to say menthols the English way and she was now blushing uncontrollably even though it was subtle.A quick scan of her hands provided me with evidence that she may have been attached but these days women wear rings just to warn off male suiters.

Our interaction continued for a couple of minutes and she left smiling as she disappeared back to Paris.

This was an ideal opportunity to find out more about this young attractive girl who wears incredible ornate Muslim head regalia.
She wears lots of make up and is immaculate.It transpires she is studying art at college and is off to Egypt for 2 weeks holiday.I tried to establish if she was going away with her husband but she ignored the question.When she returns from Egypt,in the 45 degree heat,it will be time for Ramadan.She has recently become devout but i didn't manage to dig anymore.

At approximately 6pm a young man,who was looking at music titles,made a comment in a loud tone, "Bruce Springsteen is a legend".The Boss is on the front of one of the music monthly's.

Fortunately it was quiet in the unit so i told him how i saw The Boss in Dublin in 1988 and it was a seminal moment in my life.He was very impressed and we then compared concerts and he repeated 3 times that he has seen Mark Knopfler 3 times live.I added that i saw Dire Straits at Earls Court in 1992.His favourite track was Sultans of Swing.I thought that there was something not quite right with this character.

As i was loading the fridges towards the end of the shift he appeared again and after jumping out from the crisps section said,"Have you got Aspergers or a learning disability?"
"I don't suffer from any of those" i responded.
"I have Aspergers syndrome and they have given me a freedom pass" he said proudly.

The anorexic Indian graduate was plying her trade in the big unit and i realised that she must have an eating disorder because she only had a triple chocolate sundae for dinner.She was anxious because her Dad was coming to collect her and he had been late the last couple of shifts.She is incredibly boring and none of the employees have any depth.I suppose that's why they work at the PLC.A mention must go to Vector the security guard who has been standing in for the Somalian.He is 2 years into a mechanical engineering degree and is in the Territorial Army.He wants to become an armourer when he qualifies.It was his last shift today and i gave him a hug and wished him well.A lovely bloke.

I walked to the bus stop and the anorexic Indian was waiting for her chauffeur to take her back to Hackney.The Aspergers boy was walking outside the station looking vacant.

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