Monday, 8 February 2016


Average scene in average pub

People often ask me why I'm such a miserable bastard who feels the need to mock everything and everybody, regardless of whether their intentions are good or bad. Usually I give a facetious answer about being History's Greatest Monster or that the world is stupid and I don't need to do anything but type what I see in front of me. But there are other reasons.

Throughout my life, and with forty years to go on I think I have a reasonable sample, I've been an outsider looking in, never been able to truly connect with other people. I once had an ex-girlfriend who admitted to me feeling the same, and she burst into tears afterwards.  I suppose it depends on how much you want to be connected with other people, really. Life has taught me that trying is usually a bad idea.

How you feel about things if you have Asperger's Syndrome is difficult to explain. The very nature of the condition precludes you being able to due to a trait called alexithymia - basically, an inability to identify and describe emotions. The way I always try to describe is that "normal" people have emotions like a box of loose rubber bands, and can take the appropriate band for each situation. An alexithymic, however, has the same amount of rubber bands but in a ball, all knotted together. And you can't do a thing with them.

Having the same amount of emotions, but no way to discharge them can be difficult.  A common way to deal with it is substance use, and this is quite probably the reason why I'm often found on the relevant end of a glass, bottle or can. It can, unfortunately, let too many emotions out at once, as those poor sods who used to be my Facebook friends can attest to. Perversely, the advantage of alexithymia is that the emotions become inaccessible again once you sober up. So all you have to do is delete the posts/tweets or whatever and carry on as normal.

"But Matthew," you say "If you find people and emotions so difficult, then why are you in the pub so often?".  You'd think such things were contradictory, yes, but they aren't really. In a pub, you don't interact with others on a particularly deep level.  You talk about the beer, the crap that's happened in town during the last week or even, God help you, the News. It's not the place for intimate emotional discussions, and it's all the better for it.  I can talk to strangers about pretty much anything, because I don't have to connect with them and most importantly, am not expected to.

This is why I don't go out with work colleagues. With them, you've already gone through the initial introductions and pointless chat, and have to talk about somnething else. And with most of them not being as experienced at drinking in public as me, inappropriate things can happen.

I have to see these people five days a week. I don't want to see them getting pissed and lairy.  I don't want to hear them bitching about someone once that person is out of earshot. I certainly don't want to know who exactly is shagging who. This is why I drink in pubs I know they'd never be seen in or even find.

I'm a single man, but I don't go to pubs to pick up women.  If I was going for that, I wouldn't go to the places I do, populated as they are by men over 50.  I'm past all that now. When I tell people I'll likely be single for the rest of my life, other people tell me it's a scary thing to think. No, putting all your trust in another person, with all it's emotional and financial implications, knowing they could betray you at any minute because something "better" comes along. No, that's scary.

For me, the whole "beer appreciation" thing is just a side effect of being in the pub, not, so I'm led to believe, the other way around as it is for most beer Blogger types. I can tell good from bad, but would doubtless fail every sensory test going.  I take the piss out of the whole scene because it's easy. Beer Fandom provides more than enough material for even the moderately talented satirist. I'll never make a penny out of it, but if it gives people some cheap laughs, then that's good enough for me.

I will always be distant from the rest of humanity. The beer smooths the rough edges off dealing with it. The Asperger's is with me for life, but thankfully the consequences aren't.

Do others need people. I don't.


  1. This is an excellent bit of writing.

  2. I can identify with a lot of this, though I rarely go to the pub to socialise. I realised once that I was getting a kick out of seeing people I knew slightly and *not* talking to them - the discomfort of solitude, the pride of choosing to put up with it. That even struck me as a bit weird. These days I don't actively avoid human contact, usually.

  3. I'm glad you wrote that Matthew, even if I struggle to say anything very useful. Your writing isn't just about cheap laughs by the way, it always more than that.

  4. "There are worse thing than
    being alone
    but it often takes decades
    to realise this
    and most often
    when you do
    it's too late
    and there's nothing worse
    too late" - Charles Bukowski.

    Decent article by the way - Yours is my favourite out of the beer blogs - Not just for the pisstaking, I like the fact that it's coming from a slightly different angle.

  5. Strikes several chords with me as well. Going to the pub means that you're in a social milieu but you don't *have* to interact with it.

    I hate it when strangers in pubs ask me what I'm doing there - to my mind that crosses a boundary.

  6. That's an astonishingly honest and brave piece of writing fella, kudos to you. Keep up your sterling efforts in bringing the pompous beer geeks back down to earth, and giving the rest of us something to laugh ourselves silly at!