Sunday, February 14, 2010

Self-Diagnosis: An Exercise in Futility

Last week, I took an online test to determine if I had autism. I really did. I learned from someone with Asperger's Syndrome that such a test was available online, and had always wondered if I had A.S. or something similar. As if it would explain everything that was wrong with me.

My friends in the know would probably laugh this off as another one of my silly ideas. But hey, last Thursday, I had reason to believe that I might be autistic.

Case in point. I helped prepare PowerPoint slides for our scripture study in the parish. Two weeks ago, I was able to set up the LCD projector, although I did not have much time to do it, so the screen was cut off at the bottom. The text was readable and comprehensible enough, so I let it go. I was happy to listen to the lessons in Greek and Paul's Letter to the Galatians.

Last Thursday, however, I got stuck in traffic (story of my life last week) and arrived late. I had mere seconds to set up the presentation. I was confronted with the following problems: the screen was placed at an angle that required the projector to be placed similarly from a particular angle, which it was not. Now, I count visual art, geometry and physics as some of my weaknesses, and no way in the world could I make the projector work properly given that angle and the milliseconds to go before bible class had to start.

Next, the Sanyo projector actually had a loose cable that unplugged it at the slightest movement. Did I mention that I had to find the right angle for the whole picture to appear on screen? Every time it got unplugged, therefore, it decided that it had to cool down for a few minutes, and then restart. Every single time. And it happened almost five times, to my growing dismay, irritation, and frustration.

When the thing finally worked, the screen was cut in half. I could only read "atians" instead of "Galatians" from the title. I had a stiff neck because the screen image was tilted. And I was operating the clicker as Fr. Steve went on to start without the LCD. Nobody could appreciate the text on screen anymore. Fr. Steve was right; we had handouts and we didn't need the LCD. Technology only slowed us down and made life more complicated.

What made it even worse was that the lesson about faith and salvation was so difficult for me to grasp, and I could not follow it. I had a frown for an hour, which caused me a headache. I lacked sleep, I had a long day at work, and I traveled for two hours to get home, so all these things affected my mood.

I was not happy. I kept thinking, Oh no, all the nuns and my Bible Study classmates must think I'm a moron for not being able to make this work. One nun, God bless her, approached me afterwards and said she understood my difficulty, and it was not my fault. The projector had to be set up permanently. The table we were using was not suited for the purpose. She was right; for it could not even fit both the MacBook and the projector. She offered to help. I wanted to hug her.

So I thought I was not normal for insisting that we still use the projector; and I was not normal for being distracted and irritated that the screen was partially hidden from view; and I was not normal for being so worried about what my classmates thought instead of listening to the theological points raised at class.

But then I flunked the test. Miserably. I did not have A.S., according to my computer screen. Well, that figures. A person with A.S., usually possessing superior or even better I.Q., could make something as simple as a PowerPoint presentation work properly. And I with my normal IQ, low AQ and EQ, just had to deal with life with more patience and perseverance.

My office mate suggested taking an online test for OCD (Gee, thanks Twix!). I found out that OCD and OCPD were two separate things. I didn't seem to fit any category. But what do I know? Maybe what I need, really, is professional help (Tina, you can say I told you so). Someone who can tell me what's wrong with me, and help make it right.

In the meantime, I vowed to go to class extra early next week, and employ other people to set up the projector. Yes, I have not let that frustration go yet. (Perfectionism: there it is. The answer to the question.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's All Geek to Me

I am a geek. There, I've said it.

For the past two weeks I have been helping a couple of friends get used to their MacBooks. I installed MS Office and iWork '09, downloaded updates, introduced them to Skype and Gmail, added bookmarks, customized settings, among others. I spent hours doing this and I could have spent more hours if I did not have other things to do, like, for example, work, and teach.

One of those friends has had his Mac for almost four years now, but was not able to maximize it. Another friend just bought a brand new MacBook. I happily removed it from its box and smelled all the newness inside. Then I gladly introduced her to her new toy slash best friend. She was surprised at this side of me she had not seen in action - my geeky side.

Of late, grade school classmates have been posting our class pictures on Facebook. Ugh. I want to untag myself. Who wants to look at those pics? Those were my geekiest days, when the library was my hangout, books were my best friends, and classmates just existed to tease me no end. Okay, I still have a few friends left from grade school, but still, those were not exactly my happiest days. But they probably shaped me to become who I am now. And who I am for about two weeks now is a geek.