A common term in Autismland is “special interests.” People on and off the Autism Spectrum have a passion for, or a hobby. My fellow Spectrum travelers and I are no different. For us, that passion is intensified.

I reckon there are pros and cons to any passion. Such as the con to my writing passion is typos. I am beholden to my grammar/spell check computer app but it isn’t full-proof in catching all my goofs.

I have a way with computers. One of the memorable compliments I received was from a colleague several years ago who told me that whenever her computer goes to a blank screen, the first thing she did was to call the computer tech office.  But she noticed I only called for help at last resort. I would first try to revive it on my own and had a good track record of self-resolution. I welcome compliments even though I seldom believe compliments about me.

Thus, I am the computer master in my household. The con is that often when I’m in the middle of doing my own thing that I am interrupted by a SOS call from a family member whose computer is having a hick-up or they need guidance on how to do whatever on their computer. This tests my patience and I confess I’m lacking in that but working on it. My know-how on simple everyday things I come up short, but my computer know-how is compensation.  After all, I can always search on Google on how to boil water.

Another passion is electronic gadgetry. I call them my toys. My small circle of friends chuckle at what I deem a toy to be. My robotic vac is as much a toy as my Xbox. I have car toys too. One that responds to “Alexa” and another that shows me where I am on the map. My weed edger and leaf blower are in my toy collection too. I have riding toys which I went overboard on. One electric scooter/bike is sufficient, but I have four at last count.

The con of my electronic gadgets is illness and death. Some of my gadgets of the past have died on me. After all, they didn’t come with an unlimited life span. Some had a shorter life span than others. I am sooooooooooo angry when a gadget breaks down that I got little to no use out of. I am soooooooooo sad when a gadget I played with for years goes comatose. It takes me longer than most folks to give up on a gadget that shows no sign of life. But when I come to acceptance about it, my heart takes a hit when I toss it away. If it is a gadget I don’t have a spare one for, I will more likely replace it than not. It doesn’t depend on price, but how deeply obsessed I am with the gadget.

As for gadgets that show some trace of life, I will try this, try that, etc. until I am convinced it has passed and then reluctantly toss it away. Then there are gadgets that don’t perform all its functions. Such as my eldest voice-gadget, the original Echo dot, is seemingly losing some of its hearing like its owner. So for those that are sickly, I will pardon them from the trash bin and use them sparingly or leave them be.

The bottom line: I’ve been fortunate with the good health of most of my gadgets, but I run into a “lemon” every now and then.

The Torture of the Wait

Many of my Autism traits are common, too, among those who are NOT autistic.  But the difference is the FREQUENCY and INTENSITY.  An example is when I get a bill in the mail.  Everything stops!  Even if I have a natural call, I will put it off until I get that bill taken care of.  If it can be paid on-line, I will do that PRONTO!  If by snail mail, I will write the check and stuff it in the envelope.  I will take it to the post office probably the same day! 

It is even worse when what needs doing involves social interaction in person or over the phone.  And waiting in line with my fellow man is a high anxiety task for me.  I won’t wait to get it over with unless I have NO choice in the matter!  

Once upon a time, my Mom had officially divorced from her cable company.  There was one task left to do which was to return the equipment.  A no-choice task for me since a mail store was the ONLY place in town that took this cable company’s returns.  Although we had until the middle of the following month to return the equipment, it didn’t matter.  Billy (my nickname for my Autism) was reminding me every half-hour.  I knew from previous visits that Monday was usually the busiest day of the week. Even though I knew that, I went by the place on a Monday while on my way to another store.  The line was out the door, longer than my previous visit.   I decided to not stop and went on my UNsatisfied way.

Billy kept on bugging me though.  I kept thinking “I’ll go tomorrow” but Billy was relentless.  With pressure mounting on me, I looked up the closing time and there was still an hour and a half before closing time. So I went by on my way to a scooter ride in the park. The line was the same as earlier in the day – out the door.  But this time I STAYED!  I didn’t want to go to bed that night with Billy haunting me with the picture of people standing in line out the door.

Now it was over 100 degrees at the time.  High on heat and humidity with little shade.  Miserable standing-in-line conditions!  A few people ahead of me was an older lady with a cane.  No doubt she had trouble standing in line that was going nowhere fast.  Her escort had a big umbrella holding it over them.  I just had this bad feeling that whatever she needed from the mail store would require a long session over the counter.  My hunch was right. Her escort took off after she got inside the store.  He probably went off shopping knowing she wouldn’t be out any time soon.  She had a booklet photocopied.  She was really particular on the copies’ appearance.  I could tell that since the clerk had to do some pages more than once to satisfy her.  

By the way, terminal 3 was unmanned.  Just two clerks with more customers outside the store than inside.  Terminal 2 was manned by a young woman who was helping a lady with a SINGLE, SMALL package.  I don’t know why it was taking so long.  For the longest, the clerk was just staring at the computer screen while the customer was staring at her phone.  

So the line was stalled with these two customers.  How was I holding up?  Me?  I’ll just say prayer is helpful in such situations.  I quickly glanced at the other customers behind me and their faces were stoic.  But I just bet they were thinking along the lines of myself such as…

If the two clerks were any slower, I would hope one of us would know how to do CPR.

I consoled myself in thinking I could be those near or at the end of the line not knowing if they would get inside before the torture chamber’s closing time which was within the half-hour.  

The young lady in front of me had the right idea!  Until she got up to the counter, she had her head down, pecking away on her cellphone.  She didn’t look up, not once, until she was face-to-face with the terminal 1 clerk.  I would have done the same but my cellphone was resting comfortably in my car’s front seat.

FINALLY, I got to terminal 2 and told the young woman I was returning AT&T equipment.  She pecked at her computer keyboard; then went to register 3 and pecked some more; then went back to 2 and pecked again.  Then, she finally asked the male teenage clerk on terminal 1 if he had access to the cable company.  The good news was he did.  The bad news was his computer was the ONLY one that did. 

I had to step back and wait for the clerk on 1 to finish with his customer who also had a long wait. How long did I have to wait?  GET THIS!  The clerk on 2 finished in record speed with three customers before I got my turn on 1.

But I didn’t blow my top!  I managed to taper off the volcano rumbling inside of me. I was not rude!  I kept my tact!  After all, it isn’t in my autistic nature to attack store personnel since generally speaking, I avoid them if I can.

Besides, I knew the clerk had the upper hand.  He was the only thing standing between me and my ultimate goal – the equipment receipt!  Once I got the receipt, I did a calm-down by pursuing one of Billy’s passions – a scooter ride.

In defense of the mail store staff, I know…I know…the computers may have been running slow.  Maybe the store was low in staff and/or the two clerks were new at the job.  Maybe the lady with the cane had a very important reason for wanting a photocopy of her booklet.  It is easier to think of these possibilities in hindsight instead of during the actual torture of the wait!

Pop-Up Questions

Been there. I try to do my best and plan better next time!

One of my fears back in my school days was a “pop test”. It was different than the run-of-the-mill test in that we didn’t know when a “pop test” would pop up. The test was given at the teacher’s whim at the beginning, middle or near the end of class or the school week. I shuddered when the teacher would issue a possibility of such a test coming sooner or later. It sure didn’t help my anxiety! A “pop” meant I had to be studied up on the lesson on any given day or face the possibility of flunking the “pop”.

Conversations sometimes remind me of the school “pop test”. Someone popping out a question I couldn’t have seen coming. My brain not popping out a good answer. This is one reason among others I find conversation a mine field of pop questions.

I am also reminded of “pop tests” when amidst a group of people. I’m allergic to groups. I don’t like them. During such things, I want to stem like crazy. Most of all, I want to ESCAPE! While sitting and taking it in stride, questions pop up in my mind. Such as:

Does the speaker know he is in overtime?

Will the meeting moderator please stop with the “any more questions?”

Will the speaker ever get off the detour route and cut to the chase?

Is the person who keeps raising their hand to ask a question ever going to knock it off?

What was I thinking when I agreed to go to this party that’s dragging past my bedtime?

I wonder if I could get by playing Sudoku on my cell without getting ugly stares?

Why is everyone else laughing? Where was the punchline?

Why did they miss my punchline?

Will someone else please say “We better get going” so I can follow right on their heels?

In such situations, I am reminded there’s no space like my space back at homebase bathing in solitude!

That’s Just Billy

It is quite common for those who are on the Spectrum to have anxiety issues. In my humble opinion, just living on the Spectrum is an anxiety-raiser! I started taking an anxiety medication at around the same time I learned I was on the Spectrum almost 4 years ago. My immediate reaction to the medication was like a light switch turned on. I was in a much better place than I had been for years. At the very least, I wasn’t crying at the drop of a hat for a change.

The biggest help, though, was finding out why I was different and that I was not alone in that difference. I call my autism, “Billy”, and when I am being my quirky self, I just say “That’s just Billy!”

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I like to share stories of my everyday life experience to show how Billy goes with me wherever I go and is involved in whatever I do. I want others who have a Billy know they aren’t alone. For those who don’t, maybe my stories help you understand better those who have a Billy.

For instance, Billy showed up at a trip to the drugstore where I went to purchase food items that I am totally obsessed with. If I like something, edible or not, I go way, way overboard. I always keep an extra supply on hand. Anyway, I had a $4.00 paper coupon. I purchased the items at the self-checkout because it didn’t have a line like the human-operated one. I typically use self-checkout since it usually doesn’t involve human contact.

The “voice” instructed me to put the coupon I had just scanned into the slot near the blinking light. I saw the blinking light to my left but I didn’t see any slot BESIDE it. The register self-voided my coupon and instructed me to scan the coupon again. I did so and still couldn’t find anything resembling a slot near the blinking light.

I noticed to my right, across from the blinking light, there was a lit-up light blue slot. The instructions stated the slot being NEXT to the blinking light; not on the opposite side. Oh, well, I put the coupon in the slot and it was the slot all right. But my realizing what the voice “meant” was too late. The self-check-out register had self-voided the coupon. Since the coupon was tucked away in the slot, I couldn’t re-scan it to make things right.

There was a button to touch labeled “Request Help”. I seldom EVER ask for help from a clerk. I don’t know how much money I would have to lose before I would ask for help but $4.00 wasn’t high enough. I consoled myself with the items all being on sale. I accepted the loss, took it in stride, said to myself as I walked out of the drustore with a frown, “Thanks a lot Billy.”

Billy never sleeps and reminds me every day AND night that his suitcases are unpacked in my brain to stay.

Three Dogs, Three Donkeys, and an Old Mule

Retirement has helped make living with my Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) more manageable. I have more control over my daily routine. I don’t have to socialize as much. I spend my days mostly at home in my own space. Since I am my Mom’s sidekick, there are times she interrupts my schedule but hey, that’s fair since she has to put up with me and my ASD.

A welcome break in my routine is when I dog sit for my brother and sister-in-law’s three dogs in the remote hills of Oklahoma. Some people ask me how can I stand being all by my lonesome out in the country. They don’t understand that being by myself with some dogs, along with my scooter toys, is pretty close to paradise.

The three dogs I sit for are Bleu, Bailey, and Luna. Bleu is like the old mule. He is 14 years old, dog years that is. He is an Australian Blue Heeler and I’ve heard some say this breed is the “methusaleh” of dogs. Bailey is somewhere between a mule and a bull. She is the one who will cuddle with me at night. Luna is the bronco bull! She is the young pup who doesn’t know she is a pup. She is the leader of the pack on our walks. She’ll at least stop and look behind to see if we are still coming up the rear or have made a u-turn.

On one of my dogsitting tours, I went for a ride in one of my brother’s herd of four-wheelers.  My brother calls this one his “old mule”. I drove pretty far into the pasture. Bleu had been ailing and on antibiotics. This did not deter him from joining us. Bleu refused to get up in the four-wheeler with me.  Okay, I figured if he wanted to walk it, that was his business.  Bailey rode with me until she couldn’t take it anymore watching Luna doing “sniffs”.  

I was thinking as I was driving back that I didn’t close the gate.  Ought oh!  I had given my brother’s three donkeys an open-door invitation into the yard around the house.  

Sure enough!  The trio asses were loitering in the yard.  I was still sitting in the old mule.  I yelled at Bailey, the only one of the three around at the time, to go after the donkeys but she was too busy sniffing.  Luna had taken her sweet time in coming back.  When she did show up, I stood up in the four-wheeler and pointed at the donkeys telling Luna to go “sic ’em”. I might as well had been talking to the fence post. 

I look behind from the old mule and seen Bleu on the trail heading back up to the house.  It is in Bleu’s DNA to corral donkeys, cows, and sheep going after their hoofs. Although Bleu was ailing, he still took his role as ringleader in putting the donkeys back in their place.  After Bleu arrived and started off for the donkeys, his sisters followed his lead. I drove up behind helping to corral with old mule.  My goodness! I hadn’t seen the donkeys go that fast before!  They galloped beyond the fence to where the cows were grazing from afar. 

It dawned on me later that I and the old mule could have taken care of putting the donkeys back to their grazing headquarters. That’s probably how my brother would have handled it. I’m not as quick on my feet as he is. My first response to a situation where I don’t have the luxury of time to analyze is one which usually prompts laughter from my neurotypical acquaintances.

I’m glad that it turned out the way it did though. I didn’t like to think about it, but I knew Bleu probably wouldn’t be around much longer. He still had it in him, though, that day to come to the rescue one more time.

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A few weeks after the dogsitting trip, Bleu passed away from cancer. He lived a full and happy dog’s life thanks to his Dad, Mom, and dogsitter.

How I Beat the Boredom Blues

The combo, “Rest and Relaxation”, more commonly known as R & R, has a nice ring to it.  It is a prime motivator for folks to flock to the beach, embark on a cruise, visit an amusement park, etc.  R & R can be done without leaving home on a daily basis if one has the desire for R & R or has the time.  Me?  Retirement has given me more time for it, but I don’t go about it the way anyone I know does.

During my waking hours, I need to be doing something.  Boredom is not good for my anxiety.  Even when doing something relaxing, such as watching a movie, my hands are not idle.  They are instead on a computer keyboard, or operating my hand-held video game gadget, or even dusting furniture.  In fact, I can get a lot done while watching a movie.  Sure I miss some of the flick but most flicks don’t hardly require catching every word to follow along.

I don’t know anyone offhand beside myself who fights boredom in the autumn by picking up pecans.  I can retreat to my lovely backyard that comes complete with a pecan tree with far reaching limbs that almost take up the entire yard.  A bonus is getting walking and bending exercise while roaming the yard with a bucket in hand.

In the summertime, I pull weeds as an option of having something to do to keep boredom away.  Once I get started pulling, it is hard to stop.  I tend to go overboard though.  How overboard?  Well, the evidence of my weed-pulling obsession are patches of dirt in my yard where nothing is growing and it isn’t from a lack of rain.

Scooter Hostage

What happens if you keep someone living on the Autism Spectrum (AS) from following their special interests?
I don’t dare speak for all my fellow AS travelers, but I can for me:  WWIII
If someone or something is standing in the way of my special interest, for instance, my electric scooters, it would be, more or less, the equivalent of taking a pacifier from an infant, a favorite toy from a child, a cell phone from an outgoing teenager, and the remote control from a couch potato.
I was separated from one of my e-bikes, a charger for another e-bike, and two chargers to my Segway scooters.  They were hostages in the backyard shed.  How did that happen?  My fault.  I lost the shed keys.
My last memory of the keys was putting them in my t-shirt pocket some time before I took my bike for a ride in a neighborhood park.  Panic immediately set in after my ride and there was no key in my pocket.  A possibility was they were back on the park trail.  I had taken a tumble at the park on the grass when I took a detour off the sidewalk trail.  I didn’t land on the ground but I was bent over the bike for a few seconds.
After running out of places to look at home, I went back to the park with a flashlight.  By then it was pitch dark.  I was so desperate that I went out by my lonesome!  It wasn’t a smart thing to do but my “special interest” – scooters and bikes – were grounded without their chargers!  The park wasn’t a ghost town with there being a fair amount of folks still hanging out after dark.  Unfortunately, no sighting of the keys.
I messaged a friend to please ask her husband if he had any advice.  I figured he being a retired engineer would know how to break a lock.  His advice was that the least expensive option to break into the shed was to use bolt cutters.
Since I didn’t have a pair, it meant a trip to the hardware store.  Home improvement is NOT one of my special interests.  I seldom ever enter such a place.  But desperation called for desperate measures!  With fear and hope riding in my soul, I took the bull by the horn and dropped in on the neighborhood mega-hardware store.
After desperately roaming around with no sighting of cutters, I approached a middle-aged guy who was busy stocking a shelf.  I had to ask him twice before I got his attention.  He said I could find cutters in the tool department just passed check-out number 4.  I wouldn’t have minded him escorting me, but he didn’t offer and it isn’t in me to ask.
Although the tool department wasn’t as large as other departments, it was big enough for me to feel lost in.  So many tools in various sizes and shapes.  I browsed the many package labels in search of the phrase “bolt cutter”.  I would have been there no telling how long if it hadn’t been for a senior citizen who noticed me and figured I was out of my element.
He asked, “Can I help you?”  Music to my ears at the time.  He not only escorted me to the cutters but asked what I needed them for.  If he hadn’t asked, I would have bought the cheapest of the lot and it would have been for naught.  The size of the padlock one wants to break must have a pair of cutters big enough to do the job.
When I got home, I was so tired!  Emotionally exhausted!  It was no small thing for me to go to a place where I was totally out of my element.  And, above all, to ask for help.  But I did it because I had to do whatever I could to rescue what the equipment I needed to pursue my special interest!
I felt such relief when one of my brothers broke into the shed with our new cutters.  My bike and the chargers to the other bikes were a sight for sore eyes!
I also felt tremendous gratitude for the senior citizen who saw me, didn’t look the other way, and asked questions I would have been afraid to ask if I had been in his shoes.

Keep It Short, Will Ya?

A posting by one known as “the girl with the curly hair”, a well-known and distinguished writer from the U.K., reads as follows:

I try to listen to people, but listening is very hard. I’m usually being very patient waiting for them to get to the point they want to make. It is very difficult for me to stay engaged.

Most any posting of “the girl with the curly hair” on my social media feed catches my eye because she, like me, is on the Autism Spectrum. This one, like so many of hers, hits close to home. It probably does with a lot of people to stay engaged when someone else is doing the talking.

I secretly wish when someone is beginning their story: PLEASE cut directly to the chase. If the person doesn’t cut, my patience is tested and so is my ability to keep my “interested” face mask on.

I admit, though, when I’m the one telling the story about something I am passionate about, I take the monologue route with at least one detour if not a slew of them. I’ve gotten hints that I am guilty of doing that such as the person changing the subject or escapes leaving me in mid-sentence.

My tendency to be longwinded is one big reason why I prefer to communicate with my fellow man on-line instead of in-person. Such as I have four e-mail fans that I write every Sunday. It has become my routine to do so. I write an original draft sometime during the week. I edit my original throughout the week up until Sunday. The size of my original and my final draft is like going from a Double Meat Whopper to a mini-burger.

Battle of the Bulge

I sometimes wish my brain worked a problem or a process going from A to B.  A direct line with no waiting and no detours.  But one of the things I do living on the Spectrum us zigzag.  It doesn’t come to me natural-like to solve an everyday problem as it does folks around me who are baffled at times at me.  I baffle myself sometimes at how long it took for the lightbulb moment.  My first attempt to solve a problem is more often not the last.  It may even take me years to figure out an easier way to do something that others figured out right off the bat.
The picture of the bike at the top?  You might notice the bulge on the back of my electronic bike (e-bike).  It’s hard to miss.
Before the bulge, there was a flat tire.  I put air in the tire using my handy-dandy digital air compressor.  As I was walking it back to the shed, its nesting place, I heard the wheel make a repeated sound.  You can almost always count on an unusual sound in a bike, vehicle, or any mobile transporter as being a bad sign.
The source, the bulge, was at least easy to locate.  I tried to use one of the tools in the shed to put the tire tread back in place.  It was not an effective solution and neither was my second.  After tooling with it, I tried it out and it wasn’t making the sound.  It still had a “mini” bulge but against my better judgment (my brain must have took a leave of absence) I took it for a spin to a nearby school park.  It’s a good thing I didn’t go further because the bulge grew to MAXI size.  It only takes a minute or two to get to this school on a healthy e-bike.  One with a back tire bulge near the middle of August in the heart of Texas?  I’ll just say after I put the bike to bed, I took a shower and an Advil.
I was so exhausted and fed up that I didn’t bother putting the e-bike back in the shed.  I figured the odds were low of someone taking it with a bulge in its back shoe.   A bike thief would have noticed right away something was wrong, even in the middle of the night, because the bulge was as much a brake to the bike as the bike’s own brake.
At 3:41 a.m., a lightbulb in my brain went off.  This wasn’t unusual for me to be awake that hour since sleep is something that does not come easy on most nights.  It wasn’t unusual for a lightbulb to a problem go off at odd hours either.  Before I am in sleepytown, my mind is wide-awake trying to solve world problems.
One of a number of reasons why social interaction is such a challenge is my zigzagging.  When someone asks me a question, they expect an answer on the spot.  I don’t blame one for that since if I’m the one asking, I want an answer sooner rather than later.  If I am pressured to give an answer on the spot, the odds of it being the correct or best answer is mighty low.  It may take hours, days, or months for an answer to pop in my brain.  In this case of the bulge, it just took less than 24 hours.
The “fix” reminded me of one sitting down to their favorite entree with all the trimmings.  One eats so much that their tummy is bulging and has to unbutton their pants to release the pressure.  I basically did that with my back tire when I overfed it with air so to speak.  The solution was to let the air out; thus, getting rid of the bulge.  Then, carefully air it back up giving it not too little and absolutely not too much.  I wish I had figured that out immediately but a direct A to B thinker I am not.
Now as for me and my e-bike, I took a victory lap in my backyard after the bulge was gone.  I pedaled like a proud Peacock.  It wasn’t only that my tire was out of the sickbay, but that I had won the battle of the bulge on my own.

Living on the Spectrum with COVID-19

Dear Extroverts,

Never fear!  You will survive COVID!  I know you are not used to keeping your distance from your fellow man.  One day, no estimate on when that day will be, you will be able to gather in groves and chat to your hearts’ content.  Why you would want to do that is beyond me but to each his own.


Dear Introverts,

Extroverts are new to this social distancing thing.  Don’t laugh too hard.  If and when the day comes when social distancing is no longer encouraged, it’ll be their turn up at bat again.




With “IT” (my nickname for COVID) came the phrase “social-distancing”.  If I heard it once, I heard it a zillion times on national and local news stations.  It wasn’t a phrase I said a lot myself before “IT” came along.  But it is a phrase I know all too well because I live it every day.  It’s not that I don’t like people; I just don’t like being around them much.


Masking my Autism comes naturally. I’ve had more than a half-century practice at it. Wearing a physical mask that’s required these days due to “IT” doesn’t come naturally, but there is an advantage to my Autism. I don’t have to be so careful about talking to myself in public with a mask covering my mouth.


I had a good track record of wearing my mask in public.  But I did forget it more than once at places where masks were required.  On one occasion, I had been in the grocery store for a minute or two before I realized I was bare-faced.  My walk out of the store and to my car felt much longer than it was.  Although it probably wasn’t the case, I felt all eyes were on me since my bare face stuck out like a sore thumb.  I was thankful, though, that the store “masked” guard did not shoo me away at the door.  If that had happened, it would have haunted me for no telling how many years.  I could say I forgot the mask or wasn’t paying attention.  But that wouldn’t be the truth.  My Autism doesn’t stay at home when I go shopping.  I try not to zone out in my imaginary world when I’m out and about, but I sure did that time.


One of the “IT” safety rules is not to put your hands in your mouth and not to touch one’s face.  Fat chance of either happening!  It’s hard to stop touching my face when most of the time I don’t even know I’m doing it.  Plus, I’m a nail-biter from childhood.  Nailbiting is one of many ways I stim.  I am also a neck-back-and-shoulder scratcher even when I don’t have the itch to itch.  My way of compensating for this while “IT” is a threat is to double down on another “IT” rule:  handwashing.  And, making more use of my wooden back-scratcher.


One of the things that came into existence thanks to “IT” was floor up-and-down arrows located at the end of the store aisles.  Since one of my autism traits is that rules are more of a need than a pain to me, I bowed to the arrows.  Now my record was not 100% adherence to all store visits, but my record of obedience wasn’t shabby as compared to a good portion of my fellow shoppers.  I got more walking in because at least half the time I would have to go down a neighboring aisle to go in the right direction in the aisle that had something shelved on my grocery list.  This was a good thing since I’ve heard say that walking is better for my legs than sitting.


So far, as of this writing, I have not been positive for “IT” or the two family members I live with.  If that should change, contact tracing would be as easy as pie for me.  My contact list would be fewer than the number of fingers on one hand.  Even before IT, it wouldn’t have taxed my memory to list my contacts.  For one thing, I’m retired.  For another, I live on the Spectrum where time alone is golden.