You probably need to know that I became (and still am) the target of anonymous Machiavellian jerks after I moved from Southampton to Portsmouth at the start of 2009, from the get-go. Think extensive hacking. Think pretty severe abuse. Think dark triad. Think repeated lock-picking and vandalism in my flat. Think Naval base. Think port. (No, not the beverage.) Think 1950s and 1960s situations in society. Think (very) rough pubs. Think great deal of unemployment and poverty. (Powerlessness, resentment, lack of perspective.)Think city mostly located on a small island called Portsea Island. Think fierce insularity, with people deliberately creating as much misery for each other as possible and rejoicing in it. Because they have nothing much to do and this is the best they can come up with, apparently, as a suitable use of their time.
It is considered fairly typical to move to Portsmouth, then lose your income and get stuck in poverty. (Ouch, people! That is so sad!) I didn’t know any of that when I moved to Portsmouth. I didn’t see any of this coming. Portsmouth looked like a great place to live in, to me, but I’ve been subjected to a lot of abuse here, some of it pretty horrific. Okay, now you’re clued into the backstory for the present state of my life.
What you also need to know is that I became pretty damn depressed after I relocated from Amsterdam to Southampton. Let’s face it, England is pretty dreary and Southampton may well be the least lively place on the planet, although not everyone will agree with that assessment and I know a few Dutch places that are also pretty damn lifeless.
English people, regardless of gender, often assumed that I wanted to marry them, or at least wanted to give them a blow job or move in with them, if I do as much as make a remark about the weather, as a merely generally sociable stranger. (Nowadays, I often think twice before I do something as daft as that. Nowadays, I run away if someone perhaps only jokes “are you following me?”)
But besides that almost everyone was pretty standoffish and aloof in Southampton, as well as often downright paranoid with regards to foreigners, that there were often very loud very drunk people who sometimes set rubbish dumpsters on fire on weekends and that far too many people killed themselves within a few hundred yards of where I was living, nothing much ever happened there. Not even smiles. Smiles only very rarely dared light up people’s faces there. The place was duller than a great thaw. It also was where people have the most nightmares, within the UK, I later learned.
Have I set the scene properly now? 🙂
Now picture me on a sunny porch in Florida, having a few cans of Schlitz with my neighbours. Michelob was my favourite then, and Budweiser now. Or having a pizza on the Pier and meeting with mystification when I asked for tuna and onions. (I am still baffled as to why those two scrumptious American staples were missing from the pizza menu.) Or picking pelican mites off my white t-shirt after having volunteered, riding a bicycle through a fairytale-like landscape filled with oodles of sunshine, palm trees, lots of water and even the occasional roseate spoonbill. (Think flamingo. Wanting to pinch yourself. Am I dreaming?)
Okay, good times and bad times can be had anywhere and Florida certainly also has its downsides as does the rest of the US. Countries are like people. You click better with some than with others. It’s nobody’s fault.
But the fact remains that I can still e-mail strangers in the US and get a response, and even spontaneously get a book gifted, signed and sent to me. In England? Not so much…
I’ll come back to that in a minute.
(Except, lol, at the end of May 2021 – before I typed the above –
a stranger somewhere in England sent me a book.
No idea why, let alone who. I received it on 2 June.
Okay, I stand corrected; there are people in the UK who spontaneously send you books.
Or was that otherisation too, a form of colonialism, wanting to educate? Or merely wanting to show others that he means well, perhaps? Who knows.)
A few years ago, there was a “meet your neighbours” kind of local picnic (at Canoe Lake, for those who wonder what I am talking about). Intrigued, I went to take a peek at what was happening. It had everyone sitting in the grass in neatly constrained groups, as usual. (lol)
Now imagine me in Amsterdam, taking part in the American Book Center’s Thanksgiving event. Total strangers bringing food and sharing a meal at the same large table, even singing songs together, accompanied by the guitar-playing of an American who had driven over all the way from Belgium just to be able to have a meal with strangers.
(I included that large table in a business plan I wrote in 2012 or thereabouts, for a mini mall. And I suggested having sensational YouTube-worthy street art bound to go viral as part of its opening publicity.)
Click on the links immediately below for more on the topic of insularity.
Londoners are most terrified of interacting with strangers, it says. People in the north of England are less scared of strangers, though. I am based in London’s commuter catchment, in the south-southeast. Haven’t I adjusted marvellously? (lol)
(The above article includes a link to this highly illustrative news item:
So yeah, for over a decade, I have been the victim of anonymous abuse in Portsmouth, a place where I don’t know anyone. The abuse includes extensive hacking as well as lock-picking, vandalism, theft and animal cruelty. It is not all negative, but that, well, it can make it quite all manipulative.
You will therefore from time to time see posts about concerns that I have, abuse that I am subjected to, comments etc that show up on my screen etc. I have a tendency to remove those posts again later.
That is because I do not want to focus on negative things and things that I can’t do a thing about anyway. I do not want to expose people to too much negativity and worry either. We need more good things in life and spread those. But when I remove such posts, it does not mean that these things are not happening or continuing in my life.
My flat continues to be burgled, for example, via lock-picking, most recently necessitating a visit to my bank to order a new bank card, after which the new PIN code disappeared from my postal mail.
Last year, my driving licence disappeared – it’s dawned on me that this might enable someone not just to make my life a little difficult perhaps, but also keep tabs on me if I were to move away – and a few years ago, 4 bank cards disappeared within a period of only about 2 or 3 months.
Since I have been living at my present address – the beginning of 2011 – I have come home to find notes or stickers left, things moved on a wall, the door demonstratively standing open, items taken, items returned, switches flipped, the duvet on my bed reversed and other mischief. Less “mischievous” was coming home to discover that a bird had been interfered with in its cage.
I live in a rather rough town. Some say that it is the hardest place in the UK. If anything that I am subjected to strikes you as unrealistic, well, that means that you are probably a very lucky person.
Is it a complicated situation with a lot of people not knowing what to think when they read my stories here? Sure!
Does neurodiversity play a role? Yes! Has to. (I am fairly neurotypical, by the way.)
Does that mean that I should roll over and accept any kind of abuse that I am subjected to, from anyone? No.
Does that mean that I always know what the best way is to deal with any of this, keeping in mind that there are at least two different people involved and I cannot call, text, Skype or e-mail them and don’t know where they live? No, of course not.
You should also know that, within this context of hacking and other kinds of mischief, text on this website sometimes is changed (becomes garbled, gets rearranged or is removed); I don’t always spot such things right away.
Gaslighting = trying to make someone believe that she is going crazy (and trying to make others “see” that too)
Gaslighting that has been going on for far too long becomes like a buzzing fly that has flown into a house, no more. Easy to shrug about. It’s just a fly that lost its way, no more.
For those of you locals who are not aware of this yet, whoever is doing this also is in the local network. (I think it is called the People’s Network?) I’ve had messages/popups at the public library too, such as “I see you’ve been avoiding the internet” and “I am here, at the library”. The terminals at Advice Portsmouth were free from interference for a long time, but that did not last. (I don’t know what their current state is.)