Rainy afternoon, sitting in a bookstore, sipping ridiculously expensive coffee made with heavy cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream on top, reading a stack of books that I collected on a whim (OK, I’m reading the covers, cliff notes of cliff notes), these are things I don’t do very often. If one does it often, it can easily feel like a waste of time. On a rare occasion, while sharing the experience, it can be rather special.
In walks a group of about ten people. A couple of thirty-something year old social workers, taking a group of mentally handicapped young adults on an outing. They go to take their place in the rather busy cafe area. The social workers are good. One young lady is very loud and being somewhat difficult. It’s not clear where she is able to take breaths during her attempt to exert control over her regimented life. “We can’t sit here, it’s too close to the window”. “We can’t sit here, there might be a draft”. “No, I don’t want to eat that”. “I can’t sit on this side of the table”. It wouldn’t stop. The social workers were clearly annoyed, and used to this, but resigned to the fact that they had to give in to everything so as not to cause a scene that would upset the other patrons. It was complicated, she kept up the tirade, but they eventually get seated. Finally, the first lull in the din, a little peace and quiet. One of the young men start to open a newspaper. “You gotta stop doing that! Rustling newspapers bothers people! You gotta stop bothering people…” the young lady erupts again, after only 30 seconds of silence. I look up with a smile on my face and catch the eye of another patron, who is also looking up and starting to laugh.
The other patron soon manages to get it back together again. Now I’m the one causing the scene.
Sad that the young woman puts so many restrictions on herself and her environment. It occurs to me that she could be on the autism spectrum; many of those are extremely sensitive to sensory stimulation. Regardless, I would be smiling, too.