I’ve come to realize that one of my greatest obstacles in life has been (and probably will continue to be) getting people to understand my sensory processing disorder. This rings true in college, the epitome of social involvement. But as you know, social-ness is not part of my expertise, as my sensory needs consistently seem to trump successful leisure activities. I have a very specific moment engraved in my memory that highlights this struggle.
This is me sitting in class at my local community college about three years ago:
(Yes, in case you were wondering, I was the coolest person on campus…if you couldn’t tell from the illustration).
That day was unremarkable. I, along with several other students, were waiting for the arrival of our professor, who never showed up on time. During this time, most people were on their phones viewing pointless crapsauce, or chatting with their neighbor about pointless crapsauce. Meanwhile, I spent my time doing more important things:
Suddenly, and I mean like outta freakin’ nowhere, this guy smashes his body onto my tiny desk, interrupting my wizard battle drawing.
After I succeeded in NOT crapping myself, I realized he swiftly took the empty seat next to mine. His name was Marcus. He looked roughly similar to this:
Marcus never talked to me up until this point, I doubt he knew my name. He normally sat on the other side of the classroom and generally made life annoying for the professor with his shenanigans. Every now and then, he was incredibly insightful during class. This was not one of those moments.
I was all like:
I realized I had to, you know, respond. So I did.
Without missing a beat, he fired right back.
“YOU SHOULD COME CLUBBIN’ TONIGHT!”
Hold up. Did I miss something? Didn’t I already address this invitation? I didn’t feel like diving into the hundreds of reasons why I didn’t want to – and probably should never – go to a club in NYC with this random guy from school.
Luckily for me, Marcus was a real charmer.
“But, sugar, you should come tonight.”
I tried politely turning down his offer.
“No thank you,” I said again.
Marcus replied, “But why don’t you want to go clubbing? I mean, I’LL BE THERE.”
KILL ME NOW.
It became apparent to me that I needed to give Marcus an explanation for why I couldn’t go to the club with him. I tried the simple response; nice and straight-forward.
Marcus stared at me with silence and uncertainty.
With nothing left to lose, I began rambling on about what I’m sure was a complicated mess of crapsauce. On the bright side, it sounded great in my head.
This ridiculous charade went on for several minutes. Marcus was a persistent bewb, and I was slowly losing my faith in mankind. I was beginning to worry that I would run out of ways to explain my SPD issues to him, because no matter what I said or how I said it, Marcus didn’t grasp the concept of me being physically unable to go clubbing…whatever the heck that means.
Just when I thought it was nearly over, a female classmate with very yellow hair and about ten thousand bracelets joined in the madness. Apparently, she was also going to the club, and now I had the pair of them giving me this look:
It was at this point that I attempted to smile, because I was out of options and kinda stressed. KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS….ERR SOMETHING.
Fortunately, since there is mercy in this cruel world, the professor FINALLY arrived. Marcus and bracelet girl stood up and returned to their seats on the other side of the classroom.
Of course, not before shouting, “YO SUGAR, I’LL PICK YOU UP TONIGHT. THEN WE’LL GO TO THE CLUB! AWWW YEAAA.”
Moral of the story: If you get invited to “the club” or someplace similarly sensory dangerous, do a better job explaining yourself than I did. If that doesn’t work, smile intensely until you scare the person away. The latter method has rarely failed me.
Do you have a funny experience trying to explain your special needs? Share it in the comments!