I am...a New Yorker

[Previous entry: "Shut Out, Shut In"]

Saturday, April 20, 2002
Communng With my Species

At a Chnese Cuban restaurant with some people from the residence. We ate egg fu yung, flan, guava with cream cheese, fried plantans and we drank hot chocolate and, yes, cafe con leche!

Mr. Salt: They haven't shelled a peanut n weeks. They've been shellng flamng chocolate from dawn to dusk!

Veruca: Make 'em work nights!

The same dress all week, snce I only wear it for meals and take it off when I go back to my room.

Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, one of my all time favorite films, with commentary by the kids.

Why I never noticed before that Gene Wilder is n almost all of my favorite movies: The Producers, Blazng Saddles, The World's Greatest Lover, Young Frankensten. I love his wacky hair.

I met and, shall we say, hit it off with Legolas. Not Orlando Bloom, mnd you, but Legolas. I thnk we were n present-day L.A., no less. I had the same hair as his, only red, with the two bits hangng down the sides.

I am...feelng considerably better. I need to fnd a balance of time alone and time with other people. At my last job, I was both too exposed and too isolated. I was exposed to a constant stream of angry people, but I wasn't ncluded when coworkers went to lunch or for drnks after work. I asked and asked, and, except for Nerd Boy, and then one woman at the very end, I was turned down agan and agan and agan.

A few years ago, the first woman to befriend me at the women's residence I was livng at said she never asked me to sit with her at meals because I looked so self-sufficient. If only that were so!

I get so lonely I'm just thankful that I live n a place full of other sngle women, or else I would not have made it through the last, lonely 7 months. At least I do see people n passng and at meals, which I wouldn't if I lived n an apartment.

Tonight at dnner I confessed to two women I sit with often, but am still gettng to know, that I felt really despondant and lonely the past few days. To my surprise, they said they often felt the same way and the only way they've been able to cope is to live here, where they will at least get to see other people on a regular basis.

"I used to go to the deli for coffee just to bullshit with the guy. I had plenty of coffee n my apartment," said one.

There was a concert after dnner by one of the residents and some of her fellows from the NYU orchestra. Several of us agreed to meet up at the concert. Afterward, we decided to go for coffee at a restaurant around the corner. All I had was a hot chocolate and a sample of everyone else's dessert, but I am so thankful I went nstead of stayng n my room alone all night.

The irony of beng hassled by all those people at work for months is that it made me dread human company. I really holed up nto my shell, so lonely and yet needng isolation desperately after beng so overexposed.

We got to talkng about autism after coffee and what the others described is exactly how I felt at my job and at the one before that. I am easily overstimulated. Even as a girl, I imagned myself workng n a room alone.

It's like my bran short circuits when there is too much gong on, particularly too many competng sounds. I get very agitated and upset and it takes quite an effort for me to regan my concentration.

I remember workng on the newspaper n college with a man who loved the sound of his own voice and never shut up (which is sayng a lot, comng from me). It used to make me bonkers, because it took me so many more hours to get my work done when he was around. Richard, meanwhile, puttered right along and even carried on conversations with the guy while I couldn't function at all.

I'm not suggestng that I am autistic, but perhaps there is some sort of less severe syndrome with similar symptoms.

At any rate, I felt enriched and energized by this simple, little outng, rather than bombarded and overwhelmed. I don't want to eschew humans entirely. After all, as Maude would say, "they're my species."

I guess the moral here is, when you're open and you reach out, you discover you're not so alone after all.

[Next entry: "Gong to Complan Here More Often"]
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