I survived the car rental process, (and navigating the airport!) the packing, and the long car ride – though I drove through a terrible thunderstorm and had to pull over and arrived about two hours later than anticipated. It was dark, I was tired, and the hotel looked… sketchy. It is actually OK, which is not to say that there wasn’t a group of guys sitting on the benches out front with a fifth of gin, and another group smoking pot out back, but they were harmless and it’s been quieter during the week. Still, the first impression caused me a minor meltdown on top of the stress of the storm and all the other things I was already stressed about and I might have actually fled back in the direction I came from, if I’d been physically capable of driving another 5 hours. I guess I have to remember that I am staying in a town where people come to party. I’ll be long gone by next weekend, thankfully.
The class is very interesting and fun. I am having some issues with my damn narcolepsy in the afternoons when the ProVigil starts to wear off, but getting through it. Classroom instruction has always been challenging for me, and it helps that it’s engaging subject matter and we are getting lots of breaks so that I can get up and move around. Given that Aspies seem to be present in the IT world at way greater concentrations than most fields, I decided to play “Find the other aspies” to stay awake this afternoon. There are 25 of us so there’s probably at least a half dozen or so, minimum.
I wasn’t very good at it. I tried to look for people that were oddly dressed, but I’m the last person to be a good judge of that. Also, maybe others are deliberately dressing to not stand out if they are thinking about it at all? I am, myself; once I am comfortable in an environment, I have no problem showing up for work in, for example, a purple shirt, purple jeans, and purple shoe because, ‘purple!’ but among strangers I don’t like to call attention to myself. Hmmm.. what else… looking for people who’ve worn the same clothes two days in a row would involve my having paid any attention in the first place, so that was a bust. Looking for other clothes patterns doesn’t work in such a short time span – I don’t know if, for example, the guy in front of me always wears that polo on Tuesdays any more than he would know that I am wearing the exact same thing I always wear on Fridays, and I was going to wear it on Friday but I forgot my work shoes that go with most of the clothes I brought so now I am wearing my Friday clothes today and damn! What am I going to wear on Friday now?
Next I looked for mannerisms and here I think I hit paydirt. Lets see, at least eight knee bouncers not including me. Several clicking pens including a few of the knee bouncers. And sitting in the next row in front of me, sort of kitty corner to where I am, was a guy who I witnessed repeatedly doing the most elaborate sort of fingertip brushing, rhythmic hand waving gesture. It’s hard to describe except it was sort of like he was playing invisible cymbals. I thought, ‘that is totally a stim’ and not a subtle one, either. It was mesmerizing, and I had this strange urge to cheer him on for being right out there with it, while I, on the other hand, had my arms folded tightly across my chest so that I could spin both my rings undetected behind each elbow.
Anyway, I have gone almost three days without verbally exchanging more than a sentence with anyone other than my dog (does that count as an exchange? She doesn’t actually answer back, at least not vocally… do tail wags count?) and it’s been nice, kind of recuperative. I hate to admit that my partner was right, but it’s been worth the extra initial stress to have the dog with me, and it’s kept me from hiding in the hotel room. I’ve been walking her three times a day around the vicinity of the hotel and we went to a beach on the river yesterday evening. I am hoping to get to an actual ocean beach tomorrow after class. I would have felt awkward to do it without her, and probably wouldn’t have.
I am looking forward to getting back to my regular routine, though.