This past weekend, some close friends of ours wanted us to go carpet shopping with them to a rug store in the larger city near us, and then to go out and eat. I was on the fence about whether I wanted to go, because going out with those friends sometimes turns into ‘all day and into the night’ and no way I was up for that. I didn’t want to be the ‘wet blanket’ that cut short everyone else’s fun, but I felt guilty declining, and I do enjoy spending time with those friends. 

I decided to just be blunt about my reservations, and they assured me they wouldn’t drag me out until all hours,  so off we went.. 

My partner dressed casual but nice, and because I am me, I wore jeans, purple sneakers, and a Mysterious Universe podcast T-shirt. It’s one of my favorites because it’s soft and fits me perfectly, and because it’s covered in quirky, bizarre things like crop circles and aliens. If I was going to be dragged all over town looking at carpets, I might as well be comfortable. 

The store was enormous; more of a warehouse, with giant rugs hanging from racks everywhere. Think ‘poster store’ on a much larger scale – instead of thumbing through the posters mounted in plastic racks on a carousel, you are taking both hands to shove 15′ x 20′ mounted rugs on carousels. 

I got quickly bored and spent my time dodging aggressively gregarious sales people and fleeing the loud beeping noise of a forklift that was working in one of the aisles. I actually fled outside to get away from the sound, but there was nowhere to sit down out there or even stand inconspicuously. I was still having heart rate issues, and really wanted to sit down at that point, so I was quite miserable. 

I wandered back in and the sound, mercifully, had stopped. That is also when I discovered that I could get between the hanging rugs… 

It was accidental at first; I was trying to get a better look at a heavy oriental rug and I had to wedge myself in between it and the one in front of it to budge them apart with my shoulder. Oh. My. Gods! The rugs were soft and heavy and cool – texturally wonderful – and it was soothingly dark and quiet between them. 

The rest of the time there, I struggled against the siren call of the carpet racks. The only thing that kept me reined in was fear of some store employee confronting me. Seriously, I could have burrowed in and stayed there for hours. I can’t explain what made it so appealing but suspect it’s related to whatever makes a weighted blanket so blissfully calming. 

I did maybe discretely slither into a few racks… And also discovered that cheap synthetic carpet doesn’t have the same appeal as the fancy stuff: in fact, it burns if you slide across it. 

After the carpet store (only the one, thankfully) we had a nice meal at a barbecue place. I have had some suspicion for a while that I’ve developed an alcohol sensitivity, and because of that I wasn’t going to drink, but there was a slushie machine with bourbon and cherry soda and common sense did not prevail. 

On the way home, our friend wanted to stop at a local brewery we were passing. I was worn out and not eager to do this, but trying to be a good sport since it was still pretty early and it was only one stop. I sipped a (non alcoholic) root beer they made in house, and hid my exhaustion and overload, or at least I thought I did, but was later informed by my partner that I looked grouchy. Oh well, I did warn them…

Later that evening at home, the tachycardia was the worst it had been since the day earlier in the week when my heart rate hit 170. It was possible worse, even, because I was actually short of breath and very uncomfortable. I don’t know if it was the rich food, the two drinks, (and all the sugar, which I normally avoid) or the sensory overload and exhaustion, or maybe a combination of all of those things, but it was pretty horrible. 

I took it easy the rest of the weekend and the tachycardia has actually gotten much better. Not sure if that’s a coincidence – or an indicator that I just simply can’t get away with doing things like that any more? 

Once again, I find myself struggling to balance taking care of myself against trying to meet social demands…  and sucking at it.  

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