Sunday, March 10, 2013

Not Quite Human

I wake up and immediately know I do not want to be awake. I do not belong here. It just doesn’t feel right. But where do I belong?

I force myself up, shower, eat, leave. It is bright, sunny, warm - like summer. I do not like it. Today, I crave the dark. I walk amongst the people, the humans. Strange, I know that, even in this frame of mind; that I refer to the others as “humans”, as if I am not one of them. But I am not. Not exactly. They walk into me, bump into me, as if I am invisible, as if I do not exist. And I begin to wonder if I do exist; but then I force myself to stop that line of thinking - I’m already too caught up in my own head. It’s getting increasingly dangerous. I nearly got hit by a truck again the other day, my body wandering in the middle of the road, my mind contemplating nonnegative eigenvectors. I’m not afraid to die. But I don’t want to die like that; so pathetically mundane. And I still have a few things left to do.

I push my way through the crowds, reach my destination, make the exchange, and calculate the most efficient route of return. I am already exhausted - by the humans, the noise, the light, the blinding bright light. And my knees are screaming. Most days I can ignore them, but not today. Trudge forward. I am home. And that would be it. I would be content to sit here all the rest of the day, episodes of Community playing in the background while I LaTeX my results. And then the day would be over. And at some point I would pass out. Not sleep - I don’t sleep anymore. And then maybe tomorrow would be a “normal” day. But I can’t. I made a promise to a friend. And when you make a promise to a friend on her birthday, you keep it. No matter what. So I put on my human face as best I can, knowing it doesn’t fit well today. And I force myself to get onto the tram stuffed with humans. It’s unbearable. Do other aspies feel this way? How do they endure? How will I?

I am there. My friend is happy. People are talking. En français. En anglais. In Italian. It’s all I can do to stay in the moment. It’s too hot. There is too much light. And music. And noise. I need quiet. My mind is refusing to behave. On the way over I passed a door to a site that probably shouldn’t have been open, but was. And I peeked inside. It looked … intriguing. I want to go back to explore. I need to get back into the moment. People are speaking to me. I hear the words but they do not register. I keep thinking of the door. Stop. Relax. Concentrate. Can we think of an interesting, nontrivial example where R^\bullet(\mu)=\lambda \cdot \mu? No, no, no, stop thinking of that. Focus on the personality you should be wearing. Smile. Make eye contact. Listen. Respond. Not like a robot. Less like a robot. Switch to English. C’est trop difficile à parler en français ce soir. Difficult enough in English. Two hours have passed. I think that is enough. I will leave now. I am a terrible friend. But at least I tried. I hope it is enough. I’m sorry. I wish I could be better than I am, but I don’t know how to.

I make my exit. No time for the door. Need to get home NOW. It’s taking so long. Suddenly a choice: continue on overcrowded tram or aggravate knee pain? I choose the knee pain. It is not that bad. And it is a relief to be away from all those people. And the walk is a nice one. Finally I am home, and I collapse in the dark on the floor. Silence at last.

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