Today’s lunch was unplanned, though I had been wanting to tuck into some Thai tom yum noodles for some time. This particular brand from Thailand is the best of the instant ones that I’ve tried thus far, and it is available only at Asian grocery shops around here. Coles, Woolworths and IGA don’t stock this brand. Right, so you may well ask me, “Why don’t you just go and get it then?” The answer may be strange, but it is a regular feature in my thought life. I needed processing time – to strategise, plan and concretise the act. Especially because of the unique situation presented to me in this case, trying to juggle the internal juxtapositional projections of Self and Other.
OK, about Self: I am autistic. I usually dislike surprises. I prefer to plan ahead of time, mull through and chew on ideas, concepts and the what-have-you thingummies associated with every single event in the day, week, month etc. This, of course, is called “over thinking” in neurotypical-speak. Yes, I am not unaware that many autistic people do become mired in the bog of their own looping thoughts, but so do some neurotypicals. From my own personal thought-experiences, it is really largely about channeling one’s energies and mental efforts. Easier said than done, of course, and the battle can be fiercer than any fairytale struggle with evil dragons.
Then there are things to think about where it comes to Other: There is an Asian grocery shop nearby that I have been buying my Asian foodstuff from. The lady behind the counter is a stroppy, grouchy middle aged Chinese woman with big hair and a snarly voice. She is the reason I have been thinking through and hesitating at the idea of bringing Lucy to the shop. I didn’t want a confrontation, even though I know I have the legal rights to bring my service dog to most public establishments, so long as I comply with the regulations regarding service animals, of course.
Today’s final resolution? Well, this morning, we were once again walking past that area (as we have done countless times already), and I decided I should take the proverbial bull by the horns and just go inside! Even then, it wasn’t completely an act of impulse. I must admit I spent a couple of minutes going through the movements in my mind and planning the script for the impromptu scenario.
In we stepped, across the haloed threshold, flanked by large bags of rice on the left and toilet paper on the right. I greeted the lady, and told her I have my service dog with me, I know she is allowed to shop with me inside, but I will tie her to the railing just by the counter today, out of consideration and in case she is afraid of big dogs. What happened next took me completely by surprise.
The lady let out a loud squeal, jumped out from behind the counter, and rushed towards Lucy, making high pitched gushing goo-goo-ga-ga sounds, declaring in Chinese (putonghua / mandarin) how much she adores doggy-woggies! I was almost embarrassed after I got over the shock of it all, I had never seen this lady smile before today and it somehow seemed surreal! 😀
Anyhow, it was lovely to meet with a positive response when I was expecting to have to fight my way through the ordeal. I did end up picking up more than I had intended.
Being met with positivity, albeit unexpected, made my morning. We trotted home with bouncy steps, I was most energised and raring to attack the day with vim and vigour. I even managed to do some sowing and pottering in the balcony, and baked a batch of parmesan cheese okra slices for teatime snacking (with olive oil, garlic powder, chilli powder and some sambal chilli paste).
Once again, Lucy has opened doors that I never thought existed. And yes, we will be back!