Friends and friendships are important. Contrary to popular misconception, autistic persons do not hide inside our own worlds as some kind of stubborn, deliberate contrariness, antagonsing the ‘normal’ world with our reluctance to connect. Autists merely have different connectivity pathways, and thresholds for interactivity modes that are not intrinsically native to our distinct functionality.
A catch up with a friend is, for me, a major event. First, before venturing forth anywhere, my mind needs some preparation. If it is a new and unfamiliar place, the preparation is more extensive. A great deal of thought and anxious to-ing and fro-ing in the mind goes into every single outing. Perhaps, that is why these ‘sorties’ are such exhausting events. The mind-body entity is quite spent even before I step out. What makes it worse is having to endure constant sensorial assault living inside harsh inclement space, where there is no replenishing of drained energies or recharging of fragmented nerves, where there is no oasis of renewal to spring from or to return home to. Implosion before the explosion. That is the existence of the last 10 months – almost a year already in a state of flux, and four months inside sensory hell.
Right. Back to my little adventure into the wonderful Tim Ho Wan at George Street. Well, as usual, I became somewhat disoriented once the bus arrived in the city. I missed the bus stop and had to walk quite a distance back to where I should have alighted. Then became confused about where I was supposed to go. Thanks to my GPS map on trusty old iPad (very old very clunky and heavy now), I finally found it. I was early and Doris hadn’t arrived yet, but ever so hungry, so I ordered three dishes as soon as I sat down, and then watched the crowds go by through the glass window.
Of course, we had a feast – I have not enjoyed dim sum in a very long time, and I do not often venture into the city, so this was it! Then the exhaustion crept in. Time to head home with belly full of goodies, and a whole lot of nostalgia. In the bus on the way home, I ruminated on how much I miss ‘yum cha’ – a practice that grew on me during my years in Hong Kong.
It was my friend Doris’ birthday week. So this was her impromptu birthday treat. Unfortunately, by the time her actual birthday rolled round, I was washed out and had crashed, hence failed to keep the much anticipated birthday cake date. Fortunately, Doris understands me. Catching is hard to do, but good friends are equally hard to find. It’s worth it, when I manage to achieve it, that is.