accommodating Self

 

Yesterday afternoon, a friend took me to a little nooky cafe, tucked inside an industrial estate. A former hardware shop, the entrance decorated with eclectic vintage clutter served as a thematic introduction to the atmosphere within. As soon as we pushed open the creaky door, I felt a draft of musty, humid, cool air blow directly into my face, then wrap around me like a nebulous mouldy snake. My skin tingled, as my olfactory senses picked up the various miasmic odours emanating from each visually charming piece of history on display.

The waiter ushered us towards the back. Slipping within a split second into a bubble of wordlessness, I followed obediently, semi-somnambulant, my sensory system already engaged in a (routine) contrapuntal wrestling match with the onslaught of smells, sights, and sounds. As we were about to sit down at the allocated table, speech suddenly returned, and words fell out of my mouth like marbles, tumbling down and bouncing sharply against the concrete floor.

“I don’t want to sit here, it smells funny. I don’t like the smell here.”

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clemency

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Sometimes, Clement Space can exist inside inclemency.

I recently spent 3 days and 2 nights at a holiday chalet with immediate and extended family. A grand spectacle of non-stop sensory overload. Unceasing noise. Human chatter at booming, roaring, shrieking, penetrating volume. Clattering of mahjong tiles into the wee, wee, wee-est hours. Thick, choking smells from the barbecue, food being cooked all day, cigarettes (smokers were very considerate, they only smoked outside, but my olfactory receptors picked this up too), and burning mosquito coils.

Oh, yes, and food. An over abundance of food. So much that it became overwhelming, even for a Foodie Bunny. Continue reading

panacea

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sweet balm…

Sensory overload. What is it really like? Difficult to pin down, common to most autistics, yet different in each individual and varying from one circumstance to another. No, it’s not just “all in the imagination” and no, we are not deliberately playing some dramatic role for whatever purported attention-seeking accusation.

Right. So, here. Today’s episode.

Heat. Humidity. Crowds. Smells. Noise. Lights. Over-exposure.

11.45am – 1pm. Just a wee bit over an hour.

Nausea. Vertigo. Uhoh… think I am going to throw up – search frantically for a plastic bag. OK, this is going to be awkward, standing at the bus stop. Should I give up and go sit down somewhere? Bus is arriving in 2 minutes. Determination and stubborn grit – just get home, Bunny!

I did it!

Safe, tucked into bed with my panacea for all woes – Canine Angel and warm vanilla hound.

Ah, so lucky to have my Lucy Like-a-Charm!

Clemency.

rice

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Chirashi Jyo

Rice. A staple for most Asians. A fine art in Japan.

Here in Singapore, this texture-sensitive, Autistic Bunny tasted the best Japanese rice outside of Japan yesterday at Ichiban Boshi @ Vivocity (well, technically, I’ve only ever been to Kansai airport on an overnight stay due to flight delays and the buffet at the hotel there was pretty sad, but I am guessing that there must be much better rice elsewhere in Japan, non?). Continue reading

this morning

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Fish & Chips Da Capo

This morning. Today. A slowly unfolding, passing, flowing ‘now’… I am inside… Lucy is inside… We are both inside… Here…

They say the mark of a really good meal is in its rehashing afterwards. Well, I reheated yesterday’s fish and chips in a pan for a hearty late breakfast half an hour ago. In some ways, it seemed to taste even better than before. This AirBnB kitchen has no toaster ovenette – and I didn’t want to heat up an entire giant oven just for my leftovers – so, I used a frying pan, a dash of virgin olive oil, on low heat. The batter become crispier and the chips crunchier. The salad was fresh enough to not taste soggy-faded too. Thank you, dear Massimo!  Continue reading

bump!

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Meltdown

It’s Wednesday. Midweek. Lucy and I hit a few bumps along the road today.

This morning, as if she somehow had an inkling of what lay ahead, Lucy was less happy than usual to get out of bed for her early morning breakfast. During our little walk around the block, she was sniffing around a familiar patch of grass, when she stopped, walked very deliberately to the gate leading to a gallery where I had held my first exhibition, and stood at the gate. She resolutely refused to move from that position, even turning away from her favourite lamb puff treat when I tried to persuade her. “It’s locked, honey, we can’t go in from here.” She usually understands this, and will follow me thereafter, but Lucy stood frozen to the spot, as if in a mini, silent meltdown. Her nose began to drip, another sign of distress. I checked her all over to make sure she hadn’t suffered any injury, or stepped on glass shards etc. All ok. Something must have triggered in her mind. A sensory issue? An olfactory memory? She seemed insistent on going inside via that particular gate. Or perhaps she was just reacting to the big change of being back with me after 2 months at ‘holiday camp’ with my lovely friends Jan and Pete, and their five dogs?  Continue reading

olfactory travel

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Stand clear of the green arrow!

My first time in the MRT train in Singapore. An eye-opener. An ear widener. An eye-stabbing, energy sapping exercise. Most of all, a full-on olfactory incursion.

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Begin at the beginning…

Having never used the system before, I set forth for my 4pm appointment in the west, from the central area where I live, at 2.55pm. My only experience with the underground system were in Hong Kong and London. The trains in Hong Kong run at quite a speed. Based on this, I felt an hour would be sufficient to cover the distance. I was wrong. Continue reading

hotpot for four

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Hotpot for four!

Foodie culture is big in Singapore. For this Foodie Bunny, it’s an amazing wonderland.

I braved the crazy weekend crowds for this yummy meal. Thinking I’d be clever, I wandered off ahead, and managed to get very lost. Never dive into a buzzing throng of human bodies if you have no firm idea where your destination is. Fortunately, I am not afraid to ask for directions. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me to do so until I was in the opposite end of the huge shopping mall. Found my way at last, and the feasting began. Continue reading

sentient towels

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No, it’s not Pokemon.

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Can you hear them sing?

Sentient Towels. My friend Brad coined the term. I think it is brilliant.

These insidiously malodorous entities have a life of their own. Each one energised by a buzzing, bustling eco-system of bacteria chowing down on decaying micro-flakes of human skin, sweat and whatnot embedded in its thick fibrous tapestry. The entire bathroom reeks from the cacophony of activity, a raucous macabre Dies Irae in elaborate counterpoint. And yes, the merry village and inhabitants, remain there for weeks – sights, sounds, smells and lively jiving – unless I take them to the laundry room myself. Rightful owner of these beings either cannot be bothered (simply to lazy) or, perhaps, actually likes his little critters that way?

My own thought processes have short-circuited, contemplating the various possibilities behind this frightening phenomenon.

Someday, I shall write about the serious repercussions of Inclement Space upon the mental and physical wellbeing. For now, these little babbly ramblings are all I can muster.

Dinner tonight – two panadols and half a glass of warm water. This foodie has stopped fooding. A neighbour remarked to me, “How can you even live in there, let alone actually eat in that kind of condition?” What can I say? I merely smiled, shrugged, and shuddered alongside her.

The Sentient Towels are roaring in their stolid, stubborn silence.

 


 

Another delayed post. Written awhile ago. The roaring olfactory oppression helped to propel me into action – I have left this hell. Never to return.

escape!

Four months inside sensory hell. Enough is enough. Time to exit. Escape.

Packing. Sorting. Throwing out. Selling. More packing. Ordering food and treats for Lucy. Oh, a new bed of her own, and don’t forget the supplements too! Packing for Lucy as well.

Finally, it’s time to say goodbye.

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Exiting Hell

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