Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Monday, September 8, 2014

Apropos of Not Much: Meandering Musings for a Monday (September 8th Edition)

Filed under the heading "first-world problems": 

I feel like I spend a disproportionate amount of time inserting my hands under things in public restrooms and waiting for those things to turn on.  Am I not getting soap/water/hot air because the device is actually broken, or am I just not putting my hands in the right place?  Is this a common problem, or is it just me?  Am I really so inept that I cannot trigger something that is supposed to $%*#ing function simply by sensing your presence in front of it?  Maybe I'm trying too hard.  Admittedly, my instinct after the initial failure to launch is to violently jab my hands under the sensor beam in a rather threatening manner.  And, while I do not say it out loud, in my head I am repeating, "It's broken.  MINE IS BROKEN," doing my best impersonation of Julia Roberts when she first encountered opera glasses in "Pretty Woman."  I mean, is it too much to ask to calibrate these things so that the sensor is tripped by the same movement, at the same height, across multiple technology platforms?

I warned you that it was a first-world problem.

Moving on to "first-world OCD problems":  SERIOUSLY, ONE KINGS LANE?  You're walking on thin ice changing your layout, period, but changing your layout ON A MONDAY is enough to make my head explode.  I seriously cannot deal with this kind of emotional upheaval at the beginning of a week.  After all, I am the girl who almost ran off the road when the Texas Department of Transportation changed the font that it uses for road signs.  We're not talking a major change, either:  THEY MOVED FROM ONE SANS SERIF FONT TO ANOTHER SANS SERIF FONT.  BUT I NOTICED.  AND I BECAME UNHINGED.

This is me in a nutshell. (Actually, THIS is me in a nutshell:  "Help!  I'm in a nutshell.  How did I get into this bloody great big nutshell?"  YES, I stole that from Austin Powers.  I think the relevant question is, how could I NOT steal that from Austin Powers?)  Major life upheaval:  no problem.  Slight change in the way a lower-case g looks on paper?  Kill me now. 

I blame this on:  (1) being a highly visual person; and (2) never having my arms scratched with brushes as a kid.  As an adult, I am very much aware that my unique "me-ness" (or, as we have referred to it for years, my "princess-and-the-pea-ness") is not so unique and has an actual name - sensory processing disorder with over-sensitivity.  Per Wikipedia, people with SPD with over-sensitivity:

Refuse to kiss or hug, not because they don't like the person, but because the sensation of skin contact can be very negative.

Poor Spouse and Little Kid:  they are convinced that I find them repugnant, because I am constantly shoving them off of me and shouting things at them like, "STOP, YOU ALREADY HUGGED ME" or "NO, IT'S TOO EARLY IN THE MORNING" (my me-ness tends to be at its very worst right when I wake up?).  As hard as I try, I am mostly unable to convince them that I like them just fine - as long as they keep a proper distance and don't sneak up and force public displays of affection on me.  They truly can't process that an unexpected hugs BURN MY SKIN LIKE FIRE.  (For the record, I think that, maybe, they hug overmuch.  I suspect that they have the other kind of SPD, with under-sensitivity, and that is why they CAN'T STOP TOUCHING THINGS.  Whereas I would be happy not touching things, more often than not.  See below.)

Feel seriously discomforted, sick or threatened by normal sounds, lights, movements, smells, tastes or even inner sensations such as heartbeat.

Umm, so here's some examples from my personal life:

Can't handle the smell of peanut M&Ms in confined spaces.  Refused to walk through Sears as a child because they were always popping popcorn at the little kiosk near the "make-a-key center," the popcorn had too much salt on it, and the salt made the back of my throat burn to the point that I thought that I was dying.

Drive Spouse and my auto mechanic crazy by constantly reporting "suspicious noises" that I am never able to duplicate, because what I am hearing is the actual mechanical operations of my vehicle.  Like, the sound of coolant moving through the coolant lines:  "THERE.  DO YOU HEAR THAT GURGLING?"  No, they don't hear it.  NO ONE HEARS IT, except for me, and, maybe, dogs.  When temperatures drop below freezing, I really come unspooled, because the tiny amount of shrinkage that occurs when metal gets cold changes infinitesimally the noises that I hear inside the car, and I start to complain about "the rattling."  "The car won't stop rattling.  It sounds like it's coming apart.  Is it the engine?"  No.  It is the sound of the actual axles turning in their housings, which sound is ever-so-slightly different to my dog ears than it is in the summertime.

Am often so aware of the beating of my own heart that it feels like it is coming out of my chest.

It is somewhat of a relief to know that there is a name for what I always presumed was a character flaw (and that that condition is linked to health issues that, apparently, can all be traced to having an overactive nervous system).  It is somewhat of a bummer to know that I probably would be much more functional today if I had had occupational therapy as a child (the aforementioned "scratching with brushes" and other activities designed to recondition nerve endings).  Sadly, I was born in an era where children with what we now understand to be Asperger's "marched to the beat of their own drummer" and ADHD kids were "high energy."  Within those parameters, I was a "standoffish little prisspot," and I wasn't able to articulate to people that my stand-offishness and prissiness were related to my body being at DEFCON 1 all the damned time, because I had no idea that DEFCON 1 wasn't the default mode of operations for most humans.

Once again:  first world problems.  Nice to have people who hug me against my will, a car to drive me to distraction with phantom noise issues, and a computer and Internet access that allow me to assure myself that I'm really not crazy, just a bit overwired and, often, overtired.  And, on that note, off to Bedfordshire.  I'm sure that OKL's tweaked user interface will seem (marginally) less offensive with the light of day.  

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