Party-Down. The Didactic Express, Day 5

Today, as it turns out, is Rosh Hashana. Ordinarily, this date means precisely nothing to me; this year, however, my live-in girlfriend Nominatissima (who is Jewish) felt like throwing a party for New Years, complete with the consumption of copious quantities of challah, bobkah, pommegranite seeds, and a nasty sort of syrupy wine called  Manichewitz*.

As it happens, Jewish people are apparenty hard to come-by in this part of Canada (I know of only one in addition to Nominatissima), so my girlfriend simply invited all of her friends in town. Now, as it hapens, while there is significant overlap between our groups of friends, they generally fall into two distinct clusters: they are either physicists, or members of our University’s various advocacy groups** (mostly Pride). My friends are mostly physicists, with a handful of Priders thrown-in to the mix; her friends are mostly Priders with a handful of physicists thrown-in to the mix.

Now, for whatever reason, not only did none of the physicists she invited show up, none of the Priders with whom I am especially close did either. So I spent the evening in the midst of a bunch of people whom I barely knew, talking (loudly) about subjects which were either obscure or uninteresting to me. The truth is, I’ve never been especially comfortable in crowds; if they’re crowds of close friends, then I can manage. If however, they are antagonistic or strange to me, I simply cannot handle the sensory input (this is why I spent so much of my childhood embarassing myself at house parties). Moreover, our apartment is a bachelor’s suite, so there was not really anywhere to which I could retreat. Being autistic, I soon found myself overwhelmed by a rather painful sensory overload, to which my only possible response was to bow out gracelessly and go for a lengthy walk through the quietest residential streets that I could find, returning only after I had come back to myself.

As it turned out, one of my friends had refrained from attending for this very reason. I wish I had shared her good sense, and maybe gone to see a movie or something.

The moral of the story is:

Not everyone has to be a social butterfly.


*This, for whatever, reason is considered “traditional” in spite of the fact that it literally tastes like someone let grape-flavoured kool-aid ferment in the sun.

**Nominatissima, in addition to be Jewish, is also disabled, omnisexual, Aboriginal and a woman: she is therefore a member of all of our campus’s social justice groups.


About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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5 Responses to Party-Down. The Didactic Express, Day 5

  1. Lindsay says:

    Oh my gosh, I have this problem too. It doesn’t even have to be a crowd — sometimes having the TV on is enough to drive me out of a room. (I spent a LOT of time in college wandering around because my roommates were watching TV and I had no place to go. Often I would go to the gym, or bother my friends, but sometimes I just walked.)

    Nominatissima, in addition to be Jewish, is also disabled, omnisexual, Aboriginal and a woman: she is therefore a member of all of our campus’s social justice groups.

    That rocks. I *could* have joined several of mine —I’m thinking of the clubs for students with disabilities (called AbleHawks at my school — I kind of liked that name for some reason), queer students and atheist/agnostic students — but I never did because I am very much not a joiner. The one I most feel like I missed out on something by not joining is the queer group.

    Happy New Year, Nominatissima!

  2. Lindsay says:

    ALSO: my one episode of Seriously Overdoing It in the drinking department came about because I was trying to cope with overload at a party. Swilled down a number of glasses of wine one after another, then shortly threw up*. I could tell I was ill at ease, and if I had known where I was (we had driven there) I would’ve left and walked home. But I didn’t know, and was in no condition to speak to my partner about my unease ( words are hard for me in the best of circumstances, which these were not — I also struggle with “Thou Shalt Not Inconvenience Anyone, Ever”), so I drank. It was the only thing I could see to do.

    *I don’t remember how many, maybe three or four. Which is actually not a lot for me, but I drank them really fast.

    • Really? I find that the drunker (or more tired) I am, the less I am able to deal with my sensory issues.

      • Lindsay says:

        I kind of space out when I’m drunk … I don’t really remember how effective it was (I guess a more accurate way to put it was that I drank *to TRY* to cope with sensory overload, as I’m not sure it was a successful attempt), but it may have helped somewhat to quiet the mounting anxiety.

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