Hell in a Hallway
Oh God, you don’t even know the stress that goes on in my brain during the simplest moments – like walking down a hallway, for instance.
Talking to my wife about this, she assumed that the most uncomfortable situation for me as an Aspie would be walking down a hallway filled with people. Not so. In fact, walking down a crowded hallway is better than walking alone, and you will understand why soon enough. When walking in a crowd, I can blend in and not be the focus of anyone’s attention. The less people there are, the higher chance that someone else will catch my eye and I will feel obligated to interact. Walking by myself is cool, but there is always a chance that a passerby is just around the corner.
The absolute worst situation for me is walking down a long stretch of hallway and having ONE person walking towards me in the opposite direction. To me, this is an intimate social interaction. Am I supposed to acknowledge the other person’s presence? Would making eye contact with a stranger be creepy? Or would ignoring them be rude? I usually end up fidgeting around or pretending to look for something in my pocket until they pass and the coast is clear.
It’s even worse if the approaching person is someone I know. Is there any way I can pretend that I don’t see them? Have they seen me yet? Should I wave to them? Will they want to come down the hall and talk to me? Should I say hi? How long should I wait to say hi? Is shouting down the hallway appropriate behavior? WHAT DO I DO??????
Maybe I should start walking around without my glasses on. Then I can always claim that I didn’t recognize them from so far away because my vision is so bad. Or maybe I should just stay out of long hallways.