Airport Brain

Have you ever been in an airport, or another busy place, but you're by yourself? So your brain decides to separate itself from it's surroundings. You feel separated from those around and there is a hum in your head. It is just an odd feeling. It's called depersonalization by the psych people. And this kind is very mild as opposed to the severe end associated with severe anxiety disorders and PTSD. But it happens to me sometimes when I'm shopping by myself or at a huge convention by myself. I can hear and talk to people and look pretty normal, but I just feel totally separated. Maybe it's just me being weird, but work with me on this idea.

Now imagine you are in an airport in a foreign country and there is the hum of Chinese or an Indian dialect, not an American voice to be heard. Your brain spaces out more as it seeks the familiarity of your thoughts.

All the restaurants serve food totally strange to you, and you are pretty sure that person is eating live squirming squid. You are hungry enough to be getting antsy, but how can you order just a hamburger, or even a slice of bread with nothing too creepy on it?

This is a country where people believe in sitting on the floor instead of having comfy seats where you can wait for your plane. Your stiff, creaky American joints resist easing to the floor and your feet hurt from standing in poor-fitting shoes. You didn't sleep too well last night worrying about the trip and you had to get up early today to get to the airport.

They don't seem to have invested in those insulating, tinted windows and all the windows face south into a tropical sun, flooding the airport with uncomfortably bright light that heats the place up.

Now you realize your plane was canceled. When you talk to the ticket agent, only one speaks extremely limited English and all anyone can tell you is "Wait, wait.' You want to scream and cry.

This is what I imagine having autism is like every day for my son.


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