Sensory input in most experiences is wonderful; however, in my life, sensory input can
be as excruciating as fingernails scratching on a blackboard. The experience with the
most sensory memory for me is walking through Washington, DC in the late evening.
It was late one evening while the Fiqups were on vacation in Washington, DC. We
were all extremely tired and hungry. I had struggled through the day walking from one
unknown place to another---- sightseeing. The sites were amazing, but each time I had to
enter through each door, panic would set in. I'm not sure what it is about crossing the
threshold of a door, but it is terrifying, especially entering rooms that are unfamiliar to me.
So imagine at 9:00 p.m. when I was finally in the security of the van, I had to get out to
walk to the restaurant. We picked a place in the bad part of the city with people all over
walking and talking up and down the sidewalks. The lights were blinding as we tried to
find the right place.
At home at 9:00 p.m. the distant glow of our security light and the
stars are the only light I see, but in DC the lights were so bright it felt like high noon.
As we walked into the restaurant, the senses were overloaded. There were no booths,
usually my favorite enclosed spot to eat. Instead we ate at a table and not just a table but
a high table making me feel less grounded. Then the place was packed, making the noise
level uncomfortably high. The restaurant was well-lit --- no soft light ambiance for this
place, and we had to wait in lines for our food, so we were up and down a lot.
The best thing I can say about the evening is that I did it. I walked appropriately, I
sat appropriately, and I ate appropriately. As far as any stranger walking by, I was just
one of the family. So no matter how intense these sensory experiences can be, I know I
can cope, and I will.