One of my most frequent tics at the moment is “Dog” and its variants “Dog food” and “Dogging” – they’re occurring pretty much constantly.
This evening I was on a bendy bus and a woman got on with her partner and their dog. They seemed quite drunk and went and sat further along the bus from me. The woman was getting increasingly agitated by my tics. She was talking about me very loudly and said “If that crazy woman says anything more about my dog I’m going to go and sort her out”. I could see the other passengers looking nervous, but no one said anything to them or to me.
She was irate and kept on and on and I was a bit worried it might escalate further if I challenged her. But then I heard her say “She’s got Tourettes, those people say what they’re thinking.” I walked along the bus and said “You’re right, I have got Tourettes but I’m not saying what I’m thinking. I say “Dog” all the time but it’s not linked to you in any way.”
She seemed surprised and her tone changed immediately, “OK, I just thought you were having a go.” I stood and talked to her for a few more moments and she said “You seem OK now I’m talking to you.” I wished them a safe journey and went back to my seat.
People often make assumptions about me because of my tics. There have been lots of occasions when strangers have been very shocked when I’ve spoken to them because they seem to think I’m not able to understand what’s going on or speak for myself.