The Ongoing Impact Assessment
This evening, while talking about forthcoming films with Laura, we discussed whether it was fair on other people for me to go to the cinema. The impact of Tourettes on other people is something I’m very aware of. I constantly assess the effect that my presence can have on other people. This is true of obvious things like the cinema or theatre and also of much simpler things like getting on a bus. I obviously have as much right as anyone else to get a bus home from work but when I’m on one that’s crawling through traffic I do think about how unhelpful the noise I’m making might be to someone who’s had an awful day.
The balance of my right to do everyday or exceptional things, and the right of other people to go about their day without interjection or distraction, is difficult to strike when living with Tourettes.
I went to the cinema last week and while we were waiting for the film to start I overheard one women sitting nearby with her friend saying, “Oh my god I can’t believe this, that noise is going to be so distracting.” I felt an odd mixture of understanding and anger towards them.
If this was an isolated incident the impact on me would probably be minimal, but things like this happen several times a day, every day. Despite my best efforts at challenging or shrugging off this type of comment, accumulatively they have a negative effect on how confident I feel going out and doing the things I enjoy.
Of course Tourettes doesn’t always have a negative impact on other people’s experience. Colleagues have often commented on the added interest I bring to meetings with random and sometimes rude interjections, especially because Tourettes makes no concessions to authority.
I’ll only go to the cinema when the film’s been out a while so there a less people there. With things like the bus, I don’t really mind if’ I’m bothering people (unless it’s very busy to the extent that I am elbowing and spitting at people), but with the cinema, theatre etc. I feel bad because it’s something they’ve paid money to hear a specific thing that they can’t hear over me.