Thanks to Access to Work I spend quite a lot of time in minicabs each week getting to and from work. Mobility-wise this has made things much easier for me, but cabs come with their own distinct set of challenges. There’s the hateful talk radio that accompanies most journeys and the occasional dangerous driver as well.
But most upsetting of all is when drivers don’t listen to me because I’m ticcing, or suggest that I should consider an exorcism to cure me of my ‘demonic possession’. Fortunately these encounters are few and far between and most of the drivers are friendly enough, even if they do listen to the worst radio imaginable. But it’s hit and miss and I’m always a bit nervous whenever an unfamiliar car pulls up outside the castle.
That’s exactly what happened this morning, but I’m happy to report that thanks to the driver’s sensitive and curious questions, the journey couldn’t have been better. He was a young man and he didn’t say much at first. After a while though, he carefully asked me how I’d describe my condition. He was surprised to learn it was Tourettes Syndrome. He said he’s seen people with Tourettes on TV and they’d all sworn a lot. I explained that contrary to popular belief only 10% of people with the condition swear involuntarily – a fact that’s almost always overlooked by the media.
He was genuinely interested and when he could tell I was happy to answer his questions he asked more and really paid attention to my answers. As we turned the corner onto the street where I work he told me I should make a documentary about the real Tourettes to give people a better understanding of what it’s all about. I thanked him for all his questions and said that I’d love to make a programme like that one day.
I got to my desk happy and relaxed, touched by the driver’s thoughtfulness and relieved not to have been exposed to another hateful radio rant about immigration or benefit scroungers.