Most of my tics are completely random and not triggered by any external factors, but there’s a strange cluster of tics that do respond automatically to prompts from other people. They include:
• Jiggling my legs in a frenzied fashion if someone hums a jig
• Hitting my head if anyone says ‘Hit head’
• Meowing loudly if someone asks ‘What noise do cats make?’
• And… waving my arms very fast in front of me like I’m holding a steering wheel if I hear the phrase ‘My name’s Touretteshero and I drive a car like this!’
My close friends know all about this and normally avoid exercising the power their knowledge gives them. But very occasionally they can’t resist triggering one of these automatic responses.
Last week I fractured my elbow when I tipped my wheelchair over. It’s not a serious fracture but it’s still very painful. Yesterday I was teasing Leftwing Idiot and threw one of my padded gloves at his head. He asked, ‘Are you sure you want to do that?’ I confidently pushed on, saying something provocative. He looked at me with a mischievous grin and said ‘My name’s Touretteshero and I drive a car like…’
He didn’t even have to finish the sentence – my arms immediately started waving frantically – and extremely painfully – in front of me. Laughing, he quickly grabbed them and held them still and I expressed shock that he should stoop to such a low trick.
Some people might be surprised that Leftwing Idiot did this, but in spite of the pain it caused, I’m pleased we can still tease each other in the way we’ve always done.