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Autism: New Choices

30 Apr

I stare up at the menu, and the workers try to be patient with me. I am not an easy person to be patient with. Especially in situations such as this. The menu isn’t huge, but I don’t know what these words mean: Frappuccino, macchiato… it isn’t even in English!!! How am I supposed to decide.

And then there are all those numbers beside the words. $3.75, $4.95… for a small drink? Are they joking? It doesn’t matter to me that we have a gift card, because as soon as we walked into the store, it was about buying the drink, and those prices – outrageous! No wonder I have never bought anything from them before.

In fact, it has been years! Years since I even walked into one to consider buying something there. I am pretty certain it was before I moved here, and that was sixteen years ago. I think I even had a coupon – but I couldn’t do it. Not at those prices. Not even with a coupon. Not even with a gift card. Nope.

Of course, this issue isn’t linked only to this one place. I don’t do ‘new’ well, especially when it comes to food. How do I even know if I will like it? And if $5 is spent on me for a drink, that I can’t even swallow, because it tastes gross – or that leaves me feeling sick because it had milk in it, when I didn’t know – it would take me a long time to get over that.

It was a nice gesture. The idea of finally trying something from there, when so many people seem to love their drinks… I wanted to. I really did. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t spend the money – even if it wasn’t mine. I couldn’t choose from a menu that I could hardly read. I couldn’t bring myself to try something new. Too hard. Too much.

And while it may have been a disappointment for the person who had brought me out, I still couldn’t do it. I am glad it was my husband. I am glad he understood. I am thankful we were with family, and they agreed with me when I said I would just go and spend my gift card at the coffee shop where I know what I like (and where the prices, though high, are not nearly that high.) They understood. They agreed. After all, the card my husband was given wouldn’t cover both of our drinks, and he can handle surprise. Better for him to use it on himself, and for me to get a drink I know from past experience that I would enjoy.

I suppose all things were new at some point – even food. But those times when I started, even the things I know I like now, were long drawn out, uncomfortable, anxiety provoking experiences. I am thankful, really thankful, when what was new isn’t new anymore. Familiar. Same. Safe.

So I go to the same restaurants, and order the same food and drinks time after time, year after year. Often I will look at the menu, and consider ordering something else. But always I fall back on the familiar. After all, safe is safe – and change? It is just too hard.niagara falls

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