I’m Not Built For City Life

I hate the city. I don’t like the noise, the smell, the large concentration of strangers.

I’m a numbers person. I like facts and statistics. Numbers don’t lie.

Violent crimes happen more often in a big city – rape, burglary, and random acts of violence. We don’t have those where I could from.

All that and still I find myself here sitting in the 8th floor parking garage downtown almost an hour before my shift starts. Why? Because letting myself be defeated is not an option. I can make it through a day in hell – one step at a time.

I left the house at 5:30a.m. this morning in order to make my 6:30 a.m. shift start time.

Perhaps the worst thing about the city is the traffic. A drive that should take 20 minutes can take an hour and a half depending on when you leave and the time of day.

Being late gives me anxiety so I arrive at least a half hour early to anything important. Back home I don’t have to worry about traffic, but migrating into the city for work bring unpredictable traffic patterns.

My supersonic hearing is overwhelmed while walking on the city streets. The noise of birds the perfume of flowers washed away by the sounds of car horns and smells of human waste.

Homeless people ask for money as I walk  from the parking garage to the convention center, some forcefully. I’ve heard on the news people were attacked for not giving. I don’t carry cash.

“Please don’t ask me” I say to myself. I can’t read their faces or decipher their intent. It is almost impossible for me to read strangers. Is this person dangerous? I have no idea.

As a child I had no fear of strangers. I would wander right up to them and star talking at them – monologue style. Spouting off information about my favorite hobbies.

The older I get, the more I am aware of my impairments. This has sparked a fear in me that was not there before. I’ve always been an anxious person, but when I was younger I couldn’t see danger – so I did not know it was there.

Now I know that I cannot always see or hear danger – and that in itself is terrifying.

I get lost in the little details, and being alert in the city demands that you be aware of busy surroundings. It is hard for me to not get draw into one little piece of my surroundings.

My shift goes well but my batteries are running low. Back to the parking garage I race not sure how much more of the “real world” I can handle.

Darkness is just sinking in as I get into my car. Driving during rush hour traffic is difficult. I have a hard time with depth perception / judging distance. Driving at night is terrifying because I can barely see the road.

My mother always pointed out that there was something wrong with the way I interpenetrated distance (probably because I walked into a lot of walls and doorways as a kid). It wasn’t until learning about being an Aspie that I began to understand how badly I am affected by this issue.

Unfortunately I am just not built for city life.


10 thoughts on “I’m Not Built For City Life”

  1. So, one hand – terrible matters to endure and manage. On the other – facing and coping with them. I know some that will never allow themselves to suffer as you have, but would withdraw. I admire your courage for facing and enduring.

    But then – yes, the things we grow aware of as we age. The windows into ourselves that open and surprise us. But – I prefer more knowledge. Show me my windows. Open them. I may not like it but I prefer to know these windows.

    In the end, on the spectrum, we try to master ourselves or we slide away and try to avoid what we know. So many spectrums to comprehend and manage. It’s exhausting on some days. Mentally, physically, and emotionally.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am not autistic, my kids are though. My son and I both have terrible problems of walking into walls. My depth perception is horrible and I’m night blind so I can totally understand driving in city traffic inducing anxiety. Glad you made it through. I’m not built for city life either.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Proof autism is a spectrum: Although cities do give me some sensory over load, I find I thrive in the large cities. It’s easier to blend into a crowd where everyone is different, and diversity is the norm. Hard to be too socially awkward in a sea of 10million people. Glad to read about how other people with autism interpret city life- Diversity makes me feel less alone. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. There are so many things that go unsaid face to face due to my verbal shortcomings – I am far from non verbal but have a hard time vocalizing under pressure, about personal topics, or if caught off guard. It feels good to share the things I notice throughout the day, because most people would have not idea about all the notes I am constantly taking. The little things stick in my mind, things that are insignificant to most people. I get lost in the details. Makes for great writing but almost unintelligible spur of the moment conversation unfortunately. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. While I’m not autistic, I can definitely understand some of the points discussed about the city life. As an introvert who hates loud noises, and I mean HATES them, I really find it difficult sometimes.

    This becomes even more evident when I have to go to my downtown area sometimes for work. In a sense it becomes sensory overload for me, I found that having my headphones on and playing some music helps, especially the more ambient type of music.

    When I was a kid, I wasn’t bothered as much by the city, but growing up as an introverted adult it has made me realize my preferences for rural areas (ie. Small towns, villages, etc.). Basically any healthy place with a lot of peace and quiet lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m defo more comfortable out in the sticks – though we do have to be on our guard for robberies; especially by Gypsies. (hope the PC Police aren’t on my track)

    When I head to Dublin I wear a blazer that has an inside pocket, so that my wallets won’t be nicked. Also, when in Belfast, I have started buying packets of crisps (potato chips) for the homeless ones I see on the street. (safer option than money and more effective)

    I would never drive in a major city, though. Multi-lane roads give me the heebie jeebies. If you are on the wrong lane, you have to go the whole way through the city to get back; one-way roads are also alien to me coming from the sticks.

    Liked by 1 person

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