Last week’s episode of the CBC radio program “Wiretap” featured a man with Tourette Syndrome describing his experiences with online dating. So much of what he said resonated with me (diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome as an adult): the range of people’s reactions to this information, the feeling of elation when a tic is released, and even his penchant for bird calls!
Despite my tics being relatively benign and amusing on the spectrum, I too am constantly concerned about how my tics are being perceived, or if I’m wearing out my friends’ patience by asking them 100 times a day “Are you a chicken?” I created a folded brochure entitled “Why is Danny Saying Monkeys?” to explain Tourette Syndrome, including my own particular variety. One paragraph states “Tourette is a good way to detect awesome people… because those who love me despite my Tourette, or even because of it, are awesome!”
At the end of the piece on Wiretap, the man with Tourette says, “If I find the right woman for myself, and I let loose in bird calls, ideally she would join me. That’s what I’d like.” I really identified with this, because I have many people in my life who do just that, and it really helps me feel less outside the norm. One trick I do when I have to wait at a restaurant is to give my name as “Monkeys” so that when the server calls out “Monkeys!” I’m not the only person in the restaurant who’s doing it!