I walk into the lunchroom
and what smacks me in the face?
A wall of noise, bright lights, loud boys--
You want me to do what in this place?!!!
I head toward my class's table
past 200 students that I don't call friends
to sit too close to others to EAT?!!
The torture here never ends.
The room smells of canned vegetables
and very yeasty, doughy bread.
And worse, all the folks that work there
wear these hairnets on their heads.
I know those nets are for hygiene,
but secretly I am afraid
that the nets MUST be on their heads because
they found a hair on the pretzel braids.
All the lunch ladies seem to yell at me
as I'm going through the line for food.
I can't understand a word they say
and it makes me mad that they are so rude.
As I'm sitting at the table,
Wishing for more space in which to dine,
All I hear and see is the grossness of chewing-- UGH!
Suddenly, I can no longer contain my whine.
"THIS PLACE IS TOO MUCH!
ITS SMELLS AND NOISE AND SUCH!
I JUST CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE!"
And then like a flash,
With a bang and a crash,
I am racing out the cafeteria door.
After half an hour in such a stimulating place
Is it really such a surprise,
That when walking back to class, away from that hell
I am angry and have tears in my eyes?!!
Of all the problems that elementary school presents,
this is one that I never seem to master.
Maybe one day, not so far away,
The cafeteria will seem less of a disaster.
But until then, please try to understand
I'm not trying to be mean or unruly.
I'm just trying so hard to not feel overwhelmed
That I'm unable to be good-- truly.
So-- if you see a terrified or angry Aspie leaving the school lunchroom, please resist the urge to hug or touch them. They are already overstimulated enough! Instead, try to be understanding if they are talking too loud, or are intolerant of others-- they just need to decompress and get the ringing out of their ears. The shouting in your general direction is nothing personal-- trust me! ;)