I’d like to talk about an activity I have participated in on occasion. This activity is one that makes me feel my worst, but I think this will be a good chance for me to think about the subject in a manner that will help me to better understand my autistic nature. Perhaps others can relate to my experience, or learn from my trials. So, as such, let us talk about night clubs.
To begin, University has provided me with various aspects that complement my lifestyle nicely. I enjoy going to lectures and learning about new things in scientific fields. I wish that the lectures were a little shorter (an hour and 20 minutes is pushing my attention span a bit), but this is a minor complaint involved in an otherwise enjoyable activity. Once my lectures are done, I may return to residence, where I will study in relative peace and quiet, play video games, talk to my nerdy friends, and just enjoy my own company.
Over the years, I have built a quiet routine for university, and I spend much of that time alone. I prefer to be alone in most instances, so I keep to it. Perhaps it is not normal activity. If I remove myself from the normal blanket, normal activities always seem to have a social component that I am content to avoid.
And yet, my experience is missing a certain component that I think many would consider an important aspect. In fact, I would hazard many would consider it to be the most enjoyable component.These are the highly social components involving huge amounts of people participating in events that have nothing to do with going to school. Fraternities, sororities, parties, drinking, sports teams, nightly gatherings, and other such events.
I never got invited to parties. I don’t know if there is something required in order for this to happen, but that doesn’t bother me. I have been to enough parties to know that I don’t like them. I have participated in enough large social gatherings to know they are not my scene.
Which leads to the night club, the event I like the least, and yet I remember trying to like them.
The first time I went to a night club was about 5-6 years ago on a big group Europe trip, and I hated it immediately and with a great passion. The music was loud and obnoxious, overstimulating my autistic mind. The activities were ones that I have never enjoyed, dancing, drinking alcoholic beverages, and the most inane form of socializing (assuming the person/people you are socializing with can even hear you given the music volume). The crowd was so thick that to move from one side of the club to the other, I had to come in physical contact with so many people. Not only are my visual and auditory senses overstimulated, but now my tactile senses are also overstimulated. Fortunately my sense of smell is lacking, otherwise I would be overwhelmed by the smell of alcohol and body odour.
Yet, I feel as if I had not adequately described just how terrible I find these night clubs. It makes me wonder, why would I try to like them? Why would I try to like something that I don’t like when normally I would avoid it? I perhaps have a few ideas.
For one, I was in a phase in my life where I was more interested in interacting with girls. Like other social desires, my interest in girls ebbs and flows. During the times where I tried to like clubs, my interest in girls was higher. Now that my interest in girls is low, so is my interest in setting foot in a club.
Yet on the bigger picture is something I only considered as of writing this post. I wonder if on some level that I feel that I ought to like going to night clubs? I have no idea how, but many people really seem to enjoy partying, drinking, and clubbing. Some people may overdo it perhaps, but I have the caution and mindset to enjoy such an activity a little at a time without going overboard. If I enjoyed clubs, I could probably enjoy them twice a week at most. I could get all of my socializing for the time done in one night, enjoy the sensation of adrenaline, and perhaps meet some interesting people. I can perhaps feel included in the great social camaraderie that I often feel excluded from. Sometimes I can trick myself into believing that maybe they aren’t so bad.
And then I go to the club and immediately remember why I didn’t like them in the first place. I sit in the most spacious area designated for sitting. I am trapped in my mind, wondering “when are we going to go?”, because I usually go with friends who want to stay longer. I become more aware of my exclusion from the social order, my differences and eccentricities. I feel alien in a hostile environment in this place where everyone else appears to be enjoying themselves.
Fortunately the feeling fades once I leave. It’s like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In Europe, some of the girls in my travel group noticed how my mood transitions from being in a club to leaving a club. Like night and day. My alien nature becomes less apparent in my mind as I revel in the fact I am no longer in hell!
Is there anything to be learned from this? I’m sure there is something but I don’t know what. Is it to stick with the things you enjoy, or to try to push your comfort zone? I don’t know. Perhaps others may learn other lessons. That is for them to decide, but I would be interested in hearing what others take from this.