Aspie in the city 1: Making it to the Start Line

This is a short series of articles based on my recent trip to Manchester.Part 2 can be found here.

When I think of visiting a city, I am confronted by so many of my phobias, irrational fears, OCD and social issues, that it can be exhausting just thinking about it. Panic is always the watchword of the day. For the next few blog posts, I'm going to take you with me, as I went into the city and, amazingly, came out the other side of it.

I am seriously good at getting lost. Let me say that straight away. So when IT Teen and I went to Manchester this week, I expected to see parts of the city and its surroundings that weren't on any guided tour.

Usually when I visit a city, I also visit the worst area, the most congested area, the same area at least three times and the one-way system/bus route. In fact, I'm very fond of bus routes.

We were well prepared, though. IT had used his almighty iphone to download the route and we carefully, deliberately followed it until we were almost at our destination. Then, just like a computer, it didn't say which lane we should be on before our next turn. One lane went left, into the city and the other went right, also into the city.

For whatever reason, given a chance I'll turn left. We turned left and then the flippin' thing piped up that we were on the wrong route. Nice timing, iphone! We were then stuck on our usual merry-go-round, trying to find out where we should have been.

I acted against type again and asked for directions. This didn't help as the chap we asked had no idea where we should be so, like a true tourist, I headed for the nearest big parking sign and entered the dreaded environs of a multi-storey.

My throat closed, my breath quickened, my eyes started to flick from right to left, waiting for the monsters to appear. We went up and up and up and on each turn, the tyres groaned and cried. I met a car coming down and realised I'd been going up on the wrong side (again, my love of left led me astray).

Finally, one level from the top we found a space. I stopped, turned off the engine and resisted a Victorian fainting session.

We were in Manchester and safely parked. I had no idea how much it would cost or whether I could find my way out of the city, but for now we only had to worry about finding the shopping centre and the nearest decent cup of tea.

Staggering from the car, I felt quite proud that we had only gone wrong the once and that it had been the iphone's fault. I was also pleased I had Asked Directions. I know some of you will understand how monumental this can be. And the person I asked didn't turn out to be an aspie-guzzling monster! (He was from Liverpool, so that probably explains why I was unscathed).

Teetering off to the stairs, dragging IT away from the lift (have never trusted them since reading Willy Wonka, plus teeming with germs), we went down seven levels of parking and out into the street. Looking forward to a sit down on an unmoving table and a cup of tea, I turned and smiled at IT Teen.

He smiled back and said, 'Right! Now let's go find China Town!'

My smile wavered into the face I pull when there's a knock at the door and I followed him, feeling the cuppa evaporating in front of me as I faced more journeying into the heart of adventure.

To be continued...


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