Joe and I both have Tourette Syndrome and have spent most of the day wandering York on a street photography trip.

Our tic’s have been bouncing off each other, but among the busy street we don’t stand out too much and get only the odd stare.

We decide it’s time for a break and agree Starbucks is a good call.

Being the most competent suppressor, I’m nominated to get the drinks while Joe gets us a table.

As soon as we step inside, I scan the café for possible threats and point out a strategic table. As Joe heads over to get the table I join the queue, well its less of a queue and more of one man ordering a complicated fancy sounding drink. Standing behind him I tic very loudly, “Hey!”, it shocks me just as much as him as I don’t always know I’m going to tic, the man turns and looks to see who’s shouting, now I shout in his face “F*cking Dick!”, this is a tic that is often triggered by somebody reacting to the original “hey”.

Quickly I explain that I have Tourette Syndrome, but as usual my tics stop, they often do  when I am in a high state of alertness and assessing danger, this then makes me feel like a liar, as I feel he is probably waiting for me to tic again as proof of my condition. The man stares for a few seconds then turns back to the barista, he continues his order and moves onto his table, drinks in hand and scowl on his face.

I order the drinks with a strange atmosphere, it’s as if the barista was waiting for me to tic at her next.

Carrying our drinks to the table I see Joe is sat tense and trying to keep his tics to a minimum with little success. As I pass a couple, they are sat looking at me nervously, I see egg and chips smothered in ketchup on one of their plates, then I shout, “period blood!” at them. Might I add this was a tic I had picked up from someone else in the past.

Anybody who was finding our tics amusing are probably not amused now, I head over to Joe and our strategic table against the wall.

Sat together our tics synchronise and bounce off each other, they seem to be targeting different people in the room and we can see people getting wound up, so we decide it’s better to retreat to outside where we can feel more comfortable then we head for the door and tic our way outside.

Stood in a quiet corner away from the crowd we spot a group of police officers dealing with a very irate and loud female.

This incites a tirade of anti-police tics as well as my “Hey!” tic which act as a beacon just in case they didn’t know who was shouting at them and where we are.

One of the police officers begins to approach, we have been in this situation many times and although we are ready to deal with him, we are still edgy. As he gets closer, he seems to realise we have Tourette’s, or that we are a bit special then he turns away and heads back to the irate woman and his colleagues.  

We talk about how the whole thing must look from other people’s points of view and find the whole thing amusing. Drinks finished without further incident we continue with our photography session around the streets of York.

social ninja tourettes in the town

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