Aaaah a topic for Greg to weigh in on.
I experienced my first episode of public discrimination today... I was ejected from a store because of my rather loud tics.
Recently, due to my medication adjustment and high anxiety level, I have developed some tics, mostly vocal but also including an increase in arm shaking (which I've always done) and general shivering. I try to keep them down but after work today (during which I suppressed them pretty well) I went to a bookstore that usually closes around 6-7 PM
(when the guy opens it according to regular schedule.)
Well, today was a difficult day so when I went in there I was ticcing all over the place. The guy rents the space, and he's pretty eccentric, and the books are supposed to be arranged by subject but I've found them scattered all over. This was my third visit in three weeks, and I was just about done walking through the whole store. When I walked in he says, "It's good to see you again" and he had to repeat it twice because his door was wide open on a main street and the noise from a passing bus made me basically deaf. Then I said, "oh, thank you, it's nice to see you, too."
So I went in the back of the store where I hadn't looked through yet, and I knew I was making some noise but I figured it wasn't too bad, since I was in an area that should have been muffled. These noises are like grunts and hiccups. I browsed for about forty-five minutes and found two books that I wanted.
Well, I guess the guy heard me. He never came up to me to ask if I was OK
or to tell me I was creating a disturbance. So I took the books up to his desk and he says "what are you drunk or something?" I said, "no" and then he says "are you high or psychotic or what? You were making all those noises" so I start to tell him I have OCD and tics and I hand him the books, pulling up at my purse.
He told me to get out.
I said, "what?" and he said, "get out" and I started to say, "I'm sorry I made the noises, I didn't know it was bothersome" but he cut me off and told me I wasn't allowed in his store anymore.
So I left, without the books, and I went out to my car. I started driving away, but then I thought, maybe if I go back and ask to talk with him, he'll listen and understand and I can get those two books.
So I turned around, drove back and parked, then walked to the door of his store (which was still wide open) and called to him, "Sir, could I speak with you for a moment?"
He comes flying up at the door saying something like, "I knew I should have locked the door just because of this" and slams the door in my face and locks it. I never touched the door or set foot inside, kept my distance on the sidewalk. I said, "I think this is discrimination" and he mumbled something about "I can deny service any time." So I stood there, like an idiot, talking through the one-inch crack in the door, at this point I was upset enough that I wanted to say my piece even if he wasn't right there, because I knew he was within earshot.
Without any foul language, tears, or shouting or anything, I said something like:
Sir I didn't know I was causing a problem, I just wanted to find a book. I like to read and you have a great store and I read to find out about my condition and to learn about other people. You said it was great to see me when I came in, and now you don't want me in your store. If you had told me there was a problem I would have tried to control my tics. But you don't even give me a chance and it's wrong. I told you I'm not drunk or high, and I have a disability, and you're discriminating. Don't bother calling the police, because I'm leaving now, but what you've done is wrong.
Then I left.
So now I've printed out the appropriate law and information about OCD and Tourette's syndrome (the closest I can get to explaining my own tics) and I guess I'll send it to him in the mail. Maybe if he won't listen, he'll read, like he does when people come into his store. Today he was reading a large book, I think it was a Bible.