Can only recount the ordeal & adventure in snapshots, not continuous form-it's too overwhelming emotionally reliving it through memory and it takes me too long to decide which ideas to convey & choose which words.
Wish & hope that a recording was made of what I missed on day two, especially since that got into more interesting stuff. I'd really like to be able to get a video/dvd so I could get the benefit without subjecting myself to the unbearable conditions of being there.
There were 3 lectures on schedule each day. By end of first day we were only up to pg. 31 of an 80+ page-count packet, they said to read up to pg. 39 as homework before next day. Not all the pre-packaged notes were self-explanatory, so I'd prefer to get the elaboration & fleshing-out that the presentation's speakers intended.
They were using an Apple computer onstage, which led to a chuckle of shared recognition (at start of proceedings) throughout audience when the familiar Mac screen-saver came on ! I have an emac so was 'in on'-rather than outside-group's common zeitgeist.
Lecture 1: We found seats in audience, but near less densely populated top back section, it was like theater inside at steep slope. Was uncomfortably aware of person nearby, blocking exit from our row at end, couple seats over. At least one could climb over back of seat to row above & get out that way.
During part of Gray's talk she said for us to form teams with people next to us to discuss & answer a question. Kinda' like they tell you to do in church-turn to your neighbor, greet them/introduce yourself & shake hands type of thing. That made me supremely uncomfortable & I started silently weeping in panic. Yes, I was there w/boyfriend-but the guy a couple seats away indicated he was w/us when another row asked him to join their group, and in general people were looking around at each other & murmuring (which I believe is just fine-but personally, physiologically can't stand being engulfed/flooded by swarm). The exercise she explained was accompanied by progressively louder and also suddenly loud classical music snippets, indicating when time was up, to stop talking & listen to her. That was really unpleasant for me & I had to keep covering my ears.
Lecture 2: I was tired & sweaty from our walk (trying to find the Burger King for lunch), overwhelmed from not being able to find our way around the streets, and being around people outside as well as indoors. This time I stayed up behind the seats, along cool hard smooth wall, where I could stretch out unseen (well, less visible). Lack of sleep & the exercise over lunch break had worn me out. After sitting upright awhile, I even laid down flat along wall & closed my eyes (didn't nap-just blocking out distractions & conserving energy). Was progressively becoming alienated from what was going on & jotted note to self:
"The roar, guffaws, applause, etc. of the crowd makes me recoil & feel not in on 'it'-the shared reaction, assumption, perspective. Makes me want to run away, hide, it's too full of other humans. As if the crowd were a thing, organism in itself, not composed of individuals with differences. like a laugh track-it's distancing for me being surrounded by all of THEM, being similar to each other. Too loud, noisy, can't even think or feel clearly because of all these people in the way, not to mention the strange foreign places/things which comprise my current environment. Echoing is such that I can't hear/understand what they're even saying, it's just garbled blaring."
Lecture 3: Kept procrastinating going back into lecture room, told boyfriend go ahead, I'll stay out here. I sat on padded bench in hallway outside the lecture room. Then I lay down while following along with notes, as I could hear much of what was being said pretty well, there was open doorway between. I was hidden from view of those inside, except when people came out to use restroom (which was in same hallway). That was relatively better location for me, though I was still restless (and desperately in need of rest), feeling ornery and overloaded (social & sensory stress), went outside to smoke-wandered around the maze of a building a bit, too. Hadn't watch nor could I see clock (there were two inside conf. rm. but one of them didn't work/was wrong !), so was just waiting & waiting for it to finish.
Then we went downstairs to see the art exhibit setup, which was in same room as all these sponsor tables (incl. Autism Speaks and various schools & products) with pamphlets (nothing relevant to me, as a dx'd person). One book publisher had table, selection of offerings was disappointingly limited-once I could get through huge crowd ringing whole area and see what the books were. Boyfriend found someone to talk with in art show room, I had nothing to do (sitting alone in chair in there was so dull but all I could manage) so walked up & down the staircases a few times, circling around after crossing floor to stairs on other side. It was attempt to familiarize myself with routes throughout building, since I kept getting confused & lost-also it was something to do, when I couldn't do anything else. Had no role to inhabit because being "an artist" is devoid of meaning to me & I had no way to just start conversing with strangers. We left before the reception ended because of aforementioned factors, in addition to which I was bored (underwhelmed cognitively & aesthetically).
Misc. details: Sign alongside Rte. 2 amused me enough to write it down: "Use caution Solar glare in a.m.". I like taking phrases out of context & turning them over in my head (suppose one might label that echolalia or hyperlexia, but who cares ?)-I cling to & repeat what my brain tells me it enjoys. Wouldn't have known what road sign meant except that we were experiencing it (solar glare) right before we saw them, since it was sunrise (blindingly so), with huge-appearing dark red but brightly glowing sun next to horizon (in direction in which we were traveling). Took an Ativan around 8 or 8:30 a.m. (while stuck in traffic on way into Boston) for anticipated anxiety, no way for me to know if it helped. At least I got a free pen (a Bic Biro with AANE stamped on barrel-I quite enjoy complimentary & customized stationary supplies).
"You cannot administer a wicked law impartially-it destroys everyone it touches, its violators as well as its upholders."