This sensory diet should theoretically be a no-brainer. How hard is it, really, to take a few moments out of your day every 90-120 minutes for a quick, therapeutic brush-down? I can reach all of the required spots. I own a brush, and it’s in a makeup case. Total anonymity. Alright, it gets a bit more difficult when it’s paired with jumping like a sugar-high kid, and doing push-ups against a wall (which, coincidentally, is having a wonderful impact on my arms), but still doable. Now take these seemingly OCD quirk-filled behaviors, and pair them with a very public setting, such as an office environment. I can’t exactly brush and jump and press at my desk without drawing copious amounts of unwanted attention. Even in the bathroom, boldly – sans stall – I’ve gotten sideways looks and ill-spoken commentary as I tried to convince myself it looked like I was merely using a lint brush. Once, after a detailed explanation, other people hopped with me in support.
Fine, to the bathroom stall it is. There’s less of a chance that anyone will notice the new girl and her crazy behaviors in the privacy of a stall setting. Besides, in an office filled to the brim with engineers, the occurrence of running into another female in the bathroom is highly unlikely.
Except, of course, this morning. My watch signaled that it was time to partake in my sensory diet, and makeup case in hand, I walked casually to the bathroom, hoping to go unnoticed on the whole. As I reached the front office door, a young woman, well-dressed and previously unfriendly, cut in front of me, and I proceeded to follow her all the way to the small office bathroom, through another two doorways. We locked ourselves into stalls at the exact same moment. I faced a choice – audibly brush in the echoing bathroom (and jump? I mean seriously, how does one even begin to explain jumping noises in the bathroom?), or don’t, and just abandon plans. But I had already felt myself getting a bit agitated from sitting under the glaring office lights before a sharp computer, and I had planned the required diet around my trip to the gym (elliptical machines and sweaty brushing does not a fun time make), so I decided to go for it. She said nothing – she couldn’t see me, she doesn’t even know my name, but I winced with each whooshing brush stroke. I know that if it had been me, I’d wonder what the hell was going on just over the partition. I’d be armed with confused remarks for coworkers (“So I just went to the bathroom, and it sounded like someone was grooming in the stall next to me. So freaking awkward!”)
Although she took her time, she eventually left me and my brushing. I remained, an embarrassed and unfortunate bathroom gymnast: taking the gold in the wall press event, silver in the jumping finals.