I haven’t done one of these in a while, but not because of any lack in my awkwardness. So, let’s get started.
I was visiting home one weekend and decided to get to know my middle stepsister a bit more (she’s 15 and I live in Houston). She had a friend over and they were both being very friendly and hanging out in the kitchen while the rest of the family busied themselves making dinner. My stepsister’s friend (who we will call Natalie) was an eclectic girl, with dreadlocks and a very earthy, granola vibe. I was listening to their conversation, trying to find my “in” and I heard Natalie say she had Tourette’s. I saw my chance and took it.
“Wow, you have Tourette’s? That’s very cool that you are so open about it.” She looked a little confused, and I instantly tried to cover myself in case I embarrassed her by talking about her syndrome in public. So in classic Haley style, I talked about it some more. “I minored in psychology in college and I find Tourette’s really interesting. How long have you had it?” The poor girl, still struggling, said “oh just a little over a year.” My response: “Oh wow, has it been hard?” “Uh, not really,” she said, “You just kinda get used to it.” Me: “How courageous! I had a friend in high school with Tourette’s whose tic was barking. What’s your tic?”
Then, bless her heart, my stepsister looked at me and said “Haley, STOP. We weren’t talking about Natalie having TOURETTE’S. We were talking about her DREADS.” Apparently it takes a year to grow dreads of her length. And I am very poor of hearing. So, now my stepsister and poor Natalie know a lot more about Tourette’s than they probably thought they would.