Posted by: Aspie Noodle | February 12, 2013

“Excuse me.”

Why are those two words so hard to say? They play out in my head over and over, along with the simple scenario that could follow.

One of my daily challenges is to navigate public transport to get to and from work. I used to ride my bike to work, but traffic became too dangerous for me to still wear noise-cancelling earphones, and without them I cannot really handle the outside in a city. So tram travel it is.

I live in a smaller city, just over one million inhabitants if you count the adjacent towns as districts. It’s not Tokio, and I know, I’ve been in the Tokio subway during rush hour (magically, I survived). However it gets crowded here nonetheless, and one of the hardest things for me to do, is asking someone to step out of the way for me to get past.

I just cannot simply push someone aside (touching them) without saying anything, and somehow years of trying to blend in and disappearing has made me so quiet that people are often not aware I’m standing there. (I call those my “ninja skillz”). So all I can do in such a situation (let’s say I want to get off the tram at the next stop, but my path is blocked) is to say “excuse me” to get that person’s attention.

And that is hard. I often end up saying it so quietly that they don’t hear me at all, so I have to repeat it, which is quite embarrassing. On some occasions I have said it too loudly and actually startled the person, which I then felt really bad about for the rest of the day.

Sometimes I feel bold and then it just comes out the right loudness, the person will step a side and let me past. Just like that. problem solved. So I know I can do it, and it shouldn’t be an issue. But there are bad days where a couple of stops before I need to step off the tram I already “practice” saying it in my head when I see someone obstructing the exit. And it adds extra stress, and really, how stupid is that? Why would I think about this ahead of time?!

But yeah. Some days are like that. I get hung up on it, and the more I think about it, the harder it becomes to say. Such simple words, and text-book polite, too. Nobody will think of me as rude for saying those words. It’s etiquette. I know that. And still. Even after all these years, it’s still a burden.



  1. Great posts so far, I’m looking forward to reading more. Do you mind if I put you on my blogroll at Schrödinger’s Aspie?

    • Thank you! 😀 And no, I don’t mind. That would be nice! Thank you. 🙂

  2. I’ve certainly been known to go down a completely other aisle in the grocery store to avoid saying “Excuse me,” or trying to squeeze past someone.

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