With reference to my previous post on persons with Tourette syndrome, I have the following experience to share:
One afternoon, as I was on the train to work, I heard repetitive guttural sounds. It was as if one was trying to remove something stuck in one’s throat. It was so obtrusive that passengers looked about, to find out from whom the sounds emerged. After several minutes of furtive glances, to my shock and possibly to other’s, it was from a young teenager. He was seated opposite me, in a lax manner, with a floor-ball stick in hand. He looked absolutely healthy with his tanned skin and athletic build. Yet upon observation, one could see the throat movements as the sounds were made, uncontrollably. He had his eyes fixed on his mobile phone, just like any other teenager, and that possibly helped him ignore these looks and stares.
It made me realise the benefits of this unconnected, detached, mobile-phone absorbed world. We have basically spared one other of embarrassment, most of the time. We no longer have to stare at each other’s faces or confront what we do not want to see or know. We now have the social right to remain isolated, cold and non-engaging. This must have spared the young man great embarrassment.
Ironically, with the phone, he can be connected, fully and normally, with his peers without being hindered by his tics. Without instant messengers, he probably wouldn’t be able to communicate without interruption. Without social media profiles, he may never be as cool as he wanted to, in real life. Technology has enabled him, and that is to be celebrated.