It is 10am, I arrive to the MacArthur Bart station, I am headed into the city (San Francisco) from the East Bay (Oakland). The walk to and from BART is always accelerated with a million thoughts; they are slippery and merit being written down as to catch them on the flight. I refuse. I am walking. Walking is reflecting. Walking is not writing. It is a hot summer’s day and the air feels stuffy. I find it rather challenging to tune out and process thoughts in crowded trains – chemical scents melt together and make it hard to breath; happy banter turns into loud laughter (everyone likes a hot summer day). Luckily, the world is still a big palpitating mass (I feel it) and there is beauty all around me to weave stories with (I sense it). Daring beams of light filter through the windows chasing swirly dust particles. Together they birth rainbows.
Ouch! Ouch! Everything is suddenly dark and all I can feel are the odious fluorescent lights rubbing painfully against my corneas. The train is frictioning against the tracks and I am suddenly pulled away from my daze. Pain in my ears and discomfort in my eyes is an indicator that we are under the tunnel and underwater. My heartbeat and breath accelerate and I turn visibly irritated - I plug my ears with both my index fingers and frown. Not far now to get to the Embarcadero Station.
Channel, L’oreal, Carolina Herrera; an assortment of mini Purell containers attached to backpacks and purses - readily there. I cannot take my eyes away from the fruity monsters: exotic papaya fruit, strawberries & cream, madagascar vanilla, passion fruit; body lotions are also of a wide variety: Mango, tropical pineapple, cinnamon & brown sugar, figs & butter.
_____Deep breath _____
I feel the shape of a wicked smile forming around the corners of my mouth. Relieved, I finally make it up onto the street at Civic Center Station after being insufferably enveloped by at least a 100 different scents for 30 minutes. I notice my heart rate slowing down, as I emerge triumphant through the vomitorium. And yet, playing underground dodge-the-scent and emerging viscerally victorious also entails finding oneself with a severely decreased collection of spoons; big, small, medium. I use them all.
The workday has just begun.
Sara Maria Acevedo is an autistic mestiza born and raised in Colombia. She is an educator, activist scholar and disability justice advocate based in Berkeley, California. She is affiliated to the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where she serves as adjunct faculty and disability advocacy fellow with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Sara is nearing dissertation in the Anthropology and Social Change program where she focuses on disability justice movements, neurodiversity and the politics of social space.