Fairly often when I drop Jacob off in the mornings, the entrance to his building may be blocked or crowded. Not that he can’t enter. But there may be 2, 3, 4, 6 people either in the doorway, at the check-in desk, or in the only available hallway.
It may be staff congregating, parents, or clients arriving. Herein lies a problem. Jacob has an aversion to walking between people. Or, sometimes even walking past a person who may have their back to him and not causing any interference whatsoever. I’d chalk it up as social anxiety. Perhaps. Why is that? Your answer is as good as mine. I don’t know for sure but I do wish it wasn’t an issue for him. It is hard to avoid in so many situations. But, I can tell you this—it helps to clear a path for Mr. Pigford.
By observation, you can determine which people ‘know’ Jacob. They may have experienced his wrath. They move out of his way. It’s sad for me when I see peers scurry away. “Here comes Jacob.” But the truth is, he has gotten his point across to them and they’ve learned to respect his space.
We are taught to use good manners. Hold a door open for someone approaching. Unfortunately, that is not the thing to do when Jacob is headed for the door. Over and over again, I have witnessed a nice mannerly person open the door for him only to receive a very unfriendly ‘thank you’. YIKES!
I feel like I am always apologizing for his behavior. Coffee in your hand? Hold on tight, there’s about to be a spill. “I’m sorry.” Purse on your arm? Not for long as he may grab it and toss into the bushes. “I’m sorry!” Arm full of papers? Watch out, they may go flying. “I’m so sorry!” Nothing between you and him? He’s probably going to pull on your clothing. “I’m sorry!” “He popped buttons off your shirt?” “I am so sorry, bring it back and I’ll sew those on for you!”
Very often I have a feeling of déjà vu as I watch Jacob when people are nearby. Sometimes I’m almost holding my breath. Sometimes praying. It’s like a movie I’ve seen before. I know how it is going to play out. And it’s probably not going to be a happy ending. I can’t decide whether to intervene and warn his intended victim or see if perhaps it doesn’t play out like it has other times.
The good thing about stepping aside and letting Jacob open a door for himself is his focus shifts to the job at hand rather than the person. (Not that he can’t multi-task but your odds are better if he has one hand on the door.)
Doorways are not the only time he may act out. A crowded hallway can feel as threatening to him. You know how dignitaries have security that practically circles them making sure the ’common’ folk don’t get too close to touch? Jacob needs his own shield or security detail to keep everyone at a safe distance. Or maybe porcupine quills …
Make a way, clear a path, he’s coming through!!