Today I went to a tea party in Edinburgh for my friend’s 20th birthday.
At my local station, the trains were cancelled. The replacement bus service went past every station, making my journey to longer and more winding than expected, but I made friends with the historian sitting next to me. Despite the background rumble of the bus engine, I hardly missed a word. Apparently light brown buildings in Glasgow are older than the ones made from red sandstone. I never knew that.
In case of more train-related issues, I got the bus to Edinburgh. By asking the passenger behind me about where to get off for Princes Street (we’re were on Princes Street at the time) and happy coincidence, I was the first person to arrive.
I met some really nice people, including my friend’s flat mates. The place we went to was really posh. Marble, paintings, staircases and everything. The waiter adapted gracefully to deal with ten excited students munching the sugar cubes and discussing what the names of different kinds of tea on the menu might mean. One of them bought the birthday girl a top hat to wear for the occasion.
It was great to see my friend, and make some new ones. They were all friendly, funny, kind people. I could hear everything going on, join in and they made me feel completely included. Sitting beside my friend, I could pick and choose between talking to her and nearby conversations.
They were talking about university psychology studies which people can take part in, and I said to my friend that I still hadn’t got money through the post yet for the questionnaire I did ages ago. Somehow, that became the main topic for a while. My friend told them that I have synaesthesia and she was gutted when her university had stolen me for research. Soon everyone was asking me what colours their names were. I was amazed. Not only was I equally involved in the conversation, they thought that I was interesting!
The afternoon tea was sandwiches and cakes on three-tier stands. The sandwiches were very dainty sandwiches. We had our own personal miniature pots of jam for our scones and hot water refills for the pretty tea pots. Those who ordered Gunpowder Tea had quite a lot of diluting refills.
I spent two hours chatting, eating and drinking peppermint tea, which is really nice. Stuffed with delicious cakes, sandwiches and a springy, brown jelly-like chocolate thing which would probably stick to the ceiling if you threw it, we speculated on our futures looking at the tea leaves on the bottom of our cups. Someone drew a smiley face in theirs with a spoon, which could be considered as cheating. One of them said that my leaves could be a rabbit, meaning spring, a new beginning and good changes in my life. I’m more than happy to go with that, and it sounds like it could be pretty accurate. I feel like I have a whole new life. I’ve wanted to be able to talk to other people, have fun, and make new friends since as long as I can remember. I used to look at happy, laughing groups of kids and think, “How do they do it”? Now, along with my clearer hearing, basic social skills are starting to come naturally to me. And dare I say it, I think I might be a people person.
On the bus home, I felt almost like it had been a dream. The best kind of dream. But the empty miniature jam jar in my backpack proved that it had really happened.