When I was first diagnosed with AS, I had the fun task of explaining it to all my friends who had stuck by me and been so concerned when they were, say, stocking the bread freezer at work when I couldn’t maneuver the stairs, or oh, I don’t know, dragging my cranky ass around France.
Well, MY friends are all smart and know what an autoimmune disorder is, so I could start there and explain the subtle nuances of the disease in accordance with their above average comprehensions.
But I also had to explain it to others. People who are not as smart as my friends. Actual (slightly enhanced) conversation:
THEM: “So, why are you always cracking your back. It’s, like, really gross.”
ME: “I have a condition [I don’t like saying disease. It sounds so melodramatic] where my spine feels like it’s locking up. Gotta keep it loose. Gotta keep it fresh.” [ok, I’m ashamed of my part in this conversation, too.]
THEM: “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww that suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks. Is it, like, fetal?”
ME: “Fatal? No.”
THEM: “Thank God. I was, like, freaking out. What is it?”
ME: “It’s an autoimmune disorder–“
THEM [suddenly dropping voice]: “Oh. Em. Gee. You have AIDS? How did you get AIDS?”