Autism

A difficult week

This has been a very difficult week for me, not because yesterday marked exactly two months since my mother’s death or even the ubiquitous Mother’s Day displays springing up in all the stores or ads for specials at local restaurants shoved into my tiny apartment mailbox – no, it’s hard because, well, I can’t explain why.

Maybe it’s the fact that it’s summer in Florida and the oppressive humidity is starting to get to me. Maybe it’s that the weekend thunderstorms are causing my arm/shoulder to hurt again. Maybe it’s that I’ve been stuck with terrible heartburn all week which makes me not want to eat so anything I force myself to eat only makes said heartburn worse. I can’t see a doctor about any of this because I don’t have insurance anymore (which apparently can’t be fixed until the exchange opens up again in December).

Perhaps, it’s the fact that I finally submitted my manuscript to another editor and have no idea whether they will praise it or tear me to shreds like my last two (which was why I waited a full year to submit it to another editor). Though part of me knows that it’s the waiting for their assessment that’s harder than anything they might say, the rest of me dreads any kind of feedback at all (though I know my work needs it).

Or I could just be bored. You wouldn’t think someone who covers theme parks for a living would get bored… but then again, I could be lonely too, but dating is probably the one thing scarier than anything my editor could possibly say to me. In fact, I should probably quit writing now, as I just realized: It was way too familiar blog posts about ableism and discrimination first thing in the morning that started this trend (thankfully, April is now over, so I should be seeing a lot less of them)… but the approach of Mother’s Day probably isn’t helping matters.

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More Autis-memes

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Photos: Autism Acceptance Week

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A broken heart and tattered jeans (part 1)

As you can probably guess, this wasn’t the best week for me. My mom died suddenly on Monday night and I was told I had to come in on Tues or Wed so I could attend a viewing on “Thurs” that was moved to Saturday to be “more convenient” to out of town visitors (um, hi) meaning I paid DOUBLE the airfare (out of my own pocket no less) to fly out a day earlier than I wanted for absolutely nothing. To make matters worse, nearly everything about the combined service was a “disaster” (not my word). Thankfully, it ended quickly, and we could get on to more important things… like dozens of people I haven’t seen in 20 years (or more) asking me “when are you flying back.”

The real answer was “not soon enough,” but such honesty is kind of frowned upon in these settings so I was forced to repeatedly pull an arbitrary date from thin air right on the spot. Improv was never my strong suit so forcing me to do it on command can only end well, right?

Thankfully, after the obligatory, overlong, over loud “celebratory dinner,” my brother finally got the internet in the house working again (which is another story entirely) so I managed to book a flight a day earlier than I told people at the service. #winning

That day was Monday.

It started out by my aunts and uncle coming over and informing me to “get breakfast here as we aren’t stopping anywhere” in fact they left me alone in a dead woman’s house for almost 20 minutes so I could do that (apparently, the funeral home needed the flowers we specifically asked people NOT to send be returned that morning so they could prepare for another service). This whole self-serve breakfast thing would have been cool, but my older brother cleaned out the fridge the night before so there was literally nothing in there but two coffee creamers and half a container of guacamole… which would have worked out great, if they hadn’t taken the chips with them.

They get back shortly before noon giving me barely any time to breathe, let alone bring said flowers inside, before my Uncle Tom impatiently declares “we’re leaving. NOW. Let’s move.” Okay, fine, he also decides to take my mom’s car so he can leave his in the driveway (his wife is paranoid of people robbing the place post funeral).

Anyway, said car, actually a burgundy colored minivan, was flanked with trash bags (so animals won’t get into it) with the passenger side being blocked completely by a stack of bags nearly as tall as I am (no really). So, instead of waiting for him to pull the car out like a “normal” person, I scramble to climb over them and as I try to work my way into the cramped back seat, I hear a loud ripping noise.

I can’t check this immediately, but this cannot POSSIBLY be good. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about it until I got to the airport…

Categories: adventures, Autism, coal region, family, flying, Pennsylvania, sensory processing disorder, transportation | Leave a comment

A broken heart and tattered jeans (part 2)

My Uncle Tom pulls up to the ticketing area around 1:30pm, and I very carefully get myself and my bags out of the car so as not to cause any more damage to my jeans. The only place I can possibly change out of these ripped pants was in the restrooms.

Fortunately, I had a spare set of dress pants in my bag, and conveniently enough the only trash can in the lower terminal was under the sink across from the exit to my stall. So, I rezip my bag, throw the jeans in the trash and head to airline check-in as if nothing happened – because it didn’t.

Yep, dress pants on, hoodie on (as I couldn’t fit in my carry-on), ticket, ID and shoes in hand. And, just as I get to the front of the line, I can barely hear a woman over the PA saying: “would the person who lost their PANTS please pick them up at the Allegiant counter. Thank you.”

Let me see if I get this straight. Someone saw the ripped jeans in the trash, fished them out of said trash, (!) followed me to the airline counter and turned them into the representative? Okay, I can sort of see the logic of that from a “security” point of view. But, seriously, let’s think how positively STEW-PED both of these individuals think I am?

AT BEST, I am a laughing stock who has given up not only his place at the front of the line but now I have to explain this to the agent. Oh, and I’m guaranteed to miss my flight so I now have 18 hours to figure out how to fit those unwanted jeans I couldn’t fit into my carry-on into my carry-on. Yeah, thanks, Good Samaritan!

What would REALLY happen is this: I’d lose my place in line, become a laughing stock of everyone in the airport (who are naturally filming this on their phones), I get to the ticket counter and am met not by an airline representative but by airport police and the TSA who will not give a damn about my “story” because I’m obviously a nutjob of some kind (the A-word would definitely NOT help me in this case). Not only do I miss my flight, I get a free trip to JAIL and the opportunity to explain this to a judge who will care even less about my “story” than the police/TSA, but at least the media (who saw the inevitable YouTube video of me) would, shoving their mikes in my face and shouting loaded questions over each other as I leave the courthouse. Yeah, all that attention, and I don’t even have a book to plug… but I would get to rebook my flight at my own expense, so there’s that.

Thankfully, neither of those situations happened. I ignored the announcements (as I could barely hear it anyway) and proceeded through the machine rewarded by a full pat down with complimentary cock groping (literally the first person to touch my cock in yeeears) and gun powder residue test (which was a new one on me) and them sent me into the terminal like “yeah, I totally not freaking out. I am not ‘violated,’ I am 100% sec- oh, shit, my flight is boarding RIGHT NOW!!

I managed to get to my gate just before they closed the plane door. I was the last person to board the plane (which made finding my seat a snap), but I was still on the plane.

Thankfully, my dress pants held up for the duration of the flight…

 

UPDATE (3/13/2019): Writing this post made me angry in spots, but it also reminded me how lucky I was in this regard as “funny” as the rest of the line found this incident, it could be seen a legitimate security risk… even if my actions made logical sense, at least to me anyway. Heck, this non-incident happened two days ago, and I keep expecting HSA agents to show up at my door. Fortunately, this hasn’t happened… yet.

Categories: adventures, Autism, family, flying, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Sanford, sensory processing disorder, transportation | Leave a comment

Wasted Wednesday

I was bored and cabin feverish (from the previous two days’ rain) so I checked the weather app on my phone and decided to head out to do a bunch of errands at Wal-Mart: Restaurant (a McDonald’s), salon, cell phone store and, of course, groceries all in one place. What could go wrong?

The good news is: The “Signature Chicken Sandwich” I had as a late lunch (almost 2pm by the time I got there), while taking longer than I anticipated to get, it came exactly as I ordered it. My iced coffee was a bit smaller than I was expecting, but it tasted remarkably good.

And then I made the mistake of going to get my haircut from the salon next door. The Aspie in me wants to call my stylist (whom I was hoping not to get) “rude and condescending,” but the reality was he didn’t speak English (apparently, Americans aren’t the only ones who do the whole “slower/louder” thing). This means I don’t have to worry about small talk and all but guarantees I don’t get the cut I wanted.

Believe me, when he stopped treating my already sore head/neck/shoulder like he was trying to fit it into an oversized bag into an already full overhead bin to joke with his coworker (in Spanish) I was very tempted to flee… but, sadly, he returned before I could do so. On the plus side, I don’t HAVE to tip him – and I didn’t. Why reward poor service?

Next, I went to the cell phone store next to the other entrance to get rid of my old phone/tablet, and like the Verizon Store before them, they refused to accept them, so I went to Game Stop on the other side of the plaza as a last resort, and… Guess whose dumpster just acquired a useless phone, an obsolete tablet and two chargers.

Yep, aside from the haircut (which I wasn’t happy with), it was a completely wasted trip (hence the headline) so I went back in the Big Blue Behemoth and found one of the items I missed on previous visits as well as a few staples (just so I didn’t leave empty-handed) and another iced coffee because why not.

I left Wal-Mart for the second time with my full reusable bag and as I walked out to the parking to wait for my Lyft, I felt drops falling on my head. It was as if the weather and I were in the same mood. Thankfully, the rain gear I didn’t need was back in the apartment…

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Six days out

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Down the rabbit hole

I woke up for the first time in months without pain and feeling totally refreshed. It was PERFECT… until a few minutes ago.

Then I picked up the phone just so they wouldn’t leave a pre-recorded message on my machine (which doesn’t let me delete messages because it’s a cheap pos) when OMG this happened:

“Hi, is this Jonathan?”

A live person wants to talk to me!

“Hi, Mr. Twaay-gear? I’m calling to let you know we can reduce your property insure…”

Of course.

Less then thirty minutes into my day, and it’s already ruined.

It’s not her fault. She has a job to do, and she clearly likes it as much as I do… but she just HAD to say: “n-no, don’t hang up! If you give us the make/model of the car you drive, we can also save you…”

I’m flattered that she thinks I can drive… even if its SOLELY so she can make money off it, but the emotional rabbit hole she effectively threw me into was what derailed my otherwise perfect morning,

The rabbit hole with various side burrows and booby traps, think of it like Oak Island in reverse. The worst part is I never know what’s going to trigger said hole – and then once I’m in it…

Good luck getting out of it, all on your own, without any help from anyone.

That’s the part that REALLY hurts me.

Sure, I can often distract myself for a moment or two but as long as it has even a little of my attention, I’m not out of it yet. It helps that these side burrows often lead to sad/traumatic memories often from years ago that I was never “allowed” to feel because that’s just not how teens/adults deal with things.

Nope.

The supposedly “correct” order of operations is: Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs or some combination thereof… and if all else fails therapy. The problem was, once my parents decided to get the latter for me, the school they sent me to didn’t provide the “safe, therapeutic environment” mentioned in their brochure.

No, you had to stick to THEIR script (whether it was true or not) and then they would flip anything you said against you without any help or guidance on their part. Cleaning up the mess they caused is YOUR responsibility not theirs. In fact, the closest thing they gave me to a “tool” was:

You want to know what’s causing all of your problems? Look in a fucking mirror.”

Deep man. Really deep…. unfortunately, it’s not very, you know, helpful. I’ve tried looking in mirrors. All I see is a fat, ugly dude who needs to shave more often. I, however, have yet to find any SOLUTIONS there.

Yes, I know I look ridiculous ranting in a mirror about lowering the insurance rates on a car I don’t have but am expected to have anyway JUST so if I got hit by a car I can say “I lost my car and license after a really bad accident but I continued paying anyway just in case this happened.” To which they’d inevitably say, “you’re an IDIOT” – and they’d be right!

But nope, at least FOUR people at the hospital asked me for MY car insurance – even though I was the VIC… Oh, sorry, wouldn’t you know it? She has other calls to make.

In the meantime, my reflection and I have to find my own way out of this damned rabbit hole…

Categories: Autism, BYAS (Benchmark Transitions), California, ramblings, Redlands\Yucaipa | Leave a comment

Cold coffee blues

So, I’m having a stressful evening mentally. I was going to get coffee at the Wawa on I-Drive to distract myself, but I decided self-care was more important. The lights of traffic outside (at 8pm no less) were blindingly bright (streetlights are pretty much non-existent in my area) and the mobile concerts were almost deafening at times, #sensoryhell neither helps with my perpetual headache so I came back inside.

Besides, LAST time I went to Wawa, I was forced to figure out how to react to someone sending this page a message about my personal profile being “banned” from an unspecified page (a kind of weird thing to do, plus it took me two and a half days to figure out which one).

The plus side is, I have more money for rent and bills. Oh, and I can still go out tomorrow morning if I really wanted to…

Categories: adventures, Autism, florida, Orlando, ramblings, sensory processing disorder, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Battle of the bans

Yesterday, my Facebook page received a rather rude pm about it’s author being “banned” from an unspecified page, presumably for having an opinion of some sort (perish the thought).

That isn’t what bothers me, but what DOES is that I was probably supposed to feel something: mad, sad, guilty or like I was being “punished” for some vaguely described crime… but I didn’t.

I simply stood there for a moment in the middle of the Wawa with my newly acquired coffee in hand like “okay, that was petty, but why is she sending it to my page?

I know she sent it for a REASON (however petty), and I knew I was supposed to react a certain way… but I didn’t. Am I cold, unfeeling or is ennui a viable option? I did send a cursory response when I got back to the apartment roughly 20 minutes later, but I was in too good of a mood to argue with her.

I was going to send her message at 9:35am (12 hours after the instantaneous response that I never read) but decided to simply delete it instead. I am 38 years old. Like it or not, I’m an “adult” now.

Thanks for reading this. I didn’t intend to go on so long, I just really needed to get this out of my system. Servus.

 

Update: We have another cold front passing through Orlando this week. So, I’m having a hot coffee, so far, nobody has “banned” either me and my “negative and insulting comments” or my overly positive Autism affirming page from anything… yet. (12/10/18)

 

Categories: adventures, Autism, entertainment, florida, Internet\FB, Orlando, ramblings, Williamsburg | 1 Comment

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