Autism

Autism Pride Day

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Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, cartoons\memes, entertainment, holidays, humor | Leave a comment

Photo: Five days out

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Two sides, same coin

My dishwasher has been out of commission for the past week or so, but they finally sent someone up to “fix” it this afternoon – and by “fix” I mean they ran half an empty cycle before deciding it was “good enough” for me to use (even though that’s exactly what they did LAST time I reported this and obviously, it worked because I reported it again).

Since my dishwasher was out of service, I have been forced to hand wash my dishes, so I didn’t have a huge reserve available for a test load. However, I did it anyway, but since I hate the amount of noise it makes when it’s running so I went out to eat at the Golden Corral on I-Drive (in the plaza as Cici’s and 1-2-3 Dollar).

Anyway, I leave the apartment and when the trolley arrives, I sit in the front row behind the driver and across from a young family visiting from DC who were complaining that their 2yo daughter couldn’t get on any rides at the Magic Kingdom.

“Come on, you think Disney, you think ‘KIDS.’ So, of course, I took my kids (ages 2 and 1.5) with me, but the only ride they were tall enough to ride was fricken Dumbo. I’m sooo glad we paid all that money to get into a KIDS park without any kids rides. Grrr, what a rip-off (neglecting to mention that both of his kids got in free, and that height requirements for all rides are easily found online). We’re going to take the trolley to Discovery Zone or SeaWorld tomorrow afternoon – at least THEY have kids’ rides.”

“Actually, it’s Discovery COVE, and it’s a fairly far walk from the nearest troll-”

Suddenly, he leans forward and taps the driver on the shoulder, he then gestures towards me and says:

“Buddy here’s got a question for you.”

“Wait, I do? I was trying to-”

“No, no, buddy, it’s okay. You’re allowed to ask questions here. Go on, I got his attention for you.”

“What ‘question?’ I don’t HAVE a ‘question.’ Why do I need to come up with a question I don’t have to ask the driver when I was trying to tell you about Discovery Cove? Then he can answer the question you are forcing me to come up with, so you can justify getting his attention, so I can tell you more about SeaWorld and Discovery Cove.”

That’s the point when his real message finally hit me. Fortunately, because I’m crazy and stupid, he gave a nice summary of his ordeal…

“God, buddy, what is your problem? I’m trying to be NICE to you here, you freakin’ jerk.”

Am I your “buddy” or am I a “freakin’ jerk,” make up your mind? However, I have been doing this blog long enough to know “what is your problem” is an insult. Period. I can give a wonderful explanation of Aspergers’ and Autism completely on the fly (okay, not really), but it would invariably fall on deaf ears because no presumably smart and/or sane person likes (as a far blunter observer once put it) “being lectured by crazy-ass retards.”

The Golden Corral is stop 31, and when I got off “buddy” was his buddy again. Also, crossing southern I-Drive can be tricky at times, but I managed to get across pretty easily. The parking lot was unusually full, there was no line to get into the restaurant nor did I have any particular trouble finding a table.

I’m never sure if I’m supposed to wait for my server to stop by and “sign” my check or just go up to the buffet, but since the former is usually easier, that’s the one I chose. I came back to my booth and the check was signed so all was good.

She came back as I was eating to find out if I wanted another drink which I declined, but instead of going away, she stepped closer, taking my plate, asking what kind it was and I repeated I “wasn’t ready” for another drink at which point she makes a sassy comment about “I was asking for next time” and storms off as if I did something wrong (or at least not intentionally).

I go up to get my second (and last) round of food. I am nearly finished, and had opened my wallet to see if I had enough to give her a tip when I hear a sharp: “You want another root beer?”

I tried to tell her “no” because I was busy, but instead of going away, she comes right up to my table, essentially blocking me in and says “I couldn’t hear you from back there. What did you need again?”

“I’m trying to determine if I have enough money for a tip, so I can leave the restaurant without getting another drink.”

“Oh, let me see that… Oh, ’21.01’ that would make a ten percent tip $2, a fifteen percent tip $3 or a twenty percent tip $4. You never answered me if you wanted another root beer or not.”

Apparently, I’m an idiot.

“Well since I don’t have $4 on me, I guess I might as well give her 15%. Yes, I already answered your question: I said I needed to ‘figure out your tip so I can leave your store without getting another drink.’”

“There is something seriously WRONG with you,” she said as if I couldn’t hear her. “Who the hell gets scared by someone asking for another drink from four tables away?”

It was technically TWO, and she were saying it rather loudly – just as she had the “questions” poste above. At least she got out of my way to “ask” them. It wasn’t until I got the first exit door that I realized the irony of this evening’s conversations.

Fortunately, when I went to the discount grocery store next door, the cashier barely spoke to me. She coldly rung up my order, and we didn’t talk. It was quite refreshing actually… kind of like coming back to mostly clean dishes.

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, florida, Orlando, sensory processing disorder, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

A pal and a confidant

A Facebook page called “Queertism” shared a link to a poem they found on “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism” about the heartbreaking realization that a new “friend” is only using you for school credit and will go back to hanging out with the cool kids when their “assignment” is over.

Well, I was one of those “assigned friends” as a student at Benchmark Transitions (formerly Benchmark Young Adult School). It was supposed to make the arrogant douchebag (who made zero effort to hide his annoyance with me or his assignment) I was “assigned” more humble. It didn’t.

That’s the primary reason why I refused to participate in “Best Buddies Day” in college (“make a friend for life,” by using them as a prop to feel good about yourself for a day), and “Disabilities Awareness” merit badge in Scouting (which now only requires you to “…spend a day with a disabled scout…” [3a]), and while I cringe at Allistic Scouts explaining disabilities to their troop/pack (5a), it has added a new requirement about “pledging to show a positive attitude about people with disabilities” (req. 6).

Thank you for reading this, and, as always, thank you for being a friend…

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

Fare is fair… except when it’s not

Today I went to Publix to buy milk. I took the Red Line trolley to the end of the line. I got lunch at the Subway next to the store, bought my low-fat milk and waited 10 minutes for the trolley back to my apartment.

“STOP,” the driver barked opening the door, but refusing to let me on. “Why you always pay just quarter? I ask(ed) you a question. Why do YOU pay a quarter? That rate is for people who WORK along route. You no work. You have no work, do you? You ‘work’ here? Fine, show me an ID from your job?”

Wait, what? I thought it was a “resident” rate, but I could be misinformed.

“Huh,” he taunted before I could answer him. “Ha, you don’t have one. You are not ‘special,’ unless you are a senior or in a wheelchair – which are neither – you pay this much,” taps signs on farebox.

Right, because only people in wheelchairs are “disabled?” Gotcha.

“You see that,” he said condescendingly. “Do you? THAT is how much you pay. I am not a fool. I have job, and I am doing it. Now, you pay $2, or you do not get on. Period.”

I remember my Nextbus app saying “6 minutes” and then “39 minutes.” It probably wouldn’t have been THAT long as I was at the second stop on the route… but I didn’t feel like chancing it, so I pulled out 2 $1 bills (out of the $5 that were in my wallet) so the hero driver wins the day.

But victory wasn’t enough for him. He has to lecture me about how I can’t be mad at him for “doing (his) job” when I don’t have one of my own (because I was holding a SHOPPING bag, and “shopping is no working”). Finally, I just tune out his prattle and pretend this is all his being a jerk… and realizing I could get a “disability card” for Autism in Florida with a valid assessment (which I don’t have at the moment) and a consultation with an affiliated psychologist.

Three stops later, the driver stops for a young black man in a grey T-shirt with “DKNY” written on it with baggy white sweatpants. He drops a quarter in the farebox and heads to a seat across from me without a word from the driver.

See, I thought with a passing smile, I am “special” after all…

Categories: adventures, Autism, florida, I-Ride Trolley, Orlando, transportation | 1 Comment

Fire Sprinkler Inspection Day

Today is “Fire Sprinkler Inspection Day” at Sea Isle (required by law for all apartment complexes in Florida). The fire Marshal, apartment manager and maintenance supervisor come around to poke around the apartment – including the closets 😮 – to check smoke detectors and see if you have the right number of fire sprinklers in your unit.

I can hear the alarms getting louder, so they must be coming soon. I HATE the alarms they’re extremely loud and the flashing lights give me a headache. At least this time I won’t be in the shower…

Fire Marshal,” he shouted over the roar of the water. “You have less than one minute to open this door before I knock it the fuck down!

Back to the present, I’ve been hanging out on the balcony with headphones on for the past hour as the noise from the other buildings has gotten steadily louder.

I think they left now, but it was 15-20 minutes of pure TERROR while they were doing my section of the building as even with headphones the noise was absolutely deafening.

Fortunately, I wasn’t naked this time (as my balcony overlooks the main walkway through the complex). However, I still managed to make a fool of myself in front of the Fire Marshal and the maintenance woman when I was blinded by the flashing lights AND doubled over in pain from the noise (as jolting up when they knocked on my neighbor‘s door threw the earbuds out of my ears leaving my ears unprotected). I have no idea how they do that without earplugs.

Oh, and the inspection of my unit itself took less than a full minute so there was that…

Categories: Autism, florida, Orlando, sensory processing disorder, Williamsburg | 1 Comment

How to ruin your own meal

So I had just returned from the zoo and was reorganizing the pictures I uploaded from my phone (for some reason, FB overrided the album I uploaded them to and said “nah, he doesn’t want to upload the to the album he created especially to upload them to. No, what he REALLY wants them put in ‘Mobile Uploads’ because #fuckhim

After getting that squared away, I began planning out yesterday’s post. I had a blank document with no headline… and a rumbly stomach so I went downstairs to the frigid cold lobby (#becauseFlorida) and decided to have a quick meal in the hotel restaurant.

I was seated straight away despite it’s small size and slightly bigger crowd than I was expecting this early – even for a Friday (I was unaware it was also a game night so we got a lot of customers come in wearing “Bolt Blue,” and, of course, they got far better service than I did). My waiter took my drink order right away, and came back about ten minutes with my water, and then took my order. I asked him about various things on the menu, and then ordered a plate of wings and a plain cheeseburger. Pretty straightforward, right? Of course not.

After waiting 20 minutes for my appetizers, my waiter brings them out. They have zero taste, but I’m hungry. He comes back and takes them 10 minutes later and asks if I want any “coffee or dessert.”

“How about the burger I ordered?”

“You didn’t order any ‘burger.’ So, bring the check out then?”

“Damnit, why do I keep forgetting I’m stooped? But appearently, I decided – without my knowledge to cancel my order while I was making it. My God, that is REALLY stupid on my part, but that’s just how us stooped people roll.”

“I asked you if you wanted the wings AND the burger, and you said ‘no’ (so buying an appetizer negates the rest of my order?) Therefore, if you want the burger you thought you ordered, you have to actually order it.”

If he simply forgot to put it in, that would be one thing; but not putting it in and saying it’s somehow MY fault makes me more mad. Twenty minutes later he brings it out exactly as I hadn’t ordered and runs off. Obviously, I’m not eating here again.

I’d was going to go out and do something fun tonight, but, frankly, I’ve lost my appetite…

Categories: Autism, Channelside\Downtown, florida, Tampa | 1 Comment

Thankful Thursday memes

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“Buddy, ya mad psyc elf”

Did that headline make sense to you?

Good, that makes TWO of us. I was thinking of that annoying Will Ferrell movie, but, sadly, it had nothing to do with that abomination.

I was going out to buy milk from the 7-11 catty-corner from my apartment. That was my only intention for this humid fall night – nefarious or otherwise… and, yes, I’ll get to that later in this essay, but first some context…

It was 7:45pm, and, due to the quaint anachronism known as “Daylight Saving Time,” it was practically pitch black out there save for oncoming traffic (which are extra dangerous for me due to my having a 1.5 second processing delay – which can be absolutely deadly as a pedestrian), a couple of flickering/sparsely placed streetlights and the signs on top of the two hotels – plus the aforementioned convenience on the other side of the extremely busy intersection.

That is stressful enough for me under normal conditions (but is far better than being out in the day’s heat), but did I mention that I also had to deal with the deafening noise of a rapidly approaching fire truck with horns blaring and sirens at FULL VOLUME.

I get it – it’s an actual emergency, but it doesn’t have to stop an inch behind me blaring said horns directly into my ears while I’m in the middle of a busy intersection with the pedestrian signal up (it was also the very thing I was trying to avoid so, congrats, mission accomplished).

This caused me to jump 3 feet in the air and freeze temporarily while their sirens were still going and now they were shouting “MOVE YOUR (horn)ING ASS (double horn), YOU (horn)ING RETARDED ASS(horn)!!!”

“Shit. God damnit, that hurts,” I said holding my ears in pain as I tried to continue crossing the street while the fire truck nearly clipped me as it shot off behind me.

“Buddy, up ya mad psycic elf,” this guy in a black and grey hoodie said passing me from behind, I could barely hear over the ringing in my ears.

“HEY, BUDDY,” he said repeating it for me impatiently. “I SAID ‘YOU’RE OFF YOUR MEDS AGAIN, YOU FUCKING PSYCHOPATH!!!’”

That is both helpful and not helpful at the same time – especially since I once again only caught half of it.

“God damnit,” I said stepping onto the sidewalk, “that horn was loud and an inch away from my ear. What the hell is wrong with them? Fu…ow. Seriously.”

“I SAID ‘SHUT UP, YOU ARE A FUCKING LUNATIC! GET IN THERE (pointing to the CVS on the corner), BUY YOUR MEDS AND GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY TOWN, YOU RETARDED ASSHOLE!!”

That I sort of understood, but as I tried to work it through in my head, I didn’t realize I was repeating everything I was saying out loud.

MASS SHOOTER!”

“MASS SHOOTER?!! WHERE,” I shouted looking around frantically for a place to hide. Of course, there wasn’t so much as a bush in a 100-foot radius, so I looked like a madman to 100s of oncoming cars.

YOU ARE,” he said flipping me off as he finally disappearing somewhere into the darkness.  “YOU GOD-DAMNED RETARDED LUNATIC!”

Sure, he was gone… but what if he came back later in my trip? I wondered as I continued to walk towards my destination, my body still shaking as I entered the convenience store, but, hey, at least, my hearing was starting to come back…

Categories: adventures, Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, florida, Orlando, sensory processing disorder, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Can’t you get it?

Do I really need to take that awful phrase apart? I will anyway, but first let me provide some context. This is a comment I made on the Facebook page “Joy of Autism” on a picture of a boy with the caption: “I asked him to do something. He said “no” so we celebrated.”

Was it inartful? Probably. Was it insensitive? Possibly. Did I prove I have absolutely no understanding of what Autism is (and by implication never will)? At least one commenter thought so asking:

Jonathan Twiggar, can’t you get it? He’s nonverbal, and he spoke.”

“Can’t you get it?”

There were 100s of enraged replies I could have posted, and, believe me, I considered all of them. Was see implying I was stupid or just that I wasn’t worth explaining things to? This is why I quickly learned to not ask questions in school – either my teacher, classmates or both would have that “why are you wasting our time with this shit? This is OBVIOUS to anyone with half a brain!”

Can’t you get it? Of course not, and you never will because you’re stupid/retarded/etc. so why should I bother explaining it to you if you’re never going to get it?

To be fair, not 100% understanding something relatively trivial that I didn’t know and had no way of knowing based on the scant information presented to me is a federal crime… at least on Facebook.

Heck, I guarantee my mom could see that same reply and react like “what’s the problem with this? Why do you think she’s ‘attack’ …wait, what did YOU say to… how dare you write something like that!” #supportive

Speaking of Facebook, I couldn’t post any of the replies I wanted, but I eventually collected myself enough to give a reasonably measured response (which to my amazement, no-one argued with). However, that doesn’t mean I know anything about Autism – least of all mine…

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, entertainment, Internet\FB | Leave a comment

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