I posted earlier about the “progress” I made sorting and binding up some of my dad’s old charts. The photos aren’t all that impressive because they aren’t – they are ONE wall of boxes. As you saw in the photos from earlier this week, the other three are jam packed.
Given the condition of the files I was bundling (so rotten the pages were not only unreadable, but impossible to separate from the folder they were in), I’d say we could easily just toss most of this stuff in with the normal recycling and no-one would be the wiser, but that’s not how the law works.
But that’s not why the 10-day sojourn was a failure. No, this boring, busy work (something Autistics like me are supposed to excel at) was just an unpleasant symptom of a much larger and far less pleasant problem.
I was tasked with that job since no-one else wanted it. Though it was supposed to a GROUP effort with my mom and both brothers setting a weekend aside to get this task done with as little hassle as possible… for them – they’re already in Pennsylvania. I’m in FLORIDA without a car or license so getting there is a LOT harder for me than it is them.
That weekend came and went without anything happening. Yes, I get it. Kids get sick, the car breaks down, a family member dies unexpectedly, but, just in case, I got a long, condescending lecture anyway when I asked my older brother if there was any other discussion for rescheduling the weekend.
“I am married with four kids and a full-time job… You on the other hand have none of these things. In fact, there is nothing stopping you from coming up here for three or four weeks and doing this on your own. You don’t need my ‘permission.’ Just do it. If you were a good son, you would volunteer to do this for mom’s sake. But you aren’t.”
I love that he used the word “IF,” but I told him it wasn’t a command performance – it was a question. JUST a question as “I understand that both of you have other things to do, but in order to make plans I have to know what they are first.”
“King of regurgitation”
What does that even mean? Seriously, I have no clue. So, I did what anyone else would do when they don’t understand something. I asked.
“Nice try, but your argument isn’t working on me. Oh, and pro-tip, capitalizing words in messages does not mean emphasis the way you think it does.”
There comes a point in all of my posts where I become the villain not the victim – and I suspect that’s exactly the kind of action he was hoping for when he sent it. Well, he got it, and I hated myself for losing my temper with him like that – that’s probably also what he wanted (that makes him the victim of MY abuse, see?)
“I had honestly forgotten about your little tiff. But I forgive you,” he replied. It’s noble, maybe this marks a thaw in relations. He then demands I both apologize to him and “take responsibility” for all the wrong deeds I did by asking simple questions and following up for clarification (yes, I told that to him in my reply).
In case you were wondering, he does not owe me an apology because his insults – both stated and implied – were figments of some sick “fantasy world” created by his lunatic brother, but my non-existent insults against him were real. Wait, what? Also, as you can imagine, it doesn’t get better from here – despite my asking him to STOP at least three times.
Clearly, he didn’t listen as he went off on a series of massively long texts that I honestly didn’t scroll up two or three screens to read in their entirety (the last one I didn’t even open, but the “preview” line in messenger was him telling me to “not message me again” which solved my problem, but I BLOCKED him anyway just to be safe). The last one that I did read said that to get back in his good graces and prove that I wasn’t “selfish, immature, and lazy” was to “prove me wrong. Go to Shamokin for three weeks and help mom with the files and anything else she wants you to do. Do that, and I’ll be forced to admit I was wrong.”
That’s how I ended up in Shamokin for two weeks, and I knew the second I picked up the rotting, mold covered box in the entry of the old office that he would say “you didn’t ‘prove me wrong.’ You proved me right as having to ‘prove me wrong’ is the very embodiment of ‘immaturity’ which is what I said you were. Nice try though.”
It’s also what I thought of with every folder I emptied and every stack I tied. Even looking at the two boxes of loosely bound files and the two crates of folders mom drove up to recycling, I didn’t feel pride. I felt shamed – ashamed of myself for falling for his trick and even more so for letting his bullying messages effect my work… which is the very definition of wasted time – especially since I knew darned well that what I did wouldn’t meet his standards anyway.
I came away from the week with one positive though, I cannot live my life to meet my brother’s approval – which I know he probably wouldn’t have given me anyway – but solely for my own. Trying to make HIM happy didn’t work, so I must focus on making ME happy…
This is a picture of the corner my dad’s old office that mom and I grabbed last Friday…
Here is what that same pile of boxes looked like bound up. The two empty blue crates on the right which held the folders had just been emptied at CT
Recycling this morning.
I was having a rather dull dinner with my mom and her friends in a restaurant I’d never been to before. As we sit down, my mom points out that they have “mozzarella sticks” here (because I apparently can’t read menus on my own) and how terrible the ones we had the night before were.
As I’m looking over the underwhelming menu, a harried waitress comes up from one side of the table and a woman I’d never seen before comes up the other: “Oh, hi, Liz.” “Linda, hi, wonder seeing you here, how are…”
“JONATHAN,” my mom’s friend Barb shouted to get my attention and successfully scaring the living crap out of me. “YOUR turn to order!”
“JONATHAN,” my mom snapped at me for dropping my phone on the table. “That is completely unnecessary! Just tell her what you want to drink and be done with it.”
So, now, I’ve got my mom, her friends, the waitress and half the restaurant staring at me. No pressure.
“We’s got Coke, Diet Coke, Ginga-hale…”
“Water,” I replied only hearing the first three.
“All this shit,” my mom said exasperatedly, “and you’re ordering WATER? Jesus-fucking-God. Anyway, Linda, did you hear about…”
“What ’bout you, ma’am?”
“Um, water with lemon… Wait, Jonathan, you said wanted the mozzarella sticks.”
“Um, no, you asked me about them.”
“So, he wan’s the mozza sticks,” the waitress asked from three tables away.
“JONATHAN, do you want the mozzarella sticks or not?”
“Yes, he does. Thank you.”
Wait, WHAT? I literally just said “no” three times.
“Okay, I’ll put d’em in with ya order.”
A few minutes later, she returns with Barb’s soda, my water and my mom’s water with lemon, and immediately proceeds to take our orders. It’s now, 45 seconds before I’m expected to make my order, that Barb points out that there is a “special board” behind me that I missed before I sat down. Mom is still talking to that lady so, congratulations, it’s bumped up to about 35 seconds.
“Honey dipt [sic] chicken with fries”
“Fries, coleslaw, side salad, apple sauce, corn, lima beans…”
“I said ‘fries.’”
“I know d’at, but ya need a SECOND side.”
“Why? I don’t need a ‘second side.’”
“Ya meal comes wit a second side.”
“And I’m telling you, I don’t want a ‘second side.’”
Why is this so hard to understand?
“So, ya want TWO plates of fries?”
“No, I want one plate of fries. I’m telling you I don’t wa-”
“Give him apple sauce and be done with it.”
“And you ma’am?”
“Um, yeah… I’ll have… um, I’ll have… whatever he’s having, but with lima beans instead of apple sauce.”
Then Barb starts on some meandering story about a feud she was having with one of her neighbors who had allegedly called cops the on her “out of spite – TWICE.” The kind of story that was extremely hard to follow unless you knew what was going on (who they were, what happened and how did it escalate so far). She gets about 2/3 of the way through her story when the waitress unceremoniously plops a plate of bland looking mozzarella sticks in front of me.
“Here ya go, buddy. Enjoy.”
What the fuck is this? When I order it? What am I supposed to do with them, and, more importantly, who the fuck is “buddy?”
“Jonathan,” my mom asked. “What the hell is wrong with you? Why aren’t you eating the mozzarella sticks you ordered?”
“I didn’t order them.”
“Yes, you did.”
“No, I didn’t. I didn’t want them, and I still don’t.”
“Then why the hell did you order them?”
“I DIDN’T. YOU did because YOU wanted to know if they were ‘any better than the ones we had last night.’”
“Oh, for God’s sake, just eat the damned things.”
So, basically, I’m now forced to eat bland mozzarella sticks I don’t want and didn’t order because I did order them and do want to eat them solely to satiate my mother’s mild curiosity. Neuro-typical logic at it’s finest, folks.
After a long tangent about how much money she’s make “inventing a phone [cord] that don’t get all tangled like the ones we got at work” (man, she’ll be disappointed to find out cordless phones have been around since at least 2001 – if not earlier), she finally gets back to repeating the second half of her story for us. I still have no idea what’s going on other than this neighbor lady is (allegedly) “psycho” or something, and worse, nothing was going on on Facebook or Messenger and I had zero new e-mails.
An excruciatingly long time later, the waitress returns and once again plops our food down with the enthusiasm of an abnormally excited rock. Barb got the fish with corn. My mom got fried chicken with fries and lima beans, and I got fried chicken with fries…and a humongous bowl of apple sauce.
Once again, I have no clue who’s eating it, but, my god, that’s a LOT of apple sauce. Meanwhile, the lukewarm fries were undercooked, but the chicken was actually pretty good.
By the time we were ready to leave, it was already 7pm. Mom wanted to get some ice cream t Mauer’s a few blocks away on Market Street, but one of the ladies loitering on the porch of the building next door rather curtly informed me was “closed” (no details, just “closed”). In the car, I made the mistake of asking what Barb’s rambling neighbor story was about.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” my mom replied.
“What was Barb’s problem with her neighbor and the police coming to her house?”
“Who’s house? What neighbor? Who’s calling the police for what? I have no clue what you’re asking.”
“Augh, that’s what I just asked YOU. Essentially, you want me to know the answers to the questions I just asked you so you can repeat the answers back to me in which case I wouldn’t need to ask them to you in the first place”
“Jesus-fucking-Christ, Jonathan, what the fuck are you talking about? God, ‘houses,’ ‘neighbors,’ ‘police?’ I have no clue what the hell you’re even talking about?”
“What the hell was Barb talking about in her long rambling story about having her neighbor call the police on her twice in the past week?”
“Thank you, Jesus, THAT I understood. It wasn’t a ‘neighbor,’ she was renting a property she owned out as apartments, and the current tenant was three months behind in her rent so Barb was forced to evict her, but she refused to leave so…”
Bo – ring. See? I knew asking was a mistake.
Now that I’ve “stressed [her] out,” she decides to go to Weis to pick up a gallon box of ice cream leaving me in the car as she shops. It’s not much, but it’s a break…
As the headline states, this is the entrance to my dad’s old medical offices in Tharptown which is currently for sale.
The boxes and filing cabinets were brought up from the basement the previous weekend, and their contents must be gone through and destroyed before the building can be cleaned for sale.
Today is Good Friday… so why don’t I feel “good?” Yes, I’m having a far better day than Jesus did, but… that isn’t exactly comforting – especially since I get the “you can’t be sad, there are millions of people who would KILL to have your so-called ‘problems’” (I know, I wrote a post addressing that topic about 3-4 years ago).
What set me off today was a relatively innocuous post on “The Joy of Autism.”
“Ignoring or pretending someone isn’t there is a form of BULLYING. ~ Joy of Autism”
I actually hadn’t thought of it like that – for me, it was often a relief FROM bullying. However, it made me realize that I’ve experienced nearly every kind of bullying – and several forms of discrimination – over my life. Honestly, the only ones I don’t have are physical and sexu…aw, damnit.
Actually, two separate incidents come to mind – one when I was 12 and the other 15-16 – one likely more serious than the other (though neither actually amounted to much in the long run and both parties have likely long forgotten all about their respective incidents – just as I thought I had).
I don’t know how to describe the first incident. I was away from home for the first time at what my parents called a “summer camp for kids with ADHD” (more like a 6 week “my first program” with sneering counselors, therapy games and roommates who clearly resented sharing space with a “retard”). As I said, I was 12, and they had these things called “showers” (a concept I was wholly unfamiliar with at the time as I only knew baths) …so some adjustment was needed. Anyway, I was trying to clean the foreskin (it was a reddish grey color, which I assumed was just dirt) when suddenly my penis started pulsing wildly and exploded all over the shower wall and pretty much shocking the Hell out of me, not to mention nearly making me slip and hurt myself. I refused to even think about touching it again for the rest of the summer (I was there for both 3 week sessions).
I came out and the counselor wasn’t happy with me. Saying I had no reason to “take some damned long” in there and obviously had no idea “how to take a shower” (he was technically right on that front, so I couldn’t call it an “insult”). You can see where this is going, right?
Yep, the next morning, when it was time to think about showering, he rather irritably followed me into the shower room as I was getting undressed and when I got into the shower he barked: “Don’t close that curtain. You obviously have no fucking clue how to take a shower so I’ll have to ‘guide’ you through the fucking process. I like this as much as you do, so shut up, you’re wasting water!” It was extremely uncomfortable for me with him watching me from 5-feet away (he wasn’t in there WITH me, it just felt like it) and he was acting like HE was the one being punished for “having” to do it. Fortunately, I never “forced” him to do it again, but it made our interactions awkward and may even be the reason I avoid showers unless absolutely necessary.
The second one was arguably more serious. I was 15-16 and visiting my cousin Andrew’s beach house in NJ for the summer. His mom was driving and we were play wrestling in the back of her van (the seats were folded down). You can see where this is going too, right? No, we didn’t have sex, but his mom acted like I just raped her 10-year-old son in front of her. She was FURIOUS, and, while I can appreciate her diligence, I literally had no idea WHY she was screaming profanities at me for demonstrating a move I saw on TV (and just like TV – no contact was actually made, but she didn’t believe me nor give me a chance to talk. I was “fucking evil” and had “no business touching, let alone being near children ever again” and to this day, any time a child touches me I hear Cousin Twinks screaming at me. I couldn’t even talk to either of them at my aunt’s 10th wedding anniversary last year (I know they were both there, as they were seated at the table directly across from mine).
I consider these both acts of bullying. They consider their behavior justified – just like a story I was going to tell from Benchmark about psychical abuse\bullying (which still makes me paranoid at night), but I don’t have either the room or the mental stamina to continue with that train of thought in this post. Maybe some better Friday…
Update: In the meantime, I have examples of other more direct forms of bullying on this blog (all of them, conveniently enough, also entirely my own fault making the other party completely blameless for their behaviors regardless of how rude, mean, spiteful or otherwise hurtful they were): “Food Court Follies,” “A Family Frustration,” “Running Out of Ikeas” and to a vaguer extent “National Disappointment Day.”
Today is National Siblings Day in the US. Yah.
I have two brothers, we aren’t as close (or anywhere near as supportive) as some siblings I’ve seen around the FB community, but we aren’t openly feuding to my knowledge. I’m a huge “disappointment” to them (yes, that’s an actual quote not an emphasis), but they (usually) aren’t mad about it, bro…
The lack of hostility doesn’t necessarily translate to acceptance or support, but if something goes wrong, they are more than happy to blame me for it. Don’t worry, even if it is demonstrably PROVEN beyond even the tiniest shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t my fault, it’s still my fault because… um, it just is.
I get invited to their major parties and what not, but it feels more like what they are expected to do than a sincere request. Maybe it’s just my “overactive imagination,” but as welcome as they say I am, it doesn’t feel like I actually belong there. It’s subtle, but unshakable.
Kind of like the difference between icy “awareness” and the warm embrace of “acceptance” (which I don’t think they’ve gotten to yet). If I had to put it into words, it would probably be like lukewarm resentment with a mildly friendly veneer over it.
Actually, I think my middle brother put it best: “You know, Sibling Day isn’t a real holiday.”
How disappointing – especially since I was looking forward to using that cute “I love my brother” graphic I swiped off FB at the top of this post. Maybe next year…