Williamsburg

“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…

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

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Great news – the receptionist said the insurance company declined my doctor’s visit this afternoon. You know what it means when the doctor can’t help you: I’M CURED…or not. The truth was, I had zero interest in or need to see said doctor – especially on such a cold, miserable and rainy day.

In fact, I spent the entire morning on the phone with the insurance company making sure I wasn’t wasting my time going out to this appointment and then calling the primary physician to confirm it with their office to recall the insurance company… and at that point I was going through with this regardless.

Keep in mind, I can’t just hop in a car and drive there. Unfortunately, I had to anyway just so the driver can literally pass right by me without stopping and report me to the app as a no-show. I was literally exactly where I said I was standing, and with waiting for a new driver (who the app assigned 5-stars on my behalf) very nearly made me late for my appointment.

To be fair, it wasn’t his fault I was an hour late leaving the apartment for my errands. For instance, I couldn’t find the deposit slips for the bank, and the line inside was at probably 15-20 minutes so I had to use the ATM outside which worked reasonably well and got me on my way relatively quickly. I had a disgusting lunch, checked the times for the trolley to Sand Lake Road and opened my transportation app. I already gave you the non-story there so I’ll just say that I arrived with less than six minutes to spare before my appointment.

“New or returning patient,” the receptionist said barely looking up as I entered. I couldn’t tell if the receptionist was bored, uninterested or both. “Here, give me your insurance card and fill these forms out. You’re lucky we aren’t busy right now, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to help you” (an ironic bit of foreshadowing).

As I said above, I have no “need” to see this doctor and filling out the four page packet made that painfully clear to even the most uninterested reader (seriously, it’s like that nurse when I had my EKG in October said “if you aren’t having heart trouble, why the hell are you getting an EKG?” “I don’t know. I didn’t schedule it.”)

Finally, after 45 minutes, she calls “Mr. Twaaaygeer” up to the counter and tells him that he will not be seeing a doctor today. He, sorry I lack permission from the insurance company because I lack a Primary Care Physician – “You’re supposed ‘Primary’ has never heard of you, and your last visit there was with a Nurse Prac back in OCTOBER and the doctor who sent you down here doesn’t count – only a PRIMARY can make a referral. You need to make sure you get all your things in order BEFORE you make an appointment!”

“Thanks for the lecture. I wasn’t the one who made this appointment, the doctor I saw earlier this month did. I knew this was a huge waste of time. Congratulations, I’ve just proven RIGHT!”

“No, you haven’t. You have gained valuable information and now have explicit instructions on EXACTLY what you have to do to move forward with your care. See your primary, get a referral THEN come back, we’ll save the paperwork you just gave me to your file. Have a nice day, and we look forward to seeing you again, Mr. Twaaaygeer.”

Disappointed AND humiliated – burn! But, hey, at least, she cares what kind of day I’m having, even if its in the least sincere tone possible.

It’s just over a half-mile from the hospital to the Dunkin Donuts on Sand Lake Road where I usually stop on my way back from appointments like this as it’s roughly halfway between the hospital and the trolley stop I need to take back to the apartment. It’s a long walk (“35 minutes” according to Google Maps), and I spent the duration of it trying to convince myself I was in a better mood than I obviously was, and when I got to the plaza it was in, I stopped in front of a menu board on the sidewalk contemplating if I should take a sandwich home for dinner (as it was already after 4pm) when I hear:

“Hi, I’d like to talk to you about investing with Primerica!”

Great, as if I wasn’t already feeling bad enough, he effectively has me cornered. He’s standing less than a foot away from me and making direct eye contact with me so I can’t escape. He’s caught me looking at the menu board so I can’t say I “don’t have time” and, frankly I have ZEROS excuses to give him on why I can’t listen to his sales pitch. Literally none are coming to my head – I love when I do that. I need my brain to work, and it doesn’t.

Yep, once again, my “flight” response is triggered with no escape routes (why can’t it ever kick in when there IS one) so my brain just shuts down instead. It’s a perfect defense mechanism as it leaves me utter defenseless. When I finally get away, I’m too anxious to order coffee (what if he’s waiting outside the store?) which I guess is good as coffee\donuts are bad for me.

I continue on Sand Lake Road to the trolley stop on I-Drive. The rain has mostly stopped, but the sky is still dark and cloudy making it feel later it really was (the relatively cold wind wasn’t helping). Fortunately, said trolley arrived within three minutes of me arriving at the stop.

I decide maybe getting some food would make me feel better so I hopped off the trolley near a chain restaurant and proceeded to prove my theory wrong. I also used my return fare for the trolley so I had to take the balance out of my server’s tip (which I really didn’t want to do). At least, I have lunch for tomorrow.

I leave the restaurant to find the last vestiges of sunlight burning in my eyes. It was a hopeful sign (kind of like a blindingly bright rainbow), and I hope it foretells good days to come… as the rain is coming down again as I’m typing this.

Categories: adventures, Autism, florida, Health, healthcare, insurance, Orlando, sensory processing disorder, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

The dour damsel’s depressing day

I was woken up a perky pre-recorded telemarketer loudly extolling how “2016 is THE year to SAVE on auto insurance” (though how I save on something I don’t have for a product I don’t own was never explained in her script), and while I was up I thought maybe I go grocery shopping but then I made the mistake of signing into FB and found myself wondering: “why do people READ my messages, but never actually answer them?” That cascades into a thousand other thoughts until I’m too depressed to go anywhere.

Suddenly, I’m reliving being dragged back into the college bookstore by the ears (yes, literally) by a pissed off manager who was determined to “make an example of me” in front of the whole damned campus what happens to kids who “steal” from HER store even though I clearly had a receipt – and a cashier who admitted to checking me out, but somehow failed to deactivate the hidden tag inside the book… even though I saw her rub it vigorously over the counter scanner several times. At least she didn’t pull a gun on me like the security guard at the CVS across the street…

Yeah, that was ten years ago, and as you can see from this blog: life really does “get better” …for some people, good thing I’m not a “person.”

Well, damn, I’m hungry and my fridge is STILL empty so I guess I have no choice now… but, naturally, just as I’m leaving the apt the phone rings.

“Hi, this is Dr. Dowling’s office, can I speak to ‘Jonathan?”

“Yes,” I said, and I knew exactly why she was calling. I’ve been trying to forget about this ‘double root canal’ for over two months now, but then she throws me off by not answering me. “…So are you going to ‘speak to me’ or not?”

“Oh no, ma’am, I’m waiting for you to get him for me.” She then pauses and continued with obvious skepticism, “unless you’re trying to tell me YOU’RE ‘Jonathan?’”

“Well, who did you THINK you were talking to?”

“Well, I don’t know, ma’am, but I need you to get ‘Jonathan’ on the phone for me.”

“I can’t ‘get Jonathan on the phone’ – I AM JONATHAN!”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is an important reminder about HIS appointment tomorrow with Dr. Dowling, so I need to speak with HIM about it.”

Wait a second here: “Ma’am,” “HIS appointment” and “speak to HIM about it.” Does she actually, honest to god, thinks she’s talking to a young girl or just a really stupid adult woman? I don’t know which one because she didn’t tell me, but even my own brother confuses me with my 11-year-old niece on the phone – and that’s when he calls me!

“Look,” I said exasperatedly. “I’m too busy for this shit right now, please call back when you figure out who or what you’re looking for.”

“Thank you, and have a nice day,” she said.

Why is it the only time people pretend to care what kind of day I have is after they make it virtually impossible for me to have a “nice” one? Is the phrase supposed to magically erase everything that happened before it? If it is, then it never worked for me.

I let these questions (and others) fester in my obviously tiny mind until I got to the grocery store. I didn’t really feel like taking a bus there as I’d probably have to use it tomorrow to get to my appointment. Besides the walk would help me “clear my mind” (spoiler alert – it didn’t, it never did and probably never will), but at least it was a beautiful day for a walk. It’s a positive.

There are a variety of drive-thru fast food restaurants along Central Florida Parkway between I-Drive and the Williamsburg Commons. For those people saying $15 will push people out of poverty, McDonalds on the periphery of the mall has installed brand new “Ordering kiosks” guaranteed to make their cashiers obsolete…but today they had a message taped on their screens saying “POS not operational” (which the 12yo in me REALLY wanted to post a picture of here). After a short deliberation, I realized they didn’t have what I wanted (and if they did, it probably violated my “Aftercare instructions”) so I went to Subway instead and saved money so I consider that a positive.

Now what to get for the rest of the week? Veggies, bread, cold-cuts, Chicken wings? I love wings, but I can’t have hard foods. Hey, potato chips are on sale, but they break into “sharp pieces” which would get “stuck in my gums.” Frozen Swedish meatballs? Eh, I’ll take it anyway. I have milk, don’t eat eggs, or ice cream (too heavy and is usually melted by the time I get back) …and that, folks, brings me back to the front of the store.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with their soda\snack options so I put my baskets on the conveyor and gave the cashier my two bags. As I’m looking for my hat, I look up and see the old man at the register twisting and flipping it around in his hand as if manhandling it would give him some revelation or something.

“What the hell are you doing,” I said as he notices the large “DVC Member” logo on the front of said hat.

“Well, I’m – was – trying to find the price tag on it.”

“Well,” I said snatching it from his hand impatiently. “I’m really getting tired of re-reRE-paying for that stupid hat everywhere I go – particularly since I got it for free and am docked $15-19 for it wherever I go.”

“Well, if you already own it, why did you give it to me to scan?”

“I DIDN’T. You took it from my hand when I gave you my bags.”

“Trust us,” the manager (who was acting as my bagger) said shrugging cavalierly. “We would be more than happy to charge you for it if you did.”

See? He’d charge me for a free hat – isn’t that hilarious?

I didn’t think so either, particularly since he just said he would have actually done it too. Not only that but I hate people automatically assume it’s A-Okay to manhandle MY things, but me touching THEIR things – even by accident – and you’d better believe there’d be hell to pay.

Hypocrisy? Nah, the former (as it was explained to me in an extremely condescending manner the last time something this happened to me) is “CAP-it-al-ism,” the latter is….um… who knows, but it’s obviously “justified” in some way and, clearly, even a “retard” like me can see the difference, right?

Well anyway, the exchange drained both my wallet and whatever remained of my patience so I went over to the ATM at the bank on the other end of the strip mall and tried to take out some money. Of course, the keypad wasn’t working right the first time so I cancelled and it worked fine thereafter so whatever. I walked away suddenly remembering that I had some coin rolls to deposit there… that I left back on the kitchen counter.

Fine, I’ll unwind with some coffee at the Starbucks on International…but I can’t have anything that I’d have to “drink through a straw” as that would have a “negative impact on my teeth.” Okay, saving myself $5 and change is another positive. Maybe, I can take a break and take the trolley back to the apartment…is what I’d say if the Northbound stop wasn’t “closed for construction,” but I saved another $2 so I guess that’s a draw of sorts.

The walk along Central Florida Parkway from the bank back to my apartment was the same distance it’s always been, but it seemed longer. Maybe it’s because there are only three benches the entire way from there to 1-4 (and they aren’t particularly well spaced for someone carrying heavy bags of groceries).

I got back around 3 or 4pm, at this point in the story, I really don’t care. I just want to go to bed… but who can sleep when the know they have a double root canal waiting for them when they get up?

Categories: adventures, dentistry, florida, Orlando, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

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