This weekend (Saturday – tomorrow as you read this) marks one year since I was hit by a car trying to cross International Drive in Orlando. I got off the I-Ride trolley, made sure there was no traffic coming (which isn’t easy given the slight turn in the road) and then watched from the opposite side of the street as a black SUV comes out of nowhere knocking the human beach ball to the ground in slow motion before… you can read the rest here, here and here.
A lot has changed in that time, I still have moderate (but persistent) pain in my arm (and despite having no meaningful physical therapy, I can move my arm about almost normally – almost) and occasional tingling in my left leg. Plus, I have mysterious headaches and minor short-term memory issues (as the left side of my head hit the hood rather hard). On the plus side, at least the bills have stopped.
Did I mention that I get anxious crossing streets in Orlando? I do, and it makes getting around without a car a lot more nerve racking – if I never saw that car coming, how am I going to see the next one? It’s a question I don’t want to think about – especially since I lost my ID about 10 days ago, so they’d never identify me (note: I would want someone to continue editing my novel, and possibly collect some or all of these posts into a nonfiction book… which I haven’t come up with a proper title for yet). If you want to why I didn’t replace it, see above. Short-term memory loss is a bitch at times… but it’s weird because only some things like paying bills, collecting mail, taking out the trash, etc. are effected and not others.
As if I didn’t have enough to occupy my enfeebled mind, this past Monday marked three months since my mom’s death and NEXT weekend marks the third (probably closer to 19 or 20th) Father’s Day without the supposed celebrant… which is an odd occasion to mark given how he usually “celebrated” things like this. Yes, I’m expecting angry comments on that last sentence, but sharing feelings is what blogs like this are for, right?
Two days later is Autistic Pride Day (June 18th), a day I’m honestly conflicted about given the content of this blog. Yes, I think people have a right to celebrate their differences and how far we’ve come in the last 70 years, but it feels almost hypocritical given how much hurt, stress and turmoil it has caused my life… or lack thereof as I type sitting alone in my bedroom on a Thursday night wondering how to celebrate Pride Month (especially without a proper ID).
The fact that I can even type that last shows how far we’ve come in 50 years – especially since we not only have Presidential candidates twisting themselves into knots trying to pander to us whereas their nonexistent platforms on Disability Rights is rather appalling, but, at least, NYPD has apologized for their 1969 raid on the Stonewall Inn.
So, yeah, there’s a lot on my mind this month, but, on the plus side, today (Thursday) is my nephew’s sixth birthday. Happy birthday, Greyson, and thanks for reading this. Servus.
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.”
In the wake of retired neurosurgeon and current GOP front runner Dr. Ben Carson’s latest nontroversy about whether he did or didn’t apply to West Point, Yahoo News compiled a list of some of the doctor’s biggest gaffes. For your edification, I have listed my uneducated, unsubstantiated and entirely worthless opinions (in other words, don’t attack me) of some of these carefully selected gaffes.
My take: As an Anthropology student (more on that in a future post), I have seen any number of bizarre conspiracy theories about who and\or why the pyramids were built. This is probably the least crazy one I’ve encountered which is why it’s one of the oldest (dating back to 6th century scholars who probably never saw the famous structures firsthand).
However, what bothers me about this isn’t that he was spouting conspiracy theories 15 years ago, but that he was intentionally using a commencement address to dismiss the known historical facts in order to make himself sound more “enlightened” then the many archaeologists and Egyptologists who spent their entire careers studying the pyramids. It may have been delivered in his trademark soft-spoken and some would say “humble” manner, but it’s still textbook “hubris.”
2004-2011: God and evolution are mutually exclusive
My take: The fact that Dr. Carson was opposed to evolution ten years ago doesn’t particularly bother me as much as the fact that he still held them seven years later when he was forced to somewhat reluctantly admit that maybe his fellow scientists weren’t all puppets of “The Adversary” when he was ultimately condemned by 500 professors\alumni of Emory University where he was scheduled to give another commencement address.
Apparently, the doctor is/was unaware that not only are there religious scientists but there is an entire field of multi-disciplinary study dedicated to reconciling these two diametrically opposed theories (Theist Evolutionary Studies) which have produced several worthy academic articles and books on the matter.
February 2015 – There are no rules of war
My take: I admire the doctor for wanting to “protect the troops” from lawsuits and kangaroo courts, but there already ARE rules. Rules we haven’t been too good at following lately (not attacking countries that didn’t attack us, not torturing detainees, killing thousands of innocent civilians with drone strikes, etc.), but expect OTHER countries to follow to the letter…or else we’ll draw another “red line” in the sand.
“If you’re going to have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war” – I’ll get behind that… but I know the first thing he does in the WH is arrest his predecessor for “war crimes” committed largely by HIS predecessor.
March 2015: Homosexuality is a choice
My take: This theory (prison sex proves homosexuality is a choice) is probably one of the most asinine arguments I have ever heard – almost as bad as his wishy-washy flip–flop on vaccines following the second GOP debate. While I get he’s just pandering to his party’s homophobic base, it was THE moment he stopped being a viable candidate for president in my book.
To his credit, he did offer a mild conditional apology for those remarks, but when asked if a (transgendered) GIRL should be allowed to use a girl’s bathroom he retreated into another rhetorical pet peeve of mine by saying: “I’m not sure if anyone should have ‘extra rights.’”
Note to Dr. Carson: The ONLY people asking for “extra rights” are the ones asking to keep members of the gay community from sharing rights they should already have. If only straight people can get married/adopt children/use a public bathroom etc. than by definition they have an “extra right.”
November 2015: I was offered a full scholarship to West Point
My take: If someone said “hey why don’t you come work for me” (which they don’t :(). I would consider it a “job offer” even if nothing ever came of it. I think this is probably what happened with Dr. Carson: someone said “hey, Ben, I might be able to get you into West Point.” Contrary to the current media narrative, it’s not that big of a leap from “no tuition” to “full scholarship.”
In other words, this is a non-issue…