transportation

The opposite of nostalgia…

Major accident directly in front of my building. Brought back lots of bad memories. All these people in passing cars slowing down and glaring at ME as if I somehow caused it, doesn’t help matters. Neither does the fact that TODAY – April 26 – marks ten years since the accident that very nearly took my life.

The resemblance between the two crashes (or at least the damage done in them) was uncanny… or should I say unsettling. The fact that I came within seconds of causing my own death on a random Sunday evening on a road in Coal Township, Pa – a mere thousand yards from my home at the time… by obeying all traffic laws to the letter. The reward for my pain and suffering: loss of license, loss of insurance, loss of freedom and, worst of all, loss of the first thing I ever outright owned.

So, while at least one OPD officer was on hand interviewing participants in today’s incident. At no point did anyone bother to ask ME what happened at mine, in fact, the first thing the responding officer said to me was: “yeah, I figured it would be you. Every time there’s an accident in this city. YOU are the who caused it.”

I take that back, he DID ask what happened, and his partner cut him off: “‘Green?’ You mean ‘green’ like graaaaaassss or RED like an aaaaaappulllllll?”

“I’m a college graduate – that means I graduated from Kindergarten too.”

“DON’T YOU TALK TO ME LIKE THAT, YOU STUPID MOTHERF-”

At this point, the first cop pulled his hot-headed partner away before he could punch me, but just as he was about to get back to interviewing me, a woman cut him off shouting: “I saw it. I saw the whole thing. He did it. He caused the whole thing” and I didn’t see either officer again for another six hours (for six seconds at the hospital, he looked down at me, shrugged and said “well, you know you’re guilty” and left).

Yep, since I never talked to them (or the newspaper [link not found] which declared me guilty of “causing an accident on SR-61”) that left only one choice: Tell it to the judge… except my dad’s attorney stopped me from entering the courtroom and said: “face it, YOU caused the accident, so rather than go in there and lose – which you will – you will instead plead ‘no contest’ so I can work on more important cases.” Fuck you too.

Sorry, that concludes my story, which is convenient since the trolley I was waiting for has arrived. I have not looked up whether today’s story made the paper or not, but the first thing the driver said when she opened the door was: “damn, that’s the second accident at this exact spot this week. I swear this place is cursed…”

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Categories: adventures, coal region, florida, I-Ride Trolley, Orlando, Pennsylvania, transportation, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

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

Photo: My favorite part of going home…

Categories: adventures, art, cartoons\memes, coal region, entertainment, family, florida, flying, Harrisburg, Internet\FB, Orlando, Pennsylvania, Sanford, transportation | Leave a comment

One stop away…

The driver at I-Ride Trolleys ID-ed me getting on. I can handle that (sort of). It’s part of his job, but it always throws me off since 1) I can’t process questions promptly which makes me sound like a liar, and 2) I never actually remembered to get a Florida ID (though their address is saved on my computer) and I need a “valid diagnosis” before I can get a CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders) card, which is itself useless in this situation because it isn’t a “valid” form of ID.

No, what bothered me was when he angrily got out of his seat, shoved his finger in my face and started yelling at me, basically told me to get off his trolley because the woman across from me mistakenly pulled the cord for the last stop and then repulled it at the correct one and got off as normal… which makes ME a jerk for “wasting his time” for stopping for “no reason” (apparently, that’s my idea of “fun,” who knew).

Frankly, he will not tolerate that from me – even after telling him twice that it was not me but the woman across from me who had already gotten off, he still scolded me anyway because he is too smart to fall for an obvious lie like that.

Besides, I’m Autistic, if HE thinks I’m guilty, and I know otherwise then I must believe him because I lack the ability to tell truth from lies (which to his credit IS an Autism trait) …but HE CAN so I am required by some kind of unwritten law to defer to his assumed truth rather than what I know is true.

I am not to question it. If he says I did something then damnit, I did do it (regardless of whether or not I actually did it). However, I was not going to be BULLIED off a bus because of a complete non-issue just so he can smugly tell himself that he “taught [me] a lesson.”

Eventually, he realized that I was not going to be backing down and went back to his job.

The irony is, I was getting off at the next stop, so as soon as he was seated, I pulled the pull cord for my actual stop. Sometimes, I wonder why this keeps happening to me…

Categories: adventures, florida, I-Ride Trolley, Orlando, transportation | Leave a comment

Tense trolley transaction

I left the apartment around 4:35pm to get dinner on I-Drive. I figured with the Westward Blvd under construction, it would be relatively easy to cross. I was wrong, they moved the construction zone up a block so it was back to two in each direction.

Fortunately, crossing the normally busy westward lane was relatively easy as it wasn’t moving (the second lane, not turning onto I-4, was impossible to really gauge from the sidewalk) …but I was nearly hit by a speeding black sedan (who clearly had zero intention of slowing down) in the second lane when the first lane let me cross. I got across scared and out of breath, but otherwise unscathed.

I got off the I-Ride Trolley (Trolley 26, Red-North) sometime after watching the driver physically attacking a panhandling passenger (he was short 4 quarters) – by literally SMACKING HIS HAND AWAY AS HE TRIED TO PAY!! After shouting at him the entire time about “I need to move here! Either pay or GET OFF MY TROLLEY!”

“Is you alright? You seem a bit mad?”

The driver (yes, the same one from this post) then angrily unbuckled his seatbelt and tried to physically remove him which he was blocked from doing by said passenger and then got on the radio to report an “assault” but it was snatched away from him by the passenger at the last minute shouting “you got no fucking right to touch me!”

“Such vulgar language,” the old woman who gave him said change bristled. “That is not how one speaks in public.”

“Yeah,” a blonde-haired man in the back of the bus shouted standing up to defend the defenseless driver. “That is no way to treat a bus driver!”

“Is that a threat, boy? Well, you better check yo-self before I kick both y’awl’s pussy asses. I break them glasses clear off yo face! Here, take yo change back,” the old woman looks at him confusedly. “He don’t want it. Go ahead, take it.”

“I SAID ‘GET THE HELL OFF MY TROLLEY!’ Dispatch we got-“

“Don’t you dare try to ‘port me for yo shit! I can see you already lost some yo-teeth. I’ll fuckin’ knock the rest of them out for you! Fuck BOTH y’awl pussy asses! Hell, all y’awl are pussy asses! I check all y’awl’s asses! I check people like you 24/7! Fuck you. I outta here.”

“Dispatch, this is 26. I’d like to report an assault on a driver…”

“Did you want to wait for a sheriff?”

“Hell yeah, I’ll testify,” the blonde-man shouted.

“Yes,” the old lady agreed, “such rude behavior should not be tolerated in public.”

“No, he’s already, um, across I-Drive. You’ll never find him.”

“10-4”

We then continue the route unabated, though his mood was clearly soured… by a couple of confused tourists who were trying to get on the stop before meeting the passenger in this story. Anyway, I got to my destination further rattled… but still unscathed.

I feel kinda bad for the people I met the rest of the evening as I was probably a bit edgy when I was dealing with them. Fortunately, the ride back (Trolley 31, Red-South) was much more pleasant with a friendly driver – who had at least three passengers as if they were allowed to leave “tips.” (!)

I don’t have any clever final thoughts, but I got back safely so there’s that…

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Travel Day

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Photo: The hardest thing I did all summer

This shot actually was extremely difficult for me to take. As I never made it across the street to the Panera Bread visible behind the upper text. I tried going in… but couldn’t. I did manage to cross the side street the driver was coming out of (twice actually), there is a nondescript marker near where I was sitting on the median that afternoon which made it harder for me.

I was supposed to come out here with my attorney about three weeks ago to take “evidential photos.” I told him I couldn’t do it, and judging by my reaction today, I was 100% right.

On the plus side, PSL are back in season…

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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 | 2 Comments

Photos: Somewhere on 95

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