Tuesday, May 30, 2006

People who scare me

(That is to say, almost everyone).

My manager scares me. I never know what in the heck she's thinking, and I've spent enough time watching her closely (as well as listening) to observe that she is not straightforward about what she is thinking. Most of the time she will not divulge what she truly thinks or feels about someone to their face. This frightens me to no end. I could screw up badly enough that she would be chomping at the bit to get rid of me, and yet she'd smile and speak politely to me? I have seen it happen...to others.... Help!!!!! Please, just *tell* me if I screw up, right when I do it! Then I can fix it, right then, before you all get mad.

Another manager scares me, because I kow that he's a very religious person. HIs life is centered around his faith. I actually admire that, but I'm agnostic. I have this uneasy sensation that if he discovered that, he would find things to dislike about me. :squirm:

Little kids used to scare me, because they're not mine and that made me uncomfortable. I don't know how to relate to other people's kids, just my own. I am, however, gradually becoming acclimated to the offspring of other people and they no longer intimidate me.

Druggies, particularly meth heads, are the human equivialent of a horror movie monster in my mind. These people are very, very unpredictable and about as illogical and disconnected as you can get. Potheads, on the other hand, are just amusing and fairly harmless.

Drunks. They aren't thinking clearly, therefore they might be dangerous.

Extremely well dressed churchy-looking ladies who are very very prim and proper with every hair in place leave me hopping anxiously. Anyone that anal is apt to be hard to please. Jehovah Witnesses are the benign exception. They're always generous with smiles and friendly waves, and they seem less...stiff and starched.

Big dirty looking guys with an unfocused gaze and hair flying every which way: are they dangerous? Perhaps. Definitely scary unless I know them.

Teenage boys full of hormones; I used to be almost phobic of them and young men in general. Now I'm old enough that they don't seem as threatening.

Gals who blab their mouths all the time with lots of silly crap, especially the ones who revel in picking apart the cosmetic flaws of movie stars. Geez Louise, if a movie star can't please them, what do they have to say about me behind my back?

Cheap women: firstly, they make my skin crawl. Secondly, this is a woman who will steal your man in a heartbeat without remorse, given half a chance. You cannot trust her...at all.

People who gossip continuously about anyone and everyone, loudly for all to hear. God help you if someone you know tells them something about you! On the other hand, they're extremely useful if you want to spread news quickly with minimal effort. Just be very, VERY careful what you say and that you word it in such a way as to be quite clear as to your menaing.

Most people who touch me without permission. My reaction is to jump or recoil as if burned. Eeek! You *touched* me!! There are a few people that I don't mind touching or inadvertently bumping me. If you touch me and I don't cringe, it's a compliment.

Groups of people: teenagers, crowds, cliques, etc. It isn't nice to feel reminded of one's outsider status. Besdies, they outnumber me.

But I think what scares me the most are people who act friendly to my face, and then as I walk away, I glance back and catch them looking at me in a not very friendly way. What do they really think? What will they do? The nasty thing about this is that you cannot confront them about it or get it out in the open since they're always nice to your face.

One thing I did realize is that I tend to really like people who are direct and outspoken about what they think, even if it isn't what I want to hear. If I need to hear it, tell me. I'll get over the dismay or disappointment soon enough, and then the problem can be dealt with, or we can agree to disagree.


I like it when people make me feel safe or if they have a reassuring presence. That's very nice when the world is a virtual minefield of potentially frightening sorts.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I, the health minded, formerly vegetarian food snob, the one who buys organic milk and eggs, who munches tofu (organic and locally produced of course) cold and all by itself, the one who disdains to buy or eat the majority of "food" in the store, am sitting here relishing a thick, juicy steak. I can't even defend it on the grounds of it being free range or organic, because it isn't. It's local meat (relatively- I think it's from Washington state) but it could easily be local feedlots for all I know. Frankly, right now I don't care. The words *Premium*Angus*Beef* are singing happily through my iron starved, protein craving brain.

This is the third day that I've been bloodthirsty for red meat. I could blame it on the guy (I'm assuming he was affiliated with beef producers) who cooked a whole prime rib in the deli and then sampled it out for the store's grand opening. At first, when I saw the hunk of meat laying on the cart and entering the oven, my reaction was "piece of beef", and I started visualizing where on the animal that big cut of meat came from. Some time later, when it was about half done, I was surprised to notice a flickering interest asserting itself. "I might try that? Hmmm. OK. I might try that..." By the time they determined that the still-very-bright-pink/red meat was hot enough not to be dangerous any more, I was practically drooling and having to restrain myself from hovering over it longingly. For hours I watched him cut it up into tasty inch sized cubes and pierce them with toothpicks and set them on a plate. Every time I had a chance to get a piece, there were people in the way. Finally, towards the end of the day, when the man seemed truly weary of pitching his product, I was able to snag one. Oh my, was that good! Yes! That hit the spot!

Ever since, I've been hungry for meat, and chicken just won't cut it. STEAK. PINK STEAK. (insert orgasmic sighs of pleasure and contentment.) I think my body is hungry for protein because I'm nursing. Heck, even the fat tastes good. And now I'm thinking that if I get a place of my own, I want to raise a beef calf, so I can have lots of this stuff, and know it was raised well and humanely. A Scottish Highland calf would be good, if I can find it. MMMMMMmmmmm.....

Monday, May 15, 2006

White People with Dreadlocks
Getting right to the point here, I don't think white people should put their hair in dreads. First of all, it looks nasty. They look great on black people , but I think that the *only* instance where I've ever seen them look attractive on a white has been in the movie "The Fifth Element". That cute redhead looked OK with them, and they weren't the fat ropey kind tied into a ponytail sticking straight out behind, like I've seen on other white people.

Secondly, it smacks of....more than imitation. It almost borders on parody to see white folks with dreads, wearing gangsta type clothes, listening to rap music. It looks just ridiculous, and this is coming from someone who grew up in inner city Chicago. It's particularly out of place in Rednecksville, Idaho, where if a black person comes into view, people gawk and stare and point and whisper: "Did you see??"

I'm not racist, either. This isn't about racism.

It's just that something in me sneers at this sort of thing, sort of like when people make "chinese stir fry" and add potatoes to it, or worse, ketchup. I mean, if they want to lightly saute vegetables and eat them with rice, fine. But don't call that shit Chinese. You put ketchup in it, it's ruined. And while we're at it, taco pizza??

I guess I just can't see emulating another culture in such a way as to make it look stupid or to seem disrespectful. Another example would be Christianized versions of Jewish feasts and holy days. Their spin on it is enough to make one want to scream and rend your clothing! Arrrgh!

I do realize that America's the melting pot and all that. I've probably eaten curry, borscht, challah, and chicken adobo all in the same week and not thought twice about it. It's just this indiscriminate, inaccurate, shamelessly random and halfhearted sampling (and then proudly showing it off as being from that culture) that irks me.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Waxing nostalgic and homesick....

I could buy and stock bird feeders until the stores ran out of stock...and never see a cardinal...although I might see cedar waxwings, which are almost as nice.

I could drive all day, and I won't see any cornfields..or soybeans, either.

I could search the forests and yards and edges of parking lots in vain- no mulberries.

I've yet to see a Farm and Fleet store here.

I could lay awake all night long outside, all summer long, and not see even a single firefly, ever. Once I thought I did see one, a few years ago, and I got really excited...but it turned out I was mistaken.

And even though milkweed doesn't grow here, I could plant it. It wouldn't matter, though...the monarch butterflies with their cool striped caterpillars wouldn't visit the plants.

Yeah, I'm homesick

After all these years. After busting my butt to get here and to stay here, I miss the midwest. I'm trying to tell myself that if I were there, I'd be missing all the great things that we have here that simply don't exist there. I guess that as we get older, we sort of miss what we grew up with.... :-/

Friday, May 05, 2006

An excerpt from today:

7 year old daughter looking through cake decorating book with brother: Daniel, do you like this cake?

son: No.

daughter: It looks like a circus! Don't you like it?

son: No.

daughter: Why not? Don't you like circuses?

son: No.

daughter: Why not, Daniel?

son (somewhat frustrated): It has clowns on it!!

daughter: Don't you like clowns?

son: No.

daughter: Why not? Why don't you like clowns? Don't you want a cake with clowns on it?

son: No.

daughter: Why not?

Son: I don't like clowns.

daughter: You don't like clowns? Why not? Clowns are nice!

Son (yelling): They're not nice, they're FUNNY!!!

LOL...I agree with him...I don't like clowns, either. And it is their eerie gaiety that disturbs me the most. The sad clowns don't bother me at all.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Let me make something clear from the start here: I have an offical diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that used to be thought of as rare but is increasingly more common than 'they' thought. It does affect my life in both positive and negative ways, and has had a profound impact on the path I've taken- largely due to decisions or actions that seemed rather small at the time, such as not making a phone call because I had a phone aversion/phobia. I'm not sure what it feels like for other people to be normal, but looking on it from the outside, you normal folks seem pretty boring to me, as a whole. So given a choice, I don't think I'd choose to be normal even if it were an option. I don't want a bland, white bread, 2 dimensional life, even if it is easier. Thank for the thought, though...really.

In that context, then, here is what I've been thinking about today: whether I could be called "disabled" or not. I function...with effort. I'm independent, even if it did take a damned long time for me to get that way (for example, I didn't get a driver's license until I was 30). Relationships.....uh, sore subject...but I don't think that's necessarily part of a criteria for being disabled, at least not if we're talking personal relationships. The main thing seems to be----> work.

I had a job about a year ago, working with an agency that provided services to developmentally disabled people. My clients varied from degrees of mental retardation (barely detectable to profound)to autistic (again, degrees) to cerebral palsy to spina bifida to I don't know what else....no mental illness, though...that wasn't our area of expertise. When I applied for the job, I has heard of Asperger's, and a fellow aspie friend had suggested I might want to check into seeing if I had it, too...but I hadn't as yet followed up on it or even given it much thought. I honestly felt that the failure of my life was due to laziness, or other people's actions (which to be fair, was certainly a large factor, too) or just bad luck. I wondered how other people could sustain the effort required just to keep themselves up (clean clothes, make-up, daily shower, clean car, organized life, all that jazz) and do it so easily, when it was such a gargantuan task for me. Again, I figured that I must just be lazy...despite the fact that I did more physical labor in a day than most of them did in a week. I'm getting sidetracked here...... So, anyway, I apply for this job, and I get it. The aplication asks if I'm disabled, and I check "No", because as far as I knew, I was just "not quite with it" and possibly lazy, but otherwise just motivationally challenged. The advertisement for the position mentioned the fact that disabled employees would receive a higher rate of pay, and there was also a poster in the building posting this fact, for all to see. I don't remember how much higher, but the difference was reasonably significant.

Well, after some exposure to autistic people (who I hadn't ever interacted with much before unless you count undiagnosed family memmbers) a nagging sensation got ahold of me, and it became clearer with every interaction: these people made *sense*!!! No offense, but most of you folks don't, to me. Your way of thought doesn't make sense to my mind. I realized that I had a connection, and that there were also behavioral similarities between my client and I. I didn't realize how I looked until I saw her as a reflection...exaggerated, maybe, but a reflection of many of my own traits nevertheless. I began to feel hanuted, and afraid that I would lose my job if my employers found out. I found myself defending my client from the other workers and getting my personal feelings involved...why couldn't they leave her alone except for the things that really mattered? Why should it matter if she doesn't make sense to them? They were constantly telling her to shut up, and that what she said was nonsense...and it wasn't, not to me. Some of it was profound.

Finally I went to a psychologist (actually, he may have been a psychiatrist...not clear on that) and he did in fact diagnose me with Asperger's. I informed my workplaces. They started putting me only with clients who were retarded and pahsing out interactions with other autistics- the only people I could really relate to or, to my way of thinking, really help. I dodn't ask them if they would change my wages to those of a disabled person, because it seemed awkward. That wasn't the reason I got diagnosed; I did it for my own peace of mind and to try to find out what the heck was the matter with me. I didn't want to seem greedy. At any rate, they didn't change my pay. Other disabled workers continued to get what they got, and I got the normal wages.

So my question is, was that fair or right? Should I have gotten the higher wages? Am I disabled in that sense?

I do know that my work was hampered by my AS. They frequently made me do socially awkward things, like spending an entire hour or more alone in a guy's house with him, or meeting clients for the first time by simply driving up to their house and knocking on their door (the thought gives me the shudders!!!) or watching a kid who was particpating in a relay race that involved mass balloon popping and another woman shreiking excitedly at the top of her lungs (instant anxiety attack material). I wound up quitting, because they refused to accomodate me and the stress of feeling more like a client than a worker was becoming intolerable. They seemed pleased.

At my current job, I seem to do OK. I have a good work ethic and now that it's familiar, I love being at work. I feel safe there. The thing is, I very nearly didn't make it there, either. I don't know how many times I almost walked out of that place! It tooks me months and months to learn what most new girls soak up in a matter of weeks. For the first few days, I actually ran away from the customers! ;-) Even now....if my co-workers and employers were decidely intolerant of my idiosyncrisies, they could probably make life bad enough for me that I'd quit.

The irritating thing is that given my I.Q. and actual ability, I'm performing way below what I'd *like* to. I mean, it's basically higher end fast food. Occasionally it is frustrating to feel so subservient in that setting when, had I had an education past 8th grade, my social status could well have been more or less equal to anyone there. I don't particularly care about social status though, which is probably a large part of why I have none. On the other hand, I feel like a peon, a nothing, and I don't like that, either. I was supposed to be an artist, or a doctor, or..something wonderful. And, look at me. Not only am I just a lowly deli worker, I'm a deli worker who has to struggle to perform well at her job almost every day. It's......I don't know....how else can I say it?