Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Tag: autism

Day 24: Q-Tips

I knew I had other stuff to write about, but yesterday I was too busy cussing at equipment, so it slipped my mind.

Speaking of equipment, the other day someone asked, “Why is it always freezing in here?” and the supervisor replied, “Well, this room is full of electronics…”  Which are worth more than we are. Gotcha. At least it beats the more common supervisory response, which is to deny that it is, in fact, freezing.

BEAUTY TIP OF THE DAY

I recently noticed while combing my hair out in the morning (I shower at night) that I haven’t been losing near as many hairs as I normally do. (No, I don’t count them, I’m just approximating.) “What positive change in my life occurred a few weeks ago?” I asked myself. “Why, I made the decision to retire!” Yes, THIS JOB WAS MAKING ME LOSE MY HAIR. Not a lot, obviously, but this is my beauty tip: For thicker hair, don’t work at 911.

Seriously, it’s freezing in here. I have long sleeves, a fleece vest, and Security Blanket over the top of it. (There was a brief intermission during which I attempted to ascertain the exact shape of Security Blanket,  for the most effective draping. It appears to be a perfect square.) I am typing only intermittently so I can stick my hands in my pockets. I usually leave the room at the end of the shift with Security Blanket over my shoulders like a cape. Unsure what super-powers it would confer.

SPEAKING OF SUPER-POWERS

I was in the weird position the other day of dispatching a run on an autistic 14-year-old who’d run away from home. Weird because, you know, I am one. One officer was telling another, “He left after an argument with his mother, and said he was going to the library and he’d be back at 5:30. He’s high-functioning, but he is autistic, so he can’t be left by himself.” Well, everyone’s case is different, but if they’d decided I could never be left by myself, I’d curl into a spiny ball and never uncurl again. It’s making me feel a bit edgy just thinking about it.

ANOTHER ADVANTAGE OF RETIRING

Maybe I’ll be able to stop dreaming about crime. The other night I dreamed I was being killed by poison gas. Rom and I were at McDonald’s, and a robotic female voice said, “Q.Q.! Q.Q.! Exit the building by the available doors!” We went outside, and that’s where the poison gas was. I was so scared I woke up. The next night I dreamed someone shot a guy who was dressed as Colonel Sanders, and was about to shoot me too. And those are just the interesting ones. I can’t count the number of times I dreamed someone was trespassing on my lawn. And I wonder how long it will take after retirement for me to stop dreaming that I’m late to work. Maybe never.

911 ETIQUETTE–ENGRAVED INVITATIONS

Officer’s notes on a run: “Brian invited Jacob over to fight. Jacob took Brian up on his  offer. Brian called 911.”

Ambulance call: “Says she fell a few months ago, hit her head and spilled her brains.” That must have been why it took her a few months to call.

Deputy on the air: “Show me out with a toilet in the road.”

Narcotics complaint: “I want to be anonymous, because I know these people and they’ll revenge on you.”

I was telling Rom stories like these, and he said, “What’ll you do for fun after you retire? I know–you can go on ridealongs with Nick!” Right, Nick? “Of course,” he says, smiling thinly.

 

I have Security Blanket on inside-out. This troubles me, but I only have 1 more hour to be troubled in, so I’m not going to expose myself to the soul-sucking cold long enough to turn it around.

FASHION TIPS

Facebook article–“20 Fashions That Make You Look Older.” It’s illustrated with a photo of an old woman with a man’s tie tied around her head. That doesn’ t make you look older. It just makes you look wacky. I’m not going to click on that article.

OK, I had to click on that article. I’m doing at least half of those 20 things. People often say I don’ t look my age, but maybe they’re just being nice.

–“The only acceptable tights are black.” No, the only acceptable tights are ones that aren’t pretending to be pants.

–“Too much gaudy jewelry.” You can kiss my ancient ass.

–“Carrying a big ‘old lady’ handbag.” I carry a tote bag with tie-dye stripes on it. Could this be what they’re referring to? You can tell I’m hip! It’s tie-dye!

–“Wearing unflattering colors.” Well, this could apply to anyone. It’s not like, “Oh no, I’m 40–unflattering colors don’t flatter me any longer.”

–“Wearing chunky shoes.” Well, I actually have an old-lady reason for that–problem feet–but I had those when I was young, too. And I don’t even like the term “kitten heels.” It means you’re trying to be cutesy.

“You’re not wearing shapewear.” I’m not wearing something that squeezes me constantly, no. Since no one has dared tell me, “You’re obviously not being squeezed–you should do something about that,” well, see the ass-kissing part previously.

TIP FOR THE DAY

If you hear a robotic voice saying, “Q.Q.! Q.Q.!,” it can never be good.

 

 

True Confessions

{Note: There was originally a line here that I edited out, and I can’t figure out how to make the white space go away, so I substituted this line in its place. Carry on.} {Yeah, I know this is more than one line, but I care insufficiently to do anything about it. Proceed.}

“YOU’RE NOT AUTISTIC, YOU’RE JUST ECCENTRIC!”

On the Anonymously Autistic blog, where I’ve been loitering lately, I found the official diagnostic definition here. (<== Look! Did you see that? I made a link! My first ever! This Blog School is turning out to be worthwhile after all! Maybe I better restrain my enthusiasm until I publish this and see if it actually works.) Leaving aside the obsessive way in which I carefully checked off each of the listed attributes and rated them for level of severity, I think I can put your doubts to rest with two simple observations:

  1. I rock back and forth when I listen to music. They call this “self-soothing” behavior, which I originally took issue with, thinking, “How would I feel if I didn’t do it? Oh–nervous and twitchy. OK.”
  2. As I walk along {“I wonder what went wrong, with our love, the love that was so strong…” Sorry. Too much listening to music.}, I often recite sequential lists of dates. I will not bore you with how these dates are selected.
  3. OK, make that 3 observations: I have difficulty recognizing people’s faces if I encounter them outside of their accustomed settings–colleagues outside of work, parishioners outside of church, Nick pretty much everywhere, etc. (I worked with that poor thing IN THE SAME ROOM, ON THE SAME SHIFT, FOR A YEAR–or so he claims–and don’t remember it.) My husband is the only exception. So if you run into me at Walgreen’s, or follow me down the street in your vehicle hoping to give me a ride, expect a blank stare initially. The only way to avoid that is to live with me for years. No, I’m not inviting you to move in.

Where the “high-functioning” thing (or maybe just “maturity”) comes in is, I’ve learned to not display my weirder traits in public, and I’ve also mastered Life Skills 101 (although I’m not sure about Life Skills 201). For example, not knowing how to dress properly got me in trouble at 3 different jobs. Since there were no dress codes to tell me exactly how to proceed, I just wore what I did when I wasn’t working. Back then, that involved lots of see-through shirts, halter tops, and black goth-y stuff that hadn’t yet become fashionable. So one supervisor told me, “Just because there’s no dress code doesn’t mean you can wear whatever you want.” See, I’d thought that was exactly what it meant. The “obvious” alternative–looking around to see what other employees were wearing–simply never occurred to me. How did I eventually discover that tactic? I read it in an article. Combine that sort of thing with my belief that making sustained eye contact with anyone will turn me to stone, and you can see why employers used to edge me out as soon as they could figure a way that wouldn’t involve paying me unemployment benefits.

Along with Life Skills, a structured and/or familiar environment helps a great deal, so I know just what to expect. I also have various Rules, so I don’t take forever to make decisions like, Where should I sit on this bus? What color underwear should I put on today? (Although I actually make those particular decisions in the reverse order from the way I just listed them.) (You know, it JUST OCCURRED TO ME that I could solve that one problem by just buying all-white underwear. You learn something new every day!)

Also, here (again from Anonymously Autistic) is an example of how one can “build” small talk “from the ground up,” so to speak.

Well, that was somewhat embarrassing, but I’ll live. Enough about me and why I’m weird. I’ve already dawdled over this post for too long, afflicted with “but what if they don’t want to read about my problems?” Well, if you don’t want to read about my problems, YOU’RE IN THE WRONG PLACE.

WHAT OTHER PROBLEMS DO I HAVE?

I have scratchy glitter on me from carrying Christmas packages. This is not optimum.

BUT LEST YOU THINK ALL I DO IS COMPLAIN…

I’m happy because I discovered rose-scented Vaseline for my lips.

AND, IN THIS SAD AND DESPERATE WORLD, I NOW HAVE A HERO!

“Real-Life Grinch Caught On Video Stabbing Inflatable Snowman.” Yes, Yes, YES!!!

 

 

Stuff & Nonsense

CRISIS IN PROGRESS: CITY DISPATCH TRIFECTA!

My shift is from 3 to 11pm. The other night, I had relatively little to do, from the time my shift started, UNTIL…At 10:21, I got, simultaneously, an armed robbery (with gun), and a burglary in progress–with knife. On the same side of town. Now, although these calls came in simultaneously, I couldn’t dispatch them simultaneously, even if I were better at multitasking than I in fact am. Because there’s only 1 of me. Nevertheless, I got it all sorted out, and then said, “What’re the chances that that would happen at the exact same time?” No sooner had I said it, than–on that same side of town, a plague upon the East Side–I got “There’s a guy outside with a gun! And he’s arguing with my mom, and she’s got a gun, and I’ve got a gun, and I’ll shoot if I have to!” And, as I was scraping up more officers to send to that one, a woman calls in about the same situation, and says that she has a gun, and will shoot if she has to. Apparently that’s what you have to say if you’ve got a gun. So I’m thinking, Could someone call in who doesn’t have a gun, for a change? This is not building my confidence in the efficacy of a fully-armed citizenry.

THE BEST THIEF EVER

At Walmart, obviously.

I have little patience with Walmart. They call in several shoplifters per shift, and expect us to babysit them on the phone while they trail them all over the store. Telling them you have other emergency lines ringing (possibly with more import than a theft from Walmart)  will not pry them from the phone. But I had to admire the shoplifter who:

  1. Stole a knife and then used it to cut open the packaging of electronic devices, then
  2. Stole and put on over his shirt–
  3. a blue t-shirt,
  4. then a white polo shirt over that, and then
  5. a blue-and-white-striped shirt over those, and then stole
  6. a pair of sunglasses, and
  7. a blue-and-white-striped hat. It all coordinates! I could not be more pleased if I’d put the outfit together myself. Of course, it was all for naught, since the cops made him take it all off when they got there.

Hey, I figured out how to make the automatic numbering feature quit! Just space down twice. I could probably have figured that out with that one old post where it got out of control, but I was drunk at the time. (Appearances to the contrary, I really don’t drink very often. I just write a lot when I do.)

MY OWN LIFE AS A SHOPPER

Not nearly as exciting as his, of course, since I pay for stuff, but I went to the $ General (I have no patience with them, either, but they’re more exciting, because they have fewer corporate policies in place and tend to attack shoplifters) (now I’ll probably be sued by their high-priced lawyers) (or, more probably, low-priced lawyers) to get trash bags. They had a fund-raising deal at the cash register where you get to put your name on a piece of paper they tape up if you contribute money to support autism. I was all for doing that, but the cashier did not offer me the opportunity, and I could not bring myself to ask her. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow, now that I’ve prepared myself for the eventuality.

THEATER OF CRUELTY UPDATE

Yesterday was the birthday of a certain Nick, with whom you may be familiar. What to get him?

“Happy birthday, Nick!”

He’s lying on my torn-up towel that he stole.

“I have a present for you.”

He raises his head with a weary hopelessness that’s heartbreaking.

“I’m giving you back the power of speech!”

He leaps to his feet, tail lashing joyfully. And the first words out of his mouth are–

“Could I be venomous, too?”

“Um, no.”

 

 

 

 

I’m Jumpin’ Jeanne Flash

…AND IT’S ALL RIGHT NOW…

–Went to vote, knocked my head on the top of the booth, which made the side panel fall over, which knocked the stylus out of my hand. Went on to select leaders for my community, most of whom didn’t win.

–Went to McDonald’s, prudently pushed my hair out of the way of my hot fudge sundae, failed to notice that fudge had dripped down the side of the container and gotten on my fingers, ended up with a surprising amount of hot fudge in my eyebrow, which I did not discover until several people had had a chance to see it. Luckily, my brows are black, so maybe they didn’t see it.

STUFF OVERHEARD AT MCDONALD’S

–A small child being told that “I go potty!” is a  more acceptable thing to say than “I go poopie!,” but that neither of those is really suitable to yell at the top of one’s lungs in a public place.

–A tableful of retired guys opining on the subject of police take-home cars. They were agin it. “I can see it for a K-9 officer, because he might be called out with the dog. But otherwise, no.” “A police car shouldn’t just be sitting there all night doing nothing.” “With all the cars the department has, they wouldn’t have to be driven around the clock anyway. Saves wear and tear on the cars.” Considering the number of times officers have told me, “I was late getting out on the street because I had to wait for a car,” I suspect the retired gentlemen don’t know how many cars the department actually has. Of course, officers could be making excuses to me, I suppose.

So neither the young nor the old were really pleasing me yesterday. Of course, I’d hit my head on a voting booth. so there you go.

NOBODY KNOWS THE TROUBLE I’VE SEEN

I was momentarily troubled the other day because my broccoli/cheese casserole was on the opposite side of my tray from where Wesselman’s had placed it the last time I’d ordered that item. However, I was able to get on with my life. It wasn’t like the previous day, when a crisis was narrowly averted–I discovered before I left the house that the pants I’d selected were actually black, instead of the navy blue I’d intended. Putting on unplanned pants would have bothered me all day. Asking the fashion question–Is navy blue the same as black? 

A PUBLIC DISSERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

A billboard down the street from my house features the sad eyes of a child, but the accompanying writing is tiny and purple on a black background, so you can’t read it unless you’re standing right by it (as opposed to, say, driving by). It says, “Avoiding Eye Contact Is A Possible Sign Of Autism.” Way to keep it a secret!

 

 

 

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