Monday, December 31, 2007

We talk about logaesthesia

I came home from program today and ate my burrito, after which John knocked at my door. I opened the door.

"May I come in?"

"Sure", I told him.

John walked in, and I asked him whether he had read my blog entry on logaesthesia. He said he hadn't.

Then John asked how I felt that he hadn't read my entry.

"I guess I'm just disappointed", I said. "I wanted to have a conversation with you about it."

John suggested that I turn my computer on and he read it right then and there.

So I turned it on. While John excused himself to go to the restroom, I visited my webpage and scrolled eown to the Logaesthesia entry.

John came in and read the whole thing, scrolling down screen by screen.

I told him I wanted him to learn more about how I taste words. Then I asked him if he had any questions.

"Yes," he said. "You said you couldn't bear to live without it?"

"Well, that's true. The WH-word has become so inseparable from the whipped-cream taste that I can't imagine hearing the word and not tasting whipped cream and having to purge. If I imagined hearing the WH-word and not purging . . . it would make me want to throw up. I just can't believe how normal people can watch TV and listen to conversation and look at things and not get bothered by anything."

"Now, are there any words that don't have a taste?", John asked.

"The word 'don't' doesn't have a taste", I said. "It's too basic. And 'basic' doesn't have a taste to it. Words like 'the' and 'of' and 'and' don't have a taste. Most words of Latin origin don't have tastes to them either."

"Including Spanish?", said John.

"Well, when I hear words of Spanish origin, or I'm reading something in Spanish, it tastes like enchilada or chili burrito. And 'taco' tastes like tacos and 'burrito' tastes like burritos."

"Well, I believe that 'normal people', as you called them . . . if you said 'taco' or 'burrito' . . . would be able to recall how a taco or a burrito tastes."

John asked me whether it was the taste I didn't like, or the word.

I told him that I had to get the taste out because I didn't like the word, although sometimes the taste was quite aweul, as with the phlegm taste for "cutxe", that the taste caused a word to become a trigger word. We talked about swallowing phlegm.

I mentioned the I-word, and how the word's taste of ice xxxxx was so inseparable from the sound of the word, and how it would be very hard to get rid of that word.

Then we talked about words that used to make me purge that were no longer on my list. "Chief", with its bagel-with-jam taste, and "George", which tastes like baked beans, used to make me purge, but do no longer. I explained that one day I just told myself that maybe "chief" wasn't that bad. I told myself that I was strong and I could drop "chief". Then I stopped purging it off.

John asked whether I could do this for other words. I said that some of these, such as "scxxt", I'm nowhere near ready to give up purging. When the
taste is too strong, or when I think of the origin (how the word became a trigger word), I cannot give it up.

I told him the story of how the SC-word became a trigger word. When I was 9 years old, there was this girl in my elementary school named Rebecca warren. She was really bitchy, and especially hated boys. I was her favorite target. She would always have a bee up her bonnet when she was around me. And often, when I was standing in the wrong place, and she needed to get somewhere in the classroom, she'd say, "Scxxt!" Eventually, I started "purging" whenever I heard that word. The word's cooked carrot taste became evident.

John said that I would probably never be able to dissociate the word from my past, because people's memory was long. But he suggested that maybe, could
I turn a negative association into a positive association? Not bloody likely.

"It's been nice seeing you, John."

"It's been nice seeing you, James."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The problem with my headphones

At first I thought I could fix the problem by listening to Nevermind rather than MTV Unplugged in the van. But that hasn't done it.

On my Nevermind CD there are gaps of about five seconds in between each of the songs. After "Smells Like Teen Spirit", for instance, I hear five seconds of silence before "In Bloom" starts. Those seconds are complete silence, so I can hear the conversation around me perfectly well; I hear the words just as if I didn't have my headphones on.

On Friday, Rosa and La Netta were getting into a conversation about Christmas as I boarded the van and put my headphones on. Then, just after the fourth song on the tape, "Breed", ended, I heard a silence. I heard La Netta say, "Then I got pajxmxs".

I grunted.

"Oh, I'm so sorry!", said La Netta.

"The tape was just on a break between songs when you said that," I told her.

Because of this break, I had to purge her "pajxmxs" off in the backseat of the van. I had my pants unbuttoned, but it was so hard to get it to feel just right. "Pajaamdras, pajaamdras", I kept chanting. Why couldn't I make a swoop that collected it all up? That potatoey taste was there, but it didn't seem to be going "deep" enough.

I finally did a "pajaamdras, pajahmdras" that felt as if it had summarized it, then did a "pajaamdras" over my stomach and chest and neck, and then a "pajahmdras" down there and a "pajaamdras" over my stomach and chest and neck.

Note: When I write "pajaamdras", the aa refers to the A sound as in "hammer", the way La Netta says it. When I write "pajahmdras", the ah refers to the A sound as in "water", my native pronunciation.

We can't just let the headphones go on with the breaks in between. I had a real incident in which I heard a word during one of these breaks. It doesn't cover all of these risks. Somehow we're going to have to find out a solution for this. Maybe a CD that has solid cracking in it with no breaks?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Now that's what I call jazz

We were listening to the radio station today. La Netta had turned to KKSF, 103.7, the jazz station, which I enjoy listening to because the songs don't have words.

On that station came a piece I soon recognizef. The song was called "In the Groove", and the artist was Rodney Franklin (or so the radio's DJ's tell me). The first few lines played.

"This song reminds me of OCD", I told La Netta.

"Whiat did you say?", La Netta asked. She turned the radio off so she could hear.

"I said this song reminds me of OCD."

"Why does it remind you of that?"

"It's just the way the notes fit together."

"Well, than that's not a good thing." She kept the song off.

"I like this song," I told La Netta.

So La Netta turned it back on.

The bars played.

Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, in the groove
Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, in the groo-oove
Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, in the groove
Er, er, er

The repetitive notes of "In the Groove" have a feeling of perseveration. Put quickly together, they resemble the thrusts of an act of purging. The sounds lock into one another to imply repetitively forcing yourself to do something, as if you are paralyzed into dance. The perfect song for obsessive-compulsive disorder!

Check it out here:

http://www.amazon.com/Smoothest-Place-Planet-Various-Artists/dp/B00001OH1N

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas carols for the psychologically disturbed

Here's a bit of humor for the holidays. A series of Christmas carol titles playing off of various mental disorders has been circulating over the Internet this time of year for years. First, the original list you've probably already seen:


Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

Dementia --- I Think I'll Be Home for Christmas

Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and trees and Fire Hydrants and......

Paranoia --- Santa Claus Is Coming.... to Get Me

Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

Full Personality Disorder--- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ---Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells....

Agoraphobia --- I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day But Wouldn't Leave My House


Now, I've come up with several more. Here they are, presented to you for the first time. Enjoy!


Depression --- Oh What a Christmas to Have the Blues

ADD --- Joy to the . . . Hey, Let's Go Play Some GTA 3000

Antisocial Personality Disorder --- You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Sociopathy --- It's the Most Wonderful Crime of the Year

Autism --- Rocking Back and Forth Around the Christmas Tree

Dyslexia --- Here Comes Satan Claus

Tourette's Syndrome --- I Saw Three SHIT!

Asperger's --- On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, which is the twelfth day counting from December 25 as in ancient traditions, Christians celebrated Epiphany, which had its origins in the Eastern Christian churches, and was developed to celebrate the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and was the date of the miracle at the wedding at Cana in Galilee . . . the Wedding of Cana, which is reported in the Gospel of John but not in any of the Synoptic Gospels, entails Jesus and the Apostles attending a wedding for the rite of purification, whereat they depleted their supply of wedding wine, and Jesus did not give up but ordered the servants to fill the barrels, which had now been emptied of wine, with water, and John tasted the water, knowing instantly that it had been converted via miracle by Jesus, which divagates from the Judaean tradition of serving the best wine first because this transformed best wine was served after the original wine had been depleted, thus revealing the glory of Jesus Christ to Christians everywhere and forming his first documented miracle . . . this happened after Jesus told Nathaniel that "You shall see greater things than that", and consequently Christians see this as an example of a prophecy and state that these events are echoic of the parable in Luke 5:37-39 of new wine into old wineskins, whereas skeptics believe that John fabricated the events in an attempt to win believers in Jesus . . .

Pica --- Let's Eat Snow, Let's Eat Snow, Let's Eat Snow

Phobia --- The Weather Outside Is Frightful. Very Frightful.

Seasonal Affective Disorder --- The Weather Outside Is Depressing

Schizoid Personality Disorder --- Frosty as a Snowman

Schizotypal Personality Disorder --- Up on the Housetop Landed Some Grey Aliens Who Abducted Me . . .

Oppositional Defiant Disorder -- NO! NO! NO! I Wouldn't Go!

Histrionic Personality Disorder --- Have Yourself the Most Wonderful Terrific Excellent Super Awesome Radically Jolting Good Christmas in the World EVER!!!!!!!!!!

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder --- On the First Noel . . . NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!11!!!1!1

Pedophilia --- Stroke the Little Drummer Boy

Hebephrenia --- Jolly Young St. Nicholas

Trichotillomania -- Who Very Soon Will Come Here Now, Santa Very Soon Will Come Here Now, Eight Little Reindeer Pull Their Brows, Santa's Little Reindeer Pull Their Brows, Come Here Now, Pull Their Brows, Special Night, Beard That's Torn, Must Be Santa, Must Be Santa, Must Be Santa, Santa Claus

Hyperlexia --- Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noël, Fröhliche Weihnachten, Buon Natale, Kurisumasu Omedeto, Mo'adim Lesimkha, Eftihismena Christougenna, Sheng Tan Kuai Loh, Feliz Natal, Prettige Kerstdagen, God Jul, Glaedelig Jul, Gledelig Jul, Wesolych Swiat, Khristos Razdayetsya, Shub Christu Jayanti, Milad Majid, Selamat Hari Natal, Sung Tan Chuk Ha, Maligayamg Pasko, Nollaig Shona Dhuit, Ewadee Pe-e Mai, Heri ya Krismasi, Hauskaa Joulua, Mele Kalikimaka, Gajan Kristnaskon . . .

Bush Derangement Syndrome --- Born Is the King Supporting Israel Who Must Be Impeached NOW!

Synaesthesia (technically not a disorder, but . . .) --- Do You Hear What I See?

Logaesthesia -- I Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jingling, Ring Ting T-ngling Too

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lamesha!

On Saturday, December 15, someone told me I had a phone call. A woman said, "Hello?".

I wasn't sure whose voice it was over the telephone, but I thought Lamesha might me calling me this time of year so I said, "Lamesha?"

She didn't correct me, so that means I got it right! It WAS Lamesha! She was speaking to me for the first time since June. She told me that she had met Pia at the mall, and talked about seeing me. Lamesha said she thought about me all the time, and I told her that I thought about her all the time. She said she would come over on Saturday, December 22. We decided on 11:00 since I would be up to take my pill by then. She also gave me her phone number so now I would be able to speak with her any time I wanted. She talked about my hair and when I was going to get it cut. I said I had a picture of Kurt Cobain that I was going to use. She didn't know who Kurt Cobain was so I explained that he was the lead singer of Nirvana . . . then I had to explain that Nirvana was a grunge band . . . then she said she didn't know what grunge was so I told her I'd explain to her when she came over.

Yesterday 11:00 came and Lamesha was still not there. Then Tiffany got a phone call saying Lamesha couldn't come today, but she would be here tomorrow by sure.

At 11:00 today Tiffany came in to give me my pill. I swallowed the pill, then thanked Tiffany for it. Tiffany left the room. Shortly afterwards, she knocked again.

"Come in!", I said.

"James, I have a special surprise for you", said Tiffany.

Oh boy, Lamesha. I better get my sunglasses on first.

"Let me get my sunglasses on first", I said. I hopped off the bed on which I was lying, combed my hair and put on my sunglasses. Then I opened my door.

"Lamesha!", I said.

"Let me have a hug", said Lamesha.

We hugged. Then she brought me in a present she showed me. It was a Daffy Duck hair drier. In Daffy's beak was a hole that functioned as the nozzle to blow your hair.

Many times Lamesha had done my hair, and we had to let it dry because I didn't want to bring a towel in to use on it (where would we fit the towel in the bathroom if the sink was in use?) Now I could just dry it.

Lamesha asked me if I wanted it, and I said yes. I told her that we had just reached the second anniversary of our friendship on December 9, and that we needed to hug for that. We hugged again.

I told Lamesha Aaron said hi. She asked about Aaron and Ken.

I played "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for her to show her what Nirvana was like. Lamesha said she knows that song because she would hear me playing the tape all the time when she was here. I explained to her that grunge started in Seattle in the early 1990's, and that grunge rockers wore plaid flannel shirts, ripped jeans and Converse.

Lamesha asked what I had done these past months and I told her I had started a blog. She didn't know what a blog was, so I explained that it was like a diary over the Internet. I showed her the entry "28 going on 29", and got down to the part about her. After she read it she had we had to hug again.

I told Lamesha how I had told Jolene Lamesha said hi, and Jolene said she didn't want to say hi to Lamesha because "she got me suspended". Lamesha just laughed. We reminisced over the time Adeline was driving us home and when we got to my house Jolene said, "I'm thirsty! I need water!" Lamesha got a paper cup and filled it with water for Jolene.

I told her about the shower I had taken on December 12, 2006, before I was going to see her that Saturday but Lamesha told me Stan said she couldn't. We finally hugged for it.

I told her about the shower Stan had made me take on December 22, 2006, after he said she couldn't see me. We hugged a fifth time.

Then I told her I had a Christmas gift for her. Since I hadn't heard about See's chocolates arriving yet, I asked Tiffany whether a box had arrived via mail for Lamesha. She brought out some glazed almonds and pistachios.

"Are those for me or for Lamesha?"

"I don't know . . . you should ask your mother!", said Tiffany.

I called home and my mother said that she had already sent in my liqueur cake and Lamesha's See's chocolates, and that the chocolates had Lamesha's name on them. So Tiffany looked for them. We didn't find them, so Lamesha called Stan. Stan said he hasn't seen them.

I called my mother again, to make sure she had sent them to the right address. She said she did. She explained that the postal system would just be slow during the holidays, and that the packages might arrive on Monday.

I heard Lamesha's cellphone ring. It was a ringtone from that new Alicia Keys song, the one that goes "NO ONE, NO ONE, NO WUH-uh-UHN . . ." She told me that was her favorite song right now. She had also been collecting a lot of Betty Boop paraphernalia.

Then she told me, 45 minutes after she arrived, that she would be going now. I told Lamesha about the shower I had taken just last Wednesday, and we hugged one last hug. Then Lamesha walked out the door and drove away.

I had three showers to cross off my list now.

Tone came in tonight to give me my pill. He asked if I had spoken to Lamesha lately and I said, "She came over today."

"WOW!"

He told me how lucky I was. He said he really, really missed Lamesha and that he thought about that woman all the time.

"Tell her I said hi", said Tone.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Logaesthesia: a strange and fascinating phenomenon

Imagine if you could taste onions, chocolate or manicotti just by reading an article or listening to a conversation. Such is the everyday reality for me. With my tasting of words and subsequent need to get them out of my system, life is a daily struggle against things I hear.

When I hear or read one of those terrible words like "scxxt" or "whxxps", I get the sensation that I have swallowed the word. It's as if it's inside of me, slumbering in my intestines and attracting intestinal slime. To hear or read a word is to take in. I can never read an article without feeling as if I'm taking a drink of that article's waters, feasting on a repast of bread, beef stew and almond roca from the article. The same with listening to conversation.

The words, further, have specific tastes when I eat them. When I hear the word "whxxps", for instance, I immediately taste whipped cream. The whipped cream is there right inside of me, its cold creaminess sitting in the front seat of my pants. Would you like you have whipped cream in your pants? That's what it feels like to me.

The taste stays in there until I purge. When I scrape my nails against my groin and move my hands upwards, the whipped cream or whatever taste there is comes out. I can feel the taste coming through my intestines, duodenum, stomach, esophagus and throat and out my mouth and my hands move over the places, as if I'm vomiting up the word. It gives much the same kind of sensation as the purging that bulimics do. While I make the thrusts over my intestines, I want to taste the word coming up. I know if I'm doing it right because I can really taste it and feel an oily moving up when I make the word move out of me.

This response to the taste of words echoes the sensations in people with synaesthesia, who might see letters and numerals as being of a certain color, or see sounds a certain color. For this reason I will call it logaesthesia, from the Greek roots logos, meaning word, and aesthesis, meaning sensation.

Each word has its own taste. The word "mxss" tastes like oatmeal. "Scxxt" tastes like cooked carrot, like the carrot in pot roast. "Jxggle" tastes like red hots -- the candies -- while "jingle" as well as "t-ngle" taste like those tiny spherical hard candies you put on cupcakes. "Axx oxxx the pxxxx" tastes like pasta-ey soup, a soup like Spaghetti-O's perhaps. "Slxp" tastes like Alfredo sauce, and "slxppy" like lasagna. "Sweetxe" tastes like water with granulated sugar in it. When I hear or read the word "pxke", it tastes like those burnt peanut candies with the spiky red shells. And "ice xxxxx", of course, tastes like ice xxxxx.

The most unpleasant taste of all is the word "cutxe", which tastes like phlegm. Every time I hear or read it I get the sensation of having just swallowed phlegm. I feel as if I have a cold in my nose with sneezing, and can actually feel the phlegm in my stomach and intestines even if I don't have any phlegm in my mouth, sinus and nose.

A word can have a taste I enjoy and still be a trigger word. The word "wxry", for instance, tastes of rotisserie chicken, which is a taste I love. But it still makes me uncomfortable to have that sensation inside of me.

The word "drxp", as in "Your ice xxxxx cone is going to drxp!", tastes like whatever food is doing the drxpping (in this case, ice xxxxx). When talking about rain or a faucet drxpping, it tastes like melting ice. A word's taste can also differ with pronunciation. In Moraga, everybody pronounced the word "pajxmxs" to rhyme with "dramas", with the middle A as in "water". I would always taste the tomato sauce that people put on pizzas. Then I moved out to San Pablo (with the program centered in Richmond) and people pronounced it with the middle A as in "hammer". I got a potatoey taste from hearing the word.

Hearing or reading trigger words in combination can result in an unexpected chemistry of tastes. For instance, the word "wxry" tastes like rotisserie chicken while "keep an exe on" or "keep an exe out for" has a gummy taste. However, when I copied The Casino Kid into my Notepad program, did Find & Replace on all the words (changing the A in "wxry" to an X), and searched for "wxry", I came across the sentence "But that Saturday (keeping a wxry exe-out for umbrellas, pxked blindly into the downpour) we were able to weave our way to the memorial reasonably quickly". Reading the phrase "wxry exe-out" gave me the taste of gravy.

And it's not only the words that make me purge that have a taste. Some of the innocuous words do too. For instance, "trump" tastes like sautéed mushrooms. "Child" tastes like chocolate brownie. "Kentucky" tastes like fried chicken. With my logaesthesia, I am a person to whom words do more than convey semantic meanings. To you, "tale" is just a word for a story, but to me it conjures up the taste of lasagna, the pasta in lasagna with a light sauce on it. Often I will have an associated taste for a word without even realizing I taste it. For instance, just the other day, I realized that "doodle" tastes like macaroni to me. Even names can have tastes to them: Greg tastes like chocolate Easter egg, while the name Kevin tastes of ice xxxxx cone and Tiffany of lemon meringue pie.

Sometimes I might taste a sound without tasting the whole word. I taste grapes when I hear the "p" sound and it's not part of a longer word that has its own taste, while words with the letter "f" taste like bread. "V" tastes like stringy meat, the beef in pot roast perhaps, while "w" tastes like water. "L" tastes like cheese.

Objects can have tastes too. I'll see something, and then my mouth will be filled with marshmallow, or lettuce, or Reuben sandwich. Black dipsers taste like chocolate, and flies taste like raisins. Seeing Dipser-man puts lemon juice in my mouth. Sunglasses taste of lemon drops. When I see the skin of African-American people, I taste chocolate. At my parents' house we had a wall that was light brown and covered with fibers, looking just like a Triscuit. It tasted of Triscuits.

To avoid coming in contact with these words, I tend to shy away from things like watching television or going to the movies. I avoid coming into chatrooms as much as I can, too. Logaesthesia affects my life when it prevents me from doing certain things such as these. I also used to suffer while surfing the Internet and had to copy-and-paste a lot of posts from the Net into Notepad and use Find & Replace on them. Now I have a Greasemonkey filter that replaces the offending words.

It also brings me fear of cramming into vans. When there are many people in a van, I'm worried that one of them is going to tell another to scxxt over. Even while we're in the middle of driving, a van may have many conversations at once, and sometimes the radio is playing too. That's a lot of words to keep track of. Sometimes I have to use 100% of my brain to keep track of all the words and with all that brain-wracking, I feel as if my head is going to explode.

I do not always hear other people's words clearly, and sometimes it is not clear whether a word another person just used is a trigger word or another word that sounds like it -- what sounds like "mxss", for instance, could really be "miss", "must", "nest", "next", "mass" or "Melissa". What sounds like "scxxt" could be "school", "scoop", "screwed" or "excuse me". And sometimes "what", "what's" or "whoa" sounds like "whxxps". If I can't figure out what the word is, I have to purge just to be on the safe side. And so I don't do extra purging work that I didn't need to do, I ask the person who said it what she or he said. A lot of time is spent asking others what they said, and sometimes I do not get a friendly reception. Ayyoon, CIWP's "Liar of Jacuzzi Street", has even called me "nosy" because I ask others what they say. That idiot! I don't care about the content of what someone else said, I just want to know whether they said that specific word.

The object triggers in logaesthesia also affect my quality of life. To avoid coming across things that make me purge, such as dipsers and cobwxbs around my parents' house, or plastic silverware in restaurants, or Winnxe the Pooh and Dipser-man garbage in stores, I have to close my eyes, or at the very least cup my hand in front of my eyes so I only see the aisles in front of me. It makes it hard for me to make my way around a store when I can't allow myself to look around, and sometimes I even bump into shelves. I can't push shopping carts or wheelchairs when we go into public places, unless we're going to someplace where everything is safe, such as See's Chocolates.

I can't work in a 7-11, because I'd see ice xxxxx (if only when someone brought it up to my check-out) and I'd hear people saying "whxxps" every now and then. The time spent purging would decrease productivity, and the boss wouldn't be too happy with the fact that I was purging instead of working. I'd have to wash my hands all the time too, and with all that purging, I'd spent too much of the time at my job washing my hands to work.

I am also unable to drive due to my logaesthesia. Having the car radio on while driving is out of the question. Even with the radio off, I'd still cover my eyes while driving to avoid seeing the cobwxbs around where I park. To avoid seeing ice xxxxx parlors, with the cone pictures on their outsides, I would have to close my eyes while driving, and I couldn't drive then.

Many people who saw me purging in public thought that I was masturbating. They were convinced they had the right to call the pigs on me (even though I'm surprised I don't have everyone thinking there's no need to because someone else will do it). Although I have never been arrested for purging, I have been subject to lengthy interrogations and several visits from cops, with my name collected every time, all due to the purging. Sometimes I'm be in a vacated building and someone will pop in and see me purging, and they still think they best call the pigs on me. Sometimes people see me purging in a restroom and they object to it. Being on the odd side of taboos against touching the genital region of your body has endowed me with a lifelong hatred for social conventions.

Logaesthesia is an annoying and often painful condition to have -- who'd want to have whipped cream in his or her pants? -- but something pretty cool if you think about it. In fact, I could not bear to live without logaesthesia. I just can't imagine not tasting whipped cream and having to purge when I hear the WH-word. I only wish there were more people in the world who had it. After all, if there were enough of us, no one would be arrested for purging in public.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I try out my headphones

Today I came to CIWP with Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in my CD player. I played "About a Girl" as Rosa and La Netta were having their conversation in the van.

Then after the first song the plug came out of my CD player and I stopped hearing the song. "Wait, La netta! Wait, La Netta! Stupid stoplight!" Eventually I put it back in.

Then, during the applause at the end of track 8 ("Lounge Act"), I thought, "Did I just hear the WH-word?"

I gave it to Rosa and told her to listen for the WH-word at track 8 at 3:31. She said "I didn't hear any WH-word". But when I asked her what they said at 3:31, she said, "I don't know."

I then gave it to La Netta, rewineing to the beginning of "On a Plane". I told her to listen out for 3:31. After she was done, I asked La Netta, "So did they say it?"

"Were you listening for the M-word"?, asked La Netta.

"No, it was the WH-word."

"I didn't hear any word you don't like."

"What did they say at 3:31"?

La Netta says she wasn't even looking at the timer on the CD player at 3:31.

I also had some lulls in between the songs. Even though my CD was up at full blast, when Kurt was talking to the audience about his songs I could hear some words of Rosa and La Netta's conversation and had to ask them what they said.

Check it out. At the eighth track of the CD MTV Unplugged, "On a Plane", an audience member (of member of Nirvana? I can't tell) appears to say "whxxps" at the 3-minute, 31-second mark, when the audience is doing its cheers for the song. If anyone can figure out what he's really saying, tell me.

Tomorrow I'm going to use my Nevermind CD for listening at program.

At its turned out, Lisa didn't come, so we only had three clients in our group and La Netta went home, leaving Rosa driving us alone. We went to Target (where I got Market Pantry apple juice) then to the Dollar Tree (where I got two bags of pfeffernüsse).

Then Ken, Rosa and I walked into Rickshaw to buy some Chinese food. I asked for the chow mein, then the mushroom chickens (which had plenty of mushrooms for me) and finally the sweet-and-sour pork. They remembered not to put in plastic silverware this time!

When I got home, I ate my Chinese food, then I met up with John. John told me he had a Christmas present, and asked me what kinds of presents I wouldn't like.

"Well, I don't like plastic silverware, and I don't like certain fictional characters", I said.

"This doesn't have any fictional characters."

"Do you know which fictional characters I don't like?"

"No."

"Well, there's the one . . . this superhero . . . he has no pupils in his eyes . . ."

"Pupilless eyes?"

"Yes. And he slings cobvebs."

"Oh, OK."

"So you didn't read about that in my blog anywhere?"

"I didn't."


"I mention him several times in my blog. And A.A. Milne's bear. I don't like him -- or her? Girl's name, after all."

"Yes".

"You know the other things I don't like, right?"

"A lot of them."

"All right."

"Do you want me to tell you what it is?"

"Yes."

He brought me the wrapped Christmas present. "This is a blanket. Do you want it?"

"Yes! I want it, John. Thank you!"

John noticed the Japanese dictionary in my plastic bag. "Do you speak other languages?"

"Yes, I speak Japanese. I like Japan. I took a course in Japanese at college, at I like sushi and tofu and sukiyaki." (And yakitori!) "And I speak Spanish."

"Do words in other languages bother you?"

"No, I don't have words in Spanish or Japanese that make me purge. Unless they're identical to the English words."

"Even the equivalents of the words you don't like in English?"

"Yes, even those." "Helado", for instance.

"So if you lived in Spain or Mexico or Japan, I suppose you'd have to do less purging."

"That's right."

"Have you ever been to another country?"

"Well, I've been to Paris."

"For vacation?"

"Yes, for a family vacation. I've been there thrice . . . once when I was 11, once when I was 12, and then again when I was 17."

"Did you purge when you were in Paris?"

"The last time there were all these ads -- you know the I-word? -- they had a cone of that stuff called the Magnum, and there were advertisements for it everywhere. I purged a lot."

"Did you purge all three times you were in Paris?"

"Yes."

Then we got to talking about DVC
(Diablo Community College, a junior college near Moraga). I told him I used to purge my only putting my hands into the front seat of my pants. I didn't go down very far when I demonstrated. I explained to him that I would go farther down then that, but I didn't want to lose a button demonstrating.

John asked whether I stopped going because the purging got deeper and I had to onbutton my pants to purge. I had to explain to him several times that I had quit DVC in the summer of 2001, while the purging with unbuttoning of pants began in late 2003. I stopped the junior college because my mother said I needed some time to put my life back together.

Then John said, "It's been nice seeing you, James" and I said, "It's been nice seeing you, John".

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Private conversation?

On Wednesday, Stan wanted me to get in his van and drive with him, as I couldn't stay home when he was leaving the house and there were no other staff at my group home. Rodney, Bernard and Jason got in, then I got in.

While we drove through the places we were going, Stan had a long conversation on his cellphone. I was up in the front seat, right across from him. Eventually he said, "It's a hot mxss over there."

"Ewwwwww!", I said.

"James, you heard that?", asked Stan. "You were listening to my conversation?"

"Of course, Stan."

"This is a pretty private call."

"Well, you're holding it right in front of me."

"Maybe if I turn the radio on you won't hear it." Stan spoke into his cellphone, and told the other person that it wasn't convenient to speak now as I would hear Stan.

If a call is private, then why are you making it right in front of me where I'm going to hear? And if I can hear your cellphone conversation, then how can it be private? If I really wanted no one else to hear a call I was making, I'd walk away or close a door, or, if I were in the van, I'd wait until the other people were out or everyone was out of the van to make it.

Stan said that I should try not to listen, but that's like trying not to think about a purple elephant, as the saying goes. The harder I try not to listen, the more attention I pay to what Stan is saying.

La Netta holds cellphone conversations all the time in the van, but she knows that by holding them in front of me she is forfeiting her privacy. What I'd really like is for no one to have conversations on their cellphones when I was around, but if they won't do that, at least don't act like it's private. La Netta, for instance, has no problem repeating for me things she said in her cellphone conversation. If she has it on speakerphone, she has no problem repeating the last thing her phone interlocutor said.

Too many people say something is private and then throw it about in the open. Information they put up about themselves on their webpages, for instance. Someone may make a website, use his real name and say something about himself, then claim his boss violated his privacy when his boss visited his site and learned something about him. If you don't want people to learn something, don't say or write it in a place that they can find out!


Insecticide!

When something bugs me, now I'll have something to spray against it: music.

I heard a knock at my door last night. It was Stan. He said he had something for Christmas for me.

I saw him there holding a yellow plastic bag. It was filled with Nirvana goodies, and a pair of headphones with a CD player. He said Pia had gotten these for me for Christmas this year.

At my annual meeting we had talked about getting headphones. Stan, Pia and La Netta mentioned them several times, but we went through September, October, November and half of December without getting them. Now all of a sudden I had a pair of headphones and a CD player for me.

The next morning, I used some scissors to cut through the plastic, then tore the rest of it open until I got the headphones and CD player out. Tiffany got the batteries out and I figured out from the manual which way to put the batteries in. Then Tiffany showed me how to open it and put my CD in.

I slid in Nirvana's MTV Unplugged, although it also came with CD's of Nevermind and Sliver, and an MTV Unplugged DVD.

I plugged the headphones in and played around with the buttons until I saw the first track playing. Soon I heard "About a Girl" playing:

I need an easy friend
I do with an ear to lend
I do think you fit this shoe
I do what you have a clue

It worked!

Now when people are in the van and La Netta and Rosa are having a long conversation with each other, I won't have to worry about whether I just the M-word. All I have to do is wear the headphones with the music at full blast and I won't be able to hear their conversation. When the radio's playing commercials, I can just put the headphones on. When I'm in the van with Stan and people are cramming in, if I have Nirvana at its highest volume I won't be able to hear someone tell another person to scxxt over.

I often ask other people what they just said in the van, or what a stranger said inside a store. Now I won't need to focus on words so much because I won't hear those outside words, only the words emanating from my CD's.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Stan Man's van

When Stan called in to the CIWP office, he told La Netta to take Ken home at my house today. Stan would drop off Ken at his own group home later.

Between 3:00 and 4:00, Stan knocked at my door and told me he had to take Ken home. We clients aren't allowed to be in our house when there are no staff home, so we had to drive with Stan.

I got into Stan's van. Jason and Rodney got in. And of course, Ken was there.

At first I thooght he was just taking Ken home. But then he told me he was going to pick up Aaron When we got to Aaron's house, Aaron and Charles both got in, making six clients in our van. Luckily, no one told anyone to scxxt over while they were filling the back rows of the van.

Bernard and Aaron were talking about Pokémon together. Aaron asked how to pronounce Pokémon names I had never heard of before.

Stan took Aaron and Charles to the bank. They both cashed in their checks. Aaron owed Stan $80.

"Aaron borrowed money from you?", I asked Stan.

Stan told me that Aaron had overdrawn from his account last time and Stan was going to put the money back in.

Aaron spent some money at Jack-in-the-box. While we were standing outside Jack-in-the-box, Charles pointed out some food and tried to identify it.

"No, it's probably ice xxxxx", Stan said.

"Blechhh!", I said.

"I think it's eggnog", said Charles.

"It probably is", said Stan.

"Stan, is there any restroom around here?", I asked.

"There is. In Jack-in-the-box. You want me to walk you over?"

"Yes, Stan."

So Stan took me out of the van. He walked me across the street into Jack-in-the-box, and soon across the floor to the lobby where the restrooms were. I located the men's room.

I started purging, then purged some more. I had spelled out "ice xxxxx", in my head, so I had to think it backwards as "meh ay ee rah eess, ee eess i", then think "mearc cie, mearc cie". I hate the way my brain plays against me when I hear purge words. Since saying "i-c-e" includes an "ice" in it (ICE-ee-ee), I also had to think "cie, mearc cie, mearc cie". "Adolye, sadolee, adolee, sadolee, adolar, adolee, adolay, adolem", I chanted, purging off the spelling. "Adolice cradoleam, adolice cradoleam. Adolice, adolice cradoleam, adolice cradoleam". I also heard "my sister" (m-ICE-ister) twice, and had to do two rounds of "adolice, adolice cradoleam, adolice cradoleam" for that. Finally I could get down to the heart of the "ice xxxxx". I purged until I got it just right and I could taste the ice xxxxx coming up. When it felt complete, I zipped up and walked out. Stan was standing there for me in the lobby.

Everyone who was in Jack-in-the-box came back in. We picked up Bernard at my house and he got into the van, then we dropped Ken off.

At first Stan had told me we were dropping Ken off. Then he added Aaron. Then it turned out to be Aaron and Charles. Then I learned that they were going to the bank. And then he added Bernard. Now he told me we were going to be picking RK, another client, up too, and taking him to the bank. There seemed to be no end in sight to this van ride. Each time I thought "OK, this is all we have to do", Stan added in something more.

"But the van is so full," I said. "I'm worried that one client is going to tell another to do the SC-word over."

"I don't think that will be an issue", said Stan.

Bernard talked with Charles about someone named "Marty". "Marty tried to sell me some marijuana", said Charles. I listened to them, Stan's phone call and the radio at the same time, ever so vigilant against purge words.

Charles and Bernard both said that Marty was "the enemy". "Who's the enemy?", asked Bernard.

"Marty", said Charles. They talked about their children (Charles and Bernard have kids?) and this Marty guy and all the nasty things they planned to do to Marty.

Then I found out that Marty was part of a game. "San Andreas", they said.

"Is that part of the GTA series?", I asked.

"No, it's, uh, uh, a game."

"Grand Theft Auto", I clarified.

"Yeah, yeah, it is."

We arrived at RK's house, then took him to the bank without incident. Then we took Charles and Aaron home. Bernard and a few other people from my house got out of the van.

As Bernard got back in the van, he said, "Scxxt over!" in his rough voice.

"Rrrrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Rrrrrr! Rrrrrrrr!", Bernard imitated me.

"Are you going to have to purge that off?", asked Stan.

"Yes, I am", I told him.

"Well, you're going to take it like a man. You're a man, right?"

"Sometimes I feel like a woman."

"Seriously?", asked Stan.

"I used to," I replied.

"Well, did you know that anyone has their masculine and feminine side?"

Stan dropped RK at home. Bernard talked about what he was doing in his video game life.

"Bernard", said Stan, "All you want to talk about is video games. You've been talking about video games all day today."

"I love video games", said Bernard.

"I know, but I get tired of talking about it with you. Is there something else you'd like to talk about?"

"But Stan, I love video games."

"But you can't talk about video games all the time. I don't want to talk about one thing all the time. Maybe we could talk about school, or the weather . . ."

"Or onions and cilantro," I supplied.

"Yeah," said Stan.

Bernard progressed to talk about a creature from a video game. It had a tail that squirted acid.

When we finally arrived at the house where Bernard, Jason, Rodney and I lived, I had the SC-word to purge off and possibly a WH-word. Where we had left before 4:00, it was now 6:31.

What did I do to deserve this? These long rides in the van where people say stuff like the SC-word? Having to listen to the radio and people talking at the same time in the van? Being cramped in a vehicle where I here Stan's phone calls? Not being allowed to stay at home when there's not a staff at the group home? Tell me, what am I being punished for when I have to live in a situation like this? Not to be able to just stay at home all day and lie down, safe from all the words and objects that gross me out? Is it really so wrong to have OCD that this is my punishment for it? Is this the price of OCD?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Site revampings

I've made a few updates to my blog site.

For one, I now have a header under my title. This blog is intended to provide insight for outsiders into the world of OCD, so I have a subtitle to clarify that.

The site also now shows ten posts instead of just seven on the front page. That way casual visitors who don't bother to notice the links to older posts can get more of an idea what my blog's about. Another major change is my link to Blog Catalog. I now have a graphic that links to Blog Catalog, a directory of blogs from all different sites. You can click on it to visit, or just rate my blog if you want.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My high school days revealed

At program today, I was parked in my van at Eavis Park. Wanda's group, with Shawn, Tully and Rodney was also eating at the park, and I heard Wanda yell at one of her clients, "Clean up your mxss!"

"Ewwwwww!", I shouted.

"That's why you need headphones", said Rosa, who was sitting in the van with me.

Those headphones. Still haven't gotten those headphones.

When I got home, I didn't have to drive off to John's office. John came in my group home this Monday, as last. I welcomed him in.

I told him that it was Lamesha's birthday today, as well as my sister Elizabeth's. He asked me about Lamesha, and I said I'd love to hug her.

We talked about my siblings, how my sister was a geologist and my brother was majoring in computer science. I talked about how I didn't have a passion that interested me enough for me to pursue a career in it. We talked about my relationship with Elizabeth -- how in high school she had her dog collar and punk clothes and I had my turtlenecks, beard and long hair, and we were both cool in our own way. I talked about how in the last years we spent together she tried to help me with my yelling and biting myself. I did mention that I used to want to be a rock star.

John wanted to hear more about the rock star thing.

I told him that I had formed a band called Red Cilantro. We had one song recorded, "Vague Resonations", and several others written.

"What part of the band did you have?", he asked.

"I was the vocalist". I sang the first two verses of "Vague Resonations
" for him:

Vague resonations resonating
In my brain while meditating

Grey air and facial hair, one part of day
Non-care spread everywhere, local caeé
Hair mousse below bernouse, go all the way
Dress loose just to seduce, what else to say?

Taiwanese factories, modern suburb
Disease and STD's, soft drinks of herb
Cellphones and pheromones, minds are acerb
Monotones for human clones, strongly disturbed

We talked about high school. I told him that high school was a very sensitive time in my life, and he said that's typical.

"Yeah," I said. "For the first time in your life, you want to break social rules."

"Did you break social rules when you were in high school?", asked John.

"Yes I did. I spat in public. I didn't shower. I tried drugs -- alcohol and marijuana. I yelled and screamed a lot. I spoke with a loud voice. I made jokes about pot."

"Did you say 'pot'?"

"Yes . . . pot, as in marijuana . . . weed . . . ganja . . . I would sit like this." I demonstrated. "And my mother tried to get me to sit another way."

"You told me about that last time." John asked whether I had any aspirations in high school.

"Well, there was the rock star thing. I told you about that, right?"

"Right.Did you grow your beard in high school?"

"I did. I had it since I was 17."

"What about the glasses?"

"My sunglasses? I've worn them for a few years now. I wear them so people won't see my with my eyes closed."

"Why do you close your eyes?"

"Did you read about it in my blog?"

"No, I didn't."

"You must have missed the sunglass entry. I close my eyes to avoid seeing things that will make me purge, like plastic silverware."

We got into the dipsers and cobwxbs. I mentioned that when I had to talk about them, I pronounced "cobwxb" in the German way (cobveb).

He asked me about the mental health of my family.

"My mother's perfectly normal. My father gets very excited and yells a lot. He has anxiety. Not OCD, but generalized anxiety disorder. Then we have my brother, who was once dsecribed as 'having some autistic traits'."

"Do you think your brother is autistic?"

"Well, he's into computer science. He's into Magic: The Gathering and he was a Pokémon nut when he was a preteen. He's a very good student . . . he's into science and he likes Terry Pratchett. He's read most of the Asimovs. But he doesn't seem to have any problems reading facial expressions, and he doesn't go into lengthy discourses that bore people. So I don't think he's autistic. And my sister, she was described as 'perfectly normal'."

"How would you diagnose your own mental health?"

I said that aside from the words and purging, I had the cobwxb and contamination thing. There was the thing about laundry machines, the numbers, the thing with the clock.

"Do you have anything else that's not on the OCD/anxiety spectrum?"

"Well, there is one another thing. Before they put me on Risperdal, I was yelling and biting myself, and banging my head, and hitting myself. I would think of things someone said or did in the past, and I'd go back there and try to change the past."

"Do you think you have PTSD?"

"Post-traumati
c stress disorder? I wouldn't say I have it."

"So you do have it?"

"I said I wouldn't say I have it. Would not."

It was 3:20. "Well, James, it's been nice seeing you."

"It's been nice seeing you, John."

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A special second anniversary

Today, December 9, is a very special day to me. You see, this is the day when I first became friends with that most wonderful of group home staff, Lamesha.

Lamesha first appeared with another staff called Valerie. They were introduced to me at around the same time, as they started working in November of 2005.

At first I didn't like Lamesha. She almost threw away a GNC bag that had a power bar of mine in it. She washed a pair of my pants in the washer without scraping out the washer first. And she kept trying to make me take showers when my towel was missing.

Aside from losing the towel, I had lost a pair of nail clippers. I asked Stan for some new clippers, and one day Lamesha brought some in. She told me she would clip those nails for me.

"I want to clip my own nails."

Lamesha said I might hurt myself.

"Please, LaNeisha (I hadn't seen her real name at the time), I really really want to clip my nails myself."

Lamesha told me that if I took a shower, she would give me the clippers to keep.

So I went in the bathroom and closed the door. I heard some "i-i-i" outside. I turned the water on the shower on. Without getting in, I began to purge. It sounded as if someone had said "exe", like "keep an exe on". I wasn't sure what the context was, so I had to purge.

I purged on and on, with the shower still running. If I could fool Lamesha into thinking I had taken a shower, she would give me those coveted clippers. Of course, I couldn't take a real shower because my towel was still missing.

I figured that as soon as I finished purging, I would turn the water off and stay in there long enough to make Lamesha and Valerie think I was wiping off and getting dressed. They did give me a towel, but who knows how many laundry loads that thing had been in, and how many pajamdras it had rubbed up against.

Then all of a sudden Lamesha opened the bathroom door. She was checking up on me! She had caught me not taking a shower and discovered that I was just running the water.

I told Valerie and Lamesha that I never wanted to see them again.

"Why not?", said Valerie. "We're so beautiful."

Lamesha convinced me to let her wash my hair. So I sat there as she washed my hair, instead of showering. Afterwards she gave me the clippers.

Lamesha and Valerie tried to convince me to let them give me a bath instead of a shower. "It will be like a sauna," one of them said. They said they would bathe me and rub me. That would be great, but I didn't like them.

One day, Jason was playing his rap. I didn't want to hear the words in the rap, so I kept closing his door. Jason kept opening his door, and playing the rap some more. The volume was high enough that I could hear the vowel sounds (eye-eye-eye) in my room, with my door shut. I told the staff, Valerie and Lamesha, and they said they'd keep Jason's music inaudible to me as long as I took two showers a week. ::shudder::

One day Lamesha asked me what kind of food I'd like. I told her I wanted a manicotti, as I hadn't been able to get one in a long time.

One morning Lamesha woke me up to give me my pill. "Here it is, sweetxe", she said.

"Aaaaechhhh!", I replied.

"What's wrong? How come I try to be so nice to you, yet you're so cruel to me?"

"You called me the SW-word."

Lamesha apologized and told me she would never call me that word again. After I purged off the SW-word, she gave me the pill and I swallowed it.

I cringed at the fact that she had called me sweetxe. I had always hated that word. Even when I was a little kid, I wanted to "be a big kid" and not get called sweetxe.

Trying to make me take showers without a towel, not letting me clip my own nails, calling me the SW-word, trying to throw away my power bar . . . I couldn't wait until Lamesha stopped working here.

Then shortly before Thanksgiving 2005, a package arrived in the mail, addressed to me. I opened it on Thanksgiving Day, and it was an old green towel I used to use before the towel that came up missing became my standard towel. I could use this one!

Lamesha came in that day. "I heard the good news", she said. "When are you going to take your shower?"

"I'm going to take it today!"

So I took my shower. Lamesha higged me afterwards. But I still didn't like Lamesha.

Then came December 9, 2005. Lamesha told me she still hadn't been able to find my manicotti.

"That's all right, I don't like you anyway," I said calmly. "You don't have to get it."

"What do you mean, you don't like me?"

"I really don't like you, Lamesha?"

"Why don't you like me? If you're going to say something to me, you might as well tell me why."

"Because you tried to make me take the shower."

Valerie came and asked whether I liked her. I said I didn't like her either.

Lamesha and Valerie told Jason to turn his rap up and open his door. "We're getting Jason to play his music", said Lamesha, "Because you don't like us."

"Wait . . . wait, Lamesha!", I said. "I like you!"

"You're just lying."

I sat there in my room as Jason boomed his rap from his stereo. I thought. If I liked Lamesha, we could get it to stop.

I walked out of my room and went straight up to Lamesha. "LaNeisha, could we have the music off? I want to talk with you."

"But you don't like me!"

"But I want to talk with you, LaNeisha." She had Jason turn off his rap.

I told Lamesha about the shower, and how she had tried to make me shower when I didn't have a towel.

"That's all right," Lamesha said, "We can't force you to take a shower. It's your right."

"Lamesha," I asked, "Will you be friends with me?"

"Yes!", said Lamesha. "I want to be your friend! Do mind if we hug?"

"I don't mind."

So Lamesha and I hugged.

I was there to celebrate her birtheay with her on the tenth. The next week I went over to my parents' house, and when I got back on the night of Sunday the eighteenth, Lamesha said, "I didn't think I would miss you, but I missed you." She asked whether she could have a hug, and we higged.

The next few showers I took we hugged afterwards. Soon we were hugging after every shower.

My new (or old) towel came up missing a few months later, and it was Lamesha who found it for me. We hugged to celebrate.

My old pillow got contaminated by being stuffed back in my bed where the cobwxbs are, so I asked for a new pillow. A few days later, Lamesha brought one in. She barged right into my room and showed it to me.

"Oh, Lamesha", I said picking up the pillow, "It's soft and huggable, just like you."

"Aw, thank you", said Lamesha.

In June 2006, I needed some more khakis because all my pants were either dirty (and we didn't have anything for scraping out the washing machine with) or had been contaminated (because Stan washed them in the washer without scraping it out first), and Lamesha took me to the GAP. She couldn't find the directions for a GAP nearby at first, and Stan suggested we could just settle for an Old Navy, but I told him I was emphatically not going to wear Old Navy. Lamesha finally found the GAP, and took me in. We found three new pairs of khakis, on which we spent $75. On the way back home, Lamesha considered stopping at Taco Bell. Imitating Jolene, she said, "I'm hungry, and my favorite food is tacos!"

She stopped working here in December 2006, one year ago. But what I'd really like for his second anniversary is to have Lamesha over. We could talk about her life with her new husband on her new house. I could tell her that Aaron said hi to her. We could hug off several showers that I've had in the last year. I could even show her my blog.

Lamesha, whatever you're doing right now, you're going to be my friend forever.

Friday, December 7, 2007

More Jolene troubles

Today La Netta was driving the van alone. She had Jolene, Ken and me in her group. I've been lifting Jolene's wheelchair and putting in back in the last few weeks after Stan gave me permission.

Target was on the schedule. However, La Netta said that we couldn't go in because of the problems with Jolene's wheelchair.

"I can get Jolene's wheelchair", I told her.

La Netta said that after I get the wheelchair out we won't have anyone to push it.

I told her that Ken can push it.

La Netta says Stan doesn't want Ken getting out her wheelchair or pushing it.

Ken can't push Jolene's wheelchair because Stan said putting it would hurt his back and forbids him to drive it through the stores.

La Netta can't push her wheelchair because of all the back and shoulder injuries sustained from her accidents.

I can't push her wheelchair because I'll close my eyes inside the stores to avoid seeing things that make me purge. With my eyes closed, I'll crash right into things.

And Jolene, of course, can't push herself.

You see, I want our group back the way it was in our golden ages. Only four people: La Netta, Jolene, Ken and I. Yet with La Netta's accidents and Stan's putting an end to Ken's lifting and pushing, a group like that won't be able to go places.

The problem has been solved by putting Jolene with another group when La Netta has no driving partner. That means I don't get my friend Jolene, whom I want to stay, in my group.

On the majority of days they put La Netta with a partner. This partner can push and even lift wheelchairs. But this partner and La Netta will do a lot of talking. While they're talking back and forth, they might say "mxss", "ice xxxxx", "keep an exe on", "txsty", "t-ngle", "axx oxxx the pxxxx" . . . a lot of stuff. And when I do want to participate in their conversation, they just volley the ball back and forth -- they don't let me get a word in edgewise.

And when they have a partner they have to have more than three clients, and put a fourth client with our group (Lisa, or perhaps Robert, sometimes Robin, who makes it very difficult to go into stores). And if you have four clients, why not five, or even six? The two coaches put us on a slippery-slope to increasing the number of clients in the van. If even one of them gets in the wrong seat when s/he gets in, the coaches will tell him/her to scxxt over.

And we're going to need Jolene's wheelchair more and more. Her right foot has been turning inward more and more after her surgery in December 2005. Jolene had surgery had flattened her clubfoot, and now it's turning in to the point where she's walking on the side of the foot.

I saw David Squibb while our group was in the office today. "I'll pray for you," he said.

"Will you pray for La Netta?", I asked him. "I want you to pray for her back and shoulders, so she c
an push Jolene's wheelchair again."

"I'll pray for her. She's in my prayers. Because Jesus loves her."

David told me he loved everyone, including me. Including Ken and Jolene.

Maybe a Christmas miracle will arrive this year, and take care of the wheelchair problem. La Netta's back could get better, or Stan could give Ken permission to push again. This is a time when it would be convenient for Jesus to come right down to Earth so he can heal Jolene and she can walk without a walker, on flat feet. Whatever happens, we're going to need something providential to put our group back together this year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My mints redeemed

On Friday, I bought two bags of pastel mints for 92 cents each, along with my usual Wal-mart order of apple juice and Hawaiian punch. The cashier put one juice in a first bag, and the other juice in a second bag. I took the two bags, assuming the mints were in with the juices.

When I got home that day, I discovered that the mints were in neither of the two juice bags. She must have put the mints in a third bag! I told my staff, who called Wal-mart. They told us to come in "tomorrow" and bring the receipt. Luckily, I had the receipt in my sandwich bag -- it was not in the mint bag.

I told Stan to take me, but on Saturday he was too busy. He assured me that it didn't have to be Saturday, as long as I had the receipt.

I talked about this to La Netta on Monday. On Wednesday we had the Hilltop Wal-mart on our schedule -- the same Wal-mart as last week.

The first thing on our schedule was Barnes & Noble. I'm getting Jolene's wheelchair out now, so I have to get out of the van before Jolene. Yet before I could get out, Jolene crawled out of her seat and sat in the doorway.

"Scxxt over", Brenda told Jolene.

"Rrrrrrrrr!", I said immediately.

"Oh, I'm sorry! Move over. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Grrrr, grrrrr, grrrrr."

I eventually got out and got the wheelchair. When I went into Barnes & Noble, I saw a baby wheeled in in a baby carriage. The baby was wearing a sweatshirt with Winnxe the Pooh on it (styled like a sports jersey). Blechhhhhh!

La Netta found the new-age section and we sat around and looked at books. I found one book all about the Dogon and their knowledge of Sirius. I showed La Netta a Dover Demon in a book titled _Unexplained!_, and then a kind of reptoid called a Loveland Frog.

Finally, we moved on over to the bowling alley and I put Jolene's wheelchair back. At the bowling alley, which we were supposed to visit from 10:15 to 11:00, we started out with a trip to the restroom. While I was there I purged off Brenda's "scxxt". I got out so I wouldn't run into our bowling time. Brenda told me we would still have enough time for she, Ken, Lisa and I to bowl. But the minutes passed and La Netta and Jolene were still not done (I think Jolene was getting her diaper changed). Finally, La Netta came out with Jolene. She said that because we had all spent so much time in the restrooms, that we better move on straight to Wal-mart so we don't miss it.

La Netta asked me whether I was able to take my pill, and I said no. We got to Wal-mart and I said, "Let's deal with the mints first."

"I think we better go to the restroom first," said La Netta.

So I went into the restroom. I purged off the M-word that Lisa had said earlier (she said her house was a mxss). I stopped there becaose I didn't want to use up all our mint time.

La Netta went to the candy section. She didn't know what kind of mints I was talking about and showed me three kinds of mints before I found the pastel mints. We put two bags in our cart.

Then she walked to the hair section and got brushes and hairsprays. Next came the clothing section. I held onto her with my eyes closed so I wouldn't see the pajamdras. A woman there, however, said, "Something something the pajxmxs." Finally we got out of the clothing section and strode on over to customer service.

There were two women ahead of us. This first lady showed a credit card, then the woman at customer service called over an assistant. Then she was paging a second assistant. These people scrutinized her credit card, and finally determined that she could not make her purchase.

"Do you want me to just buy your mints for you?", La Netta asked.

"No!" I was adamant. I wanted my mints refunded and bought again. I had already paid money on them, and La Netta didn't have to pay hers.

I was biting at myself as it took long and I tried the hold in the "pajxmxs" the clerk in the clothes section had said.

"Just think of it this way: We're here to get your mints", La Netta said.

"OK".

I listened to the animated cartoon of Frosty the Snowman on a nearby television and the song "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" on the store's speakers. La Netta asked me what I was thinking about.

"Whether to believe in Santa Claus", I replied. "I mean, Santa would have to come to all those houses in one night. Even with the time zones, a 24-hour period wouldn't be long enough to get to all the Christmas-celebrating households."

"He has helpers," said La Netta.

"You mean Santa clones?"

"Yes."

"So they cloned Santa like Dolly the Sheep?"

La Netta laughed. "Yes, they did."

A second woman came up and dealt with her problem.

This was taking so long. "Do you want to just get your juices now?", La Netta asked me.

"We'd lose our place in line!", I responded.

Finally, it was our turn. I walked up and gave her the receipt. I told her it was Friday when I left the mints behind.

"Mints and juice?", she asked.

"Let me tell you the whole story." I explained how I had taken the juices home and the mints were in a separate bag which was left in Wal-mart.

She scanned my receipt, then scanned it again. Then the woman scanned the bar code on those mints, and gave them to me free in a Wal-mart bag. La Netta tied the bag up.

Next we got my juices. Then we were at the check-out. I paid for the juices, and La Netta bought her hair items and a bit of candy.

When we got in the van, La Netta apologized to Brenda for taking so long.

"It's the holidays", said Brenda.

"It was the wait at customer service", I said.

La Netta told Brenda all about the woman at customer service bringing in her credit card ane the little to-do that sprang up around that.

I purged off "pajxmxs" in the back seat of the van. "Pajaamdras, pajamhdras, pajaamdras, pajahmdras." Finally I had finished that.

Then Ken said, "We're driving with James axx oxxx the pxxxx." Now I would have to purge off the A, O & P words.

We stopped at the burrito truck and I got a head super burrito for $3.50. Afterwards, I said, "Now that I've made my purchase, I'll use your restroom."

"Can you hold it in?", asked La Netta. "Our next stop is Davis Park and you can use their restroom."

We had time for a quick stay at Davis Park. Jolene got out on her walker and La Netta handed her her lunch. La Netta remarked that it was a heavy lunch. We had 25 minutes to eat and use restrooms here.

I purged off "axx oxxx the pxxxx", but it took a while before I could get into the stall. I purged off Winnxe the Pooh in the men's room. Jolene changed her diaper in the women's room. I got done purging Winnxe the Pooi off just in time for us to leave, and purged off Tigger in the van. We then dropped Lisa off, and dropped off Jolene before Ken and me.

"Have a nice day, Jolene." Said La Netta. "See ya."

"See ya, Jolene," I said.

"See ya," she said to Brenda.

"What about me?", asked La Netta.

"See you too. I'll have a nice day tomorrow. Tomorrow's Friday."

"I wish," said La Netta.

"Maybe they'll be serving pizza or something you really like like that for dinner tonight", I told Jolene.

"I'd like that. I love pizza!", Jolene said.

We dropped me off at Ken's house today.

"Oh James," said La Netta. "You're going to be so happy, with your juices, and your, your --"

"Mints", I filled her in.

"Your mints."

"And my burrito!"

"Oh, yes. Your burrito."

Well, I've got my mints back. I had to hold the word "pajxmxs" in for a long time, but it was worth it. Now I know that my money was not wasted.

Monday, December 3, 2007

John sees my group home

At program today Ramona was driving. She had on the radio her favorite station -- a gospel station called "The Light". When DJ Morgan Dukes passed the torch to the next DJ, she said, "I'm going to scxxt on out here."

"Rrrrrr!"

I would have to purge, but unfortunately for me Ramona drove to point Pinole. The only restroom there was an outhouse that was probably crawling with dipsers and cobwxbs. Ramona said, "We're all getting out of the van". Ken and I got out and stood around. Baby Shawn was wailing, while Tully sat in the grass and Rovaughn was saying his usual "Salad salad" and "Home?" Robert asked me questions about who bought my shoes.

Ultimately we got back in the van and Ramona drove Ken home, then she drove me home. Tone was there, and in a few minutes Stan got home and opened the door for me. At last I could purge ("Scxxt" is a word I have to be standing up to purge off).

The idea was that this time John would meet me at my group home instead of me being driven to John's office.

I saw the clock. It was 2:42. Oh great. Now I would have to look at 2:44 for at least as long as I had looked at the 2:42 clock, and then stand there for the duration of 2:45.

I began purging, periodically looking at the clock. "Scadoloot, scadoloot, scadoloot."

Stan knocked at the door and said that John was here.

I welcomed John in. He asked me how today was, and I told him about the pfeffernüsse and macaroni salad I had bought.

I looked at the clock. "2:44", I said.

"Is that one of the times you have to look at the clock until it changes?", asked John.

I explained to him about 42, 44 and 45. "2:45", I said.

Eventually the clock turned to 2:46. I looked back at John and began our conversation.

"I see you read the first entry in my blog," I told John.

"Is that the first entry? I know I read it in there somewhere." John said he read the first entry, then scattered other entries in the blog.

Now that we were in my room and I didn't have to close my eyes to avoid seeing the photos in his office, I got a better look at John. His hair was dark, waving out in a serrated fashion at the sides, and long to the bottom of his chin.

I told John about hearing the SC-word on the radio today. I told him that I never got to purge it off.

"Would you like me to go out of the room, so you can purge now?", he asked.

"Would you like to see me purge, to see what it's like?", I asked.

"What am I going to see?", he asked.

"You may see a waistline, and some pubic hair."

"Well, since I don't know you very well at this point, I'm going to respect your boundaries and leave the room. You can come and get me when you're done."

So John left the room. I did some "scadoloot, scadoloot, scadoloot" purging. Finally I got the last carroty "scxxt" up my abdomen and neck and chin
and out my mouth.

I buttoned my pants, then opened my door and called for John.

"How do you feel now?", John asked.

"I have a feeling that's clean, and empty".

"And how did you feel before you purged -- after you heard that word?"

"I had the feeling of carrots in my intestines, sort of like having diarrhea."

"Have you eaten real carrots?"

"I enjoy soft carrots in
beef stew -- the cooked ones -- and the slices of carrot in Chinese food. I don't enjoy raw carrots".

John noticed that I had a white sound machine in my room. I explained to him that it was so that I wouldn't hear the words coming from conversation, television and radio in other rooms.

"That was what I thought . . . I noticed that I couldn't hear anything from the outside when it was on," he said.

I asked John whether he remembered who Robert was.

"Refresh my memory."

"Robert's the one who keeps asking all these questions . . . like 'Does Wal-mart have soda?' . . . 'Does Target have popcorn?' . . . 'Who bought your shoes?' . . . 'Winna, Winna, 'scuse me Winna' . . . 'Do they have headphones at Wal-mart?' . . . 'When's Christmas coming?' . . . 'How much did your burrito cost?'"

"You had a blog entry called 'How much did your burrito cost?' . . . I read beginning of it."

"That entry's got a lot of Robert in it. Well anyway, when I went to his group home for a week and a half, I brought along this white sound machine. And then when I moved into this group home, I took it with me."

We then progressed to talk about my family and my living arrangements. I told John that I had looked seriously at three group homes:
this one, Robert Bradley's house and a house owned by a woman named Corazón. My parents were not divorced, I told him.

"Do you have any brothers and sisters?", he asked.

I walked to the dresser and got a photograph. "This is my brother, Alex," I said, pointing, "And this is my sister, Elizabeth."

Eventually, we both looked at the clock and it said 3:25. So I said, "It's been nice seeing you, John".

"It's been nice seeing you, James."

John then went to see Aaron. I went into the living room to ask Stan for a chimichanga.

Friday, November 30, 2007

La Netta insulates my forehead

As we made a trip through Albertson's, I looked at some things I would want for lunch. We were headed here instead of our usual fast-food or Chinese-food take-out or burrito truck. They had biscotti and lots of different breads in the deli section, but the one thing I chose was a ham sandwich.

Making sure I had enough money to buy this $3.something purchase, I counted my coins. As I took each quarter, dime or penny out I put it into my hands. I had over $3 in coins in my right hand by the time I was done.

I would use my left hand to interlock to left arm with La Netta's right arm. Through the aisles of Albertson's we perambulated. While we walked, the song "Accidentally in Love" by the Counting Crows played.

"Well baby I surrender/To the strawberry ice xxxxx . . ."

"Blechhh! Did you hear that, La Netta?"

As soon as I got into the van, I would have to purge the I-word off. But what I would actually spend most of my purging time on, I did not yet know.

The cashier took my coins. I handed them all to her, hand to hand, confident that I had exactly the right amount.

She counted them, then said I had an extra nickel. She said she would give the extra nickel to me. I reached my hand out, palm open, and she placed it in. The nickel dropped right out and made a chinging sound.

"Whxxps!", said the cashier.

That clumsy OX! I immediately slammed my forehead and went, "D'OH!" It didn't bop it right in the center the way that feels really good, so I bopped it again. "D'OH!" Then I went for a third time.

La Netta put her hand in front of my forehead to insulate my blow. I said, "D'OH!" a third time and smacked the place again. It went right onto La Netta's hand.

Finally, she took her hand off and I did a "D'OH!" that landed right on the eorehead.

"You said a word he doesn't like," La Netta explained to the cashier.

"You said the WH-word," I told her.

"Oh, sorry", she said.

I checked my hand and found no particles of dead dipser from handling the coins. That means I could start purging immediately without having to wash my hands.

We went into the van and as soon as the side door was closed I unzipped my pants and began purging. The "ice xxxxx" was rather easy. But then came the "whxxps". "Whadoloops, whadoloops, whadolewps, adolewps, whadoloops, adoloops, adolewps".

We went to lunch and they took me to the restroom. It was a building with stone brick walls. Some of the stalls were open at the bottom sides. Looked almost like a cave. I purged there with my "whadoloops"es and my "whadolewps"es as my hands thrust away at my groin. My chants popped dissolutely up as I captured the hollow sound of "whadoloops".

La Netta came to get me. I wasn't ready.

I purged some more. I tried to really get the feeling of her "whxxps", thinking it backward in exactly the same tone the cashier had said it. Then I did some "whadoloops"
es. Then a "whadoloops, adoloops, adolewps, whadoloops, whadolewps, adolewps". Then some "adolewps"es.

La Netta came again. She said she didn't want to be late getting Jolene and Ken and me home. I came out. Then as we drove home I continued to purge in the back seat of the van.

Then we got to my house. Jolene was in the back row with me. She moved her legs to the right so I could step out.

"I'm still not done purging off the WH-word", I told her.

"She didn't know", said La Netta.

"That doesn't make me feel any better", I said.

"Oh".

I got home and refrigerated my sandwich. I then continued with some "whadoloops"es and "whadolewps"es.

Finally I finished, and being able to swallow again, I ate my ham sandwich.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hey!

Twice before my little red radio has come up missing. Today it almost was my third time.

While I was sitting atop my bed resting, I heard the door open. Jason came in and rumbled around.

I heard someone knock a little later on and said, "Come in!" It was Tone (short for Antonio), a staff here.

"How was your day?", Tone asked me.

I stuck my thumb up.

"That's good to hear." Tone left the room.

The door opened and Jason came in again. He left. I looked around and everything was still on the table.

Just after 6:00, I heard my door open a fourth time. Someone turned the light on. I heard some scavenging around.

I looked at my dresser to make sure my favorite radio was still there. It wasn't in its usual place. Jason was walking out of the room.

"Hey!", I shouted.

Jason grunted. I heard him throw a radio down as he turned out the light.

I got up out of bed and
put my sunglasses on. I sure hoped my radio didn't fall behind the dresser where the cobwxbs are. I turned on the light.

I saw the back of my red radio facing me, sitting right next to my CD case, chopsticks and travel silverware on my dresser. It was the part of my dresser right near my door where Jason had dropped it.

That thief! I am going to have to tell Stan about this.

My little red radio has disappeared two times before. The second time I already told you about -- it was after Lamesha stopped working here. It disappeared 11 months ago, in fact.

My first time it disappeared was in the middle of 2006. Stan had rearranged some things in my room. One day I noticed that my radio wasn't in its usual spot. Stan told me he hadn't thrown it away. I looked everywhere -- in every conceivable spot in my room, and then in some inconceivable spots. I finally convinced Stan to search the garbage cans, just in case he had thrown it away by accident. He didn't find it.

Then, a few days later, Lamesha produced the radio that she had given me. It was in the cabinet under the sink of my restroom.

But how did it get there? The only possibility I can think of is that Jason put it there.

This radio was given to me by Lamesha, who no longer works here. When I have the radio with me, I can think about the good times I've had with Lamesha and my friendship with her. We just
loved each other. Ever since she gave me that radio on Christmas of 2005 and I said, "I like it, Lamesha!", her radio has given me months (23 months, so far) of pleasure and cherishing.

I simply have to keep my radio. Stan talked earlier, after Jason stole some cranberry juice in my room, about giving me a lock for my room. Until Stan gives me a lock, I'm keeping my radio with the pants in my chest-of-drawers so Jason doesn't find it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I meet John again

I suppose I owe you an entry about John today, since I went to see him.

Before 2:30, Brenda drove me to the office of the psychologist. At 2:35, Stan was there to walk me up to the office.

I walked right in and John greeted me. He asked how I'd like to begin sessions. I told him that I liked to begin my sessions by telling him any issues that I may have or discussing recent events since I last saw him, but this week I didn't have anything to say. So, I said, I would like you to start the conversation today.

"Would you like me to ask questions?", asked John.

"Yes."

So John's first question was: "How have you been feeling this week?"

"I still miss Lamesha."

"Who's that?"

"Lamesha was a staff who used to work at my group home." I told him about all the things Lamesha had done for me. "Then one day, Lamesha got a job as a bus driver. She worked both driving the bus and as a staff at my home. Then Lamesha told me she wouldn't be working at my group home anymore." I told John how Lamesha had left.

Then I told him that Lamesha would hug me after each shower, and I was writing down the dates of every shower I took.

"How often do you take a shower?"

"Once a week. These last few weeks, I've been taking my showers on Wednesdays."

"Why did Lamesha hug you?"

"As a reward for showering."

"Why don't you like to shower?"

"I get this rush of cold water on my back when I turn the shower on." Then I went on to discuss cleaning out the particles of dead bug, and how time-consuming and requiring of visual acuity it was. "I talk all about it in my blog."

I went on to ask John whether he had read my blog. He told me he had read the seven most recent entries that were on the page. I told him to go to the right of the screen and click on the "September" below the November and October posts.

"I didn't see that when I was looking at your blog", said John.

The topic of conversation shifted to Dr. Levine. "Now, I'm curious as to why you stopped seeing Dr. Levine."

"From what I
understand, my insurance company stopped covering him or something like that."

"How long have you been seeing Dr. Levine?"

"Since my twenty-fifth birthday in 2004."

"And when was the last time you saw him?"

"It was this year, in October or September."

"Now, you told me last time that wien you went to Dr. Kirk he said something he said that disturbed you soooooo much. Did that have anything to do with why you stopped seeing him?"

"Yes, it did."

"Could you tell me what exactly it was he said?"

"I wouldn't be comfortable telling you yet."

Before I knew it, our session was over.

I walked into Stan's car and he helped me with that tricky seatbelt (the seatbelt buckle pops back into a compartment in the middle of the seat row). Then it was Charles' turn. We picked up Aaron and came back for Charles, who rode with us.

R&B songs played on Stan's satellite station. A song came up that said, "And bless me with your beauty", and I covered my ears to avoid hearing the next word, "cutxe". The next few times it came on, I made a "blechhh" sound.

"What's wrong?", asked Stan.

"I was covering my ears so I wouldn't hear the C-word."

Then it came on again.

"What does it rhyme with?"

"It rhymes with 'beauty'. They just said it."

"I bet you hear that word a lot."

"Actually, I don't. We don't listen to any R&B stations at program."

They listened to R&B for a few more songs, then Stan said "Let me see if I can find something for James." He turned to a station that was playing rock.

We listened, then he turned to another rock satellite station. It played some Guns & Roses, then the speaker went on talking about the passing of Quiet Riot rocker Kevin LeBreaux. He talked some more, then we said, "We'll be keeping an exe on it for you."

"Ewww!"

When Aaron was done with his appointment, Stan told me, sitting on the left edge of the back row, to "Scxxt over".

"Rrrrrrrrr!"

"Oh, I'm so sorry. I don't know why I said that."

When I got home, I was a wreck. I told Tiffany about the words and she hugged me. Tiffany's brother had also been fatally shot, so we had another hug for that.

I purged in my room and Aaron kept knocking asking when he could come in, but he couldn't yet. Finally, I let Aaron in.

Then, after a while, I looked around and saw the bathroom open. Rodney was there in his pajamdras. Aaron would have to leave for a little while more so I could purge again. Then I let him back in.

It was 10:30 when I finally ate my warmed-up Chinese food.