Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thoughts on Halloween

Considering that today is October 31, I think I owe you all a blog post about my reactions to Halloween. Halloween, or Samhain, started as a day to scare off evil spirits with "scary" things. Today many fundamentalist Christians believe the day is evil. I hate the day too, but for different reasons.

First, there are the dipsers. Halloween posters and illustrations of various sorts are illustrated with big black dipsers, supposedly spooking people. They don't spook me so much as gross me out. I have to cover my eyes to avoid seeing the dipser stuff when stores do Halloween. Then there are the houses that have fake cobwxb at their doors on Halloween. The more of that cobwxb I see, the more I have to purge. Sometimes it looks just like a big thick sheath of weaving. Real cobwxb is bad enough. I'd hate to get it on my hands. And who could forget those dipser rings (rings around your finge shaped like plastic dipsers) that are sold annually in October? In October 2003 my family got an orange one and it lay on the counter. After the first time I saw it I had to be very careful not to look on the counter again. I'm very lucky I haven't seen any dipser rings this year.

Then there are the sketons. People put paper sketons with all their bxnes showing outside their doors. One year our group home had one and I had to cover my eyes and walk around it when I was going outside or back into the house (which was every program day). I don't like seeing skulls and entire sketons with their bxnes graphically drawn. They're gross just as the dipsers are. One thing I really abhor is when they put bxne footprints over the floor of a store. I have to look at the floor to make sure I don't step on one, and then I see them.

Then there are the wxnking pumpkins. When someone's wxnking it looks is if they had one eye shot out. Luckily hardly anyone uses this facial expression in real life anymore, but it's still common in cartoons and especially anime, as well as online (when fora have images for their emoticons). I'm lucky Fourth Kingdom doesn't have emoticon imgs. When I was in junior high our core classroom would have orange crêpe paper with patterns of various pumpkin faces, and one of the pumpkins was wxnking. I kept accidentally looking at it and purging. In October of 2000 a Mexican restaurant in Moraga, La Fonda, put up this wxnking pumpkin paper. I started purging and purging. I asked one of the waiters where the restroom was, but by then they had already seen me purging. They showed me the way, but when I got back out I started moving to another table (so I would be far away from the pumpkin crêpe paper) and covering all the froks with napkins. The manager said he didn't want me to move to that table because my hands were contaminated and I had been "touching things you shouldn't".

I have to watch out for the costumes too. Rosa's son went as Dipser-man this year. To make sure there are no Dipser-mans (or is that Dipser-men?), I can't look out the window, even to use my laptop, when kids are going trick-or-treating on Halloween. We got lucky this year; we didn't have any trick-or-treaters.

Two Tuesdays ago I went into Taco Bell and they had a poster inside their first door with drawings of several black dipsers at the bottom of a staircase, with some cobwxb at the right. When I got in to make my order there was another poster behind me with a sketon coming out of a coffin. Suffice it to say that I didn't eat my tacos until 5:30 that day.

We had a Halloween party today at CIWP. I had to get away from any Halloweeny decorations there might be, as well as all the words (they might say the WH-word, or they might be serving up ice xxxxx and talk about it) to avoid lots of "What did you say?"s, and I needed to get away from the plastic silverware too. Jolene, however, came as a go-go girl -- she looked great! Jolene had black fishnet stockings and a black skirt with a white and black top.

I stayed in the restroom, and sat there for minutes on end, when I heard a familiar voice calling my name. It was Tiffany! Tiffany had come to the park dressed up as Tina Turner. I came out and talked to her about my horrible day for a while. She asked me if I didn't like social gatherings and I explained to her that I just didn't like Halloween. I told her about all the dreadful Halloween things I have to avoid. Tiffany walked with me to a bench, and while she was walking, she made sure that I didn't touch any trees along the path and get cobwxbs in my hair. When I was done talking with Tiffany she took me back into my restroom.

I remember trick-or-treating, from the year I went dressed up as a cat and traveled around the block for candy. But eventually, the symbols of Halloween just got harder and harder to take, with the purging becoming more and more severe. Walking to a house would set off a fusillade of thrusts when I saw their cobwxb, dipsers and sketon. I can't enjoy Halloween candy (which could have been in any kind of bag) or Halloween baked goods. Like so many other holidays, the thirty-first of October is the world to some people, but the day between October 30 and November 1 to me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The ubiquity of Dipser-man

It seems that Dipser-man is ubiquitous today. In every retail store you go to, there's Dipser-crap galore. All the worse for this arachnophobe (or worse, would that be arachnocathart -- someone who purges at the sight of dipsers?)

Our group (Rosa, Ken and I) went into Target today. They were out of Market Pantry apple juice (the stuff in those huge bottles) so I got a bottle of Mott's apple juice plus a cranberry juice bottle and some Mike & Ike Tangy Twisters. I tried to avoid seeing the Dipser-man merchandise all throughout my trip today, covering up my eyes as we walked through the store. I did a pretty good job at it. Then, just as we were turning the corner to the checkout, the corner of the right eye saw a video game with the telltale red and blue. I looked closer, and the red was indeed Dipser-man's wxbbed body. I would have to do a long purge ritual (though thankfully I hadn't seen the eyes) once I got out of Target.

My purge ritual involves purging off those sticky, pupilless eyes (a lot of adolye, adolye). Then there are all the cobwxbs on his body (something else I don't like about him). I do my "wadoleb, wadoleb, wadoleb, wadoleb, cadolobwadoleb" ritual when I'm done with the eyes. If he's drawn with the dipser on his outfit, I have to purge that off too. Then I have to do a series of "spadolider, spadolider-man" when I'm done with it. It's an exhausting ritual.

It seems that Target, Wal-mart, K-mart and the Dollar Tree all sell Dipser-man junk. Any store of the general sort, and you'll see him unless you close your eyes throughout the trip. I like going in with La Netta so I can close my eyes and hold onto her arm. Even the juice sections have introduced Dipser-man in their CapriSuns lately. And some Dollar Trees have candy sections with Dipser-man chocolates. Blechhh! Toys 'R' Us is also a dangerous place to go into. And even though I thought it was one of the safest places to look around, Big Five, a sporting goods store, turned out to have Dipser-man kites.

When I was 4, 5, 6, I knew Dipser-man only as a character on The Electric Company. At 6 I developed my first purging ritual against dipsers and would purge him off if I saw him. As my childhood progressed I recognized him as a major superhero alongside Batman and Superman, but still saw him infrequently. At 13 ane 14 I often saw him on Fox Kids, the same station as such shows as Animaniacs and the Power Rangers. Sometimes my brother would accidentally keep the television on after it began, and we'd see the beginning. The purging ritual by now was much more severe. One day when I was 14 I spent what must have been an hour purging after I saw Dipser-man in a video game rental. I was still purging before eating my McDonald's and my mother said "It seems your food compulsions are getting worse". And there was that time in the suffer of 1995 when A&W root beer was sponsored by Dipser-man (or were they sponsoring him?) and I had to remember not to look inside the fridge of our summer vacation home on Orcas Island. The occasional sight would send me purging like crazy, but I still felt safe looking around stores.

Then came the first Dipser-man movie in 2002. The toy section of every grocery store and drugstore (such as my local Long's) carried Dipser-man stuff, so I couldn't go there to look at the beanie babies or S Club 7 dolls anymore. School binders were adorned by Dipser-man's face, lunchboxes and lunchbags had "Dipsey" on them and several video games featured the character. Dipser-man DVD's appeared on DVD service (like Netflix) ads and newspaper articles about DVD's. Pop-ups on the Internet featured images of the superhero. I thought it was going to abate, but a sequel to the movie came in 2004, and then later I heard about a third movie in 2007. One day, we're going to have Dipser-man XIII.

Maybe I should only look around in health food stores and Ikea. Those will be safe.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The harvestman in the attic

There is a harvestman living on the ceiling in my room. I first noticed it about a month ago. It is hanging upside-down on the ceiling, suspended by the wxb it has made.

When I see it, I have to do the same purging ritual I do for dipsers. The purging just for one little harvestman is time-consuming (and energy-consuming), so I try to avoid seeing it.

I lie on my left side on my bed and I'm facing the other direction, so I'm safe. But occasionally I need to turn over and spend some time lying on my right side, where I'm facing the side of the room that has it. I can close my eyes, but they might pop open. I need to be facing my direct left, rather than sort of upward, and I often put a hand over the left side of my face to shield myself from the direction of the bug.

I like to have my light off as much as possible so I don't see it at night. When I had the light broken and the lamp in my room, I couldn't always ask Stan to turn it off for me because I was afraid he'd tell me to do it myself. Therefore I slept some nights with the lamp on and I accidentally saw it a few times. Now the light switch is fixed and I can turn off my light whenever I'm in bed at night. and still turn it on when I need it. But when I'm in bed during the day, I still run the risk of seeing the harvestman.

I can't tell my staff to go and kill it because that would result in something worse than seeing a harvestman. Stan or whoever would go up to get the thing in its little wxb and cobwxbs would fall down from the ceiling, and some may even land on my bed, contaminating it with cobwxb.

So tell me, what should I do to get rid of it? What can I do about it? I welcome all my readers to answer its question through the comments option.

Friday, October 26, 2007

God, I hate KBLX

KBLX is a station that plays "smooth R&B" -- not-too-rappish contemporary songs from African-American artists. Its name appears to come from the syllable "blax" as in "blaxploitaion". Every 30 minutes or so throughout the day, the station does traffic.

On Wednesday, as we were getting out of the van, I asked La Netta if she could deprogram KBLX from our van's radio buttons. She said we could sit down together and fix the stations "tomorrow".

Thorsday came, and Rosa instead of La Netta was driving. We didn't get to change the stations.

Then La Netta came back again today. (Yay!)

I asked her if we could change KBLX to Live 105 (a Bay Area station that plays hard alternative music, including nu-metal).

She said we needed KBLX so we had a station to turn to when both KOIT and Alice were playing commercials.

"Then why can't we just turn to Live 105 when they play commercials?"

She said that we had four stations. We have KOIT, KBLX, Alice and the jazz station (KKSF).

I said that we could have KOIT, Live 105, Alice and KKSF.

"This is what we could change," said La Netta, and then she hit the KMEL button on our van radio.

KMEL (as in melanin) is a station that plays rap. When I hear rap, I feel like I have to lie down. The words are going so fast that I have to listen every second to make sure they're not saying any of those words. Listening out for the words uses a lot of my brain. And since I'm not a fan of the rap genre, I don't know any of the songs on the rap stations and I have to listen beginning-to-end on every song. With genres I'm familiar with, like alternative, oldies or adult contemporary, I can just space out during most of the songs. But with rap I don't get to take a break.

"The thing is, with KMEL, they do traffic all day long, instead of only before 9 and after 4 like most of the stations," I said.

"Well, I'll be sure, when the songs end and they start talking, to change the station," said La Netta.

"What I'm afraid of is that you'll be switching stations when another station has a commercial break and you're going to switch to KBLX right while they're doing traffic, and I'll hear the M-word."

"You like the songs KBLX plays", said La Netta.

"No, I don't. I don't know any of their songs, except when it's playing 'Fantasy' by Earth, Wind and Fire."

"You don't?"

I told her we could change KMEL to Star 101.3 while we were changing KBLX to Live 105.

"Well, we already have three stations for you. We've got to have some stations the other people like."

"Ken, are there any stations you particularly like or dislike?"

Then La Netta asked Jolene. "Jolene, do you like KBLX?"

"Yes, I do," Jolene said.

Then I suggested we change KBLX and keep KMEL.

"You'd rather listen to KMEL than KBLX?!", replied La Netta. "KBLX has very subtle music. KMEL is more upbeat."

We visited a Chinese restaurant called Chef's to get our lunch. The items in there are labeled in English and Spanish. One I saw, eggplant with chicken, was labeled as "verenjena con pollo" in Spanish.

"?Tiene la verenjena algunos huesos?", I asked her. I wanted to know if it had any bxnes.

"No, ningunos huesos," she replied.

"Voy a tener la verenjena con pollo, el pollo con ajonjoli y el chow mein", I said, selecting some sesame seed chicken to accompany my eggplant dish.

We took a break at a park called Hanna Ranch. We talked about Thanksgiving. La Netta asked me if I liked turkey, and I told her I didn't eat it at Thanksgiving. She asked whether I liked cranberry sauce, and I said yes. Then she asked whether Jolene liked cranberry sauce.

"Yes, I do", said Jolene, "My favorite."

We then had to hop in the van to make it to the office in time to meet Paula Richardson. I went to the bathroom while I could since she wasn't there yet, then when I was washing my hands La Netta knocked on the door.

"Is she there yet?"

"She is."

I exited the restroom and found my way into the conference room where Paula Richardson was. We
started talking, then I called La Netta in.

Paula Richardson suggested that I could start seeing Aaron's psychologist, John. The idea was that I would be driven over once a week. I didn't want to drive there and back every week; the drives will be just too much trouble. She suggested that at least I could try it. I said I'd try one week. She said that was a good idea, and that I could keep going if I liked it. I only wish I saw Dr. Levine that often instead.

I asked her whether she looked at my blog, and she said she visited a few days ago. She asked me whether she was in there for appearing at the annual meeting, and I said I think I put her in there. I told her to start at the beginning.

Paula Richardson also talked about getting work here. She asked whether I was interested in getting a job at CIWP, and I said no. She knows I use the Internet, so she suggested I find some work as a computer programmer. I told her that I'm no good at computer programming. I don't know how to write code. I don't know anything about Linux or BitTorrents.

We said good-bye and I was back in the van with La Netta. As we did drops, we talked some more about KBLX. We were unable to decide on what to do with the radio buttons, however.

If only issues could be resolved in one day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I've been told I was rude

La Netta's group had made it to the office. I was sitting in the van with Rosa and Jolene when I heard La Netta start to hold a conversation outside with Wanda. I heard something that sounded like the M-word. "La Netta!", I asked. "Did she say the M-word?"

No response. "La Netta!", I called again.

"She's outside," said Rosa, "She's having a conversation. Wait until she's finished."

"But if I wait until they're finished, she might not be able to remember if she said the M-word!"

I started to get out of the van.

"You're being very rude!", said Rosa.

By the time I got out of the van and walked up to them the conversation was over. "Are you going to go to the restroom so we can get on with our day?", La Netta asked.

"I just needed to get away from your conversation," I said.

"The conversation is over."

"Did she say the M-word?", I asked La Netta.


I told her about what Rosa had said.

"I don't think you're ever rude," said La Netta. Good old La Netta.

As we got back in the van to drive to out next site, Robert asked me, "Who bought your shoes, your mom?"

"Yes!", I replied. "She did. She ordered them from New Balance."

"James," said Rosa, "Don't answer that question anymore. Robert's already asked that question a lot yesterday."

We drove in front of Didi's, a store that sold clothes. Rosa, Ken and Robert went in. When they got back, Ken and Rosa were talking about how Robert had asked clerks where their headphones were five times.

We drove up to the bowling alley. "Who's going to bowl?", asked La Netta.

"I am!," I said.

Shawntay said she wanted to bowl. Then Robert said he wanted to bowl.

"Do you have any money?," asked Rosa.

They looked and Robert didn't have any money.

We drove up to Target. Rosa told Robert, no asking about soda or headphones this time, don't bother any of the clerks. Robert had promised to be good, then right as we were about to get out, Robert shoved Ken.

Rosa told Robert no going to Target this time. Rosa walked in with Shawntay, Ken and me, leaving Robert behind with La Netta.

Rosa was Halloween shopping. She wanted to get a Dipser-man costume for her 5-year-old son Ricky while they were at Target. Shawntay picked up various Dipser-man costumes with Rosa. Now I would have to purge. God, I hate Dipser-man.

Finally Rosa selected one and we could go to the juice aisle. As Rosa had touched Dipser-man costumes, I would have to carry my two bottles of Market Pantry apple juice myself.

We finally made it to the check-out counter. I put a separating bar behind my juices as I went ahead of Rosa. As the items moved along the check-out counter, I noticed Rosa's Dipser-man costume sitting dangerously close to my apple juice, so I moved them farther away from the separating bar. "So they don't touch," I said.

Rosa apologized.

When we got back, Robert asked why he didn't get to go to Target. The coaches told him that it was because he had pushed Ken.

"Why can't we go bowling asked Robert?"

"Because you didn't have any money," said Rosa.

He proceeded to ask various people in the van why we couldn't bowl today. He also touched the Dipser-man costume.

Robert tried to touch me and I shirked away.

Robert touched Ken and Rosa told him to get his hands off. On his way home he played with Rosa, and asked where Halloween was. He touched and bopped Rosa several times. "Robert!", she would yell at him.

She stopped answering his questions about headphones, money, Target, Halloween and Christmas. Rosa told Robert to behave several times during drops. "Move over, move over, and get your hands off of me!"

She took away Robert's hat and said she'd give it back at the end of the day.

"Scxxt over!", she said.

"Rrrrrrrr!" Now I would have to purge when I got home.


When Robert finally got home, they said it was "always an adventure with Robert".

"Rosa," I told her, "La Netta says she doesn't think I'm ever rude. Is that what you said, La Netta?"

"It is," said La Netta.

"I said it would be rude. It would be rude to interrupt her," said Rosa. "It's rude to interrupt people without saying 'excuse me'."

"Well," I said, "When Robert says 'excuse me', you still tell him he's being rude. Winna, Winna, 'scuse me, Winna."

"One of the things we're trying to work on with Robert is get him to stop asking the same question over and over and over and over and over again. It's rude to ask a question over and over. James, where did you get them shoes? James, where did you get them shoes? Don't you think?"

"It is", I said. "Or at least annoying." Then I laughed.

"So I just don't want Robert to ask people the same question again and again, or you to interrupt people to ask what they were saying."

"What I'm worried about is that if I wait too long to ask La Netta, she won't be able to remember whether she said the M-word."

La Netta jumped in. "Well, from working with you, one of the things I've learned to do is pay attention to my words. I'm not perfect -- everyone makes mistakes -- but I remember what I say, because I know you might ask me afterwards."

I love La Netta.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ice xxxxx dreams

Last night I dreamt I saw ice xxxxx. Crab ice xxxx and several other flavors. There was a picture of various flavors, including the crab ice xxxxx, with links to the Wikipedia articles on the flavors. All the flavors were notable enough for Wikipedia, which surprised me, as I hadn't seen a newspaper cover crab ice xxxxx before (but I did remember it from somewhere). Luckily, I didn't actually see the I-word anywhere in the picture.

Then we got to the really gross part of the dream. I was eating ice xxxxx. I ate ice xxxxx in several different colors. There were orange, and yellow, together like in Neapolitan. I ate a different flavor, and thought it wasn't ice xxxxx, but then it occurred to me that everything I was eating was ice xxxxx. It didn't bother me, though, since by then I had figured out I was in a dream.

Good thing it was just a dream, since then I didn't have to purge when I woke up.

"Ice Xxxxx Dreams" is the actual title of a Sweet Pickles book.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Along came a dipser

I noticed a dipser on my wall at 1:20 today. It was right behind my lamp. I called for Tiffany, and she came to get it. She had to move the lamp, but she finally killed it with some toilet paper. I thanked Tiffany, and then went on to purging.

This had been some big dipser. I started by saying "adolye, adolye, adolye, adolye, adolye, adolye, adolye, adolye" to purge off the dipser's eight exes. With my eyes still closed, I purged off my own two legs then did eight "ladoreg" rituals to purge off the dipser's legs. Each "ladoreg" ritual consisted of saying "ladoreg; ladoreg, ladoreg, ladoreg, ladoreg; ladoreg, ladoreg, ladoreg, ladoreg; ladoreg, ladoreg, ladoreg, ladoreg". A final "ladoreg" that went up my abdomen completed that part. The purging isn't "smart", so it doesn't know that "ladoreg" is meant to purge off the dipser's legs and not my own legs. It assumes that chanting a word in "killed" form refers to the last object of that type I have seen or the last word of that type I have heard or read. Therefore, I had to purge off my own two legs first.

Not having to avoid seeing my own two legs anymore, I opened my eyes. I then did a "spadolider" ritual, starting with thirteen spadoliders for the general shape of it, then a fourteenth that would sum the beginning spadoliders up. I then said "spadolider" 120 times, then did 40 "taradolantula"s.

I then did twelve mixed spadoliders and taradolantulas, then gave one big "taradolantula" that went over my abdomen and chest and felt like getting a meaty txrxntula out of my body. Six "spadolider"s that accompanied a visual picturing of a dipser that the angularity of its body (the legs forming a straight angle with the abdomen) swept the feeling up, then I did one "spadolider" thrust that covered the whole thing, and made a final "spadolider" over my abdomen and right out my mouth.

I don't encounter dipsers often in this house. They're rare enough that I feel comfortable living here. When I was living at my parents' house, I didn't feel comfortable or safe in my own home. I saw about two dipsers every three days. Moving here was like a relief. Plus, here I've got Tiffany.

And I even had Lamesha.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Death of a president

Today is October 19, 2007. This is the day that George W. Bush is assassinated in the movie Death of a President. We talked about at CIWP today. Kay said that if Chimpy McFlightsuit were assassinated, even liberals would mourn their president. La Netta said she's always said when people pass away. She was sad when Brandi passed away, she'd be sad (albeit not as sad) if Ayyoon passed away, and she even cried for Nixon in 1994.

As for me, I'd be happy if the prezadunt were to die in office. But an assassination wouldn't satisfy me. What I'd really like to see is King George put on military tribunal for his crimes in office (stealing an election, lying about WMD's, etc.) and sentenced to capital punishment. It's unnerving that some people predict Shrubbleyou will prevent the 2008 elections so he won't be tried for his crimes by the successive presidency. "And Bushitler will be president until he dies", one person put it.

We went to the Pacific East Ranch Market today. La Netta, Ken and I walked in while Kay's core group of Ayyoon and Sayun were doing work in the office. (Jolene had a cold and had to go home.)

"They have cherimoyas, La Netta."

"$4.89 for a pound."

"Are you going to get the bananas?"

"No, I'm just looking."

La Netta picked up a brown, scaly fruit. "What's this?"

I looked at the label. "Oh, it says it's a durian. Those are the fruit that smell really bad."

An Asian woman who worked there said, "Durians are really good." She convinced us to try them and enjoy their taste.

"Well, we'll have to buy a durian sometime," said La Netta. "What do you say?"

"Yes, let's try a durian," I said.

We walked right out of the fruit aisle and into the seafood aisle. "I'm anosmic, so durians can't hurt me", I said.

"I was just about to say that", said La Netta.

I bought some aloe juice. I looked at another product. "Crisp and Txsty", it said. I would have to go into the restroom to purge off the word "txsty".

Finally, I got some rice crackers and we were good to go. While we were at the checkout counter, I looked back at La Netta's purchases and discovered she had one of the bags that said "Crisp and Txsty" on it. Now I would have to purge a second time.

We made it to the office. I went into the bathroom and unzipped my pants to purge off the T-word. You see, The Adventures of Pete and Pete had had an anthropomorphic ice xxxxx cone named Mr. Txstee, and so I came to associate the word "txsty" with ice xxxxx. I work it into my purges.

I started out with all the occurrences of "ice" or "cream" that I had heard, since the word "ice xxxxx" has a sort of subordinate relation to the word "txsty". I had seen and said something about rice crackers, so the "ice" in "rice" had to be purged off. Cire, mearc cie, I thought. "Adolice, adolice cradoleam, adolice cradoleam", I chanted.

I then started off the main word with with six thrusts at the bottom of my groin accompanying my saying "tadolasty". Then I did a seventh that really captured the feeling of the word. Four tadolasty's at the left, four tadolasty's at the right. Another four tadolasty's at the left, another four tadolasty's at the right. A tadolasty, and then an adolice cradoleam. Six thrusts at the bottom, then a seventh to capture the feeling of the word perfectly. Four tadolasty's at the left, four tadolasty's at the right. Another four tadolasty's at the left, another four tadolasty's at the right. Then I did a "tadolasty" that really summed up the whole feeling of the purge, and did a twin "tadolasty" that went right up over the front of my body. I did an "adolice cradoleam" thrust below, then an "adolice cradoleam" to go over the front of my body.

Then I repeated the process for the second time I had seen the word.

Later that day, our group headed out towards the mission. La Netta stayed in the van, while Kay, Ken, Ayyoon, Sayun and I went in. There was nothing but bread in open bags and bread in those bags with tiny holes in them, so I didn't pick anything up. Right as we were leaving, a woman with a little girl with her walked right by us and said something that sounded like "(Wh)xxps, excuse me", to a person nearby.

"Did she say the WH-word?", I asked Kay.


"The woman who said 'excuse me'."

"I didn't hear her."

Later I got in the van and asked Ken, "Ken, you know that lady who said 'excuse me'?"


"Did she say the WH-word, or the OO-word?"

"She said the OO-word."

"Thanks, Ken."

La Netta got in the van. It was 1:00, and we needed somewhere to go to spend the last of our time. "Do you need to go to the bathroom?", La Netta asked me.

"Well, while I was in the mission, I heard this woman saying, 'The WH-word, excuse me'," I said.

"Oh dear", said La Netta.

"And I asked Kay what she said, but Kay wasn't listening. But then I asked Ken, and Ken heard what she said, right Ken?"

"No," Ken said this time.

"You don't know whether she said the WH-word or the OO-word?"

"I don't know."

"But Ken, you just told me she said the OO-word."

"I didn't hear WHAT she said."

"At least you heard the lady saying 'excuse me', right?"

"No, I didn't even hear that. I was talking to Kay."

"How come I'm the only one who EVER hears what people are saying?"

"I wasn't paying attention," Kay said. "I was only paying attention to my conversation."

"Listen," said Ayyoon, "Those people are not in our program. Why should it bother you?"

"What does THAT have to do with anything?", I asked Ayyoon.

"They don't know. People who are outside of our group don't know the M-word."

"Well, that doesn't make me eeel any better."

We drove off to Miller's Knots' restroom, where I purged off the WH-word, with all my whadoloopses and whadolewpses and adoloopses and adolewpses.

I guess I'm going to have to start going everywhere with La Netta instead of someone like Kay or Rosa. La Netta's the only one who always hears what other people around us are saying. I try my hardest to hear people, but sometimes the words are so blurry and I can't make out what words others are saying.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Song lyrics

A few days ago, we were listening to Alice in the van when the song "Her Eyes" by Pat Monahan came up. It had gotten to the part where Pat sings "and doesn't take --"

I covered my ears and shouted, "Ssem!"

La Netta turned the radio off. "What's wrong?", she asked.

"I was just drowning out the M-word", I said. "Doesn't take . . . the M-word."

"That's 'meds'!," said La Netta. "Doesn't take meds".

"Oh, OK." She asked if I wanted the radio back on, and I said yes. We listened to the rest of the song without incident.

Today we were listening to Alice and the song came on again. The song played its course:

Like everybody, she's in over her head
Dreads Feds, Grateful Dead, and doesn't take meds
She's a Gemini Capricorn
Thinks all men are addicted to porn
I don't agree with her . . .

Just then, La Netta turned off the radio. "Oh James," she said, "I am so sorry".

"Sorry?," I asked. "That's 'meds'."

"It is?", she asked.

"Yes. That's what you told me last time, isn't it? Doesn't take meds?"


"I looked it up on the Internet and you were right. In over her head, dreads Feds, the Grateful Dead, and doesn't take meds. All words that end in -ed".

La Netta seemed relieved that I would not have to purge. Nonetheless, she kept the radio off for a few minutes. Eventually she turned it back on.

Soon, they played the new Maroon 5. I heard their song "Wake-up Call" for the first time.

It was going smoothly until they reached a part that sounded like "What I need is love, more than ice xxxxx, love". The first time I thought it must be something else, but the second time they repeated that line it really, really sounded like the I-word. It had to be the I-word.

"La Netta, did they say the I-word?"

"They didn't say anything that you didn't like," said La Netta.

"What's that part that sounds like, 'What I need is love, more than the I-word, love'?"

"Let me listen for it," said La Netta.

Eventually, La Netta told me, "It's 'I don't think so'."

"No, not that part, La Netta. Another part. More than something, love. Listen again."

So La Netta turned the volume back up and continued listening. Soon she turned it off again, and said, "I don't feel so bad."

"That's not it. Keep listening."

We listened for the rest of the song. They didn't repeat it. But when we got to my house Stan was already there and Aaron opened the door for me.

Aaron wanted to greet me. Stan said, "Please close the door -- the flies are coming in."

I walked into my room, talking to Aaron. I pulled up Google and typed in the query:

"wake up call" "maroon 5" bed woman

I found the real lyrics. The real words were: "If you needed love, well then ask for love". Ask for! Now I wouldn't have to purge. Aaron left the room and I could eat my burrito.

Then I finished my burrito and called Aaron back in. We visited a Pokémon site, then we navigated (a site I introduced him to) together. I then left the room as he went to play some BattleOn. All the song lyrics had been innocuous.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How to say the M-word

I love the rain. When it's raining outside, there's a sort of mystical quality to it. When there is rain, and I'm inside my room, or in the van, or inside a store, or even in a telephone booth, I have this feeling of being protected, as if nothing can hurt me. The rain is pouring and it's not getting me. Even when it's raining on me, I enjoy the feeling of the search for shelter.

It rained as I got into the van that would take me to CIWP. Tiffany had teamed up with La Netta, and was picking up members of her group. Shawn Snodgrass, also known as Baby Shawn, was in there, as was Tully (a nonverbal autistic man who rocks) and Rodney Poche (a man with multople personality disorder who talks to himself and lives at my house). La Netta had Jolene and me. Tiffany asked if I'd rather have Tully or Rodney in the back seat of the van with me. I chose Tully, so I wouldn't have to see Rodney's Dipser-man backpack.

Tiffany and La Netta talked about the rain. The rain had made the roads slippery.

Tiffany had a conversation via cell phone with a friend who had had a traffic accident in the slippery rain today. I heard Tiffany say something that sounded like "a mxss kit." Then she said, "Sorry, James."

"Did you say the M-word?", I asked her.

"No, I said 'an accident'."

"Then why did you say 'sorry'?"

"Because I'm so used to saying sorry . . . I don't want to offend you."

I had avoided the M-word that time, but later on Tiffany was making a call on her cellphone and she told her interlocutor, "It's going to be a hot mxss".


Tiffany apologized to me, and terminated her cell phone conversation, saying "I'll call you back." She told me that "hot mxss" meant there was going to be a lot of drama. Another piece of slang from this area that's unfamiliar to me. (For instance, when I first started coming to program, I heard people say they were going to "slap the mxss out of" someone. I had never heard that phrase in my life when I lived in Moraga.)

We made a stop at Burger King, and I purged inside the Burger King restroom. We then went into Barnes & Noble, which we had rescheduled after Robert forestalled our last trip. We saw Darnell, who's been driving with La Netta's group lately, and David Squibb was in the coffeeshop with him. David said he was going bowling soon, and I told him I hope he gets another 200 (David once got all strikes). Darnell talked with La Netta about the rearranging of the groups and the way they made last-minute changes to the schedule and assignments. At the end he said, "It's just a mxss".


La Netta said she would take me somewhere to purge.

So I went in the Vincent Park restroom and I purged, purged, purged off that second M-word. When I got back in the van we drove off somewhere to get Chinese food. First Tiffany went out to get hers. While Tiffany was in the restaurant, Tully hit Jolene, who was sitting in the middle row.

"Owwww! What's the matter with you?" was Jolene's reply.

When Tiefany came back in I told her that Tully had hit Jolene.

Tiffany said she was going to have to move him. "Do you mind if Baby Shawn sits next to you?"

"I don't mind," I told her.

So I got out of the van and entered the restaurant to get a Styrofoam container full of chow mein, broccoli beef and pot stickers. When I got back in, Shawn was sitting next to me.

They had KBLX on in the van and I asked them to switch to Alice (the station KLLC, or 97.3). There was still a lot of talking while the radio was playing. Baby Shawn said his favorite word ("Loooooooooook!")

Tiffany and La Netta talked about the rain some more. "It's going to be an excuse for an accident. Look at all this traffic."


Tiffany said she didn't say the M-word. "I said 'traffic'", she said.

I asked La Netta and La Netta said, "Tiffany didn't say the M-word. She said 'Look at all this traffic'."

"But what did she say before that?," I asked.

La Netta finally told me what Tiffany's previous sentence had been. "She said, 'It's going to be an excuse for an accident'." I figured out that the N in "an" had sounded like an M, and the first syllable in the next word, "excuse", had had an E and and S sound (eks).

"James", said Tiffany, "You know I wouldn't say words to offend you. I love you. I know what words you don't like." She paused. "I know I mxssed up today . . ."

Then she realized she had just said the M-word. She laughed. La Netta laughed. I laughed.

When we stopped at Fernandez Park, we didn't get out to eat our lunch. Instead the others ate lunch in the van. Not having chopsticks with me, I didn't eat my Chinese food. I would take that home. The radio played on and on, and La Netta and Tiffany talked on and on. I had to listen to both the conversation and the songs on the radio. I had to use the full force of my brain to listen to every word clearly and make sure that none of the purge-inducing words were being spoken or sung. This gave me the feeling that my head was going to explode, so I walked out and hit the Fernandez Park restroom.

Eventually I heard the footsteps of Jolene's walker. Before long, Jolene had finished changing herself, and La Netta asked whether I was ready to go home. I was.

As we drove home, I heard Tiffany say something that sounded vaguely like, "Did you see that mxss?"

I asked, "Did you say, 'Did you see that net'?"

"Yes," she said, "Did you see that net."

"Was it a basketball net?"

"Yes, a basketball net. Did you see it?"

I, having my eyes closed, hadn't seen it.

"It was decorated for Halloween," added La Netta.

We dropped off Tully and Baby Shawn, then we got to Rodney and my house. We turned the radio off and waited right through the second hour p.m. for Stan to arrive. Tiffany made a conversation on her cell phone. Then I heard her say something about the rain and something that sounded like the M-word.

"Did you say the M-word, Tiffany?"

Tiffany explained that she had just said that the rain was cutting off her connection and that she would have to terminate her cell phone conversation. Tiffany was done talking on the phone. That made a lot of times I thought I heard the M-word but didn't, and three times I actually did.

The use of the M-word in connection with traffic is the worst kind of M-word. I don't like people talking about traffic at all because I'm so afraid they'll use it. When traffic comes on on the radio I have to have someone turn the station off or switch the station immediately, because they say the M-word so often when they cover traffic on the radio.

It was 3:03 and Stan still hadn't gotten here. This was the longest it had taken him to come. He would probably give an excuse as to why he was so late.

"I hope he doesn't say, 'There was an M-word on the roads'," I said.

"Yeah, there have really been a lot of back-ups in this rain today," said La Netta. "People drive fast and think they can be careless like they usually do, but the roads are slippery today and people have accidents."

Stan finally got here. I ascertained that Rodney had gotten out of the van already so I didn't accidentally see his backpack while I stepped out, and then La Netta told me that Rodney was already in his house. No danger of seeing his backpack. I finally stepped into the house, with my Chinese food, and felt so sheltered from all of the rain.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Master list

Here it is, the master list of words that make me purge. For everyone who wanted to know.

axx oxxx the pxxxx
every xxxxx way
(keep an) exe on
(plastic) frok
ice xxxxx
pajxmxs, jammxes, px's
pardon (when used to mean "I didn't hear what you said")


shxke (noun, as in milkshxke)
txx hxx

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Liar of Jacuzzi Street

At CIWP there is a man named Ayyoon Saechao. He is a Mien immigrant who speaks broken English and still doesn't know some of the English words people use. Ayyoon has epilepsy, and when he drinks he gives himself seizures.

But what I note Ayyoon the most for is his lies. Ayyoon will tell a lie, and then hold on to it tenaciously, as if his life depended on it, until it has been proven beyond even a shadow of a doubt that he is lying.

We used to have Ayyoon with my group. It was La Netta, Jolene, Ken, Ayyoon and me, but Ayyoon left in the summer of 2006.

One day in 2005, I was in the Chinese Restaurant in Uppertail getting my food, when all of a sudden La Netta looked out the window of the restaurant and called out, "Ayyoon!"

She dashed out. "Ayyoon!"

There she saw Ayyoon flipping a car antenna, looking around circumspectly, and trying to break it again.

When we got back into the van, La Netta lectured Ayyoon about the dangers of breaking off an antenna. She told him that someone could beat him up if that person caught him trying to vandalize his/her car.

Now, Ayyoon had previously been a cocaine user and broken free of his habit. La Netta asked Ayyoon if he had been relapsing onto drugs.

"Ohhhhhhhh, no!," Ayyoon replied. "I'm not that kind of guy anymore!"

La Netta explained that people would break antennas off cars in order to make crack pipes. When she asked him why he tried to break it off, Ayyoon had a lie ready.

"I was just trying to test the hardness of the antenna!" Ayyoon said that he needed an antenna for his television set, and he needed to make sure he got a brand that wouldn't break. He was seeing if that type of car antenna was any good.

Ayyoon begged La Netta not to tell Ken Powell or Lita about it, because if she did they would take away his job at Cold Stone. (Ayyoon had been fired for stealing a candy bar from his Cold Stone employment place before and giving it to Donnie Niece, and now he had been hired at Cold Stone again and this was his last chance.) La Netta explained to Ayyoon why she had to write it in his book.

Oh, and Ayyoon's claim that he wasn't relapsing onto drugs? Ayyoon came in with a mark on his hand shortly after the antenna incident and told us it was a burn. But then his case manager, Nai-lin, called in and told La Netta the real story: Ayyoon's mother had caught him with drug paraphernalia and whipped him on the hand.

Ayyoon's cocaine addiction became more and more evident, and he would steal and borrow money from fellow clients, CIWP coaches and parents to wait on a corner for the drug dealer. One day he came to program and ranted about his parents falsely accusing him of stealing their money. He went on and on about it in a Saechaoesque excogitation. La Netta told me privately that she thinks he really did try to steal his parents' money.

The cocaine was taking a toll on his appetite, and he was not going out for chicken at El Pollo Loco as he used to. When he didn't finish the lunch he had brought one day, he told La Netta to lie and say yes if his mother asked whether he ate his food.

Then one day at Cold Stone, Donnie complained that Ayyoon had borrowed $20 from him and wouldn't give it back. Knowing that borrowing money would mean the loss of his job, Ayyoon swore innocence to Lita and Ken Powell. It turned out that Brandi Johnson had been a witness to the Donnie/Ayyoon incident and told Lita and Mr. Powell that she saw Donnie lend Ayyoon the money too, but Ayyoon asseverated that he had not asked Donnie for any money. "I don't know why Donnie says I borrowed money from him!"

They called Donnie and Ayyoon in for a conference, with Donnie calling Ayyoon a liar and Ayyoon calling Donnie a liar. The conference culminated with Ayyoon losing his job.

Ayyoon was given the job back later to replace Donnie when the latter fractured his foot. When they brought it up months later, he said that yes, yes, he did borrow money from Donnie.

After being given his job back, Ayyoon was doing cleaning duty in Lita's room in the office. Lita came in in the midst of it and caught Ayyoon red-handed going in her desk. Voilà!

Ayyoon kept to his story that he was "just looking for something to color" with the markers on the desk, but Lita and La Netta knew better. They said he was looking for money to steal. Lita made it clear that this was his absolute last chance before he had his job taken away forever.

One day, Ayyoon told his mother that he needed money on Friday so he could go out with Brenda's group to eat at Hometown Buffet. His mother came out Friday morning and asked La Netta about Hometown, and La Netta said Ayyoon wasn't scheduled to go. His mother shouted something at him in Mien with a look on her face that was clearly shaming. Obviously she was saying he was a liar. He must have wanted that money from her so he could go out and buy some coke or alcohol. (Ayyoon's mother for years has kept the money he earns so he doesn't spend it all on beer and cocaine.)

Recently, Ayyoon's been in the van with La Netta and me again. Not long ago, we were in Cliff's van when Cliff was listening to one of those radio stations I hate like KBLX, where I don't know the words to any of the songs. I asked if I could have KOIT instead. Cliff changed the station and it was on a commercial break.

Now, I hate commercials, because they seem to be swarming with purge-inducing words like dirty animals, while the songs on KOIT are so clean. "Commercial break!", I said in my usual way.

"I thought you wanted to listen to this station. Now you want me to turn it off", said Cliff.

I told him that I had not expected it would be on a commercial break. So
Cliff turned it off.

Cliff made a stop and got out of the van. After Cliff got out, Ayyoon said, "He always wants to have his way."

"I just don't want to have to purge, OK!", I replied immediately.

"I wasn't talking about you!", Ayyoon stormed back.

"Yeah, right."

"I was talking about somebody in my house who always want to have his way."

"Give it up, Ayyoon."

I asked Ken if he had been talking with Ayyoon about this particular person at his house. Ken said no. I asked La Netta and she also said no. I pointed out that he couldn't have been talking about it with Cliff, since he said "He always wants to have his way" after Cliff had left the van. And if he were talking with Sayun, he would have said it in Mien. And he certainly doesn't speak to Jolene.

Ayyoon said, "Someday, I am not going to play with you, and I will pop you."

"What does 'pop' mean?", I asked. This part of the county is full of slang I still have yet to learn.

"Hit. I'm going to hit you."

La Netta told me later when I was walking with her that she knew Ayyoon was fibbing again.

So last night, I had a dream that Ayyoon told a lie, and I called him a liar. The man said, "I'm going to pop you", and he hit me. I hit him back.

The Liar of Jacuzzi Street got into the van this morning and told Jolene, "Scxxt over, please."


He apologized. I solved Jeremiah's Problem of the Week for La Netta (this one involved a square with nine smaller squares inside it all made of of toothpicks, and you had to remove eight toothpicks to get two squares). Then I told him and everyone in the van about this dream.

"Why did I hit you?", Ayyoon asked.

"Because I called you a liar," I said. He had clearly missed this piece of information.

"Have I ever hit you?", he asked.

"It was a dream," said La Netta.

"And", she added, "Let's let it stay that way."

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The future's so bright since I've got my shades back

Wednesday night, I was changing my shirt in the dark. I had just taken my shower and found one new thing to hate about showers: changing in the dark afterwards.

I take my showers at 10 p.m., when the sun has gone down. My light in my room has been dead for four months, so I can't turn it on. Stan installed a lamp in my room, but I'm worried there are cobwxbs in there and I'll get them on my hand if I touch the switch, so I can't turn it on or off. I get Tiffany to do the turning on and off.

Well, I had changed my shirt and I needed to go into the bathroom. I had forgotten I had taken my sunglasses off. So I stepped out the door, now with my shoes on, and I heard a snapping sound. What could it be?, I thought. Then it struck me: My sunglasses!

I picked them up and put them on, and instantly realized my right lens was missing. I had broken my own sunglasses. Previous pairs broke when the clips got loose or when the frame cracked under pressure from my hand and a lens fell out, but this pair I had stepped on.

I was sad. Losing these sunglasses was like having a friend pass away. These shades were all black, with three metal studs on the clip in each side that apparently worked to keep them screwed together. I had had them since April 2007.

On Thursday morning I saw La Netta outside the van. She said, "I heard you broke your shades".

I went to Target with La Netta and the gang. Rosa was driving -- we got her because she could lift Jolene's wheelchair. While we were on our way, Rosa said "keep an exe on", and I considered using the restroom in Target before looking for sunglasses. La Netta would only give me five minutes in the restroom, and that wouldn't be enough to purge off the K & E words. When we looked at the selection of sunglasses, I couldn't even ask, "Can you see my eyes?", because that would complicate the purging procedure with saying "eye" again. I had to say, "Can you see me behind these sunglasses?"

We looked through several pairs of new sunglasses. Some were $19.99! That was more than I wanted to pay for sunglasses. With one pair they could see my eyes. Some pairs were round or elliptical, while others were too wide. I explained to La Netta that I wanted a trapezoidal pair of sunglasses. When she didn't know what "trapezoidal" meant, I explained to her that it meant "shaped like a trapezoid". She didn't know what a trapezoid was, so I turned to Rosa. "You know what a trapezoid looks like, right?"

Rosa didn't know. I spent several minutes trying to explain to her what a trapezoid was. They suggested numerous more glasses. Finally, La Netta picked out a pair with thick black clips. It was perfect!

Because I had to purge oef the "exe" in "keep an exe on", I had to purge off all the eyes I had seen and all the long i sounds I had heard before to get to it. For every time someone had said "I", "I'm", "my", "by", "buy", "might", "night", "right", "time", "find", "nice" or "nine", I had to do a purging ritual. Those rituals were brief and simple, but I had heard so many that the sheer number was bothersome. When we got to Crab Cove I was just purging and purging. I saw a dipser as we made it to the restroom and I had to purge that off too. I purged off all the long i sounds before I could get to the "keep an exe on" stuff.

La Netta told me that since only the lens had popped out and the lens itself was intact, I could bring my sunglasses to program and she could try to fix them for me.

Well, on Friday I brought my shades, along with the lens. While we were in the van at Pinole Valley Park, I thought it would be a perfect time to try getting my lens back in. La Netta said we should let Ken try. So Ken pushed and clicked and tried to fit in back in. La Netta told him to bend it a bit to fit. With her advice, he fit it in just right and the sunglasses were fixed! Yay for Ken! I thanked Ken for his help. As Ken was being dropped off at one of Stan's other houses, I thanked him again. Now I have two pairs of shades.

I love my sunglasses because of how they keep other people from seeing my eyes. I have to close my eyes or squint or cover one eye when I'm going places. I don't want to see dipsers, cobwxbs, plastic silverware, Winnxe the Pooh, Dipser-man, people wxnking (including the wxnk icons offered as emoticons on many Internet fora), the exe on the dollar bill, ice xxxxx or bxnes. I purge if I see these things. When I'm looking at someone during conversation, I don't want him or her to know that my eyes are closed, and I have to close them or else I'll see things in the background. With my sunglasses on, no one will know I have my eyes closed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Physically challenged

We've been having problems getting Jolene around lately.

Back when our group was La Netta, Jolene, Ayyoon and me Ayyoon lifted Jolene's wheelchair in and out of the van. Then when Ken joined we got Ken to lift Jolene's wheelchair.

Then came a few days ago. Stan learned that Ken was the one lifting Jolene's wheelchair in and out of the van. Stan said he can't do that -- Ken's not strong enough and it will hurt his back. That left us in a quandary as to what to do or whom to use. La Netta certainly can't do the wheelchair lifting, with her back, shoulder and arm injuries from the three accidents.

Yesterday we picked up Jolene. It was just La Netta, Jolene, Ken and me in the van (La Netta didn't have a partner) and we traded Jolene for Robert since no one could get her wheelchair to take her into the stores.

Today it was La Netta, Jolene, Ken and me in the van. Pia wanted me to buy some headphones (as she had talked about at the annual meeting) so I wouldn't always be overhearing conversations around me and asking people what they said. We couldn't buy the headphones because there would be no one to take Jolene into Target with us.

Jolene looked at her lunch at 9:00 and found a tuna sandwich and a drink. La Netta asked her whether she liked tater tots. "Yes", she said, "Tater tots my favorite!"

"Your favorite, Jolene?"

"My favorite."

A little while later La Netta asked Jolene whether she liked Butterfinge candy bars.

"Yes. My favorite."

I'd never heard Jolene describe Butterfinges as her favorite before.

We drove over to the office and Jolene walked in on her walker. She used the restroom well, instead of going in her diaper, and changed her diaper this time. Then we went to the bowling alley in Albany and she walked all the way in and back on her walker. They gave me Lane 10 so Jolene wouldn't have to walk very far. Both the office and the bowling alley are places we always go with her walker.

We're going to have to find a wheelchair person for Jolene's group soon, because I really want her to stay in my group. I love to see Jolene enjoying her food. Kay tried lifting it for a few days, but Kay is just too old to be strong enough for it (she's no Jack LaLanne). I asked Stan whether I could lift Jolene's wheelchair and he said that sounded like a great idea, but La Netta said she didn't want me trying stuff that would hurt me.

I remember the time we went to World Market in October of 2006, before La Netta's second accident. We had Rovaughn instead of Ken that day, so La Netta got Jolene's wheelchair out of the van before we got out. After we were going back in from World Market, La Netta and I picked up the wheelchair together and raised it into the van. "We did it! We did it!", chanted La Netta.

We'll have to solve the problem sometime soon, because we can't go places like Target or Williams' if we don't have anyone to help Jolene, and we definitely need to keep Jolene with us.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A dozen pairs of headphones

Stan got me out of bed this morning and I walked out to my bus where Kay and La Netta were. Robert was talking inside. Kay told Robert, "Scxxt over".


What a way to start this morning!

We had Target, the gas station, the office, Barnes and Noble, Casper's Hot Dogs and Vincent Park on the schedule.

When we were in Target, Robert said the I-word. "Look, ice xxxxx cones! They have ice xxxxx!" Since I didn't want to look at the candy as seeing pictures of ice xxxxx cones there would have complicated my purging, I asked La Netta for the Mike and Ike Tropical Typhoons. She looked and eventually found the Mike and Ike section, then found the Tropical Typhoon type. While we were at Target, Robert bought popcorn.

I told her I would have to use a restroom after making my purchase, but La Netta said we were going to the office. When I got into the office, I purged off the I-word, but I had to do a lot of rubble-clearing. When Jolene was done changing herself, I was finished just in time. I had purged off the SC-word and the I-word.

We headed back into the van. I went to my seat and got my seat belt on. Just as we were about to drive out to the Auto Center to switch vans and then head off to Barnes and Noble, Kay said she had forgotten her pillow -- the one she needed behind her to be able to drive the new van. Kay went into the office to get it.

While she was in, Robert, who was sitting next to me, took his hands and held onto my hands with them. "Robert, are your hands washed?"


Great. I looked at my hands. There was a speck on them. It may or may not have been a piece of dead dipser, but I wasn't taking any chances. "I'm going to wash my hands. Robert got a speck on them."

Just as I undid my seatbelt, Kay reëntered the van. La Netta explained to her that Robert got a speck on me. I got out, and went back into the office restroom. I got a lot of bubbles. I took a Risperdal container and scraped the middle finge of my right hand with the edge. Finally I was ready to come out.

I walked back into the van and we switched vans, with time for Jolene to get in on her walker. As it turned out we needed gas. La Netta said that we would skip Barnes and Noble. Too much time was taken up with the van-switching, with getting the pillow and with me washing my hands.

"We going to the library, we not have enough time?", asked Robert.

"We weren't going to the library, we were going to Barnes and Noble," I corrected him.

Robert asked about Barnes and Noble several more times.

"Robert, we're not going to Barnes and Noble because you touched my hands!" I rubbed that in each time he asked about it.

He asked Kay and La Netta whether they didn't have enough time to go to the bookstore. They asked him to stop asking that question again and again.

"Robert, why did you touch my hands?", I asked him.

"Hands dirty", he replied.

"You touched my hands because your hands were dirty? Oh, Robert!"

"I think he touches your hands because he likes you," said Kay.

Robert asked La Netta, "Does Wal-mart have headphones?" and she said, "I'm not going to talk with you about that anymore today."

"Is Halloween tomorrow?", asked Robert a little later.

"No", I told him. "Today's the first of October. Halloween is the thirty-first of October. We still have 30 more days."

"When's Christmas coming?"

La Netta got out a little calendar in her purse and showed him the holidays. New Year's Day . . . Martin Luther King Day . . . Presidents' Day . . . she skipped to October. She showed him Columbus Day and Halloween, then showed him how long it would be to the other holidays, until she got to Christmas.

Robert continued to ask whether tomorrow was a holiday. No, Robbie, just plain old October 2.

"Winna . . . Winna . . . 'scuse me, Winna," Robert asked La Netta, "Why can't I touch James?"

"He already told you why. I'm not going to tell you again," La Netta responded.

"Hands dirty".

Robert asked how much his popcorn at Wal-mart had cost. "How much did my popcorn cost, $2?"

La Netta checked and told him it cost $1.89.

Robert proceeded to ask me how much his popcorn cost. "How much did my popcorn cost, $2?"

"$1.89. It cost ALMOST $2."

"James, how much do headphones cost, one dollar?"

"The headphones we looked at cost ten dollars, Robert."

A little later, Robert asked whether they were keeping his money with him.

"Robert," said Kay, "I already told you, we're keeping it up front. Don't ask me about food, don't ask about money, don't ask about any of the stores."

Kay told Robert to relax several times as we were doing drops.

After we got to Robert's house, I called Carla, a staff at Robert's group home whom I had gotten to know when I visited Robert's in December 2004 and March 2005.

"Carla, today Robert touched my hands with my hands when his hands weren't washed, and I looked at them, and it looked like he got a particle of dead bug on them."

"Well, I'll tell him to keep his hands off you, and he won't get a particle or spectacle or atom or neutron running down your skin", Carla said.

I told her about giving Robert money so he could finally buy the headphones he's been bugging us for for over a month.

"Should I just buy the headphones for him?", she asked.

"You're willing to just buy headphones?", I asked her.

Then Carla explained that Robert is careless with his headphones. He breaks them easily. "I think we've gone through about a dozen pairs of headphones," said Carla.