Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dipsers, dipsers everywhere

La Netta, Jolene, Robin and I visited Thrift Town today. La Netta found me a black turtleneck, size 14, and I went to try it on.

La Netta opened a changing room. A woman was in there.

"Sorry", the woman said. "Whxxps!"

"D'OH!", I slammed my forehead. I slammed it four more times before La Netta grabbed my fist.

"That's all right, she didn't know", said La Netta.

"That doesn't make me have to purge any less", I replied.

"You just try on your turtleneck."

I tried the turtleneck on and liked it.

"La Netta, why didn't she lock her door?", I asked.

"I don't know", said La Netta, "Maybe she forgot."

I bought the turtleneck for $1.05. Then we drove to Davis Park, where I purged off "whxxps" in the restroom.

La Netta soon got a call from the office, saying I needed to meet Stan for an appointment.

La Netta dropped me off at the Richmond Health Clinic, and I said good-bye to her and Jolene.

Dr. Luburic soon came out. He asked me how my Prozac was going.

I first explained that I was still having problems with the words, and drove my coaches nuts by asking whether a particular trigger word had been said. La Netta had told me I was now "even more keyed-in on the time then you are on words".

"You seem more alert and more active", said Stan.

I explained the first of my side effects. Since a few Fridays ago, I had had this constantparanoia while I was in my house about dipsers. Everywhere I would be in fear thiat a dipser was about to drop from the ceiling, and land on either my head or my hand. I would look around rooms, worrying that a dipser was about to ruin my day. Dr. Luburic told me that wasn't one of the known side effects of Prozac.

Then I got into the loss of appetite. Before, I had brought lunch home from program at every opportunity, and had had a chimichanga for lunch and another for dinner on the days when I didn't bring lunch home. Now, this wasn't happening. I had to einish Chinese food in two sittings instead of one, and that lasagna I had bought at Target was sitting in the fridge uneaten.

"That's also not a side effect of Prozac", said Dr. Luburic. He said that studies found no correlation between Prozac and loss of appetite.

Then I said, "The third side effect has been a general loss of volition. Before I was taking the Prozac, I prayed for Lamesha's health every night."

He asked who Lamesha was, and Stan and I explained.

"Lately I've been falling asleep without praying for her."

"I've moved on", said Stan. "She's moved on."

"Stan, she says she really misses me."

"It's not happening", said Stan.

Dr. Luburic told me that my obsession with Lamesha was lessening with the Prozac, and that that was a good thing.

I told him that last time I saw him, I said the medicine was off if I felt worse. And I felt worse.

"You look great!", said Stan. "You're keeping yourself clean, and your face looks so fresh and rested. You look great!"

"I feel like a heap of horse dung", I said.

"You're always saying that", said Stan. "Not in those exact words, but when we ask you how you're doing, it's always negative."

"I would recommend that you stay on the Prozac at the level you're at, and see me in six to eight weeks."

"I'm going to override your recommendation", I said.

"All right", said Dr. Luburic. "If you stop taking the medication, there can be withdrawal symptoms. In people with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, there may be worsening of obsessions and compulsions, and rituals."

I walked outside with Stan, happy this nightmare was over.

Tully goes berserk

On Wednesday, Jolene told us that she had had spaghetti for dinner last night.

"You have spaghetti a lot", said Rosa. "Is that--?"

"My favorite", said Jolene.

"Your favorite?"

"My favorite. Spaghetti's my favorite."

We drove over to Alameda, where we walked inside Old Navy. Before we entered Old Navy, Tully opened Robin's soda.

"This is yours", La Netta said to Robin. "Want to drink it now?"

I held onto La Netta with my eyes closed to avoid seeing pajamdras. Then La Netta walked to the check-out line and I got lost.

"Open your eyes, James!", said La Netta. "You need to walk around!"

So I opened my eyes and walked around. I was soon behind La Netta in the check-out line.

I saw a box of crayons with Dipser-man on them. "Ewwwwww!", I said.

"What?", asked Rosa.

I pointed to Dipser-man.

We all walked out . . . but then Tully ran back in!

La Netta followed suit. I heard what may have been "pxking around" outside, and walked in.

"Come back out, please", said Rosa.

"NO!", I shouted, full of defiance.

I found Rosa and asked her whether the man had said the P & A words. La Netta said no.

She came out with Tully. Tully had opened a bag of Skittles by biting it open. La Netta paid for it.

"That is not OK", Rosa said.

Tully grabbed for food up front.

I closed and covered my eyes as we drove to Crab Cove. When we got there, La Netta said, "You're not using the restroom because this place is full of kids. I don't know if you have to purge or what, but I don't want us getting calls."

"I can use the stall", I told La Netta.

"You don't need to be in there with all those kids screaming and jumping up and down. You can stay in the van while we get out. I'll leave the door open just a crack."

I purged off Dipser-man in the van. I had to come out to ask La Netta whether I had heard the A, O the P words.

"No, the little girl said, 'There's food all over the placemat'," said La Netta.

A little later, a woman told her group of children, 'One two three four, we're not talking anymore'." Then she told them, "You're axx oxxx the pxxxx".

"Rrrrrrrrr", I growled. I began purging.

Just then, La Netta came back with Tully. She was going to drive around to the restrooms to Jolene could change herself and someone could change Shawn's diaper for him. Tully walked up to me as I stood outside the van and knocked me over.

I fell backwards, trying to break my own fall. I finally fell on my back. My sunglasses flew off my head and landed behind me.

"My shades!", I exclaimed.

La Netta gave me my shades and said they were all right.

Then I remembered my shirt. I had just changed this shirt after my shower on Tuesday night, and didn't want to have to change it again. "Is there any dirt on my back?", I asked.

La Netta wiped me off. "You're fine", she said.

"Shame on you, Tully!", I shouted at Tully.

Tully got in and tried to grab food. Then he spat on La Netta.

La Netta had me go around and tell Rosa that Jolene would have to change somewhere else.

We drove around to Pinole Valley Park, where Shawn's and Jolene's diapers could be changed.

Baby Shawn put his hand in the front seat of my pants. I didn't want him popping my pants button off.

"Hands out, Shawn!", I shouted.

"Where did Shawn put his hands?", La Netta asked.

"On my groin", I said.

"You tell him, James!"'

We breathed a sigh of relief as we dropped Tully off that day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back from CIWP

It had been a long day at CIWP today. I carried a bagged bottle of juice from Wal-mart with me in one hand and my headphones in the other hand. Howard, our house's behaviorist, had made it home along with Stan, and he was speaking to Bernard.

I managed to squeeze in between the car parked on the left and the outer wall of our house. Just as I made it past the rearview window, I heard Howard say, "Whxxps!"

I dropped the bag with my juice. "D'OH!", I said, hitting my forehead. "D'OH! D'OH!"

"Don't hurt yourself too badly", said Stan.

"Hey", said Howard. "You've got to learn to tolerate that. I apologize for saying that word. It wasn't intentional. I hit the horn on my car, and it scared me."

When I got back in my house, I asked Stan whether my forehead was bleeding.

"I don't see it bleeding", said Stan. He inspected it more deeply by lifting my hair out of my face. "No blood", he said.

I entered the restroom and went into a long bout of purging. I got a whipped cream taste to emerge in my groin as I thought "spoowh" to myself. Then I did twelve "whadoloops"es and twelve "adoloops"es down there. I then did twelve more "whadoloops"es down there, and I "whadoloops" that went up, then twelve more "adoloops"es down there, and an "adoloops" then went up. After that I needed a rest.

Refusing to interrupt

Sometimes the rule of etiquette against interrupting irks me to no end.

On Monday, I was driving with La Netta and Rosa, with the radio turned to a rap station, and I had my headphones on. I reached a gap between songs, and the radio was on a commercial break. It sounded like the word "ice xxxxx".

Rosa was in the middle of a sentence, however, and I couldn't interrupt her. I put my headphones back on and waited for them to finish talking.

I took my headphones off awhile later. The radio was off and Rosa and La Netta were still talking. I raised my hand, but neither of them called on me.

I sat around longer, until finally I began snapping my nails against each other. Then they'd see my hand was up.

"Why are you doing that, James?", asked Rosa.

"My hand is up", I said.

"James, I can't see you when you're sitting all the way back there and I'm up here", said La Netta.

Then she asked me what it was.

"Did they say the I-word in that commercial?", I asked.

"No, no I-word", said La Netta. "Aren't your headphones on?"

"Well, I heard it during a gap between the songs."

"The radio's not even on", said Rosa.

"It was--" I began . . . we hit a stoplight.

"Oh, stupid stoplight!", I said.

When the van moved again, I said, "La Netta?"

"Yes?", said La Netta.

"It was on when I heard it", I said. "My hand's been up that long."

La Netta told me about how there was no way she could see me up there because she was looking at the steering wheel.

"Well, did they say the I-word when the radio was on?", I asked.

"No, still no I-word", said La Netta.

"Thank God."

If I had just interrupted Rosa, I would have been able to ask right then and there whether the commercial had just said the I-word.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A frok on the road

As we got out to the bowling alley on Thursday, I saw a plastic frok littered on the ground near our van. "Ewwwwwwww!", I shrieked.

"What was that, James?", asked La Netta.

I pointed to the plastic silverware.

"Oh", she said.

"Will I have time to use the restroom after my bowling game?", I asked.

"Yes," said La Netta.

I was the only one bowling, so I bowled frame after frame. I got three or four spares in my game.

After my quick finish, I exchanged shoes and followed La Netta.

"Aren't you going to take me to the restroom?", I asked La Netta.

"Well, I'll have to take you somewhere else, because Jolene's already halfway out the door", said La Netta.

"Will you pick it up when we get back to the van?", I asked.

We soon approached the van. "James, I don't feel comfortable picking up something that's been in someone's mouth, so just close your eyes and hold on", said La Netta. I closed my eyes and held onto her arm. She walked me to the van, and I was soon safe inside.

We dropped Emanuel off, then made it to the office. The office felt so good. I purged off a frok, saying "fadorork, fadorork fadorork fadorork fadorork, fadorork fadorork fadorork fadorork" for the first tine, then doing the same ritual for the other three tines, then doing it on the handle, then a "fadorork fadorork fadorork fadorork fadorork . . ." on the scoop part. I finally felt the tines stabbing me as I did a finale.

Robert's real last day

Wednesday was Robert's last day at CIWP. La Netta was absent, but Rosa bought him a cake.

"I'm going to go into the office to get some plates and froks", she said.

Ken wasn't there to call him Slobert. Instead Rosa, Jolene and Robin accompanied this man with his toothless smile who was now leaving CIWP and his group home.

"Ken went home to see his mom, huh?", asked Robert as we headed towards Miller's Knots.

"Yes, Ken went home to see his mom", I replied.

"I'm moving into a new house", said Robert.

"Yep, you are."

"I'll be at the doctor's on the fourteenth, I won't be here", said Jolene.

"When's Jolene's birthday?", asked Rosa.

"It's August 24, 1958", I said.

"August 24. Today's my birthday", said Jolene.

We took a trip to Lee's Garden, Rosa and I, leaving Jolene, Robert and Robin in the van.

When we came back Jolene was yelling at Robert.

"Did you ask Jolene questions all the time you were in the van?", asked Rosa.

"Yes, he did", said Jolene.

"That is not OK", said Rosa.

"Stop talking to me, nap-napnin!", said Jolene.

We stopped at Miller's Knots. After everyone else ate lunch, Rosa cut the cake.

Rosa took Jolene out to change herself. As Jolene walked off, she called Rosa a liar and said she had a doctor's appointment.

"Jolene! What is getting into you today?", asked Rosa.

I saw Robin's plate with frosting and a plastic frok. "Ewwwww!", I squealed as I headed for the smaller restroom.

I finished in time for Jolene to get back.

"Has Robin's plastic silverware been thrown away?", I asked.

"Robert", said Rosa, "Pick up Robin's plate and throw it in the garbage."

After Robert did that, we embarked on drops.

We stopped at Robert's house. His staff was there for him. I hugged Robert one last hug before he went into his house.

"Who bought your glasses?", was the last question Robert ever asked me. He was soon back in his group home, the group home he would soon move out of.

But one thing: he lost his hat somewhere today and it was nowhere in the van.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ice xxxxx, thrice xxxxx

Rosa, Robert, Emanuel and I were in Target today. While we walked our way by the frozen foods, my arms holding onto the handle of our shopping cart, I heard someone say, "Want some ice xxxxx?"

"Blechhh!", I said.

"It's going to melt. Get your ice xxxxx."

"Blechhh!"

"Anyone? Let's have some ice xxxxx?"

"Blechhh!"

I got my juices, not looking around and not wanting to see the word "juice", which had "ice" in it. Then we bought some headphone batteries and left.

We stood outside, for over 15 minutes. "I heard the I-word thrice in Target today", I said.

"Is 'thrice' a real word?", asked Rosa.

"Yes", I said.

"When you said it earlier today I thought you were making it up."

"Yoou can find it in the dictionary."

Rosa talked to La Netta. "They had some of that stuff out, and it was going to melt so they were offering it to people for free."

When we finally drove off, we dropped off Emanuel. I spelled out I-C-E-C-R . . . a few times in my head.

I heard the word "nice" a few times as we drove to Davis Park. When I finally got there, I got out and ran into the restroom, unzipping my pants.

I purged off "nice" and "thrice" and "I still" and "cream". Then I got to the I-word.

The weather was quite cold today, especially for a summer day, and I could taste freezing ice xxxxx in the carton as I porged it off. When I finally got to "ice xxxxx", it was quick. I did all three in about a minute.

Robert returns

Imagine my surprise when I came back to program on Monday morning and found Robert in the van.

"Robert? You're still here?", I asked.

We completed our pick-ups then drove to the office. I stayed in the van with Rosa while La Netta took Jolene to change herself.

"Rosa!", a male coach called out. "Keep an exe on my guys for me!"

"Ewwwwwwwwwww!", I squealed. "Rosa, I'll be in the restroom."

When I entered the office, La Netta was standing in the entrance. "What's up?", she asked.

"Someone said the K & E words", I replied.

"Robin's in the restroom."

After Robin got out, I went into the restroom, where I purged a long time. Then I left and was ready to go.

"Can we listen to 106 KMEL?", asked Emanuel.

Soon 106.1 was playing, and rap was blasting from the van's speakers.

We listened to some rap, then dropped Emanuel off in Berkeley, on University. Emanuel had kept requesting to be dropped off at University, but La Netta finally relented because that wasn't too far out of their way in Alameda.

I then asked for Alice, 97.3. After a few Alice songs played, the radio hit a commercial break and the driver was flipping stations. One song sounded like "cutxe pie".

"Winna!", Robert was calling out.

"La Netta, did they say 'C-word pie'?", I asked.

"I don't know", I heard La Netta saying. I assumed she was speaking to me.

The driver turned off the radio. We went to Gim's, where I ordered almond chicken with all chow mein. I got free won tons and grape soda to go with it. Wthi my eyes closed, I took my plastic frok out of my bag and set it on the counter. Then I sat on the chair until Rosa and La Netta's orders were sent out.

Then we stopped off at Crab Cove. I closed my eyes as we drove there to avoid seeing Frosty Freeze.

"Is there a stall in the restroom?", I asked La Netta.

"There are a lot of kids here", said La Netta. "So you should probably hold it in. Why do you have to go?"

"I asked if the song said 'C-word pie', and you said, 'I don't know'."

"The song didn't say it!", said La Netta. "People were asking me questions left and right, and I was overwhelmed with questions."

"Oh, OK", I said. "That's good." So I would not have to purge.

Just then, Robert began asking me questions.

"How much the bowling alley cost?", asked Robert, "$1?"

"Yes, it costs one dollar to bowl."

"Ken go home to see his mom?"

"Yes, Ken went home to see his mom.

"Who bought your shoes, your mom bought your shoes?"

"Yes, yes, she ordered them from New Balance."

"I got a burrito and soda?"

"Yes, you got a burrito and soda."

"Does Target sell popcorn?"

"Yes, Target sells popcorn."

"James," said La Netta. "Feel free to tell Robert you've had enough."

"OK," I said to La Netta.

"Do Robert's questions make your head feel like it wants to explode?"

"Only if I'm also trying to listen to something else."

"Well", said La Netta. "That's what was happening today. I was trying to listen out for words, to the song lyrics, and Robert started asking me all these questions. I felt like my head was going to explode."

We drove to Robert's house to do drops. Carla was there. She said Robert was leaving on Wednesday.

"James!", said Carla. "I haven't seen you in a while. You look just like Kurt Cobain!"

"Thank you", I said.

Carla chatted with La Netta awhile, then I called her name.

"Yes, sweetxe?", Carla said.

"What did you just call me?", I asked.

"I called you 'sweetxe'", said Carla.

"Echhh!", I said.

"OK, we won't use that, too sugary. From now on I'll just call you Kurt. Kurt Cobain. Deal?"

"Deal. So Wednesday is Robert's last day?"

"Yes, it is", said Carla.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Robert's last day

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day
If today was your last day
--Nickelback
Today was Robert's last day at CIWP. Robert Bradley, the man who asked me my name 70 times upon meeting me, the man whose house I had stayed at not once but twice, the man who regaled us with perpetual questions about soda and headphones, was leaving.

"I need to go to the bathroom, I can't hold it", said Jolene.

"OK," her coach said, "I'll take you to the restroom."

We dropped the van we were borrowing off at Firestone, and I went into the restroom in there to clear my throat of phlegm and saliva and my nose of mucus. When I came out, I heard, "Aisle HD TV on CBS Channel 5".

"La Netta, did they say 'E-word on HD TV'?"

"No, they said 'eateries'."

I told her that they had a program called "Exe on the Bay".

"Eateries on the Bay", said La Netta.

"So was it 'aisle HD TV'?"

"Yes, it was", said La Netta.

I asked Rosa what aisle HD TV was.

La Netta talked about getting the group pizza.

"Jolene, does Robin like pizza?", La Netta asked.

"Yes, he does", said Jolene, "Pizza is Robin's favorite."

Robert wanted to spend his money at Taco Bell, so he went in with La Netta and me. He got a burrito and soda and some other stuff.

"James, did I get a burrito?", asked Robert.

"Robert, you know better than I what you got", I replied.

We were at Davis Park when an ice xxxxx man ringing his bells was passing by. I had to ask La Netta several times whether someone had said the I-word.

"James, Wal-mart has soda, huh?", asked you-know-who.

"Right, Wal-mart has soda", I replied.

"Huh?"

"I said, 'Right, Wal-mart has soda'."

I told La Netta that Robert often failed to hear me when I began a sentence with "right".

"James, does Target sell headphones?", asked Robert.

"Yes, Target sells headphones", I replied.

"Who bought your shoes, your mom bought your shoes?"

"Yes, yes, she ordered them from New Balance."

"Where's Ken, Ken went home to see his mom?"

"Yes, Ken did go home to see his mom."

For the next hour he asked me questions. Jolene changed herself. This time she actually sat on the toilet and urinated and defecated. "I did a good job", she said, but La Netta told her she swung her diaper. Then we embarked on drops.

Robert and I stood outside his house and hugged. We shared our last hug together, embracing with the knowledge that this might be the last time we ever see each other.

Robert's staff had still not come at 2:30. So we drove to my house and dropped me home. I gave La Netta our end-of-tihe-week hug, then entered my group home.

Emanuel music

Yesterday, I went to Wal-mart and got my juices. Then the group split for Barnes and Noble and Ross. La Netta was going to Ross, while Rosa was headed to Barnes and Noble. I went to Barnes and Noble, and told Emanuel that I wanted to show him the New Age section -- I think he would like it.

I called Emanuel over as he looked at magazines. He kept saying, "Just a minute". Then finally he came over.

I showed him a book called "Unexplained", books about 2012, books about ghosts, books about vampires. "Do they have any books about the Devil?", asked Emanuel.

"They would probably be around here", I said.

I saw the pajamdras on The Everything Psychic Book again. I then found two books called The Satanic Verses and The Satanic Bible, and called Emanuel over. I gave them to him.

I told Rosa I had to go to the restroom. We went over and I purged off the pajamdras.

Once we got back in the van, Emanuel asked, "Can we listen to 106 KMEL?"

I had to ask La Netta about a lot of words. "Did that rapper sing the C-word?" "Did he sing the M-word?" "Did he say 'hoping a lot'?" "Did he sing 'around'?" "But there wasn't anything bad before it, right?"

Eventually, we got to a song that sang "I'm a chicken McNugget and you're a Big Mac". Shortly afterwards, the rapper sang the word "cutxe".

"Echhhh!", I gagged. "Did yoo hear that, La Netta?"

"I did", La Netta said. It's times like these I wish I still had my headphone batteries.

We dropped Emanuel off at University. La Netta said, "I drove around that place", referring of course to Frosty Freeze.

After dropping Emanuel off, we hit Pinole Valley Park. Without Ken, we would not begin drops until after 2:00.

"James, we're here", said La Netta. "You can spend all the time in the restroom you want."

I went into the restroom and purged off "cutxe", gagging all the while. Finally I came out to join Robert, Robin and of course my friend Jolene.

A trip to Moraga

On Wednesday, we picked up Emanuel first before picking up Jolene and Robin. It was our day to program in Moraga. When we got to Jolene's house, La Netta said, "It's early in the morning and I don't need a mxss".

"Ewwwwwwww!", I said.

"Sorry", La Netta apologized.

We spent some time in Krispy Kreme, where the other clients and the coaches ate doughnuts. I was busy purging off the M-word inside the restroom.

Emanuel spent some time listening to my Nirvana CD with my headphones. He gave me my CD player back after about thirty minutes.

Emanuel said he didn't want to go to Moraga, but at his annual meeting his case manager told him he has to stay at program until at least noon or he loses money from the Regional Center of the East Bay. Our plan was to eat lunch together inside Taco Bell, then do drops. Emanuel, however, said he wanted to be dropped off earlier.

"I drive axx oxxx the pxxxx", said Emanuel.

"Rrrrrrrr!", I said. "I'll be in the restroom."

"Why?", asked Rosa.

"Emanuel said the A, O the P words", I replied.

"I hope you finish soon, because if you take too long we can't take you to your town."

So I went in the Kennedy Grove restroom, and purged. Because I had gone in immediately after hearing "axx oxxx the pxxxx", it didn't take me very long.

Soon La Netta was heading down the hill that would take the group into Orinda, and then into Moraga.

"Can we listen to 106 KMEL?", requested Emanuel.

"Can we have some Moraga music?", I asked.

"What's Moraga music?", asked La Netta.

"97.3." That's what the kids in Moraga listen to.

KMEL played, and my headphones began to fail. They turned themselves off automatically because the battery was low.

"Can we have some Moraga music, now that we're in Moraga?", I asked.

"I need to keep both my hands in the steering wheel", said La Netta, as this was a tricky hill.

"James", explained Rosa, "We're trying to keep both Emanuel happy and you happy. So we're going to Moraga, but we're giving Emanuel his music."

I got it. "Oh", I said.

The group went into TJ Maxx together. Robert began to ask.

"James, what's this?", asked Robert.

"I don't see", I replied.

"Is this for girls?", asked Robert.

"I don't see." Then I turned to La Netta. "What's with Robert's fetish for girly stuff?"

"I don't know", said La Netta.

Robert continued to ask questions about things the whole time we were in the store.

Before we left TJ Maxx, I heard an older man say "Pardon?" to an older woman. I growled.

When we left, the group stood or sat outside. La Netta sat on a bench, Jolene had her walker, and I stood.

I saw an Asian woman with curly hair walking two black dogs. "What breed of dogs are those?", I asked her.

"Those are Pomeranian mixes", she replied.

Then we entered Taco Bell. I purged off the "Pardon?" in the restroom, then washed my hands. Emanuel was among us, and even though he originally did not want to go to Moraga we soon found him ordering. I ordered a chicken chalupa, a soft-shell taco and a seven-layer burrito.

"James!", asked Robert. "Does Target sell popcorn?"

"Yes, Target does sell popcorn", I told Robert.

Emanuel wanted KMEL, but my headphones kept failing. As we listened to KMEL, I went crazy. Emanuel asked to be dropped off at UC Berkeley. So we had to go through the tunnel, into Berkeley. At 12:00, we were over in Berkeley. When a commercial came on, La Netta switched stations. I belted it out as La Netta flipped to avoid hearing the words on the radio.

Emanuel requested 99.7, and soon La Netta switched stations. Finally Emanuel was dropped off and La Netta turned the radio off.

La Netta assured me I wouldn't have to close my eyes because we weren't going by Frosty Freeze on University. That was good.

At 12:30, we finally dropped Emanuel off. We had taken a half-hour out of our day just to drop Emanuel at Berkeley -- totally going out of our way to please him. La Netta turned the radio off as soon as Emanuel was dropped off.

Robert began asking why he couldn't go into the office while we helped Jolene change.

"You know why", said Rosa.

"Because I didn't behave", said Robert.

"Yes", said La Netta. "What did James say to you about asking things you already know?"

"James", said Robert, "Is that the dollar store?"

"I don't see", I said.

"Robert", said La Netta, "You know whether that's the dollar store."

"Does the dollar store sell soda?", asked Robert.

As we drove home, Rosa said, "Robert, Robert, Does Target have popcorn? Is that the dollar store? Does the dollar store sell soda?"

"Wobert, Wobert, 'scuse me Wobert", I said. "Does Target have headphones? Who bought your hat, your mom?"

"Robert, James asked you a question", said Rosa.

Robert didn't seem to want to answer.

Because of Emanuel, our trip to Moraga was shortened. We could have taken Jolene in to change herself in the Taco Bell restroom, and had a wonderful day with Alice blaring from the radio. But because Emanuel was in our group, we left at noon.

Emptying my intestines

La Netta took me into Jack-in-the-box on Tuesday. I heard someone mention "froks and knives". I hoped I would get to a restroom soon.

People were ordering milkshxkes. I grew more wretched by the minote as I awaited my turn.

Finally, it was my turn to order. I ordered a ciabatta bun with spicy chicken and chipotle sauce. I took a $20 bill out and a 1 to pay for my $5.something order.

I took time to put my change back in. Then I put my three 5's in the wallet, but I couldn't get them to go all the way down. I then put in my receipt.

"It probably buttons up", said La Netta as I shoved my wallet back in my pocket. I took it back out, but she saw that it didn't button. She shoved my currency all the way down.

"Did that man say 'vanilla I-word'?", I asked La Netta as I left.

"No, he didn't. You should probably put your receipts somewhere else, because you had some bills pxking out", said La Netta.

"Rrrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Oh, did I actually say that?", asked La Netta.

"You did", I replied.

"I'm sorry."

Our lunch was at Miller's Knots. I was glad to be able to walk to the restroom and get all this stuff out of me. I slid the wooden door shut and unbuttoned my pants.

"Shadolake, shadolake . . ." . . . I felt the taste of milkshxkes coming up.

Then I did "fadororks", so I had that one out of me.

Finally, the "pxking out". I jabbed my groin, shocking myself and saying "padoloking out" -- 14 times. Then I did a "padoloking out" down there and a "padoloking out" that went up here. My intestines felt empty again.

Empty, but hungry for that ciabatta sandwich.

The whxxps that wasn't

We were in Taco Bell on Monday when I thought I heard a "whxxps". "Did they say the WH-word?", I asked La Netta.

"They didn't say it", La Netta replied.

"What did they say?"

"They didn't say it."

"Then what did they say?"

No answer.

"La Netta?", I asked.

"They said half of the word", La Netta said.

"I heard a P-S", I said.

"And an 'oo'?"

"Yes."

I decided that I would purge off the word anyway, since La Netta couldn't seem to come up with an alternative.

Then, after we left Taco Bell, La Netta told me something. "I didn't want to offend anybody in Taco Bell", said La Netta. "Those were two Hispanic kids, speaking in broken English."

"So what did they say?", I asked.

"They said it just with the OO."

"Oh, OK, thanks for telling me, La Netta."

"You're welcome."

Now I wouldn't have to purge.

A Lamesha sighting

On Friday, Robert was with our group. I had been with Robert all week: as part of Tiffany's group on Monday and Tuesday, and as part of La Netta's group on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

"How much bowling alley cost, a dollar?", asked Robert.

"Right, the bowling alley costs $1", I responded.

The group went into Wal-mart together. "Does Wal-mart have soda?", asked Robert.

"Oh, Robert", said La Netta, "We aren't going to get into this today."

"What's this?", Robert kept asking me while I had my eyes closed. I had to keep telling him, "I don't see".

While we were in the elevator, I got a good look at La Netta's face. "You look inundated", I told her.

"What does that mean?", she asked.

"Overwhelmed."

"I am. Since it's Friday, and with Robert in our group . . ."

When we came out of Wal-mart, I lifted Jolene's wheelchair. We opted for lunch at Pinole Valley Park.

While we drove to Pinole Valley Park, La Netta said, "There's Lamesha". She said she was driving in the red car to our right. "Open your eyes, James", she said.

I looked and saw her. We sped up and got on the freeway together. Lamesha was to our direct right now. Lamesha waved at us and smiled.

"Lamesha!", I said.

We finally got to Pinole Valley Park. I was glad we went here instead of Fernandez Park.

"Target has headphones, huh?", asked Robert.

"Right, Target has headphones", I said.

"And Target has soda, Wal-mart has soda?"

"Right. They both have soda."

"Huh?"

"Right. They both have soda."

"And popcorn?"

"And popcorn."

"Who bought your headphones, James, Lamesha bought your headphones?"

"No, Lamesha bought my radio. Pia bought my headphones."

"What's her name?"

"Jolene?"

"Does Jolene have tea?"

"Yes, Jolene has tea."

"Who bought your shoes, your mom bought your shoes?"

"Yes, yes. She ordered them from New Balance."

"Who bought your sunglasses, your mom?"

"No, I bought my own sunglasses with my own money, although La Netta picked them out for me. Right, La Netta?"

"Right", said La Netta.

I heard the children at the park saying the I-word. They said it twice.

"Blechhh!", I said. "I'll be in the restroom, La Netta." I explained to her that I had heard the I-word.

She told me not to talk while I was purging, because the children might hear it and think it's something dirty, and then the program will get a call of complaint from these kids' parents. I chanted anyway while I purged.

We were ready to do drops, but first we needed to make a stop for wood chips.

"Are we in El Sobrante?", I asked.

"No", said La Netta. "Close your eyes."

I closed my eyes and covered them with my hands. We stopped for wood chips. After the van was moving again, La Netta told me I could open my eyes.

When we dropped Robert home, we all exhaled, able to relax at last.

Happy birthday to Emanuel

On Thursday, July 9, the group celebrated Emanuel's birthday (Emanuel turned 28).

La Netta expected at first that he would want to be dropped off at Berkeley, but Emanuel said that for his birthday he was staying with the group, so he could be dropped off at his house to go see his sister for his birthday.

We spent some time in the office, where I rested, then we got back in the van.

"Can we listen to 106?", asked Emanuel.

"Sure", said La Netta. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my headphones on in time and heard that song that says "caught your cutxe exe".

"Did they sing the C-word?", I asked La Netta.

"No", said La Netta.

"They said, 'cute eye'?"

"Yes."

I picked up lunch at Lee's Garden -- chow mein, Hunan chicken and fried fish. Jolene had iced tea in her lunch, and she said, "I love iced tea. Iced tea's my favorite!"

We made it over to Fernandez Park. I purged off "caught your cutxe exe", then I came out of the restroom to join the group. We all sang happy birthday to Emanuel Reed.

I saw Robert eating Emanuel's cake with a plastic frok. I went to the restroom and purged it off.

While we were at the park there were a bunch of rowdy teen-agers who were smoking and drinking. I had to ask La Netta several times whether they had said the WH-word or the P and A words or the D-word.

I came back out and saw a plate with a frok on it. "Is it safe to look?", I asked La Netta.

She threw it away. "Now it is."

So she was well aware of that frok. I went back to the restroom to purge. As I walked there, a teen-age girl said, "I really like your hair".

"Thanks", I said. "I modeled it after Kurt Cobain."

When I came out the pigs were there, about to make some arrests for underage smoking and drinking and drop some teens off at the county jail. It's terrible that people get arrested just for smoking or drinking at a certain age. Smoking and drinking aren't wrong, and being a certain age, gender or ethnic group doesn't magically make an acceptable thing wrong. I don't believe in the "They're too young to make an informed decision about whether to drink" crap either. Not making an informed decision doesn't make something wrong if it will only hurt the people engaging in the action. Whether they knew what they were doing is immaterial to the ethicality of it.

Anyway, that was Emanuel's birthday. It was nice to see him stay for once, even if I had to keep my headphones on for a lot of the time.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I show my eyes

I hate showing people my eyes, but on Tuesday I had to do it.

Wanda and Alejandra had Tiffany's usual people: Robert, Tully, Shawn and Rodney, plus me. They were listening to KMEL, so I put on my headphones and turned them up to full blast.

Then, the headphones starting turning themselves off a few times. I heard the word "cutxe" in a rap song after my headphones turned themselves off, and said "Ach!" It meant my batteries were dying.

Wanda turned to her favorite station, KBLX (102.9). Yes, this is the one that does traffic every 30 minutes or so, even during the workday.

I asked her for the jazz station, KKSF, 103.7. Soon she turned back to KBLX.

"I miss 103.7", I said.

"Well, I miss 102.9", said Wanda.

Alejandra and I went into Target. We bought a pack of six batteries for my headphones, then we picked out two big bottles of apple juice.

We drove back to the park and got the others. I replaced the batteries in my headphones and Wanda turned to KBLX.

Wanda made a phone call. She learned that Kay had been hurt by a violent client after telling the client that her Burger King coupons were expired, and was in the hospital.

I kept my headphones on while KBLX played. Then, as a song on my Nirvana CD was winding down, I heard what sounded like Wanda saying "mxss" in her phone call. Soon the song would be over, and there would be silence on my headphones, and I could hear whether it was KBLX doing traffic.

Then the song ended. A gap between songs occurred, and I heard KBLX DJ Sterling James speaking. "I'm Sterling," she said. "Let's look at what's going on: we've got an accident--"

"Oh, no!", I said. "They're doing traffic! Turn it off!"

"I thought you had your headphones on", said Wanda.

"I do," I said, "But it's on a gap between songs."

She turned the radio off.

"Did they say the M-word, Wanda?", I asked.

"I didn't hear no M-word", said Wanda.

"You heard everything on the radio, right? You heard Sterling James introducing herself and doing traffic?"

"No, I was talking on the phone", said Wanda.

"How about you, Alejandra? Did you hear the M-word?"

"I wasn't paying attention", Alejandra said.

I screamed.

I started biting my hands. Now I would have to purge because no one in the van cold tell me whether Sterling James had said the M-word while doing traffic.

"If we didn't hear it, you didn't hear it!", said Wanda.

"That's not true!", I rebutted. "I heard Sterling introducing herself and saying they had an accident, and you didn't hear that."

I bit myself and started cursing KBLX. The saliva popping around in my mouth was audible.

"Do you need to spit?", asked Alejandra.

"Yes", I said.

I got out of the van. While I stood around at the marina, saliva filled my mouth.

"Are you going to let me see your eyes?", asked Wanda.

I shook my head.

"I heard you have beautiful eyes!", she said.

I still shook my head.

"Am I ever going to get to see your eyes?", she asked.

"No", I said.

She made a disappointed face and watched me spit on the bushes.

"I'll make a deal", I told Wanda. "I'll let you see my eyes if we can have 96.5 KOIT for the rest of the day."

"Sure", said Wanda.

I lifted my sunglasses up. I looked right at Wanda.

"You have beautiful eyes", Wanda said.

She stared at them a little longer. "Oh, they're beautiful", she said.

I stared at her face while she gazed into my eyes. Finally I dropped my sunglasses back down.

When I got back in the van, Baby Shawn was leant forward. He was projected out of his seat, partially covering the right seat in the back row.

"Shawn!", said Wanda. "Scxxt over!"

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Scxxt over!"

"Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"

"Sorry, James!"

"May I go to the restroom?", I asked.

"The restroom is there", said Alejandra.

"You can go in", said Wanda. "They don't have any stalls, so don't do anything bad in there."

I got out and walked to the restroom. I purged off the two "scxxt"s, then purged off the word "mxss". After what seemed like an eternity, I came out of the restroom.

We drove home with KOIT playing for the rest of the day. Because I had shown my eyes, I was able to have some peace of mind without needing to put my headphones on.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cutxe songs

Tiffany picked me up today, and Alejandra was in the van with her. I brought my headphones along, not knowing how important they would be on this day. When I picked them up on the seat the puff came off one of my headphones.

". . . caught your cutxe exe", I heard a rap song sing.

"Did they say the C-word?", I asked Tiffany.

"No, they did not", she said.

"They said 'cute eye'?", I asked.

"Yes", said Tiffany.

I heard "caught your cutxe exe" again. It still sounded like "cutxe" instead of "cute". "Are you sure they didn't say the C-word?", I asked Tiffany.

"Yes, James. You got your headphones?"

"Yes, let me see if I can get the puff back on."

The next song on the radio was that song that goes "Cutxe pie, cutxe pie . . ."

"Echhh!", I gagged. "It's the C-word pie song, Tiffany."

"Then can you please put your headphones on?", Tiffany asked.

"The puff has come off, Tiffany. Alejandra, can you get this on?"

"If you open your eyes, you'll be able to see it", said Tiffany.

"My eyes are open. But I still can't get it on."

Tiffany turned the radio off. When we stopped at Wal-mart, Tiffany went in and Alejandra put the puff back on my headphones for me.

After I thanked Alejandra, we went to Point Pinole. Tully and Robert both used the restroom. I needed to purge off the "cutxe"s, but I couldn't touch the handle of the outhouse door -- too many cobwxbs. Tiffany said she sure as hell wasn't going to do it.

Finally, Tiffany gave me a paper towel. I folded the paper towel over the door handle and opened it, then put the towel in the outhouse toilet. I purged off the "cutxe"s until we left.

Tiffany asked us where we wanted to go, and no one wanted to go anywhere in particular. Then Alejandra and I got the idea to go to Trader Joe's.

Alejandra, Robert and I walked in together. "Do you want to go to the frozen foods?", Alejandra asked me.

"Yes", I replied.

So we looked at all the frozen food. We looked at chocolate. We looked at soda and juice. We looked at eried fruit. But I couldn't summon myself to want anything. This new liquid Prozac has been taking away my appetite. I used to buy lunch at program at every opportunity; now most days I don't. And it used to be that whenever I didn't buy lunch, I would get a chimichanga for lunch and another one for dinner at home; now I don't. So I didn't want anything I looked at. I told Alejandra that I wasn't hungry.

We walked into Target then left because Tiffany said Tully wasn't behaving. Then came lunch at Point Pinole. I rested in the van while the others got out and ate their lunch. (For you newcomers to this blog: I never eat my lunch at program, even when I am hungry.)

Tiffany left and we began drops. First Baby Shawn, then Tully.

"Tully was running axx oxxx the pxxxx", said Alejandra.

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"What's wrong?"

"You said the A, O the P words. Can you close the door?"

"Are you going to do that thing you do?"

"Yes."

"Can you do it at home?"

"I can't wait that long."

Alejandra got in the middle seat and I needed to do some rubble-clearing as we drove home. She talked about parking for the Fourth of July and said "all" five times and "over" once. Then she talked about how she had had to sign "all of them" (and said it four times) when she was with Tully's staff.
'
Finally, I got "axx oxxx the pxxxx" to come up. I went home sleepy and empty-stomached.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Another gag song

On Thursday, the radio was down low. I heard some bits of words and hoped it wasn't the "Cutxe pie, cutxe pie" song, so I had La Netta turn it up.

". . . a cutxe with a [something] booty", the song went.

"Echh!", I said.

"Booty?", asked Rosa.

"No, the word they rhymed with 'booty'," I said.

"We can't play anything anymore", said Rosa.

"It was the word that they rhymed with 'booty' -- did you hear it?", I asked La Netta.

"I almost didn't hear it", said La Netta. "They said it so fast."

"I didn't hear it", said Rosa.

Later La Netta took me into Subway. She read me the part of the menu that covered foot-longs because my vision was so blurry. Then I watched my foot-long made and paid for it. La Netta walked out with me and drove me to Pinole Valley Park.

"Do you need you use the bathroom?", asked Rosa as soon as we parked.

"I do", I said. I got out, walked into the restroom, locked the stall and unzipped my pants. That phlegmy "cutxe" got gagged over by my mouth several times as I did the rituals. "Kyadolootadolee, adolye, adolee . . ." Finally I finished and was ready to join La Netta, Rosa, Jolene, Ken and Robin again.