Saturday, May 29, 2010

Txsty, txsty, txsty, txsty . . .

With Shawn Snodgrass squealing "Bxxxxxke!", I was glad Emanuel wasn't here Friday to compound the problems. We would be going to Ross and the dollar store, and I was hopeful that Snodgrass' words would be the only purge words I heard during the day.

"Could we look at the headphones while we're in here?", I asked La Netta as we entered Ross.

"Sure", said La Netta. Her voice sounded so calm and reassuring.

As we walked through Ross, Snodgrass was still saying, "Bxke! Look! My bxke!"

"I don't know why he's saying that, since there aren't any around here", said La Netta.

"Maybe he's just talking about his favorite thing", I responded.

All the way through, Baby Shawn wanted us to look at things. "Looooook!", he kept saying.

Were those pajamdras? I pointed to something printed and La Netta said it was a bag.

"They're not pajamdras?", I asked.

"They're not", she replied. "Did you see what it says?"

"No."

"Don't read them."

Later in Ross (after looking at headphones and finding nothing good), La Netta asked me whether I wanted to look at wallets, and I said I did. We looked at wallets with leopard patterns and wallets with fake fish scales and plain black wallets. I also found a zebra-patterned chest that I liked (at first I thought it was furniture), and La Netta looked at the price tag. It cost $39.99.

We left, me having not bought anything. La Netta and I both needed to go to the bathroom, so we stopped at a restroom in McDonald's while Rosa took Snodgrass and Robin. I picked my navel, while La Netta ordered a mocha.

Our next stop was the dollar store.

I was cupping my hands over my eyes and following behind La Netta on the floor. On the floor I saw something I couldn't identify. Two identical objects were littered on the floor. There was some red. Was it Dipser-man?

I looked. It WAS Dipser-man!

"Eeeeewwwww!", I said, pointing to them.

"Why did you have to stoop down to look at the floor to see that?", asked Rosa.

"I had already seen it", I said. "I wanted to make sure it wasn't that."

OCD note: Once something is within my field of vision, I've officially seen it. If I can't make out what it is clearly, I have to look at it closer to make sure I haven't seen something that makes me have to purge.

I bought my lunch here, mango and pineapple ham along with Swiss cheese. Then I threw in a Stars & Stripes root beer. I was hoping for Copitos, but I couldn't find any Copitos so I settled for Pom Poms.

After we paid, the group stopped by McDonald's.

"What's the Big and Txsty?", asked Rosa.

"Blechhh!", I said.

"Well, that's what it's called!", she said.

"My family ordered the Big and Txsty", said Ken.

"Blechhh!", I said.

"Oops! Sorry, James!"

I thought "txsty" to myself a few times. La Netta and Rosa said a few things were "nice", and Rosa said "my sister".

As we drove, Snodgrass said, "Bxke! Bxxxxxxxke!" All the meanwhile, my mouth was filling up with saliva.

Once we stopped, I took my sleep mask off, unbuckled my seatbelt and opened the van door. I spat out a huge stream of spit into the berm.

Then I went to the restroom. Txsty, txsty, txsty, I thought. Txsty ice xxxxx. Mr. Txstee.

I had to think the word backwards to myself and then do the "adolice cradoleam" ritual for each "ice xxxxx" I thought and the "tadolasty; tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, adolice cradoleam" ritual for each "txsty" I thought. I finally made it through the "txsty"s.

Then I did the two Dipser-mans, then finally, Snodgrass' "bxke"s.

When I came back, La Netta told me I had spent an hour in the restroom. "What took you so long?", she asked.

"I had to purge off the T-words", I said.

"The T-words!?!", said La Netta. "I thought there was only one!"

"First Rosa said it, then Ken said it, remember?"

"Oh yeah."

"And then there were the two Dipser-mans."

La Netta walked off as Rosa wheeled Snodgrass to the restroom to change his diaper.

"And then Snodgrass was saying his favorite word", I told La Netta. "Remember that?"

"Oh, yeah", she said.

When I finally got home, La Netta gave me two hugs: one for that magnificent shower on Tuesday in which I washed my hair and changed my pants, and one as our end-of-the-week hug. Then I brought in my Dollar Tree groceries.

Indecipherable rap lyrics

Wednesday morning I got in the van and Emanuel was blabbering. We stopped in front of Jolene and Robin's house to pick up Robin.

I got out my bag of Peanut Crunch and walked to the curb to spit, then walked towards the door.

"Someone's here to see you, Jolene", said Rosa.

Jolene was at the door. She looked at me with delight. She extended her arms and hugged me.

I hugged with her for a while. Then I showed her my bag of See's chocolates.

"Thank you, James!", said Jolene.

"You're welcome", I said. "Peanot Crunch."

"My favorite!", said Jolene. "Thank you, James!"

She said two more "Thank you"s as I walked from the door.

After stopping at Rosa's house, we drove to Vincent Park. However, Emanuel was still talking his garbage.

I got out to use the restroom, and could hear Emanuel talking outside.

"I'll give you some candy!", he said. "I'll give you some ice xxxxx!"

"BLECHHH!", I said.

"Fuck you all!", he screamed.

I purged off "ice xxxxx", my pants pulled out to the ground on the wet floor.

When I got out, La Netta told me my pants were wet, and I explained.

"What word did Emanuel say that made you have to purge?", she asked.

"He said the I-word", I said.

"Oh", said La Netta.

Next, we drove to Berkeley. "Don't go in the store talking like that", Rosa told Emanuel. "In fact, don't go in the store at all."

Rosa and I walked into Berkeley's Grocery Outlet together. I told her I was looking for Tampico and piroshkis.

"They don't have Tampico, but they do have the big Hawaiian punch", she said when we reached the juice section.

I placed two bottles of Hawaiian punch (the red flavor) in the cart.

Next, we walked by the frozen foods. Rosa got some ice xxxxx. As we walked down to the piroshki, I saw some Crisp & Txsty and said, "Blechhh!"

"What?", asked Rosa.

"Crisp and . . .", I said and pointed to it.

"Oh."

We stood in line. I paid for my stuff, and Rosa said, "Don't look at my order".

"Just this", Rosa told the cashier.

"Just the ice cr--", I heard the cashier begin as I plugged my ears. Just in time!

When we returned, Emanuel had already signed himself out. La Netta visited a corner store.

I purged off "txsty" at the office. We had gone from Berkeley to the CIWP office in only five minutes!

Next, the coaches split. Rosa took Robin and me. I carried all my juices and piroshkis in addition to my red bag.

As Rosa flipped through the stations, I heard one say "axx oxxx the pxxxx". "Ewwww!", I said.

"That was 101.3", said Rosa.

She settled on Movin' 99.7, which played the song "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy.

When I got to Davis Park, I purged off the A, O the P words in the restroom.

Then Ken came up to the van. "Stupid Snodgrass!", he said.

"Yeah", I said.

"He's so stupid. Very stupid."

"Yeah, he is."

"He doesn't know anything!"

"Snodgrass!"

Ken laughed.

I saw a ghost sticker on the floor. Then I walked up to La Netta.

"Did you hear it was the thirtieth anniversary of Pac-man?", I asked.

"I heard", said La Netta.

La Netta told me her family only had a few video games when she was growing up. And kids back in those days, she said, were grateful for the games they had. Now they have to have 'em all!

I walked up to Ken again.

"That Snodgrass!", I said.

"Yeah", he said.

"Snot-ass! Shawn Snot-ass!"

Ken laughed.

We went our separate ways and Rosa drove me home. When the van stopped, Rosa turned off the radio and I heard a different radio.

"Did they say 'C-word pie'?", I asked.

"No", said Rosa.

I heard "kitty pie" again. "Was that 'C-word pie'?"

"No, it wasn't."

Rosa made a cellphone call.

"Do you know the name of this song?", I asked her.

"No, I don't", she said.

We listened a little longer . . .

"It might be Li'l Wayne", she said.

I heard the line "I'm so shy, I hate to admit it" or "I'm so shy to have to admit it". I decided to google it.

"Did they say, 'SW-word pie'?," I asked.

"No", said Rosa. She laughed.

When I got home I asked Quiana, "Quiana, was that you listening to the rap song in your car?"

"Yes, it was", she said.

"What artist were you listening to?"

"Why does it matter? It was my car, not yours."

"I want to look it up online."

"I don't remember."

"Is something wrong, Quiana?"

"Yes, I'm tired."

I googled the line fruitlessly and came back.

"Quiana, Rosa and I were arguing over whether they said 'C-word pie' in the song."

"What's the C-word?", asked Quiana.

"Rhymes with beauty."

"No, they didn't say that."

Thank god! I could eat my piroshkis now!

A better day

The morning of Tuesday, La Netta brought me a bottle of tea from her house. It was to make up for that terrible day yesterday.

"Thanks, La Netta", I said.

"You're welcome", I said.

Emanuel, meanwhile, was talking his head off. I listened to his every word.

Eventually, he said "ice xxxxx cones".

"Blechhh!", I said.

We reached a gas station. Emanuel left. I waited until the restroom was empty and went in to purge.

When I came out, I said, "Why does Emanuel say the I-word so much when he's doing his blathering?"

"It was only once", said Rosa.

We hit a stoplight. "Stupid stoplight!", I said.

The van moved again. "He said it once today, but this isn't the first time he's said it."

"Sometimes he says it on purpose", said Rosa.

"He didn't say it on purpose today."

"Not today, but when he says it over and over again, then he's doing it on purpose."

La Netta then took me into Ross, being we were in El Cerrito. She took me to look at the headphones. I saw a pair with a picture of a boy listening to headphones with his eyes closed. They were $12.99. I liked them, but didn't want to spend 65% of my $20 bill on them.

La Netta told me she'd take me into Chef's first, then take me to See's.

In Chef's, I heard the employee ask a customer, "How many froks for your group?" Disgusting!

"Four."

"Four?"

"Four."

"Four froks."

I ordered how mein, vegetables with shrimp and fish, and kung pao chicken. I felt around for a frok in my lunch after paying the lady.

"Just a napkin, no frok?", she asked.

"Right", I said.

"I didn't put one in."

Next came See's. "Do you want to buy anything for yourself?", she asked.

"Just for Jolene", I said.

I saw prewrapped bags of Peanut Crunch. "It's the perfect opportunity", I said.

"Well, you see", said La Netta, "If you give Jolene one of those bags she's going to eat it all at once."

"It takes me several days to eat my See's chocolates."

"Well, Jolene's not like you."

I asked the employee how much four pieces of Peanut Crunch would cost, and she told me it would be $4.

"Would you like me to wrap it for her?", she asked.

"Will it cost extra?", I asked.

"No, sir!"

"All right.

I paid for it, and she asked if it was Jolene's birthday.

"Oh no," I said. "I'm just giving them to her because Peanut Crunch is her favorite."

The employee put a sticker that said JUST BECAUSE on the bag I had intended for Jolene. She gave La Netta and me free samples of a new See's chocolate with hazelnut in it, and we were on our way.

"Do you need to go to the restroom?", La Netta asked me once we reached the park.

"Yes", I replied.

"Why?", La Netta asked. "You didn't hear any words!"

"I need to purge off the F-word."

"They only said it because you were feeling around for it."

"They said it more than once, La Netta. Didn't you hear them saying it before I ordered?"

"No."

"Before I ordered, the employee asked the customer how many F-words his group wanted. They said it a lot of times. Didn't you hear that?"

"No, I didn't."

"Well, maybe they were talking about metal ones", said Rosa. "You don't know. It could be metal, since they have a restaurant at the right side and use regular silverware where the people eat. Then you wouldn't have to purge."

Here's where the principle of "to be on the safe side" comes in. If I can't determine whether "frok" referred to a plastic or a metal frok, I have to purge it off, just to be on the safe side.

I would have to purge off "frok", but I told my coaches I would have to look at the clock say 12:45 first, and so I would wait until after 12:45 to go to the restroom to purge.

"But you saw it yesterday!", said La Netta.

"Here's the thing, La Netta", I said. "Yesterday was so bad that I didn't get to see the clock say 12:45."

"Yes, you did!", La Netta and Rosa both shouted at the same time.

Spit came out of my mouth as I said I didn't. I asked for a paper towel, then got out to spit.

When I got back in, I said, "No, I didn't! Let me explain what I mean by that!" I explained how I had seen 12:42 on Monday, so I had to look at 12:44 and then 12:45. Today I would not be allowed to see anything in between 12:41 and 12:45.

Rosa finally told me when it said 12:45. I looked at the clock and assimilated the number. Then I got to the restroom to purge off all the "frok"s.

I had Chinese food and chocolate for Jolene, and had finally gotten to see 12:45 long enough to complete the minute. This day was much better than Monday!

Jolene makes my day

We were parked in front of McDonald's Monday morning when La Netta said, "on a bxke ride". I waited until a little later when she said, "riding their bxkes", and I told La Netta and Rosa, "I'll be in the restroom".

"What will you be doing?", asked La Netta.

"Picking my navel", I said.

"What did I say?", asked La Netta.

"Bxkes", Rosa whispered to La Netta.

"Aren't you at least going to wait for me to finish?", asked La Netta.

I walked into the restroom and picked my navel.

A little later, La Netta was talking about cooking with her family, and Rosa asked, "Do they make a mxss?"

"Ewwww!", I said.

"Sorry, James", said Ken. "I won't say it anymore."

"It wasn't you, Ken", I said. A little later I heard the word "bxke" another time.

The restroom in the bowling alley would be a nice place to pick my navel and purge off "mxss", and indeed we were parked in front of the bowling alley for our next program site. But La Netta just kept chatting with Rosa.

"Are we going to bowl?", I asked.

"We can't go bowling if Robin is acting like this", said La Netta.

"What if you take me in and Rosa stays in the van with Robin?"

"Well, remember Friday when Shawn was acting up and it took Aziz and me to stop him?"

"Yes."

"I don't think Rosa can handle him on her own."

We drove onto Blockbuster and the group decided to go in. As Ken closed the door I heard him say, "Whxxps!"

"D'oh!", I said, slamming my forehead.

"He said, 'Oops'!", said Rosa.

"Did he really?", I asked La Netta.

"Yes, he did", said La Netta.

"I heard the WH-word."

"That's because you wanted to hear it!", said Rosa.

"No, I don't! I want to not hear it!" I turned to La Netta. "That wasn't very nice what Rosa said."

"Don't worry," said La Netta. "Your day will get better."

We walked into Blockbuster. La Netta showed me a movie titled 2012.

"Looooook!", Baby Shawn squealed. Snodgrass was yelling in his high-pitched voice all throughout the trip.

"You're going to get us kicked out of Blockbuster", said La Netta.

After what felt like an eternity of Shawn's screaming and me covering my eyes, we were out of there.

On Friday, La Netta had turned the radio on, flipped stations and turned the volume off when the clock said 12:45 so I didn't get to look at 12:45 long enough. I told La Netta that I wanted to look at the clock starting 12:45. I told her I should have enough time for the restroom and to come back.

"Why do you have to go to the restroom?", asked La Netta.

"Rosa said the M-word", I replied.

"When did she say that?"

"When she was talking about your family making an M-word. Remember? Ken apologized and I told Ken, 'It wasn't you'?"

I walked in the Miller's Knots restroom and purged off the word "mxss". Then I came back out. I saw the van clock from outside.

I asked what time it was when I got in and La Netta said it was 12:42. Oh, great. This meant I would have to correct my just having seen 12:42 today instead of spending today looking at 12:45.

When La Netta said, "Now it's 12:44", I looked at the clock. I looked at the clock all through 12:44 and 12:45. Once it said 12:46, I stopped looking. I would have to look for 12:45 on Tuesday.

As we drove Baby Shawn home, he squealed, "Bxke!" at the passing motorcycle. "Loooooook! My bxxxxxxke!"

We dropped him off, then pulled up in front of ABC (A Better Chance, a rival day program) where Eula would be picking up Robin. Tie conversation turned to Rosa's husband Antonio, and her kids' appreciation of him.

"Tonio was there when . . .", said La Netta. "Tonio was there when you fell off your bxke. Tonio was there when . . ."

"Now I'm really going to have to pick my navel", I said.

"Why?", asked La Netta. "Oh-h-h-h-h-h-h. That word has come up so many times today! Tomorrow I'm going to have to bring you something!"

"This was an awful day", I told La Netta.

"I'll bring you some of the tea I have tomorrow", said La Netta.

Later, Eula's van pulled up. I stepped outside as the van picked up Robin.

Jolene was in there. Jolene smiled at me and waved from inside Eula's van.

"See Jolene?", asked La Netta. "She's waving at you. Oh, I heard her say, 'Hi, James'."

I waved at Jolene, then her van left.

The day had been an awful day. But seeing Jolene redeemed the whole day for me.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Snodgrass wears the group out

On Friday morning, we drove to the office to change Shawn Snodgrass' diaper. However, Snodgrass threw a tantrum and wouldn't let La Netta change him.

We left off, purportedly to go to Target and Wal-mart. But Snodgrass' screaming had Robin all worked-up. Robin was howling.

"Do you know everyone's last name?", I asked Aziz.

"No, I don't", replied Aziz. "I just know the first names . . . you're James, he's Ken, and Shawn, and Robin, then we have Emanuel."

"Ken's last name is Davis. You'll sometimes hear La Netta calling him that. Shawn's last name is Snodgrass -- that's what Ken and I usually call him. My last name is Landau. Do you know the origin of Landau?"

"No, I don't."

"Are there many Jewish people where you come from?"

"Yes, there are."

"Well, Landau is Jewish."

"Really? Cool!"

"And they say Jews and Arabs aren't supposed to get along."

Aziz laughed.

"Jews and Arabs aren't supposed to get along?", asked La Netta. "Really?"

"Where I come from the Jews and Arabs get along", said Aziz. Aziz said ie came from Yemen. "But in other places, they don't get along."

"Like in Israel and Palestine", I said.

"Yes, that's the prime example."

"They don't get along?", asked La Netta.

"You see, the Jews believe they have a mandate from God to establish a land of Israel", I said. "But the Palestinians say they built it on their land."

"And that's not the only thing", said Aziz. "Israel is the home of Jerusalem . . . sacred to the Jews . . . and there's also a mosque sacred to the Muslims there."

"There is?", asked La Netta.

"Yes. It's like if there was a mosque next to the church where you went. But the Muslims tolerate the Jews and Christians."

"People of the Book", I said.

"Yes!", said Aziz. "People of the Book!"

"They're all descended from Abraham, or as they call him in Arabic, Ibrahim."

"Yes! You really are a genius! That you would know about this stuff, and know what Abraham's name was in Arabic."

"In Hebrew, Abraham is Avram or Avraham".

"Yes!"

"Abraham and his wife Sarah started out as Avram and Sarai."

"And what does Sarah mean?"

"It's Hebrew for princess."

"Yes! You are smart!"

"But then when they were chosen, God told them to put the letter H, or in Hebrew the letter heh, into their names, so they became Avraham and Sarah. The heh symbolizes the breath oe God."

"La Netta told me you were a genius! You are really impressing me with all this knowledge!"

"Yes, James knows about everything", said La Netta.

La Netta drove Robin to the eoughnut shop and bought him a few doughnut holes. Then she took him to Davis Park where he could eat them.

"Bxke!", said Shawn. I got out to pick my navel.

As I was in the restroom picking it, Snodgrass threw my bag with my CD player and headphones in it. La Netta told me about it when I came back.

We drove over to Lee's Garden for Chinese food, skipping Wal-mart. I ordered chow mein, Hunan chicken and Mongolian beef.

"No frok?", asked the employee.

"Right", I said.

"No frok?"

"Right."

After I paid, I walked back to the van with La Netta.

"Hello?", said La Netta on the office telephone. "I have a schedule change . . . we're going to have lunch at Pinole Valley Park."

We drove over and I went to the restroom to purge. While I purged, Baby Shawn threw my red bag a second time.

I went back and La Netta told me what he had done. "Shame on you, Shawn!", I said. I slapped his left wrist.

La Netta began looking Snodgrass straight in the eye. "Don't throw things", she said. "If you throw that hat, you're not going to get it back."

"FUCK YOU!", Snodgrass yelled.

"You stop that right now!"

"FUCK YOU, BITCH!"

"Stop it!"

"FUCK YOU!"

Baby Shawn began to kick his legs and scream.

"STOP THROWING A TANTRUM LIKE A 2-YEAR-OLD!", said La Netta. "You're a grown man!"

A little later, a bicycle passed by. "Bxke!", said Snodgrass. "Look! My bxke! Bxxxxxxke!"

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

"OK", said La Netta.

I went to the restroom and picked a few "bxke"s out of my navel. Then I came back.

La Netta drove to Snodgrass' group home. She told the staff about how he prevented her from changing his diaper that day.

"Well, if nothing else, you got your Chinese food today", said La Netta.

"That's true", I said.

I couldn't swallow

On Wednesday, La Netta took me into Chef's. I ordered chow mein, honey sesame chicken and broccoli beef.

"No frok, just a napkin, right?", the employee asked.

"Right", I said as I handed her my money.

After we made it back to the van, La Netta asked whether I wanted to go to Trader Joe's with her, and I said yes.

Soon we were in Trader Joe's. I said something with my mouth full of saliva, and La Netta asked, "Do you want to swallow that?"

"No, I don't I said."

A little later, I told her, "I can't swallow, because I haven't purged off the F-word yet."

"What's the F-word?", asked La Netta.

"Plastic silverware . . ."

"Just because she asked if you wanted one with your lunch?"

"Yes."

I picked out some cranberry hibiscus juice. When we paid for our stuff, I asked for a plastic bag, although La Netta's paper bag had (metal) forks on it.

I spat my saliva out once we got outside, and then we drove over to Pinole Valley Park. All I coculd think of on the way there was "frok".

Finally we made it to our destination site. I entered the restroom and unzipped my pants. "FaDorork, fadorork, fadorork, fadorork," I chanted. I rubble-cleared the forks on the Trader Joe's bag: "fadorork, fadorork, fadorork".

At last I could push my hands around my groin. "Fadorork", I said. "Fadorork" . . . going up. I was out of there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My mother's sixty-second birthday

Today, my mother became old enough for a senior discount. She turned 62.

But La Netta was not there to hear me tell her about it. When I came out to the van with a piroshki, Rosa and Kay were there without La Netta.

"We're not going to Jolene's house today because Robin had a seizure", said Rosa.

I returned to the house and put the piroshki back.

Kay, Rosa and Ken were soon deep in a conversation.

"I traveled to New York, I traveled axx oxxx the pxxxx", said Kay.

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Did I say a word?"

"You saod the A, O the P words."

"A, O the P words? Did I?"

"You did", said Rosa. "All . . . over . . ."

"Oh", said Kay. "I didn't know that was a word."

I heard "all over" and "called" and "dollar" as the time went by. I wanted to purge so badly.

"Antonio was riding his bxke . . ." said Rosa. Once Kay got out, I began picking my navel.

Kay stopped at the office to heat her lunch, and I got out of the van too so I could purge in the office's restroom. After much rubble-clearing, I got the words "axx oxxx the pxxxx" out of my system.

We skipped Long's and headed on to CostCo.

I saw pizzas for $5.something and boxes of shromp for $7.something. With $7 in currency in my pocket, I could have bought them, but I wanted to save my money for Chinese food (Rosa had said there was Chinese food near Vincent Park).

We had spent about an hour in CostCo when Kay said, " . . . We would eat cake and ice xxxxx".

"BLECHHHHH!", I said.

"Oooooooooh!", said Kay. "I'm sorry, James."

They said "spice" and "spicy" a few times before Kay and I got to the restrooms. After rubble-clearing the "ice"s, I carved into the "adolice cradoleam" portion. Luckily for me, the I-word tasted like chocolate frozen yogurt instead of tasting like cake the way it usually does when someone says "cake and ice xxxxx". I don't know why.

"I'm prepared to meet you soon", said Kay.

"OK, Kay", I said.

I finally finished purging and washed my hands. After drying off, I was ready to go.

"Bxke!", said Snodgrass.

"Shawn, there's no bxke there", said Ken.

"Bxke!", he squealed a little later.

"Yes, there is a bxke", said Kay.

"Bxxxxxxxxke!"

"Oh, god!", I said.

"What, too loud for you?", asked Kay. "Could you be quieter, Shawn?"

"It's not too loud", I said. "It's just when he says the short form of 'bicycle', that makes me have to pick my navel."

"Can you say 'bi-cycle', Shawn?"

"Bxkel!"

Kay was dropped off at 12. She said good-bye to us and apologized to me for saying the I-word.

"Do you want Taco Bell instead of Chinese food?", asked Rosa.

"Yes", I said. So Rosa drove through Taco Bell and I got a five-layer burrito, a chicken chalupa and a Crunch Wrap Supreme. Then Ken got three tacos.

We all got out at Vincent Park. After my short trip to the restroom to pick my navel, I joined Rosa, Snodgrass and Ken. I squatted on the bench so I wouldn't get the seat of my pants dirty or covered with cobwxbs.

We dropped Snodgrass off. As Rosa wheeled him in, Ken said, "That Snoegrass!"

"Yeah!", I said.

"He is crazy!", said Ken.

"Yeah!"

"We always get him!"

"Yep!"

Stupid Snodgrass!"

I stopped talking to Ken as soon as Rosa got back in the van.

Friday, May 14, 2010

La Netta needs headphones

On Thursday morning, I got into the van and it said 8:43. I periodically looked, and then turned away. Once it said 8:44, I glued my eyes to the radio.

"What song is playing?", I asked.

La Netta turned the volume up. I saw 98.1 instead of the time.

Then it said 8:44 again. I looked all through 8:44, then all through 8:45. At 8:46 I turned my head away from the radio.

After a few songs, the radio turned to a commercial.

"Does anyone want to listen to this commercial?", I asked.

"Why don't you just put your headphones on?", asked Rosa.

"I won't need to if no one wants to listen to this commercial. Ken, do you want to listen to this?"

No answer.

It is much easier to turn the radio off if no one wants to hear a commercial than to put my headphones on, therefore I don't understand why no one turned the radio off. Either that, or said yes, they do want to listen to the commercial.

Soon it got onto a food commercial. I feared they were about to say "txsty", but by the time I turned my CD player on, got my headphones over my ears, plugged the headphones into the CD player, and turned the volume all the way up from its default 20 to its maximum 32, it may already be too late. I sealed my ears shut with my hands and began singing.

Eventually, I wondered whether the commercial was over, so I unplugged my ears and . . . ". . . on the left shoulder . . ."

"Oh no!", I shouted. "Traffic!" La Netta switched the station.

"If you had had your headphones on, you wouldn't have heard the traffic!", said Rosa.

"I might have if it was during a gap! La Netta, why didn't you switch the station when they started doing traffic?"

"I did", said La Netta. "I switched it to this."

"I mean, why didn't you switch it when they started eoing traffic?"

"Because they hadn't started yet."

I got it then. When I heard the "left shoulder", they had just begun doing traffic, and La Netta was already reaching for the dial.

A few songs later, I tried putting my headphones on. The music turned off. I turned my CD player on again. A low battery symbol appeared. A few seconds later, the battery died.

"My battery died!", I shouted.

I heard a song that was sung by some female group. The group sounded similar to the Pointer Sisters or Sister Sledge. "Did they say the P & A words?", I asked La Netta.

"They didn't", said La Netta.

The group sang that part of the chorus again. "Was it 'lugging around'?", I asked.

"I don't know", said La Netta. "Listening to these words makes me sick." Apparently La Netta could use a pair of headphones.

"Like damn, he's hot!", the song ended. Or at least the song ended with something along those lines. "Like damn, he's hot!" gets no AltaVista hits.

We then went into Trader Joe's.

I wanted to conserve my $10. "Where are we getting lunch?", I asked La Netta.

"Here", said La Netta.

We were buying lunch at Trader Joe's? Very well, then. I picked out a microwaveable manicotti dinner and put it in the cart.

La Netta put a salad in the cart. I saw the plastic silverware that came with it. "Eeewwww!", I squealed.

La Netta covered it up.

I wanted to look at the chocolate section, but La Netta said there was ice xxxxx below the chocolate so she had to tell me what they had. Eventually, we got to the right of the aisle and I could look. I picked out two bags of taffy.

Soon we were on our way. When we got to Pinole Valley Park, La Netta asked, "What does that word make you do?"

"The plastic thing, you mean?", I asked.

"Yes."

"It's just a standard purge . . . at the groin."

"Do you make noise?"

"Yes."

"There are little children at this park."

"Are they in the restroom now?"

"They're in and out."

I walked up to the restroom. When I needed to go, I needed to go.

I began with rubble-clearing "wear" and "where": "wadolare, sadolilverwadolare, sadolilverwadolare". Then I did all the "frok"s I had thought to myself: "fadorork, fadorok, fadorork . . ."

I heard La Netta and Emanuel outside.

I was making inroads on the plastic frok, meanwhile. "Fadorork, fadorork, fadorork, fadorork; fadorork, fadorork, fadorork, fadorork."

I put one leg against the stall door and another against the toilet.

Emanuel knocked on my stall door.

"Yes?", I said.

Emanoel laughed.

I eventually finished up, and walked outside. "Did you hear me chanting?", I asked La Netta.

"Emanuel heard you", said La Netta. "He says you were doing something."

"He was pulling on something", said Emanuel.

"If you were pulling on that, you might want to find another way of purging."

"I wasn't pulling on anything", I said.

"James says that purging is very painful", La Netta told Emanuel.

"I heard a knock on the stall, and I said, 'Yes?', and then I heard Emanuel laughing."

"Emanuel, did you see James pulling on his stuff?"

"I heard him", said Emanuel.

"But did you see it?"

"No. I just heard him."

I took my pill and the three of us walked back to the van together.

Robin banged his head against a curb.

"Robin!", said a coach. "You're bleeding!"

La Netta and Rosa worked to clean up Robin's blood. Robin was in pain. La Netta called the office, and told them what had happened with Robin.

Several minutes later, La Netta got a call from the office. They said Eula was home and was willing to pick up Robin. La Netta said the group was in Pinole, and would soon be at Snodgrass' house. Robin would be our last drop.

Rosa and La Netta then talked about how Robin wasn't doing well with this group. We had Emanuel who would blather loudly about his schizophrenic nonsense. Then we had Baby Shawn and his screaming. Then we had me asking frequently whether a certain word was said and asking about the radio stations. Then we had Ken threatening to break people's necks. This didn't bode well for an autistic client who couldn't handle loud.

"I keep telling them that Robin doesn't do well with large, loud groups", said La Netta.

I got my freedom a little later as La Netta dropped me off. She wouldn't hug me after I had purged in a restroom without soap, though.

But at least she gave me two hugs on Friday.

Ken finally brings the cake

Ever since he joined our group in 2005, Ken Davis has been telling us about the wonderful wedding cakes his mother bakes for a living. Every time he went home to visit his mother, La Netta's asked him to bring over a cake, and each time Ken promised that this time, he would. But every time he came back, he had no cake to show.

Well, we were in the Dollar Tree on Wednesday, when La Netta received a phone call from the office. She picked it up and it was Maria.

"Hello?", asked La Netta.

"Hello", said Maria. "I just thought, James would ask, 'Why did you say that word?'" I had no idea what she meant. "Ken's mother is at the office, and he has brought a cake for the group."

"A cake?", said La Netta.

"Yes. Come to the office and get it."

"OK. Did you hear that, James?"

"I did", I answered her. "Ken's mother finally brought the cake."

I picked out two Stars & Stripes sodas and put them in the cart. After paying for our purchases, we drove over to the office. I was more than delighted to see Ken after four program days' absence.

"Ken!", I said.

"James!", said Ken.

I stayed in the restroom while the other people ate their cake. I didn't want to see any plastic silverware, and was afraid someone might have ice xxxxx with the cake.

Eventually we drove over to Davis Park. While we drove, the coaches were raving about how great Mrs. Davis' cake was.

"I'm going to cut my slice of cake, and I've got plastic silverware", said La Netta.

"I'll keep my sleep mask on", I said.

"You could use a cup like that one time", said Rosa, laughing. "No, you've got a frok." I swallowed just as she was saying "frok". Now I would have to purge "frok" off twice.

I closed my eyes and kept my sleep mask on as La Netta ate. While she was eating, a man peddling ice xxxxx passed by. "Ice xxxxx ice xxxxx!", he said.

"Blechhh! Blechhh!", I said.

"No thank you!", said Rosa.

Rosa turned to us. "I already told him no thank you. I don't understand why he was offering it to us."

"James, you want to go to the restroom?", asked La Netta.

"I'll go when you're done eating", I replied. "Then I won't have to see your silverware."

"You should probably go now. Why don't you go and not look?"

So I took my sleep mask off and kept my eyes closed and covered with one hand as I walked out of the van.

I purged off the two "ice xxxxx"s rather quickly, then did the two "fadorork"s.

I came back. La Netta cut me a slice of Ken's mother's cake and put it on a black plate. She wrapped up the plate in foil. I carried it in my red bag on our way home.

Our van came to two sudden stops during the drive home, and both times the foil with me cake in it fell on the floor. But the foil rendered it unhurt, and I stuffed my cake back in the bag both times.

I finally got home, and brought the sodas, and my bag with the cake, in the house to taste.

And the rest of Ken's cake? Good old Ken brought it back to his group home.

Enzingiyi vs. Santina

When I was about 11, I decided that only a baby needs to be told, "It's time to . . .", or "It's time for . . .". From then on, when my parents said, "It's time for dinner" or "Time to brush your teeth", I would respond with, "No, it's not".

Well, I was in bed Tuesday morning, and Santina said, "Time to get up!"

"No, it's not!", I said.

"I need to make your bed!", she said.

"Oh, OK", I said, falling out of bed. "Why didn't you just tell me that?"

"They've got them picking you up too late already", said Santina as she made my bed.

Santina finished making my bed, put the pillow back on, changed the plastic insert in my wastebasket and shut the door behind her.

I lay back down on my bed for a little while.

A little while later, she told me La Netta was here.

I put my shoes on, put on my sleep mask and sunglasses, placed my new headphones into my red bag and picked the red bag up, turned my white sound machine off, and was out the door.

While I was walking out I heard Santina on her cellphone: "I don't know why he gets special treatment. He's holding me up and his ride is late. But he alone gets to sleep till he leaves!" I could tell that Santina was talking about me.

I got in the van and joined La Netta and the group. Our first stop was Ross.

While I was in Ross, La Netta asked me what was wrong. I told her all about what Santina has said that morning.

I'm already dressed in the morning, I shower and brush my teeth at night, and I don't eat breakfast. Therefore I can get out of bed on a moment's notice that La Netta is here. That's why I get to sleep in until my coaches get here in the morning.

La Netta said she understood why I was upset.

The next stop was the Pacific East Ranch Market. I told La Netta I was looking for rambutans. We went through the fruit section, but didn't see any.

Then came the cookies and cakes aisle. I saw a "CRISP AND TXSTY" label.

"What's wrong?", asked La Netta.

"I haven't found anything I want", I said. "I think what would cheer me up is some starfruit juice."

Then I found some mochi and put it into the cart.

Next, we went to the juice aisle where I found starfruit juice. I added it to our cart.

We were on our way on, but I saw canned lychees in syrup. Opposite from them . . . canned rambutans in syrup!

I made my purchase, and then we were on our way to the office. I purged "txsty" off in there.

I can tell Santina does not like me. If only she understood why I get to sleep late. If the other people were dressed early in the morning and skipped breakeast, they'd get to sleep late too!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

POST #500!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was Friday, and I still didn't have my money from Stan. I had spent my last currency at the 99-cent store the day before.

La Netta told me that we would go home early that day, so there was no need to try to get money. She said we wouldn't have time to wait for Stan to drop by when we got to the office.

"Bxke!", said Snodgrass. I picked my navel as we drove.

Soon we were playing one of the two rap stations. At first it was innocuous songs, like Mario's "Let Me Love You". But then came a song that said "cutxe pie".

"Echhhh!", I choked.

"Get your headphones on", said Rosa.

As I reached for my headphones, I heard something that sounded like "jxggle". "Did they say the J-word?", I asked.

"I just don't know", said La Netta. "Shawn has got me so worn out."

"Just dance", the chorus rang.

"Wait a minute!", I said. "This is 'Just Dance' by Lady Gaga! That song doesn't have any purge words in it!"

"This is a remix", said Rosa.

As I reached for my headphones and pumped up the volume, I heard the singer sing, "caught my exe". "Ewwwww!", I shrieked.

Finally, I got my headphones on, but I could still hear the radio. "Did they say the C-word again?", I asked.

"No, they didn't", said La Netta.

"Put your headphones on!", said Rosa.

"They're on!", I said. "The volume is all the way up! But I can still hear the radio! The radio is THAT LOUD!"

Rosa fiddled with the dial until the volume was lower and the speakers were in the front of the van. "Can you hear it now?", she asked.

"No", I said.

I kept my headphones on all the way home. Then I heard something that sounded like a loud "James!" I took my headphones off.

"James!", said La Netta. "We're at your house!"

When I got to my house I spent the longest time purging.

Cliff lies to me

We started out Thursday by spending some time at the office. La Netta showed me a picture of Rodney's grandmother next to Jolene. That was my favorite one of the pictures.

I showed Lita my headphones, broken. She asked how they got so badly damaged, and I told her the whole story. I had them in the red bag on my dresser. I wanted to write on the piece of paper under the bag, so I had to move my headphone bag. I didn't want to accidentally step on it, so instead of putting it on the floor I moved it to the opposite end of the dresser. Misjudging where the center of weight was, it had a fall from the dresser once I put it down. It was cracked. Then later, Snodgrass had a tantrum and threw my bag in the trunk, headphones and all. They were even more badly damaged.

"Not cool", said Lita. She got out some tape, and put the pieces back together.

"Are you using masking tape?", I asked.

"Duct", she said.

Her last task was to tape the earpiece together with what she called the "arm". "You'll only be able to move it on one side when putting it on", she said.

"One side?", I asked.

"That shouldn't be a problem. Your head isn't that big."

"Thanks, Lita", I said.

As we prepared to leave, La Netta said she was going to the restroom. I hung around, then heard Barry Adams. Did Barry say something about ice xxxxx? I asked Rosa, and she said no. Then as I walked towards the restroom, I heard Barry say, "Could you watch my stuff?" Then I heard him say something that sounded like "keep an exe on". Then I heard him say "watch my stuff" again.

I hung around in the restroom, and waited for La Netta to come out so I could ask her.

I stood, then I heard the restroom door opening. I walked out.

I saw Cliff walking by. Cliff said something that sounded like "keep an exe on". I approached him as we walked out the office's front eoor.

"Cliff!", I called out.

"Yes, sir!", said Cliff.

"Did someone say the K & E words?"

"I don't know. I didn't hear everyone."

"Do you know what the K & E words are?"

"No, I don't."

"They're 'keep an'" -- I pointed to my sunglasses -- "'on'."

"Who?"

"It's not a who, it's a what. Let me tell you what the K & E words are. 'Keep an'" -- and then I pointed to my right eye through my sunglasses again. "See what part of the body I'm pointing to?"

"Mm-hmm."

"'On'. Those are the K & E words."

"Oh, I see."

"Did someone say them?"

"Well, I don't know, since I wasn't listening to everybody around me."

"La Netta!", I called out.

"She's not out yet", said Rosa. "She's in the restroom!"

"But I heard the door opening! She has to be out!"

Finally La Netta came out. "La Netta!", I said. "I was waiting for you!"

"What's up?", she asked.

"Did Barry say the K & E words?"

"Mmmmm . . . he did."

"And later, did Cliff say the K & E words."

"Mmmmm . . . he did."

"Eeewwwwww."

"I'll let you use the restrooms. Just try to come out soon".

I could not believe it. Cliff had outright lied to me. I had asked him whether anyone had said the K & E words. He said he didn't know, even though it was Cliff himself who had said the words! He had to know what he said. First Cliff falls for Ayyoon's lies, now he tells an Ayyooner of his own.

So I purged off the /ai/ sounds I had heard in order to rubble-clear. The phrase "I don't know" requires an especially fancy purging ritual when I have to rubble-clear /ai/ sounds after hearing "keep an exe on", since it is perhaps the most common phrase containing the sound /ai/, and therefore I had to do some fancy dancing around my groin with my hands in order to purge off Cliff's "I don't know"s.

Then I did the later of the two "keep an exe on"s.

I came out and told La Netta that I only did one of the two words, because I wanted to make it in time to get my Easter eggs at the 99-cent store.

La Netta called Ken to try to get him into the van.

"Ken!", I called.

"Well, we're waiting on Rosa to come out of the restroom", said La Netta. "Oh, look, Shawn has a smashed-up banana peel on his lunchbag. Yxk."

"I didn't come out early for this", I said.

"I know", said La Netta.

I waited some more. "I'm going back to the restrooms", I said. "I can't wait anymore."

"What if Rosa's coming out right now?", asked La Netta.

I walked into the building, and ran to the restroom. First I purged off La Netta's "yxk", then I did some rubble-clearing with the "I"s. Finally, I finished the K & E words -- the first of the two that had been said (Barry's).

I came out and Rosa was standing by the van. We were ready to drive.

After dropping Emanuel off, we made it to the 99-cent store. Rosa showed me the Easter egg section, but all they had were chocolate Peeps and a few marshmallow bunnies and bubblegum eggs -- no Cadburys this year.

I put three Patio burritos into the cart, selected a mango drink, albeit one with high-fructose corn syrup which I heard makes you thirstier, got some Bergen peanut cookies and a chocolate-and-marshmallow cookie from Mexico called Copitos, picked out sliced turkey, and placed in the cart some more of those headphones with the Asian girl with her eyes closed on the cover -- the same brand I had bought the last time I got headphones from a dollar store.

I paid for my stuff. It was 12:30 when I got out. We were supposed to leave at 11:45.

I took my pill and sat in the back.

"You stop that!" I suddenly heard La Netta yell.

Next to me, in the back, was Shawn Snodgrass.

"That's nasty!", yelled La Netta. "I thought I smelled piss!"

"Is he taking his diaper off?", I asked.

"Shawn is stroking his stuff!", said La Netta. "Zip your pants up, get it back in there!"

Shawn was smiling all the while.

"Get your seatbelt on!", said La Netta.

Snodgrass didn't budge.

"GET YOUR BELT ON! GET YOUR BELT ON!"

We finally arrived at Pinole Valley Park. Robin got out, and went to the women's restroom.

"Go in the men's!", shouted La Netta. "The men's!", shouted Rosa at the same time.

That old Robin walked into the women's restroom instead, as he always did.

"I think the problem's that we've got too many males in our group", said La Netta.

We did drops. As I got out of the van, I felt my pants unbuttoning. "Did my pants just come unbuttoned?", I asked.

"Did we forget to take Shawn home?", La Netta joked.

She held my headphone bag while I buttoned my pants. Then I stood near the trunk.

"Aren't you going to walk to the door?", she asked.

"I wanted you to help me with my bags."

"Do you have anything in the trunk?"

"Stuff from the 99-cent store", I said.

"Oh! Oh!", said La Netta. "I had forgotten all about that!"

La Netta opened the trunk for me. She gave me the bags, which she had tied up in knots. Then I walked inside.

Missing Jolene (in more ways than one)

Wednesday morning I got up early and combed my hair. As soon as I heard La Netta was here, I picked Jolene's piroshki out of the freezer and walked to the van with my sleep mask on.

"Did that KTVU commercial say the M-word?", I asked La Netta.

"No, it didn't", said La Netta.

At 9:00 we arrived at Jolene's house to pick up Robin.

"This is James Landau, and I'm coming to give this to Jolene", I said to the staff.

"Jolene left already", the staff said. "But I'll give this to her."

"Thank you!"

"We didn't make it in time", I told La Netta.

"But we tried", she said.

"I came right out today and we still didn't make it on time to see Jolene."

"Well, sometimes Jolene gets picked up at 8:00", said Rosa. "It's unpredictable."

We went to the library, where I sat at the desk with my eyes closed while La Netta read a magazine. I told La Netta I needed to go to the restroom (my bladder was full). Then La Netta asked if I was ready to leave and go to Grocery Outlet. As you could guess, I answered in the affirmative.

As we drove, Rosa said, "They don't have anyone to keep an exe on them."

"Ewwwwwww!", I said.

"Sorry!", said Rosa. "Even on them?"

"It doesn't matter what pronoun it's followed by."

"Oh."

"James," said La Netta, "You might want to go to the bathroom after you go through the store, because there might not be enough time to look."

I told her I wanted to go to the restroom first. It was locked, so La Netta went for a key.

I purged off "keep an exe on", then I urinated. Finally, I washed my hands.

I picked out two piroshkis. La Netta said this was going to be where we got our lunch, so I decided to eat the piroshkis for lunch -- all four of them.

I paid for my stuff in line, then came La Netta. When the person after La Netta came up, the cashier asked, "Hi, cutxe pie! How's it been!"

"Echh!", I gagged. As I said "Echh", saliva flew from my mouth as if I had sneezed.

I purged off the C-word at Davis Park. This took up a good part of my lunchtime. Then I talked about Snodgrass with Ken.

Next, Ken and I talked about Bush. "He's a fool!", said Ken.

"Yeah!", I said.

"Bush is a fraud", said Ken.

"You're right, Ken, he is a fraud. He stole an election. That election was rightfully Al Gore's!"

"Bush is a drunk!"

"Yeah."

"He drove drunk, he stole an election . . ."

Eventually, it came time to leave Davis Park and do drops. As we drove, Robin head-butted La Netta's arm.

"Owwwwwww!", La Netta screamed.

"SHAME ON YOU ROBIN!", I shouted.

Just then, Robin hit my arm.

I slapped Robin on the wrist.

He held his wrist in pain and jerked it as he shook.

We finished our drops and I was soon back at home, ready to heat up all of four piroshkis.

Misdirected

On Tuesday morning, we were parked near somebody's house and La Netta said, "I see those boys at People's Park".

"That Black boy on the bxke", said Darnell.

We made it over to Whole Foods market. "Are you going in?", La Netta asked Darnell.

"I'm going to stay", said Darnell.

My mouth was full of saliva. I got out to release the saliva from my mouth, then I asked La Netta where we were.

"This is the Whole Foods store", La Netta said. "You want to go in there, right?"

"Right", I replied.

We went in, and I told her I was looking for dried rambutans.

"What do they look like?", asked La Netta.

"It's a fruit from Southeast Asia; it's red and covered with bristles", I replied.

"I don't see any." La Netta went on to look at the vegetables. The vegetable section featured some seldom-seen baby broccoli.

"We're waiting on Ken", said La Netta. "He's in the restroom, so let's wait for him."

"I'd like to use the restroom too," I said.

"What -- did you hear something?"

"What Darnell said. That Black boy on the --"

"Ohhh. Well, if we're going to do this, we might as well leave now. Oh, there's Ken." We continued on our way. "I don't see any rambutans."

"I saie dried rambutans", I said.

"Ohhhhhhhh."

We saw some dried fruit, but nothing looked appealing. There were no dried rambutans.

"Do you want to go to Grocery Outlet instead?", asked La Netta.

"Aren't we going there tomorrow?", I asked.

"That's the one in San Pablo."

"This is a different Grocery Outlet?"

"Yes."

"OK."

"I take it you don't want to go to Maria's party?", asked La Netta.

"Is there going to be cake and the I-word, and plastic silverware?", I asked.

"Most probably", said La Netta.

"OK, then I'll skip it."

As we drove over to the Berkeley Grocery Outlet, I picked my navel. Soon we had arrived.

I picked out three piroshkis. "Jolene says pizza is her favorite, so I'm buying a pizza one for her", I said. "I think she'd like it."

Just after I had picked out the piroshkis, I saw a sausage pack that said, "Crisp and Txsty". There was another one right behind it.

"Blechhh!", I said.

"What?", asked La Netta.

"I pointed to it."

"You better just close your eyes, and I'll tell you what I see", said La Netta.

A commercial came on. I plugged my ears and hummed "Alouette". When I stopped humming, the commercial was still going on -- "txsty stop"?

"Blechhh!", I said again.

"Did they say the T-word in that commercial?", I asked when it was over.

"I didn't hear that", said La Netta.

"It sounded like 'T-word, stop'," I said.

"I think it was, 'take a stop'," said La Netta.

"Ohhhhhhh. That explains it!"

After I paid for my piroshkis (and Jolene's), I walked to the restroom.

I purged off "I see" and the other "ice"s, then got to "txsty". I thought about Txsti-Lee tomatoes and had to purge that off. Finally I got to the "txsty"s. A line formed outside, and the employee opened up the women's restroom for all the guys who were waiting to use the men's.

Next we all got some burritos at the burrito truck nearby. Well, not Robin and Snodgrass.

"They're riding their bxkes too fast, James", said Ken.

We finally landed at Vincent Park -- and La Netta said, "The group is there!"

"They're having their party there!", said Darnell.

"They said they were having it at Crab Cove! They must have seen on our schedule that we were coming here and had it here to get us to join!"

"They went here on purpose to expose me to plastic silverware and the I-word", I said.

"Yes", said La Netta.

I could not believe it. Maria's group had gone out of their way to hold their party here where Ken and I were.

I ran to the restroom. "I'll be in the restroom", I told La Netta.

"Wait a minute, please", she said.

That word "please"! "NO!", I said, and ran to the restroom.

In the restroom I picked my navel. When I then came out, I followed La Netta's voice and stood near the table where her group was eating.

Several songs played on a radio from a car parked nearby. Eventually the DJ spoke, and revealed that it was KBLX. Some song ID's began.

"I think they're about to do traffic!", I said. "How do I get away from it?"

"Just walk down until you can't hear it anymore", said La Netta.

So I walked down until La Netta said, "James." I stood there for several minutes. Then I came back, and KBLX was on a commercial.

Robin stooe in front of a baby, and went, "Awawawawa!" in his typical way.

"Robin!", said La Netta. "You get back here! You sit down!"

We then walked to our van. We were at such a distance from the other van that we could no longer hear KBLX.

Darnell got into a long conversation with La Netta about the office as we drove back.

"And I can go in and eat their ice xxxxx", said Darnell.

"Blechhh!", I said.

"Sorry, James!", said Darnell. "I was really into the conversation. Anyway, go in and eat their I-word . . ."

When I got home, I purged off "ice xxxxx", and then ate my burrito. The others had complained that their meat didn't taste fresh, but I had been smart enough to order a bean and cheese burrito and enjoyed my order.

Meet Aziz

It was Monday and Stan still hadn't brought me money. I told La Netta, and she let me call Stan at the office.

At the office we met a new coach. He introduced himself as Aziz.

"Did you say Así?", asked La Netta.

"I think he said his name is Aziz", I said. "A-Z-I-Z."

"Yes", said Aziz.

I got my money at the office, then we finally left. We were supposed to go to Wal-mart, then the Dollar Tree.

"You know it's too late to go to Wal-mart", La Netta said.

"But I need my juices!", I said.

"Then you can get them at the Dollar Tree", said La Netta.

"Can't we skip the Dollar Tree instead?"

"No, because we've got to stay on schedule."

"Then can't we just make a schedule change?"

"They don't want us doing that. They told us."

"So there's a new rule, no more schedule changes?"

"Yes."

La Netta went on to explain the group to Aziz. "This is a challenging group", she says. "Emanuel, the guy up front, he has mental issues. He does things his own way, and it has to be his way. He likes to set everyone off. He drools in the van. He has his days where he's fine, but he has other days where he comes in and he's ranting and ranting. Normally, he signs himself out at 11:30, but he hasn't done that today. Ken, he wanders off. When we go places, he doesn't stay with the group. But even though you can't see him, he can always see us. James, he has OCD. He has a lot of words he doesn't like, and he'll gave to go to the restroom. There are a lot of thigns he doesn't like; I'll tell you about them at lunchtime. Shawn and Robin are mentally retarded. Shawn, he has trouble walking, so you have to push him in a wheelchair. And he's in diapers, so you'll have to change his diaper. Robin is autistic, so he doesn't like a lot of noise. When he gets agitated, he head-butts. Mostly, he bangs his head against the window, but sometimes he'll head-butt other people. The other group that's lower-functioning is Tiffany's group. All the other groups are higher-functioning."

Ken and I got out at the Dollar Tree. There I selected three Stars & Stripes sodas -- grape, sweet orange and root beer -- and one cranberry juice. Ken said "axx oxxx the pxxxx" while we were there, and I growled.

I got out to purge at Miller's Knots. After purging, I came out of the restroom, and heard La Netta saying, "He's a genius."

"Do you know which group Kendra has?", asked La Netta.

"Kendra?", I asked. "I don't know Kendra."

"You know. Kinder."

"Did you say Kinder or Kendra?"

"Well, that's the way Black people say it. Kendra."

"You mean Kinder? Kulwinder?"

"Isn't Kulwinder her last name?"

"Her last name is Kaur."

"I don't know . . . you may be right."

"Kaur is the Punjabi word for princess."

"Punjabi . . . from India or Pakistan," said Aziz.

"I've never heard of your name, Aziz", said La Netta.

"It's an Arabian name," he explained.

"And there's also a name, Abdulaziz", I said.

"Yes! Yes!", said Aziz. "Abdulaziz is my name! Aziz is short for Abdulaziz!"

"I told you James was a genius", said La Netta.

"I worked at the airport in New York," said Aziz, "And after 9/11, people were afraid of the Arabs in the U.S. There was a lot of prejudice against me."

Aziz said he learned English in just six months.

Meeting Aziz was a real treat. Hopefully this new coach will stick around and we'll have him in our group some more.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lots of forks (and one frok)

Friday morning, Rosa was talking about her sister's boyfriend. The guy she was seeing hit Rosa's niece Gabi by hitting her face with a window to punish her.

"He takes them out for ice xxxxx", said Rosa.

"Blechhh!", I said.

"Sorry", said Rosa.

Rosa went on. "Gabi is almost in high school. She's getting too ole to get spanked." I took note of the "high school", and thought "looksigh-h, mearc cie" to myself, remembering that I would have to rubble-clear it later.

Rosa spoke angrily, and called her sister. She tried convincing her to let her niece stay with Angie for a few weeks.

"La Netta, I can't hold it in", I said.

"I'm taking you to a restroom", said La Netta.

"Thanks, La Netta", I said.

Soon we were at Vincent Park. I went to the restroom and unzipped my pants. I did a lot of rubble-clearing from hearing "ice" and thinking the I-word to myself. Then I did the "adolice cradoleam" ritual.

I came out, and soon we were ready to go to Berkeley Marina. After staying there, we drove to Trader Joe's.

"Are you getting anything from Trader Joe's?", La Netta asked me.

"Yes," I replied.

"Just a minute and I'll go in with you."

"I want to get coffee", said Rosa.

"OK, then you can go in with him instead."

Rosa and I walked in together. I told her I wanted to visit the dried fruit section.

I was looking for rambutans like I got once. The employee in her flowered Trader Joe's uniform asked me if I was looking for anything.

"I'm looking for the rambutans", I said.

"We don't carry those anymore", she said.

"Those weren't popular?", I asked.

"They weren't popular enough."

Rosa asked if there was anywhere else I wanted to go, and I selected the frozen food aisle.

So there we went. I picked out some enchiladas, and a pack of two chili verde burritos.

Then it was Rosa's turn to shop. I had my eyes closed as she picked some fresh food out. "Want some?", she asked.

"Is that coffee?", I asked.

"No, it's eggs and bacon."

I looked, then I saw something white in her hand. It looked as if she were holding a white plastic frok at the top.

"Do they have plastic silverware for that?", I asked.

"Yes", said Rosa. "Sorry!"

Oh, no! That was a plastic frok!

I purchased my two items at the cash register, requesting a plastic bag. Then, as I walked out, I passed by paper Trader Joe's bags with pictures of (metal) forks on them.

Our next stop was Didi's, where La Netta and Rosa shopped for clothes. I got close to La Netta and she told me about a new policy wherein coaches were supposed to call the pigs on clients who did something illegal -- shoplifting, assault, etc.

"Like the time Shawntay hit Jolene?", I asked.

"No, not like hitting someone", La Netta said. "Things like stealing."

"Have they ever had a client arrested?", I asked.

"Sure", said La Netta.

"And by that, I mean had a client arrested."

"Sure."

We passed by silverware packs on our voyage through Didi's.

Then we drove to Kennedy Grove for lunch. I went in the restroom. First I purged off all the times I had thought "frok" to myself. Then I purged off all the "where"s or "wear"s and chanted "wadolare, sadolilverwadolare, sadolilverwadolare". Then I purged off the word "silverware" as I had said it. Next, I purged off all the metal forks I had seen. I even did a few "fadororks" in case I heard the word "frok" across word boundaries (as in "for Ken"), and didn't notice it.

Then I did the frok Rosa was holding up. "Eadorork, fadorork, fadorork, fadorork; fadorork, fadorork, fadorork, fadorork" for the first tine. Then for three more tines. Then I did the "scoop" part. Then the handle. Finally, I did some all-collecting "fadorork"s as I logaesthetically felt the frok pxking me.

The plastic frok finally came out!

I erove home, my Mexican food with me.