Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A fellow blogger

Today we were in Grocery Outlet in Berkeley when La Netta was buying fig bars. She picked up a box when we saw another woman pick out some items.

La Netta asked her about the eig bars. "I bought them at Trader Joe's and they were more expensive", she said.

The woman continued shopping and chatted with La Netta. "They have them more expensive at other places, Trader Joe's, sometimes they're less at CostCo."

La Netta talked about how she couldn't find them at Williams' and a number of other places she shopped.

"La Netta . . .", I said.

"Do either of you have a blog?", the woman asked.

"I do", I said.

"I read your blog."

"The logaesthesia blog?"

"Yeah . . . I enjoy reading about what you have to go through."

"How did you find his blog?", asked La Netta.

"Well, I run the blog for Grocery Outlet", she said. The woman explained that she got feed from other blogs that mentioned Grocery Outlet, and since my blog regularly mentioned Grocery Outlet she saw mine.

"Are you going to blog about this?", asked La Netta.

"Yes", I said. "What's your name?"

"Kelly", the woman said.

"Kelly, with a Y or an I?"

"A Y. Is that better?"

"Yes."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A day full of characters

Today it was raining, something I loved. I kept asking about purge words on the radio, though, and I wasn't feeling too happy.

"Did you get any rest?", La Netta asked me.

"I slept all night", I told La Netta.

We soon landed at the dollar store. Carl was loath to go in.

La Netta asked me what I wanted to buy, and I told her I was saving my money.

"James", said Carl. "You know those juices you like to get?"

"Stars & Stripes, and Tampicos?", I said.

"And Sunny D."

"And Hawaiian Punch?"

"Yes. They're all over here."

I followed Carl, but all I saw was scrunchies on the bottom shelf. Carl then pointed to the top shelf.

"I'll pass", I said.

La Netta then suggested we all go to the candy section. While I walked through, I tried to cover my eyes, but I saw something to my bottom left. It was Pez dispensers.

Now I would have to look at them. I checked them out and so orange and black stripes on one. Upon checking it out, it was Tigger.

"Ewwwwwww!", I shrieked.

A little later, we got to the greeting cards. La Netta said I might want to find a card for my brother Alex, who is graduating Stanford this year.

I found one that made La Netta and me laugh. "Why don't you get that for Alex?", she said.

So I picked it up, and we selected an orange envelope. Then I saw something behind us. It was Dipser-man! Several Dipser-mans!

"Eeewwwwwwww!", I shrieked again.

After a bit more shopping, we went up to the cash register to pay for our goodies. When I put mine on the conveyor belt, the employee told me to walk to my right. I put my money bag down on a platform, then I saw some stickers or tattoos below it. I checked them all out . . . and one of them was Dipser-man!

"Ewwwwwwwwww!" Once again.

Then we drove over to the library. Carl said he could not get out in the rain.

"Are both La Netta and LaTanya going in?", I asked.

"Everyone's getting out", said La Netta.

"I can't go in", Carl said.

"Why not?", asked La Netta.

"Adam?", I asked.

"Thank you, James", said Carl.

"Well, Carl, you don't have to worry about Adam", said La Netta.

La Netta decided to wait until the rain died down. Then she told Carl to put his hood up, as we were all going in.

"Carl", I asked, "How much do you know about the Dewey Decimal System?"

"I don't know what that is", he said.

I explained it to him. "I'd like help in finding the zero books."

"Would those be at the beginning or at the end?"

"At the beginning."

"Well, here's a five. And here's a three."

I finally found a book in the zeroes called The Big Book of UFO's.

As soon as I opened it, I saw a reference to Mount Shasta. I showed it to La Netta. "Remember when I told you about the people living under Mount Shasta?", I asked.

"Yeah!", said La Netta excitedly.

Later I showed her something about Raël in the book. Earlier I had explained to her that the Raëlians tried to clone people.

When I put the book back, I saw a book on the same shelf by Stan Lee. It was called How to Draw Superheroes. One of them was Dipser-man.

Mortified, I asked La Netta if I could go to the restroom to spit.

"Do you have to use it, or just to spit?", she asked.

I pointed to my mouth.

"Just to spit?", she asked.

"M-hm", I replied.

"Then I'll go to the women's. You can spit outside."

Then someone opened the men's room for Alfonso and Aeam. I went in along with them.

I spat all my saliva out. Then we came out.

La Netta walked into Lee's Garden and some of our group paid for Chinese food. I was saving my money, however.

Next was Davis Park. I walked into the Davis Park restroom in the rain and immediately started purging off Dipser-mans.

It had been over an hour, then I saw a real live dipser on the restroom's brick wall.

I came and asked Carl for something to kill the dipser with. He provided some napkins.

"Thank you, Carl", I said.

"We're getting ready to go in about ten minutes!", said La Netta.

"Can you at least let me kill it first?", I said.

"OK", said La Netta.

I killed it with the napkins. Then I flushed it down the toilet. Dipser guts were stuck to the brick.

I purged it off, then La Netta called, "Aleonso's ready to go!"

I washed my hands, and left.

When I got home, I finished purging off all the Dipser-mens, and then got to Tigger. At 4:18, I finally took my pills and enjoyed the rest of my challah.

Attack of the killer brain-whxxpses

On Tuesday morning I got into the van and Star 101.3 was playing. A song was on . . . then came the daily morning "Three Things You Need to Know".

The first was about an infamous tornado. The second was about the clergyman who predicted the Rapture on May 21. This clergyman announced that he had gotten the date off by 5 months. "Whxxps!", the DJ said.

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

Soon a DJ said it again.

"D'OH! D'OH!" More forehead slams.

La Netta asked me if I wanted to go into Ace Hardware, and I said yes. So I went in together with La Netta and Carl. She asked an employee's help in looking for screws, and the employee showed La Netta the screws. She made her purchase, and then we went on to our next program site.

Next was Barnes & Noble. "Where do you want to go?", La Netta asked me.

"To the music section", I replied.

"OK", said La Netta. But as we walked towards the music section, Adam got attracted by some movies.

"James", said La Netta, "We'll look at the movies with Adam, then we'll go to the music, OK?"

"OK", I replied.

So Adam and La Netta looked at movies. La Netta told me, "Don't look to your right".

We walked around, then La Netta told me I could go to the music.

"Is it thisaway?", I asked, pointing.

"James, can't you open your eyes?", asked La Netta.

"I can't", I replied.

"The Winnxe the Pooh and Dipser-man stuff is behind us. If you want to find the music section, it's in front of you."

So I looked at music. I looked at Evanescence and the Grateful Dead and Michael Franti and Peter Frampton and some 50's oldies CD's.

Then Adam walked right back to the movies!

"James", said La Netta, "Adam isn't listening."

La Netta chased Adam, but Adam went right around to a Peanuts video. "It's time to go", La Netta told Adam.

Adam looked at some more movies. "We're leaving", said La Netta. "Come on."

Soon Adam had La Netta in a circle. She tried to get him out of the movie section, but he just kept walking the same old path.

Then Adam found some horror movies and said, "Halloween".

"Right", said La Netta, "Scary movies. Halloween."

She chased Adam around in more circles. "Come on, it's time to go. We're going out."

Adam followed. "Good Adam", said La Netta.

Soon Adam was back looking at movies. "Adam!", said La Netta.

She chased him around several more times. Then La Netta said, "I'm going to call Maria and have her get you".

Adam walked right out the door with La Netta.

In the van, La Netta told Adam she wouldn't take him to Barnes & Noble anymore. "Adam knows he did wrong", said La Netta. "He won't look at me."

La Netta knew Ken was going to be picked up soon, so she drove us over to Lucky's and went in with me. There I got my two Tampicos, a pink one and a red one. There didn't seem to be much juice left over when I got them.

Then La Netta split. She took me into GNC, then into Trader Joe's.

La Netta kept asking me about juices, frozen food and dried fruit at Trader Joe's, but I didn't want anything I saw.

In the frozen foods section, I saw two boxes of Tofutti Cutxes, and gagged. Those are like ice xxxxx sandwiches, except they're made of tofutti.

Finally, we walked by the bread and I got some challah.

I paid for my challah, then La Netta paid for her vitamin water. I was out of Trader Joe's, in worse condition.

Next came our trip to the office to pick up Ken. By the time I got to the office restroom, I had thought "whxxps" and even "whxxpsie" to myself a number of times. I was there for what must have been thirty minutes purging.

Finally, La Netta knocked. "James!", she said. "We're at the van."

"Let me wash up", I said.

I washed my hands. La Netta knocked again right after I had finished, and I came right out.

La Netta took some of the clients, including me, into See's, while Aziz's group got lunch at Chef's. Then we erove to Taco Bell.

"You out of money?", La Netta asked me when I didn't buy anything.

"I'm approaching the end of the month", I said. "I'm saving my money so I'll have enough to buy a lasagna at Raley's." Raley's is Friday.

Then we left El Cerrito Plaza and made it to our lunch site, Vincent Park. It was 12:18 when we finally got there.

I purged off many more "whxxps"es and "whxxpsie"s that I had thought to myself.

Then La Netta said, "James, are you going to come out?"

"When I finish", I said.

"People are waiting to use the restroom", said La Netta.

Then I came straight out.

To my surprise, I didn't see anyone standing across the restroom.

"This park isn't a good place to do that", said La Netta.

La Netta and I walked over to the tables where the whole group was eating.

"What were you doing in there?", asked La Netta.

"I was purging off the WH-word", I said.

"Who said the WH-word?"

"They said it on the radio this morning."

"Then what were you doing at the office?"

"I was purging there too. But I didn't get to finish."

Later La Netta and I talked about why I didn't want to have children. At the end of the day, she said it was a good conversation we had had when I was talking with La Netta at the tables instead of purging in the restroom.

When I got home, I finished off all the "whxxpsie"s and "whxxps"es, then I did the "oops"es and "oops"es I had heard. Then, finally, I could carve in to the two "whxxps"es they had said on the radio.

Once I purged off both "cutxe"s, I was ready to eat my challah. But by now it was 4:09.

Worried for my friend

I sporadically check Lamesha's Facebook page. So when I checked it on Saturday, I was dismayed to find this post by Lamesha:

I's so hard to say goodbye but we have to and we are going to have to go one day also! we need to live right so we can see jesus! when I see Jesus all I can do is say Amen.


I already knew Lamesha was very sick. Lately she had been saying that her life was screwed up. Now it seemed Lamesha was dying.

I had had vivid visions of Lamesha's death countless times before. Sometimes she fell ill, and I went to see her in the hospital. She hugged until she died in my arms. Sometimes she drove over to see me, and died in a car accident. Oh, the tragedy of trying to see me only for us never to see each other again!

But now new thoughts were running through my mind. How was I going to survive without my best friend of five years? What if we couldn't hug off all my showers in time? Would I be able to see Lamesha and say good-bye?

I walked into the living room and asked Claudette to mute the television.

Once she muted it, I said, "Claudette, it's about my friend Lamesha".

"Is she still sick?", Claudette asked.

I told her what her post had said.

"Oh, dear", said Claudette.

I told Claudette I didn't know what to write.

"Why don't you write, 'What does this mean, Lamesha? I worry about you because you are my friend.'?", she suggested.

"I'll do that", I said.

I posted that in response to Lamesha's post. Then I turned my laptop off and lay on my bed.

I had lain there for what must have been one and a half hours when Claudette came in.

"How are you doing?", she asked me.

"Still sad", I said.

"I thought I'd check on you."

"Thanks for checking."

Concern was written all over Claudette's face.

"You look so concerned", I told Claudette.

"I am concerned", she said. "It's hard to lose a friend. A good friend."

"My best friend."

"I'll pray for Lamesha."

"You will? Thank you, Claudette!"

I'd been remiss on my prayers lately, so at midnight I prayed for Lamesha. I asked God not to take my Lamesha away from me, as I wouldn't be able to handle that. They say God doesn't burden you with things you can't handle.

On Monday, I came to program and we sat in the conference room. "La Netta", I said, "There's something I need to tell you about Lamesha."

"What is it?", asked La Netta.

I told La Netta the contents of her post.

"What day was it?", La Netta asked.

"She posted it on Friday", I said.

"What did you think that meant?"

"I think that means Lamesha is dying."

"You want to know what I think?", asked La Netta.

"What?"

"That preacher who predicted May 21st would be Judgment Day . . . you hear about that?"

"I saw it online."

"I think that's what she was referring to?"

"So it was just the eschatology thing?"

"Yes."

A little later, La Netta asked me if I felt better about Lamesha.

"I do", I said.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mountain Mike's

On Friday, Santina told me my ride was here. As I combed my hair and applied deodorant, I caught a glimpse of her opening the door and then closing it again. When I walked out, you won't believe this -- I saw her in her pajamdras!

When I got to program, La Netta erove over to Fernandez Park. She said we were all getting out.

"Not Fernandez Park!", I said.

"What's wrong with Fernandez Park?", asked La Netta.

"This park is crawling with cobvebs!"

"Is it really?"

"Don't you remember? When I got some on my hand?"

"I remember they had them in the bathrooms; I don't remember anywhere else."

"Are we going to the main part of the park?", I asked.

"Yes, we are", said La Netta.

Oh, good. The main part didn't seem to have cobwxbs.

Then La Netta began walking to the cobwxbby part.

"La Netta!", I said. "You said we were going to the main part!"

"Can you walk this way?", she asked.

"No, I can't! That's the part where I got the cobwxb on my hand."

La Netta took a different route with me.

"You know, Alfonso requested this place for next week", she said. "Some people like Fernandez Park."

"How can someone like Fernandez Park?", I asked. "What is it that makes this place so great?"

"Well, it's sort of like some people like going to Best Buy."

As we walked, I saw a cucumiform object dangling above us between two trees, in mid-air. "What's that dangling there?", I asked.

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

"That chrysalis-looking thing above us." I pointed to it.

"Oh, I think that's a caterpillar."

"Then how did it get in mid-air?"

"Must be snared up in a wxb. Let's walk around it."

I ducked and walked to the left of the caterpillar.

Later, we walked to a sign.

"See the cobvebs on the sign?", I asked.

"Where?", asked La Netta.

"On the top right."

"Oh. Now I see them."

Later, La Netta told me I looked very tense. She asked me why, and I confided that I had seen Santina in her pajamdras.

La Netta walked me around to the baseball field, then took a break to go to the restroom. I refused to use their restrooms.

La Netta talked to Aziz. She said I was concerned about the wxbs, so we'd go somewhere else and cut our trip here short. She also said she'd take me around so I wouldn't have to be near cobwxbs when leaving this park.

La Netta and I left, then we found ourselves at a Pinole shopping center. La Netta took me on a separate trip from the other three clients. I passed a "Bxke sale" sign on the way, and growled.

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

"Saw a bicycle sale sign", I said.

"What?"

"Saw a bicycle sale sign."

"Oh."

I then passed by a store selling ice xxxxx cakes.

We approached a store selling educational materials. La Netta told the proprietor she had last been there almost a year ago.

La Netta spent a good time in that store. Then we drove over to Best Buy. La Netta had told me she and I'd visit the vitamin store while the others were going to Best Buy, but instead we waited in the van for them.

"Is there a restroom around here?", I asked. "Because my bladder's really filling up."

"Well, you can go to the restroom in Best Buy", said La Netta.

"No way!"

Almost an hour had passed and they were still at Best Buy. "They must be having a good time", said La Netta.

About fifteen minutes later, she said, "They must be having a really good time."

Shortly afterwards, they came out.

We drove to Mountain Mike's, where we had been planning our trip to all week. La Netta said that since Alfonso wanted to work at Kennedy Grove, we wouldn't be eating inside Mountain Mike's as we had planned, but getting our food there and then eating it at Kennedy Grove.

As we stood in line, I asked if Mountain Mike's had sausage. I then ordered my personal pizza there -- just sausage and mushrooms.

La Netta ordered the big pizza. The staff said it would take 20 minutes to get all our pizzas. I asked La Netta if I could go to the restroom while we were waiting, and she said sure.

I purged off Santina's pajamdras first thing. Then I picked my navel. After all my purging was done, I sat on the toilet seat and urinated.

The urination took about five minutes. Then I washed my hands and came out.

I sat at a table where Adam and La Netta were. Two pepperoni pizzas came out. Five minutes later, they produced my pizza and the group's big pizza.

We all left and went to Kennedy Grove. I told La Netta I'd be unable to eat at Kennedy Grove. She said she could save two slices for me for when I got home. There were at least three disabled groups at the park. With all the conversation, I was frequently asking La Netta questions: "Did she say the SC-word?" "Did he say the WH-word?" "Did she say the C-word?"

I asked La Netta what time it was, and she said it was around 1:00.

Later I asked her if it was 1:15, and La Netta said no.

"But I asked you what felt like 15 minutes ago, and you said it was about 1:00", I said.

"It felt like 15 minutes ago, but it wasn't", said La Netta.

Finally, our group and Rosa's group headed back to our vans. I took my pizza and the group's pizza home.

La Netta had said she'd be able to hug me at the end of the day. So when I got home, we hugged a shower hug, followed by an end-of-the-week hug.

At home, I washed my hands and scraped them on the pizza box. I then proceeded to at a slice of the big pizza, then eat my entire personal pizza, then finish off the five slices of the big pizza. I was full.

Bowling for nerds

On Thursday morning, we were driving to the office. The DJ's were talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger's affair on the radio. As I was busy getting my headphones on, one of the DJ's said "mxss".

"Ewwwwww!", I said.

After we drove to the office, La Netta put The Mask in the VCR. She asked me if I needed to go to the restroom, and I said yes.

I went in and purged, and after I came back out I worked on a schedule with La Netta. I requested Lucky's (to get my Tampicos) and Raley's for next week.

"Did they say the WH-word?", I asked La Netta as The Mask played.

"No, they didn't", she said.

I asked about a few more words before going to the Internet room and finding Alfonso there.

"Is that a Wikipedia article you're reading?", I asked Alfonso.

"What did you say?", asked Alfonso.

"Is that a Wikipedia article you're reading?"

"Yes."

La Netta asked me where I was going, and I told her I was going to the restroom to spit. Then I went to the couch room.

The next time I tried the Internet room, Alfonso was no longer on the computer. I got on and checked the website www.script-o-rama.com for The Mask. I searched for "proctol . . ." and found no "pxke" nearby. I found no "whxxps"es. They did say "pajxmxs", though.

I went to the restroom and purged off "pajxmxs", then came out.

La Netta then drove up to AMF, a bowling alley in Pinole at which Alfonso had wanted to program.

As Alfonso walked in with Aziz, Carl stayed behind and La Netta talked to him.

"Carl, Alfonso was hurt by what you said", said La Netta. "I think you owe Alfonso an apology."

La Netta told Carl that he was just lashing out at people because Stan hadn't given him the money he was supposed to. She also said that that was why he wouldn't bowl.

La Netta told me to go into the bowling alley to prepare and pay for my game. I told her I wouldn't go with neither Carl nor her to listen out for words. La Netta asked, "Aren't you going to bowl?", and I responded in the negative.

So I stayed in the van while La Netta and Carl waited for the bowlers to come out.

Carl said the bowling alley was a nerd haven. Only nerds and old folks would be here.

"How do you know that only nerds will be here?", asked La Netta.

"Because this is a bowling alley!", said Carl. "If you bowl, then you're a nerd!"

"Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went bowling", I said.

"Who?"

"Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold."

"Who were they?"

"They were the Columbine killers."

"Timon and Pumbaa -- cool or nerdy?"

"They were cool."

"Errrrrrrrrrrrrr." Carl made a buzzer sound that indicated I had gotten the answer wrong. "They went bowling for buzzards. And they were huge nerds. They were outcasts! They had no friends. They let Simba become their friend after he became an outcast."

Carl also said that you had to be good at geometry to be a kegler.

"Marge Simpson and Jacques went bowling on The Simpsons", I said.

"They were nerds", said Carl.

"Jacques was a nerd?!?"

"Yes. And Marge . . . of course she was a nerd! She married Homer, didn't she?"

Carl said he wouldn't play a game he couldn't win.

"You play dominoes", I said.

"I won the first time I played", he said. "I go by beginner's luck."

"James", asked La Netta, "Would you like to go to Trader Joe's when we're done with the bowling alley?"

"Sure", I said.

Carl, La Netta and I all went to the restroom in AMF, then Aziz, Aleonso and Adam came out. La Netta drove over to Trader Joe's. I had been disappointed because the day before I didn't get to go to Trader Joe's due to a misunderstanding with La Netta. Now I had my chance.

La Netta visited the fruit section. She pointed out some kumquats.

"Oh, good", I said. "Kumquats! These are going in my basket."

When we visited the cereals, Carl pointed out a cereal made with hempseed. It had cannabis leaves on the front of the box.

I read the back. It addressed the reader as a health nut, and said "And hey, that bxke helmet looks great on you!"

I kept that to myself, but remembered that I would have to pick my navel.

"Where do you want to go now?", asked La Netta.

"The frozen food section", I replied.

La Netta took me there. "There goes your meat lasagna", she said.

"Oh, great! They have it!" I put the Trader Giotto's meat lasagna into my shopping basket.

We paid for all our goodies, then we left for Pinole Valley Park.

While I was there I picked my navel in the restroom. I came out and kept asking La Netta about the words the children there and their parents were saying.

I saw the N on Alfonso's shoes. "Are those New Balance?", I asked him.

"Are those what?", he said.

"New Balance."

"Are what New Balance?"

"Your shoes. I saw an N on them."

"They're kind of new."

"That N means New Balance", said Carl.

"See?" I showed him my New Balance shoes, with the N on the side.

I was blown away. Alfonso wore New Balance shoes, and yet he didn't even know what brand his shoes were?

When we got up to the van, I asked La Netta if she could open the van door so I could get my headphones on.

La Netta told me Aziz had the key.

Then Alfonso walked up with the rest of the group and asked for hand sanitizer.

"Oh great", said Carl. "He goes bowling, and now he's a germophobe!?"

When we got back into the van, Carl called Alfonso a nerd. "I was a jock, and I was a rebel and a bad boy", said Carl.

"Alfonso", I asked, "What kind of person were you when you were in high school?"

"I guess I was the quiet type", Alfonso said.

"So you were the type who ate lunch alone?"

"Sometimes someone else came up to my table."

"I ate lunch with the punks", I said.

When we got to my house, I asked La Netta for a hug, but she said her hands were full. But we'd be able to embrace on Friday . . . right?

Holding my own

Wednesday morning, the DJ's were talking on KMEL. They were mentioning "hugs", then I thought I heard them say "smugs". But was it really "snxgs"? I also thought I heard them say "mxss" when they were talking about the rain.

"Did they say the SN-word?", I asked La Netta.

Carl talked.

"La Netta, did they?", I asked.

"Yes, they did", she said.

"The N-word?", asked Aziz.

"The M-word", said La Netta. "Like, 'This is a ____' . . . Don't say it."

"Wait, you said they said the M-word?", I asked. "I asked about the SN-word."

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

"Did they say 'smug', like complacent?"

"I already told you what they said."

"They said that word that rappers use to offend Black people", said Carl.

When we got out, I asked La Netta, "La Netta, were the DJ's using that word that offends African-Americans?"

"No, they weren't", she replied.

"Carl says they were."

"You said they said the N-word!", said Carl.

"No, I didn't say 'N-word', I said 'M-word'," said La Netta.

So Carl had thought La Netta was saying "N-word" instead of "M-word"!

I told La Netta I would be in the restroom.

After I came out, I noticed something on the undershirt Aziz had under his button-down shirt.

"Are those cobvebs on your shirt?", I asked him.

"No, that's a . . ." Aziz pointed to his button-down.

"No, I mean on your undershirt."

"Oh, yes, but they're not real", Aziz said.

"They're painted on", said Carl.

We left Alfonso at the office, and took a trip to Wal-mart.

"James, there's an ingredient in candy bars and juices that I can't pronounce, and I wanted to show it to you", said Carl.

"Phenylalanine?", I asked.

"That's not it. Acet . . . something."

We split, with La Netta taking Ken and Adam and Aziz taking Carl and me. La Netta handed me a basket before we split, and asked if I was going to be able to get my juices.

Carl listened out for words as we headed to the juice aisle.

"Did that little girl say, 'WH-word, sorry'?", I asked Carl.

"No", said Carl.

At the juice aisle, I picked up two citrus punch Tampicos. The first two I selected had punched-in caps, so I replaced them with two that had not been damaged.

Then I carried my basket over to the candy aisle, where I suggested we go so Carl could show me the word.

I set my basket down and Carl looked at a package of Snickers. He couldn't find the word he was taking about.

Carl told me, "Want to get your basket?"

"I'll come back for it when I'm done", I said.

Before I knew it, Carl had my basket! We were walking through different aisles.

I had my ears plugged as a commercial talked about Wal-mart products.

"Did they say the T-word?", I asked Carl.

"No", Carl replied.

We finally paid for my juice and all of Aziz's goodies (fruit, Pringles, etc.) and headed out to the van. Aziz opened the door for us, and we waited for La Netta.

While we drove to our next program site, La Netta talked to Carl. "Carl, I saw you were carrying James' basket."

"I didn't want him to forget it", said Carl.

"It's fine that you want to help a friend, but you're hindering James' growth."

"Let me explain", I said. "We were at the candy aisle, and I set it down to look around, because the basket was heavy. Then Carl got concerned that I might forget it, or that someone might steal it, and told me, 'Want to get your basket?' I told him, 'I'll come back for it when I'm done'. Then Carl picked it up."

"Well, Carl, James really wants those juices, so he isn't going to forget his basket."

Then we stopped in front of Trader Joe's, as there was still no call to pick up Alfonso. "Who wants to come in with me?", La Netta asked.

"I do!", I said.

"OK, James, but you're going to have to hold your own", said La Netta.

"Then forget it", I said.

"I'm not coming in", said Carl.

Carl and I stayed in with Aziz. As I stayed, I wondered if "hold your own" had meant what I thought it meant.

La Netta finally got back. "La Netta", I asked, "By 'hold your own', you meant listen out for my own words, right?"

"I meant hold your own basket", said La Netta.

"Oh, I thought you meant listen out for my own words. If I had known what you meant, I would have gone in with you! I don't have any problem holding my own basket!"

"You have to finish a thought", Carl told La Netta. "Hold your own . . . what?"

As we drove off, I said, "I could have gone into Trader Joe's with you, La Netta!"

"You could have", said La Netta.

I was so unhappy as we drove away from Trader Joe's to the office.

La Netta got my pills out and gave them to me when we reached the office.

"Aziz", I asked. "I saw jointed legs on the cobvebs on your shirt." I asked him if those were dipsers.

"They are", he said. "They're not real."

"Ewwwwwww!", I said.

"They're painted on", said Carl.

I went to the restroom to purge off dipsers. When I came out, I took my pill.

We drove to the burrito truck, where Carl and I got our vegetarian burritos.

"That looks big", said La Netta.

"It is", I said, "It's a super burrito."

"You must be hungry."

"I always get a super burrito."

"Really?"

"Yes. You never noticed that?"

"I never did. Was it vegetarian or head this time?"

"Vegetarian."

As Carl came back into the van, I told Carl I could think of a food for U. "It's a candy bar, and it shares its name with a card game", I said.

"Still don't know it", Carl said.

"It shares its name with a card game, and a Spanish number."

"OK, I don't know it."

"U-no bar!"

"Never heard of it. OK, are there any foods for X?"

"There's a kind of alcoholic drink that begins with X."

"Drinks are foods. What is it?"

"Xtabentún."

"How do you spell it?", asked Aziz.

"X-T-A-B-E-N-T-U-accent-aigu-N."

"OK, Y", said Carl. "Yam. Aziz, you have Z."

"Ummm . . .", began Aziz.

"Here's a hint: it's a relative of the cucumber."

"Zucchini!"

"Yes! After two days, we finally finished the game!"

As we drove to eavis Park, I asked if I heard the C-word.

"No", said La Netta.

"Is that our radio?", I asked.

"I don't hear a radio", La Netta said.

"I hear words", I said.

"Your hearing is clearly better than ours", said Carl.

We got to Davis Park.

"You want to get out?", La Netta asked me.

"I'm going to the restroom", I said.

"Why?", asked La Netta.

"To purge off the C-word."

"When did you hear the C-word?"

"We were on our way here and I asked if I heard the C-word on the radio and no one heard a radio . . ."

"Oh."

So I went in and purged off the word "cutxe".

I didn't eat my burrito when I got back. As we drove home, I heard what sounded like a C-word in a soft voice again.

"La Netta, what's that I hear?", I asked.

"That's the sound of birds chirping," she replied.

"Birds, really?"

"Yes."

"Were birds chirping on the way from the burrito truck to Davis Park?"

"What happened?"

"Were birds chirping on the way from the burrito truck to Davis Park?"

"Was Bruce chirping?!?"

"Were birds?"

"Oh, yes."

"So that must have been what sounded like the C-word! It sounded like the C-word when these birds were chirping."

"Oh", said La Netta.

"Mystery solved!"

I then got home and proceeded to eat my burrito.

Alphabet game

On Tuesday morning, the whole group visited Burger King. We stepped inside as La Netta ordered her food.

Carl and I were seated next to Aziz, who had picked us up Monday and Tuesday. Aziz told us he had a riddle for us.

"The more it increases, the nearer it comes to its end", said Aziz. "What is it?"

"Time", I replied.

"Very good! OK, here's another one. What is it that the more you take away from it, the bigger it gets?"

"A hole."

"You are a genius! OK, here is one. What is the one thing that you can see but you cannot videotape?"

"Your breath?"

"Maybe a ghost?", asked Carl.

"It is not a ghost", said Aziz.

"The videocamera itself", I said.

"You can tape that with another videocamera", said Aziz. "Here's a hint: it may not be real."

"A vampire?", asked Carl.

"It's not a vampire. And people have taken pictures of ghosts. It's something that may not be real."

He had us guessing for several more minutes.

"It's mostly at night", Aziz said.

"A dream!", I said.

"You got it!"

"Oi, OK, I wasn't meant for these riddles", Carl said. "I'm not from the Hills."

Carl and Aziz then decided to take turns coming up with a food for every letter of the alphabet.

It was Aziz's turn to do D and he couldn't think of one.

"Something Homer likes", I said.

He still thought and thought.

"What are cops stereotyped as always eating?", I asked.

"______ and coffee", said Carl.

"A drink?", said Aziz.

"______ AND coffee", said Carl.

"Doughnuts!"

"Good!"

They got up to H when it was Carl's turn to do I.

"Want some help?", asked Aziz.

"I don't want to use the obvious one, because then it will set James off", said Carl.

"Oh."

"It's a vegetable, I said, and it's very bland, and it's used on fast food."

"Oh, I've got it!", said Carl. "Iceberg lettuce."

They got through J, K, L, M, N, O and P.

"Q . . . I can't think of one that begins with Q", said Carl.

"It's a French food", I said.

"That begins with C", said Carl.

"No it doesn't", I said.

"Wait, you were thinking of 'croissant', right? That's a C."

"No, I wasn't thinking of croissant. I was thinking of something that's made with spinach and eggs and it goes into a pie crust . . ."

"Quiche!"

"You got it."

They made it through R, S and T when it was Carl's turn to do U.

Carl thought and thought. He couldn't come up with anything.

"There's an African cereal that begins with U", I said.

"OK", said Carl.

"You may not have heard of it."

"Probably not. Anything else?"

"There's a candy bar that begins with U."

"I can't think of any."

"It shares its name with a card game."

"Still thinking."

"And there's a kind of citrus fruit that begins with U."

Carl's staff came to take him to his appointment and he said he'd resume the game when the got back to program.

La Netta drove somewhere and went into a building while Aziz, Alfonso and I sat in the van. "A new game", said Aziz. "We come up with a state for every letter of the alphabet."

"There are no states that begin with Q", I said. "Or with X."

"But all the other letters?"

"Only some of the letters start states."

"Then we can do a state, a country or a city."

"All right."

"I'll go first", said Aziz. "Arizona."

"Berlin."

"Canada."

"Denmark."

When it came time to do K, Aziz said "Kamarol".

"I've never heard of Kamarol", I said. "What is it?"

"It's a city in Africa."

"Oh, OK."

He did Q for Qatar, and after I said Tibet, he got U.

"United States of America!", said Aziz.

"Vietnam", I said.

"Is there a state that begins with W?"

"Yes. It's where Seattle is."

"Wa . . . wa . . ."

"Still thinking?"

"Washington!"

"You got it. Xoloth."

"Good."

"You know, like the city in Mexico?"

"Yep. Yemen!" Aziz is from Yemen, so that one was easy for him.

"Zurich."

"Good game!", said Aziz.

Then came Barnes & Noble. La Netta told Aziz she'd take the wandering ones (Ken and Adam) into another store. Aziz would take Alfonso and me.

We used the restroom first. Aziz lost me a few times on the way there, but eventually we made ot.

We then walked over to the foreign language section.

A whole sequence of books fell over by a domino effect.

"Whxxps!", said Aziz.

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

I got a noncommittal answer.

"Was it the OO-form?", I asked.

"No", said Aziz. "I think it was the WH-word. Sorry."

"D'OH!", I slammed my forehead. "D'OH! D'OH!"

Aziz was horrified by watching me slam.

"James, I hope you're not mad at me", said Aziz.

"I'm not", I said.

"I won't say that again."

Aziz purchased two books on Arabic. We hung around a little longer until I told Aziz I'd like to go to the restroom before we leave.

"We best go now", Aziz said. He led me to the restroom again.

I purged off the WH-word in the restroom. I was sure I had heard "cutxe pie" at least once in the songs that were playing over the Intercom, so I purged that off too.

"Are you all right?", said Aziz when he heard me gagging.

"No", I said.

We left, Aziz with Arabic books in hand, and met Carl in the van. La Netta and the group were there.

"I still haven't come up with a food for U", said Carl.

"It's a kind of sushi . . .", I said.

"I don't do that stuff."

"Sea urchin sushi."

"OK, it's not sea urchin, since that starts with an S . . . what is it?"

"Uni!"

"Never heard of it. OK, V. Veal. Aziz, your turn. You have W."

Aziz thought.

"Here's a hint. It's all around us right now." (It was raining.)

"We'll eat inside Taco Bell, how does that sound?", asked La Netta.

The group said it sounded good to them.

"James, do you want Chef's?", La Netta asked me.

"I do", I said.

"We're still taking three to Taco Bell, so that will work."

La Netta took me into Chef's. I ordered chow mein, hot braised chicken and eggplant tofu.

We then left off for Taco Bell.

The others ordered. Then La Netta asked me, "James, are you going to order?"

"No", I replied.

"Oh, that's right! You have Chinese food."

I looked at the poster on a Taco Bell wall that showed a woman with a ponytail. I read closer and it said, "Follow America's Lead".

America, it turned out, was the name of a Taco Bell owner. At the end of the ad it said, ". .. and txsty food".

"Blechhh!", I said. I headed off to the restroom to purge.

The "txsty"s multiplied in my head. Every time I thought the word to myself, I had to do "tadolasty; taeolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty, tadolasty; tadolasty, adolice cradoleam".

La Netta asked, "Are you coming out, James?"

"I'll be out soon", I said.

Aziz came a little later. "Are you OK, James?"

"I'm not", I said.

"Do you need me to give you more time?"

"Yes."

I had to come out to let somebody else use it, then I told La Netta I wanted to go back in and finish.

"We want them to invite us back again, so we don't want to spend too much time in the restroom", said La Netta.

I went back in the restroom. I thought I was going to finish, but I kept thinking "Mr. Txstee" to myself. Finally La Netta announced that we were leaving.

On the way home I saw a bxke route sign. I would have to pick my navel when I got home, after purging off "txsty".

Carl started talking about the Backstreet Boys and 'N SYNC. "If the Backstreet Boys do 'I Want It That Way', what songs does 'N SYNC do?", he asked.

"'Tearing Up My Heart' and 'It's Gonna Be Me'," I replied.

"What about 'Bye Bye Bye'?", asked Carl.

"Yes", said Aziz.

"You know 'N SYNC?", I asked.

"Yes, I have that song."

Aziz then proceeded to get out his iPod and play "It's Gonna Be Me", by 'N SYNC. I had never met a twentysomething boy who listened to 'N SYNC before, but there Aziz was.

Carl and I sang along with the song. Carl also said he liked BB Mak, but could no longer remember the song they did.

"Back here, baby", I sang.

"That's it!", Carl said. "I don't know how you did it, but that's the song!"

We then got home, and I carried in my Chinese food. I purged off "txsty" for the next hour or so, before picking "bxke" out of my navel. Then I untied my Chinese food bag and ate the, er, delicious food inside.

Friday, May 13, 2011

D'OH! D'OH! D'OH! D'OH!

Today at CIWP, we sat in front of Hilltop Mall. La Netta said they wouldn't open until 10, and said those who wanted could go with her, since she'd be staying on the first floor. Carl agreed to go with La Netta, which meant I had to go with La Netta and Carl. The plan was that Rajendra's group would go into stores before 10, while La Netta would hit the mall at 10.

La Netta actually went in a little before 10. We sat on the sofa in the lobby of the mall.

"Oh James, what's Madagascar?", asked La Netta. "Isn't it an island?"

"Yes, it's an island", I said.

"Because I was watching on TV, and the screen said Madagascar. At first I thought they were talking about the movie, but then I heard them keep talking and I realized they were talking about an island. Doesn't Madagascar get all kinds of weather? Because they get rain and dry seasons . . . do they even get snow?"

"I guess . . ."

"Where is Madagascar?"

"It's east of mainland Africa."

"Is it a big island?"

"It's one of the biggest islands. And they have lemurs there?"

"Now, tell me, what do lemurs look like?"

"They look like monkeys. They're primates. And they have big eyes."

"Imagine a monkey and a raccoon", said Carl. "Put those together, and you have a lemur."

"Oh yeah, because they showed lemurs and they did look like that. And the males, they'd stand with their tails up and then they'd fight. And the winner would touch his tail to the female's tail, and they'd go off, and they'd mate."

The stores opened, and the group went into Macy's.

I struggled to find La Netta as she walked around the bottom floor.

"James, are you closing your eyes because you're afraid you're going to see loungewear?", La Netta asked.

"Yes", I said.

"They don't have any of that in this area."

"Will you tell me when we're approaching it?"

"They don't have any on the bottom floor."

"What about children's shoes?"

"Nope."

La Netta finished looking at Macy's, then she took Carl into a shoe shop. "I think you might want to look at shoes here", she said.

La Netta picked out a pair of shoes with mesh netting. "How will these fit?", she asked.

"Whxxps, I stepped on a rock," said Carl. "Oops, I've got sand in my shoe."

"What did you say?"

"Whxxps, I stepped on a rock. Oops, I've got sand in my shoe."

"Carl, did you say tie WH-word?", I asked.

"I'm not going to lie to you", said Carl. "Sorry."

"So you said it?"

"The first time. Not the second time."

"D'OH! D'OH! D'OH! D'OH!" I got all four right smack in my forehead.

La Netta left the shop, and we went into Sears.

"Will we see any pajamdras in Sears?", I asked.

"No", said La Netta. "We won't go near the shoe section."

After looking at tires and cleansing agents in Sears, we passed by the electronics section. "La Netta!", I said. "The news is on!"

"Then we'll walk back", said La Netta.

Soon we were far away from the news. La Netta looked for Carl, then realized he was probably standing outside the building, waiting for us.

We walked out of Sears and she was right.

When we got back to the van, Rajendra, Alfonso and Ken had not returned. "Whichever group I'm with is always the group that gets back first", said Carl.

I followed Carl into Subway. At first he went left right instead of left, but eventually they found it.

"Listen out for words for me", I told Carl.

"I will", said Carl.

The others ordered, then it was my turn.

"What can I get you?", the employee asked me.

"I'll have a foot-long on Italian bread", I said.

"What kind of meat?"

"Meatballs", I decided.

I plugged my ears to avoid hearing the rap.

"American cheese?", asked Carl.

"Swiss cheese", I said.

"Swiss cheese", said the employee. "Would you like me to toast it?"

"Please don't toast it."

"DON'T toast it", said Carl.

"What vegetables would you like?", the employee asked.

"Olives and onions", I replied.

"Mayonnaise or mustard?"

"Neither."

"No", said Carl.

Then Carl showed me where to pay for it.

"Do you want to get a chicken sandwich?", another CIWPer asked.

Right then I saw a clear box filled with money. Two dollar bills had the exes on their pyramids showing. I said, "Ewwwwwwww!"

"Chicken sandwich?", asked Carl.

"No", I said, and pointed to the box. "Dollar bills."

"Oh," said Carl. "That's the tip box."

I paid for my stuff, then just as I was about to leave, Carl told me I had forgotten to put my coin change in my sandwich bag. I pulled the bag back out of my pocket and Carl placed the coins in my hand. I put them in my bag and stuffed it back in my pocket, then grabbed my foot-long.

Just as I walked out, I thought I heard "cutxe pie" in the song.

I walked back in. "Carl? Did they say C-word pie?", I asked.

"I'll walk you back", said Carl. "And by the way, no they didn't."

"Thanks," I said. "But I can walk back by myself."

I walked back to the van. La Netta ordered at McDonald's and Carl said he couldn't believe she was eating there.

"I need some music", said La Netta. "Rajendra, turn the radio on for me."

We listened to Star 101.3 until we got to Davis Park. Then I walked into the restroom to purge. I started with the two pyramids and had bleeding hands and groin. I washed my hands, then I did the "oops"es, then the "whxxps"es.

"James, Alfonso wants to use it", said La Netta.

I came out and let Alfonso use the restroom. Soon, I was back in.

I finally finished and took my pills. I had had coughs and sore throat, but after swallowing the pills, my throat felt better. I shared that with La Netta.

La Netta and I caught up on our hugs. We had a shower hug, another shower hug and an end-of-the-week hug one after another.

While we erove home, we had a lively conversation about American Idol. La Netta said she was rooting for the African-American boy who had been voted off recently. She also liked the boy who sang country. We speculated over whether James Durbin was going to win.

I finally got home, and had caught up on my hugs with La Netta, so we said our good-byes and I waited for Stan Man and Pia to pull up so I could tell them about my cough.

My handle finally gets cleaned

Several years ago, I pointed out some cobwxb in my room to Stan Man, and he touched it with his bare hands. Then he touched the outside door handle as he walked out of my room.

Ever since then, I've relied on Stan, Aaron, Carl or some other person to open my door for me when it's completely shut and I want to go into my room.

But now, I decided to wash my door handle off with soap and water and scrape it.

I had gotten done with washing the door off and was now finding sharp obiects (mostly food containers) to scrape on it and then throw away. Then I heard something that may have been "pxke around".

I knocked on Carl's door, as his television was on. No response.

I walked in and asked, "Carl, did they say the P & A words?"

"Carl?", I asked again. "Did they say the P & A words?"

"I was asleep", said Carl.

"Where's the re-- remote control?", I asked.

Carl gave a noncommittal response.

I looked on his dresser and shuddered as I found one of those snowman-shaped mugs. It must have been dressed over from Christmas. Even if they did not say "pxke around", I would still have to purge off that snowman.

To its right was the remote! I tried pressing rewine, then stop and rewind, but it didn't work.

"It only works on [some other kind of] TV", Carl said. "This is DirecTV".

"Aaaaarrrrgh!"

When I asked Carl if he could turn it off, Carl said, "Why don't you just go inside your room?"

I explained I needed to wash off my door handle. Then they said the word "sweetxe" on TV, and I growled.

Next came a food commercial. I ran inside the restroom (with the fan on) until I was sure it was over.

"Would this be OK with you?", Carl asked. He had turned it down by a very slight amount.

"You turned it down?", I asked.

"You shouldn't be able to hear it if you go into your room."

"But I need to clean my door handle!"

Just then the woman on TV started talking in a cutesy falsetto, and I think she said "cutxe".

"Did she say the C-word?", I asked Carl.

ZAP! "It's off!", said Carl.

"Did she say the C-word?"

"Go do what you need to do. The bathroom's right there for you."

"Did she say the C-word, though?"

"I don't know."

"AAAAAAARRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!! NOW I'M GOING TO HAVE TO PURGE!"

I spent the rest of the night purging and didn't even get to eat the chimichanga I had heated up shortly before embarking on the handle-cleaning. When I was done purging, I scraped off my door handle with pill containers. This all could have been avoided if Carl had turned the television off when falling to sleep. The only good thing I got out of this night was a door handle I could touch from the outside again.

A TXRXNTULA and a Dipser-man!

On Tuesday, our group was scheduled to walk El Cerrito Plaza. "Don't we have the Pacific East Ranch Market today?", I asked La Netta.

"We do, but we're also going here and going bowling", said La Netta.

We walked into Joann Fabrics. Carl showed off his Halloween costume. He took a Z from the wooden sign letters section of the store and swished it through the air.

Then we sat inside the van waiting for Rajendra and Alfonso to come back. While we sat there, Carl asked me, "Remember Frylock from Augustine Hunger Force?"

"Frylock?", I said. "Isn't that a Norse god or goddess?"

"No, he was a character from Augustine Hunger Force", Carl said. "It was a cartoon."

"Was it an anime? Or a manga?"

"It was an average American cartoon. Based on a McDonald's Happy Meal. With Meatwad, Frylock and Master Shxke. Frylock came to me in a dream, and told me . . ."

The others got back, so we drove to the bowling alley.

"If it's $15 to bowl, we won't go bowling", said La Netta.

It turned out that it was $1.25 per bowler on Mondays and Tuesdays, so we were in luck.

We went to the restroom together at the beginning of our bowling trip. I went in the stall in the men's room and purged off "Yxk" from the television this morning. Then I purged off "Master Shxke".

While I was purging, La Netta said, "You want me to get you when I'm done?" La Netta was going to be in the women's.

"Yes", I said.

I finished purging before she finished with whatever she was doing, however, and washed my hands. Then Carl came out.

"James?", said Carl. "Rajendra's put our names in, and it's your turn to bowl."

"All right", I said. "I'm coming with you."

I walked up to the women's restroom, whose door was ajar. "La Netta?", I said.

"Yes?", said La Netta.

"I'm going with Carl."

"OK."

When Carl and I got to the bowling alley, he led me to lane 7. It was my turn to bowl. I picked out a ball and threw it.

They began playing Beatles songs: "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "Eight Days a Week", "She Loves You".

La Netta came back. "Thanks for telling me you were going with Carl, James."

"You're welcome", I said. I told her that this was the Beatles playing.

The Beatles songs continued. "This is 'Yesterday', and the last song was 'Help!'," I said.

"What artist is this song?", La Netta asked.

"This is the Beatles too. All of these are Beatles songs."

I continued to bowl, interspersed with Adam's and Alfonso's turns. The Beatles songs just kept coming: "Paperback Writer", "Eleanor Rigby", "I Feel Fine".

We finished our game during "Penny Lane". We traded in our shoes.

"She Loves You" was playing while we left. I looked on the floor. Was that a dipser? I looked closely and there was a big diecast txrxntula, in its full colors, on the floor.

"La Netta!", I said.

"Just walk around it", said La Netta.

We then drove to the Pacific East Ranch Market. "How'd you like the bowling game?", La Netta asked.

"The bowling game was OK, but I loved the Beatles music!", I said.

"Yeah, I think that was something new."

"I couldn't stand it", said Carl.

"Why not?"

"I can listen to one or two Beatles songs, but not a whole album."

Next we reached the Pacific East Ranch Market.

"Ugh, why did we have to come here?", asked Carl.

"James picked this", replied La Netta. "He wants a haircut."

"I think James is the only person who wants to go here."

I walked into the hairdresser's with my picture of Kurt Cobain. "Do my hair like this boy's", I said, pointing to the picture.

For the next twenty or so minutes, she cut away at my hair until it was a manageable length, the same length as Kurt's.

Then La Netta asked me whether I wanted to go into the main store. I told her yes.

I told her I was looking for "that juice I always get". Once we were inside, I found a bottle of starfruit juice.

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

"It's another name for starfruit", I replied.

"Ooh, James, there's a long line. Do you want to stand in line? Do you see it?"

The toddler in the stroller at the end of the line was wearing red and blue shoes. "Are those shoes safe?", I asked.

"No, they're not safe", La Netta said.

Two things to purge off. After I paid for my stuff, we drove off to Vincent Park.

The table at the front was full of children, playing and screaming. I walked into the restroom and emptied my mouth of saliva.

La Netta walked over to the other table, at a distance, but there were still children there. She called my name and said we were leaving.

"You were going to purge when there were that many children at the park?!", asked La Netta.

"I was just going into the restroom to spit", I said. "I had a mouth full of saliva."

"Oh", said La Netta.

We drove over to a different part of Vincent Park, which had a portable.

I walked into the portable. I purged off the two Dipser-mans, one for each shoe. Then I got to the txrxntula.

"James", La Netta said, "Someone wants to use it."

I came out and let another man in.

"What's taking so you long?", she asked.

"It takes a long time to purge one of those off", I replied.

"Oh."

Then, another man had to use the restroom.

Finally, I went back in.

When La Netta was ready to do drops, I was still in the restroom. I came out early to wash my hands, but the soap wouldn't come out. "Do you want to use your soap?", asked La Netta.

"Yes", I replied.

I brought my soap with me and poured it into my left hand. Then -- the water wouldn't come out!

I walked to La Netta.

"James!", she said. "You forgot your soap!"

"I just came to tell you something!", I said.

"What is it?"

"The water won't run."

"Then get a paper towel and wipe it off."

I wiped the soap off. I was almost finished, when Carl showed me how to make the water you. You had to step on a pump on the bottom. I washed my hands with soap, then came back.

We were ready for drops.

"You know what the worst song in the world is?", asked Carl. "'Sing a Song'."

"By the Carpenters?", I asked.

"I don't know who it's by! Sing, sing a song, sing out loud . . ."

He stopped.

"Your whole life long", I sang. "Sing of good things, not bad, sing of happy, not sad. That's the Carpenters."

"Never heard of them", said Carl.

"They did 'On Top of the World'." I sang it. "They also did 'We've Only Just Begun'. And . . . why do birds suddenly appear? Every time you are near?"

"That's a good song", said Carl. "You know what the second worst song is? 'Puff the Magic Dragon'."

"Puff!", I sang. "The magic marker comes out once more . . . and scribbles on the dormant face of the folks who dared to snore . . ."

"That's funny!", said Carl.

"Do you like it?", I asked La Netta.

"Yes, I like 'Puff the Magic Dragon'," La Netta said.

"No, I mean my parody."

"'Puff the Magic Dragon' is about drugs", said Carl. "Puff . . . is a puff of smoke. And the autumn mist is when you're in a haze. And the land called Honna Lee . . . that's where you are when you're high."

"And Jackie Paper is rolling papers!", I said.

"Yep", said Carl. "And you know Elton John's 'Rocket Man'? It's about self-gratification. The art of self-love."

"You mean choking your chicken?"

"Yes. Although couldn't you have used a more smooth term, like 'waxing your weasel'?"

We were finally home. La Netta said her back was in too much pain to hug me, but she'd hug me Wednesday morning. For sure.

Just cleaning

Stan Man picked me up at 9:00 on Monday morning. He said I had another appointment at the dentist. On the drive there, I heard him making a phone call and saying I would be back at 10:00.

I sat in the waiting room until 9:30 when they called my name.

A woman showed me down a corridor of doors to eoor 4. "We're just cleaning your teeth today", she said. "No fillings."

I got into the chair. "Scxxt up", she said.

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Move up", she said.

Music played on KOIT as she picked away at the tartar on my teeth with a special pick. Then came "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars. "I love this song!", I said.

"What did you say?", she asked.

"I said I love this song!"

"Here, I'll turn the sound off so you can hear it."

She then proceeded to floss my teeth. Then came a magic toothbrush. After she brushed my teeth, she had me swish water around in my mouth and then spit into a cracked cup attached to a tube. But the cup would not come out of the tube. After trying a long time to pull it out, she just told me to lean over and spit into it. She stopped with the magic toothbrush.

After that, she said I was done. I stayed in the room, and some commercials came on.

One commercial started out: "Bacon . . . on ice xxxxx?"

"BLECHHH!", I said. I walked right out and went into the restroom.

I purged out the luscious sundae flavor of that indulgent ice xxxxx. Then I got to "scxxt up". While I was doing "scadoloot up", Stan knocked. He said we were ready to go.

I continued purging "scxxt up" off. Stan knocked again. "Let me wash my hands first!", I said.

I buttoned up and washed my hands. Then I came out, the dental napkin still hanging around my neck. Stan said he'd take it to the dentist.

As we walked out of the room with the desk, I heard someone say, "He has another appointment for a filling; they just have a little more insurance paperwork to do".

When we walked back into the waiting room, Stan told me, "You have another appointment next month to get a filling done, OK?"

"No, not OK", I said. "I'm not getting it." (Sounded like Jolene there!)

Stan walked back into the room with the desk. "He's refusing a filling", he told Dr. Lo. "My wife says he wants the teeth pulled."

"What do you want to do to the teeth?", a male dentist asked me.

"My first choice would to have them extracted, but they said they won't do that, so I just want to leave them alone", I said.

"It's your mouth", he said. "I'm not going to give you a filling if you don't want one."

"Doctor," said Stan, "Can you put it in his file that he's refusing a eoctor's recommendations?"

"We can do that", someone said.

"Can we get a note from the dentist that he's refusing medical orders?"

After some notes were written, we left the dental clinic, and I went into the CIWP office, where I finished purging off "scxxt up".

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rajendra says a word!

Thursday morning, La Netta drove Adam, Ken, Alfonso and me to the CIWP office. I used the restroom, then walked into the conference room. The Mask was on TV.

"La Netta, this movie has the P-word in it . . .", I began.

"Well, Adam wanted to watch this, so we have it playing", La Netta said. "Since you know where the P-word is, you can just plug your ears when they say it."

"I don't remember exactly when it comes up. I was saying, this movie has the P-word in it, so I'm just going to tell you now the two places I want to go next week. One is Lucky's, so I can get my Tampicos, and the other is the Pacific East Ranch Market."

"Which one is more important?", asked La Netta.

"Probably Lucky's, since I need my juices. But I could sure use a haircut."

"But getting a haircut isn't one of your goals."

"Oh-oahhhhhhh", I whined.

"I know. But I'm not the one who came up with this."

I walked out of the room and joined Rajendra. I exercised on the gazelle, and then the ball, but my sunglasses kept falling off.

Then Rajendra said he'd record me singing. "A different tune", he said.

"You mean sing a different song?", I asked.

"No", said Rajendra. "Use the same song, but sing it slower this time."

So I sang "Students of the World, Unite!" in a slow, drawn-out tempo.

He said he liked it, but I told him I needed to go speak to Lita now.

"Lita, are you busy?", I asked.

"I'm always busy, but I can come see you", she said.

"Lita", I said, "I wanted to go to Pacific East Ranch Market next week to get a haircut, but La Netta said it doesn't fit any of my goals."

"Well, she doesn't have to take you. Maybe Rajendra can take you."

"It's just the new thing about the schedule where we're not supposed to schedule stores unless they fit one of our goals."

"Well, parks don't fit your goals either."

"That's true. So it's OK if we put it on the schedule?"

"It's OK."

"Thanks, Lita." I walked out.

I walked in the conference room to tell La Netta, and she was already reading the schedule to Alfonso. She had made schedules for three days so far. Monday was Lucky's, and Tuesday was the Pacific East Ranch Market!

When Carl arrived, we were ready to leave. We drove over to Albany Bowl and played one game.

I took my pills once we got back into the van. Then we headed to a gas station.

I felt phlegm in my throat. I looked to see if I could get out and spit. There I saw a bicycle parked by the door. I saw something blue with a red humanoid figure with white eyes on it.

"Is that Dipser-man?", I asked.

"Where?", asked La Netta.

"On the helmet?", asked Carl. "Yes."

"Ewwwwwww!"

"The restroom's there, but you'll have to walk by the helmet to find the door", said Carl.

"Actually, I can't purge it off that fast", I said.

"I had a bxke like that -- I had a bicycle like that once", said Carl. "I lent the bicycle to my neighbor. And I never saw it again. The last I saw, the bicycle was in pieces in my neighbor's yard."

"Did you say the short form of 'bicycle'?", I asked.

"It slipped", said Carl.

"So you did say it."

"Right. Sorry about that."

We drove off to Jack-in-the-box. As we were driving, La Netta said, "Carl, I have a question for you . . . oh, never mind."

"What was the question?", asked Carl.

"I was going to ask you whether you like El Pollo Loco, but then I remembered that you don't like chicken."

"I sure don't", said Carl.

"El Pollo Loco chicken is txsty", said Rajendra.

"Rajendra, did you say the T-word?", I asked.

"No. I said El Pollo Loco chicken is txsty."

"Is he saying the T-word?", I asked La Netta.

"Yes, he is", La Netta said.

"Blechhh!"

"What is the T-word?", asked Rajendra.

"It rhymes with 'pasty' . . . and it means 'delicious'," I said.

"Oh. I was using it to mean their chicken was spicy."

We pulled up to Jack-in-the-box. Carl walked up to the door.

"La Netta, I feel like a teriyaki bowl and some tacos", I said.

"There's no restroom", said La Netta.

"I know there are no restrooms in this one. I just wanted some food."

"Oh, OK, then eine."

I walked in, then Carl walked out.

"You don't have to wait for Carl to order", La Netta said as I walked back out of Jack-in-the-box.

"He needs me to listen out for words", said Carl.

Carl finally came back in, and I joined him. I ordered my meal and paid for it, then they gave it to me (they made me show them my receipt, though).

"La Netta, when we go to Pinole Valley Park, can we go to the part with the portable?", I asked.

"We'll see", said La Netta.

"I can't hold the T-word in for much longer!"

As it turned oot, we just went to our regular spot at the park, although I was free to use the restroom.

"James, you want to get your lunch now?", asked Carl.

"I can't eat it now", I said. "I need to purge first."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot."

I made it to the restroom and began purging off the two "txsty"s. I started with the rubble-clearing for /ais/ words -- "spicy", "I said", etc.

I finally finished with the two "txsty"s. Then I began picking "bxke" out of my navel.

I saw a harvestman before I finished my Dipser-man ritual. I had to purge that arachnid off, and started gagging. Carl was gagging in the men's room at the same time I was.

Rajendra came and said La Netta needed to speak to me. I told him I'd come out soon.

When I finally finished with Dipser-man, I came out and listened to Carl and Rajendra's conversation. Then I found La Netta.

"What is it?", La Netta asked.

"Rajendra said you were calling my name", I explained.

"Oh, yeah, that. I wanted to tell you that someone else needed to use the restroom. Were you making noise in there or something?"

"Well, I was gagging. Carl and I were both gagging in there."

"Oh."

Rajendra then had me do meditation, but I refused to put my hands in the grass or take my shoes off. I was more interested in Rajendra's watch.

When it said 1:36, he ambled back to the van. La Netta and I soon followed suit.

I carried my Jack-in-the-box bag into my group home. La Netta was still sick, so she didn't hug me.

Once we got into the house, I closed my eyes and gave my bag to Carl. I told him there was silverware in there that needed to be taken out. He took it out for me, and I thanked him. Then I ate my meal.

I call it Shittybank

Wednesday we were driving through El Cerrito Plaza and parked in front of CVS.

"La Netta, could you turn the radio off until we've got this figured out who's going?", I asked.

"Well, maybe then you can go with Carl and Raj", said La Netta.

I stepped out. Then I saw a sign outside. It listed the directions to three places. The bottom one was C-tibank.

"Rrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Why did you do that, James?", La Netta asked.

"I saw a sign that had the soft C-word bank's name on it."

"Oh, god!"

"You didn't see it?"

"I didn't."

I went into CVS. Then, soon after, we came back out. We climbed back into the van.

I put my headphones back on. Then, when we stopped again, we were at the office.

"Thos stop isn't on our schedule, but I thought James and Alfonso and I could use the restroom here", said La Netta. "Would you like to do that?"

"I would", I said.

I walked up into the restroom and purged off "C-tibank". The peanut butter was rather watery this time -- creamy rather than chunky.

I heard a knock at the door. I turned off the light/fan and said, "Ja?"

No response.

I resumed purging, then heard a second knock. I turned the light/fan off again and said, "Ja?"

Someone told me he needed to use the restroom.

I heard a few more knocks until La Netta knocked. "You have people waiting outside", she said.

"Dammit!", I said. "I'll be out as soon as I can."

"We're leaving now", said La Netta.

"All right. I'll go back to the van."

I finished purging, then washed my hands. Then, finally, I walked out the restroom door and out the office door and was back to my van.

Nightmares

On Tuesday, I was driving in the van when La Netta suddenly turned on KMEL.

"Jxggle that body", said a DJ.

"Jxggle that body", said the other.

"Rrrrrrrrr! Rrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

Then came the commercials. I began getting my headphones out with the first one. When it was over, I still wasn't finished getting my headphones on. Then came the second commercial. It started out with "I've got ear-t-ngling news for you!"

"RRRRRRRRRRR!", I growled.

Eventually, I got my headphones on and kept them on for the rest of the drive.

I took them off when we got to Berkeley Marina. I went into the restroom and first purged off "t-ngling", then the two "jxggle"s.

Then came the place Carl had wanted to go for so long: Amoeba Records! We walked down Telegraph Avenue, looking at the various bohemian people, as we visited various stores. La Netta showed me one store that had bongs and hookahs. "What's that?", La Netta asked me. "On the far left!"

"It says that's a hookah", I said. "You know, like what the caterpillar was smoking in Alice in Wonderland?"

We stopped by Amoeba, which was closed. Carl checked the sign out and it said Amoeba opened at 10:30.

"That's the time we're leaving", said La Netta.

Then the groups split: Rajendra, Carl and Alfonso in one group and La Netta, Ken, Adam and me in another. The latter group went back to the van.

After 11:00, Carl and his group finally returned. They had gone to Amoeba Records!

Next, we stopped by a dollar store. I got some turkey ham from Butterball and a bottle of pineapple Shasta.

We put my stuff in the trunk of the van, then headed down the streets of Berkeley.

"Do you see those two hippies?", asked Rajendra as we were at a stoplight.

"Yeah, they're begging for money", said Carl.

"Do you want to give them something to spend?"

"Stupid stoplight!", I said.

"I need to save my money to spend", I said as soon as the van was moving again.

"What if they starve?", asked Rajendra.

"Wait! I want to give something to those hippies!"

"It's too late!", said Rajendra.

"Go back, La Netta!"

La Netta continued driving until she got to Burger King.

"La Netta, I really want to give something to those hippies!", I said.

"Well, we were at an intersection and you didn't say anything until the light was already green", she said.

"I couldn't speak at a stoplight!"

As we drove back from Burger King, I told La Netta, "If we don't go back to where those hippies were, I'm going to get nightmares!"

"Well, I'll make sure you don't get any nightmares", said La Netta.

"James used to be a hippie", said Carl. "He knows what it's like to be a man in need!"

We then got to Vincent Park. "You're coming with us?", La Netta asked as I walked to where they were eating lunch.

"I don't need to use the restroom", I said.

"That's good."

While we were at the park, Carl talked about everyone's "animality". "Everyone has the animal they most resemble", said Carl. "For James, it's the bald eagle. For me, it's the lion."

"What would La Netta be?", I asked.

"I'll have to think about it."

Carl then proceeded to tell Rajendra that the latter was a grizzly bear.

"Griz-zly bear?", asked Rajendra. "What is that?"

"It's a species of bear native to North America", I said. "It has brown fur that sticks up on its back, and it eats berries and salmon. When it gets mad, it stands up on two feet. Sometimes it eats campers' lunches."

"Oh, I see", he said.

"Adam is a beaver", said Carl, "And Emanuel would be a skunk."

La Netta headed back to the van while Carl hung around with Rajendra. Carl told Rajendra, "You're from the forest and I'm from the savannah."

"And I'm from the mountains!", I said.

"You would be right!"

Carl then proceeded to show me his brooding spot, and his happy spot, both upon the same hill at Vincent Park. Then we climbed back to the van.

"He's a dang old fool", Ken said in the van.

"Who's a dang old fool?", I asked.

"He is."

"You mean Adam, or you mean Carl?"

"He means Adam", said Carl.

"He is not talking about Adam!", said La Netta.

"Yes, he is. Adam's a child! He'll never grow up!"

We stopped at Davis Park so some people could use the restroom. Then we embarked on drops.

"Ken," I said, "Did you mean that I was a dang old fool?"

"No, I didn't, James", said Ken.

"He was talking about Aeam!", said Carl.

"He did not mean Adam!", insisted La Netta. "Ken, it's not nice to call people fools."

"I'd like to break your neck!", said Ken.

"Ken, don't talk like that!", said La Netta!

"Hey, James", said Carl, "I've got another line to your song!"

"Really?", I said. "Let's hear it!"

Carl then sang:

I see Bernard
He's an F-ing total retard
And he's also a fat tub of lard!


"That is NOT OK!", said La Netta.

"Remember the one I made about you?", I said. I sang:

I see Carl
He's greeting Jolene with a snarl
And engaging Bernard in a quarrel


"That's good!", Carl said. "You're good at making fun of me! Not everyone can make fun of me! When Bernard tries to make fun of me, he calls me a chicken. A 2-year-old could call someone a chicken!"

"Here's my verse for Ken!", I said.

I see Ken
He checks his watch -- 1:10
He checks it again and again


"That's not funny", Carl said.

"Well, we needed to make it sound like Ken", I said. "And checking his watch is a very Kennish thing to do, right La Netta?"

"Right, James", said La Netta.

"How about this?", asked Carl. He sang:

I see Ken
He's always wondering when
He can go back home again


Then I sang:

I see Jo
She's eating a taco
And eating a burrito


"Ooh! I've got one", said Carl.

I see Jolene
She's looking real old and real mean
With an infected liver and spleen


"THAT WAS NOT NICE!", said La Netta.

"Well, it's true", Carl said.

"La Netta," I said, "I was thinking all about Jolene last night."

"You were?", she asked.

"Yes", I said. "And now when I pray, I pray that God will keep Jolene yoong and stop her from ageing so fast."

"That's nice of you. Does Jolene look like she's been ageing?"

"I haven't seen her. But that's what you've told me."

"Well, I think when Jolene started going to a different program, she was ageing because she didn't like it. But now she may have gotten used to it and be happier with her new program."

"Jolene is in her eighties now!", said Carl.

"That is not true!", said La Netta.

When I took my nap at home that day, I had a dream about CIWP holding a protest. It was a hunger protest, and we tried to stop hippies from being so hungry. La Netta's group couldn't make it to the protest.

Monday, May 2, 2011

CIWP protest?

Instead of driving os to Barnes & Noble this morning, La Netta drove us all to the CIWP office.

While we were driving, the radio was on Wild 94.9 and I was listening to my headphones. During the first gap between songs, I shouted, "GAP!"

"What's wrong?", asked Rajendra.

I lowered my headphones. Now we were at a stoplight, so I decided to wait until the van was moving again to answer him.

But . . . did they say "cutxe" in that song?"

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

"I thought you were listening to your headphones!", said La Netta.

Now I really wanted to speak to her. "Stupid stoplight!", I said.

I growled and raged. "GOD, I hate stoplights!"

Then, it was despair: "When will the van move again."

Finally, the van moved. "I took off my headphones because Rajendra asked me a question", I told La Netta.

"Oh, OK", said La Netta.

"Didn't you hear him asking the question?"

"No."

"Rajendra asked what was wrong. Rajendra, I just said 'GAP!' because there was a gap between songs on my CD."

"Oh", said Rajendra. "I see."

"So did they say the C-word?"

"No, James", said La Netta.

Carl and I stood outside and waited as someone was in the restroom. I knocked at the door.

"Who is it?", the person inside the restroom asked.

"James Landau", I said, with my mouth full oe saliva.

Carl said something rude to him and knocked on two different occasions.

I heard him say, "Come in", so I twisted the door handle. It was still locked, however.

Finally, he came out. I took care of some spitting and used the toilet, then it was Carl's turn.

I lay down on the couch. Then La Netta said, "She doesn't want you guys just lying around, so what are you going to do?"

"Who's she?", I asked.

"Lita. You can walk with Rajendra, you can exercise, or you can play bingo."

I went into the exercise room and walked on a device called a gazelle. Then Carl walked in.

"Do you want to walk on the bxke?", someone asked him.

I growled and walked to the restroom, where I picked my navel.

Then Rajendra came in. He and I meditated for three minutes. I wanted to meditate on the gazelle, but Rajendra said my body had to be stationary in order to meditate.

I came out and asked La Netta why we were here. She said Lita was calling a meeting.

"Do you want to exercise on the bxke?", a coach from a different group asked a client.

La Netta found a chair for me and I sat at a table to prepare for the meeting.

Lita started out by asking which of us had heard of the Lanterman Act.

"Still haven't read the book", said Carl.

She said the Lanterman Act was passed in the 1990's and allotted state funds for disabled people. Now, she said, there was a California budget cut that considered cutting, among other things, funding for people with disabilities.

"Now this affects all of you", said Lita. "It affects Mandy and Urdell. It affects you and you. It affects the coaches here. So many people from axx oxxx the pxxxx are getting together to protest at the federal building in Oakland."

"Ewwwwwwww!", I said.

"So I want you to advocate for your rights. Some of you have self-advocacy goals. Who can tell me what advocacy means? Raise your hands."

I raised my hand.

"James?", said Lita.

"It means sticking up for yourself."

"That's right. Speaking up for yourself. So luckily, for us, we're going to have a forum in Oakland."

She went on longer about the protest. She said the majority would rule -- if most of the protestors were getting tired but one person wanted to stay, the group would leave.

"Doesn't the state governor know what he's at right now?", asked Carl.

"Pardon me?", said Lita.

"He asked whether the state is in debt right now", I said.

"Pardon me?", said Lita.

"He asked whether the state is in debt right now", I said.

"No, I said, 'Doesn't the state governor know what he's at right now?'," said Carl.

I told La Netta I needed to go to the restroom. "You'll need to go around the other way", she said.

I walked to the right and made my way past clients and coaches to get out the main room's door. "Excuse me, Alejandra", I said.

Soon I was out. I purged off a few "place"s, "Alejandra" and several "all"s. Then I purged off "axx oxxx the pxxxx".

When I was picking "bxke" out of my navel, I heard a knock at the door.

"You have a line forming", said La Netta.

"Dammit!", I said.

I finally finished picking my navel and walked out the door. I then walked to the van.

We pulled up in front of Trader Joe's. La Netta asked me if I was buying anything there, and I said yes.

"Then go with Rajendra", La Netta said.

"Aren't you going?", I asked.

"No."

"Can you come with me, Carl?"

"Carl's not coming", said La Netta.

"But Rajendra's no good at listening out for wores."

"Do you want go get your food at Trader Joe's?"

"I do."

"Then just go in."

"Carl, can you go with me?"

"Sorry, dude, I can't do it", said Carl.

"OK, but if I hear any purge words, I'm holding you to it."

"Fine. I'm coming in."

"Thank you so much, Carl. You're a lifesaver!"

We found the sushi plate I had been craving for a long time. I paid for my stuff at the check-out. Then they asked Carl how they could help him.

"I'm coming along to help him out?", said Carl.

"What's did you say?", the employee asked.

"He said he's coming along to help me out", I answered.

"Gxtcha!", said the cashier.

"Gxtcha!", said another employee.

I growled twice.

"They did say it", said Carl.

While I was folding my dollar bills up, they helped the person after me. The person after me said "pardon". I growled again.

Then we got in the van again to drive to Lucky's.

"Are you going to Lucky's?", La Netta asked Carl.

"Wherever James goes, I have to go", Carl said.

Carl walked with Rajendra and me. He led us to the Tampicos. Only there was no Tampico. That section of the juice freezer was empty.

"They have the kinds of juice that I like to drink", he said. "Not the kinds that you like to drink".

I picked out two Sunny Delights and put them in the cart.

He then found somebody to ask about Easter eggs. This employee led us to an after-Easter sale, where I picked up six Reese's eggs.

When it came my turn at the check-out, I paid for my juices and eggs. But the woman before me said "pardon". I growled loudly this time.

"You want to spit?", Rajendra asked.

"Yes", I said. I spat outside in the tanbark, near the tree.

We went to a few other places, including the burrito truck, where Carl got his burrito. Then came Miller's Knots.

"Your pill!", said Rajendra.

"I can't take it now", I said.

I went into the restroom. There I purged off the two "pardon"s. The two "gxtcha"s were much easier.

Rajendra gave me the two pills, which he had been carrying all along. I took them.

La Netta talked some about how we weren't allowed to go to Alameda or Moraga anymore. She was explaining it to Alfonso.

La Netta then explained to Rajendra how both Ken and Adam want to go home once they've had lunch.

"By a show of hands, how many people here want to stay at Miller's Knots until 1:30?", asked Carl.

One hand went up.

"Now, also by a show of hands", asked Carl, "How many people want to leave right now?"

Only Carl's hand went up.

"One to one", said Carl. "It's even."

At 1:15, we finally left. After an hour of drops, we reached Carl and my house, and Rajendra handed me my juices and sushi plate from the back. I said good-bye to both Rajendra and La Netta and washed my hands to prepare for that plate of sushi.