“Jerry, George, this is Stan the Caddy.”

I’m thrilled in anticipation of December 15, 2017.  I’m so excited I’m trembling.  I’ll bet Carrie Fisher’s daughter is feeling all the feels from watching this, too.  It’s going to level me in the theater (again.)  The Star Wars films are off the chart for overstimulation.  The soundtrack alone is practically more than I can take, it’s so incredible.  The franchise is deeply embedded in my world and has been since I was a silent child.

Leia Organa was the first (imagined) hero in my world.  Carrie Fisher evolved into a real-life hero while her life trained her like a Jedi.  Thriving with mental illness is very much like Jedi training.  You have to trust in The Force, or you’ll be too tempted to give in to the dark side (self-destruction.)  It’s why being literal-minded is something I treasure, (despite its tendency to annoy others.)

I need to start working out a plan to allow me to see it at the theater.  I’ll break it up into four viewings.  One thing in my favor:  The people who also love Star Wars will be there with me, and none of them made fun of me when I wept silently through half of Star Wars:  The Force Awakens.  Of course, I’m going to cry when I see General Leia again.  (It would be weird if I didn’t.)

The last time I was in Denver, I stayed at The Art hotel.  It’s lovely and ideally located in the museum district.  It has some fabulous art installations.  As I was entering with my R2-D2 carryon suitcase in tow, a woman complimented it, stating it was unusual.  The asshole she was with, (some random man) said it’s not unique, it’s intended for children.

I smiled at the woman and ignored the asshole as we got in the elevator.  I hate elevators.  They’re racist/hate detectors.  I despise the ones who freeze in horror when the doors slide open to reveal my beautiful brown skin.  Racists usually opt to wait for the elevator to return rather than sharing it with me.  It’s an incredibly revealing moment I’d prefer not experiencing again.  I’d rather endure three assholes who think Star Wars is a children-only world.

I’m glad I didn’t bother explaining to him how the story scales to the viewer’s comprehension. What was initially mind-boggling fascination becomes nostalgic and corny through older eyes.  But the story continues, and enchantment is renewed with each installment.  Episode I is the only film that made me physically ill in the theater.  The pod racing was so loud, I hurled, and my brother had to help me outside to recover.  Good times.

I love having an epic experience in waiting.  It makes me giddy every time I remember.  I switched routes for Meals on Wheels.  It’s unbelievable how challenging it is for me to navigate a new neighborhood with time constraints.  Good thing it’s not snowing yet.  There really ought to be a law regarding continuity of residential addresses, though.  I’m pretty sure I lost a layer of enamel from grinding through that exercise in frustration tolerance.  But you know what?  It’s okay.  Star Wars. 🙃

First he vomits on me, then he burns down my father’s cabin.

 

It’s been a strange day.  Time keeps getting away from me.  I talked so much today, my voice is nearly gone.  I spent time on Skype talking to S. earlier.  It wasn’t planned in advance, which stresses me out, but I enjoyed our chat.  (I had something else planned, but couldn’t work out when to interrupt and tell her.)  We talked about the strange things my body has been doing of late, and she assured me I’m not mutating.  It’s normal for women to have hormonal fluctuations during each month.  She also reminded me the levels tend to drop as we age. 😶

Afterward, I spent some time researching hair removal options.  Laser looks promising.  I noticed my internet speed was off and did a speed-test.  It was a third of usual speed, so I started troubleshooting.  After messing around with my router, (in the advanced tab, where my skill level is trial and error,) and resetting my modem, the issue remained.  I called tech support.  The woman who helped asked if I was on wired or wireless when I tested my connection.  I told her I’m a geek.  (It usually speeds up the process considerably.)  She laughed and said she’s a nerd.  All formality was dropped, and we started talking about video games, operating systems, hardware, etc.

Every so often, she’d ask a question related to my issue.  We talked for three hours.  The only time I talk on the phone is when I’m calling tech support, or my sister (who decided she doesn’t like texting.😑)  I’ve finally convinced everyone else to text or email. (It took years.)  Look at me talking on the phone for three hours!  Who the hell am I? 🤣  Turns out, Nerd Girl lives in the adjacent apartment complex, (run by the same staff.)  We compared rents and utility bills, favorite anime and manga, and generally geeked out.  It was like I knew her forever, and we were catching up.

She did a great job of keeping the conversation flowing, which made me adore her.  (The entire concept of small talk usually makes my stomach hurt.)  We talked about the creepy guy who sits in the hot tub and watches people swim.  I told her I made a story for him, so it didn’t feel gross to swim.  I decided he’s a veteran who uses the hot tub for physical therapy.  I started getting a little anxious because my inner adult insisted I was oversharing.  Then she mentioned Warcraft, and I forgot all about being anxious.

M. and Amelia Bedelia complained about being neglected.  (I usually info dump on M. while he falls asleep.)  By the time we hung up, I was having trouble with my speech.  I think my mouth is too tired to form any more words correctly.  So…  Hi.  I’m Alison 3.0, and I talk on the phone for hours at a time, like I’m a neurotypical teenager or something.  Thought you should know.  🙃

I can’t stand doing laundry. That’s why I have forty pairs of underwear.

I’m excited to be going to Mexico City next week.  I haven’t been to Mexico since the 90’s.  I spent a lot of time in Ciudad Juarez when I was stationed in El Paso.  It’s where I got drunk the first time (in my life) on tequila slammers, then couldn’t remember the name of my country when we crossed the border back into the USA.  (The street was named Avenue of the Americas, but I was too focused on walking.)  I got back to the barracks safely but swore off tequila for life during PT the next morning.

I’m excited to go, but also nervous, as I’m meeting the parents of my prodigy, too.  M. tried to talk me into waiting until he has time to go with me, but he just used up all his vacation for his parents’ visit.  I said goodbye to his family yesterday and they flew out today.  S. was bummed, but she’ll hopefully come back for the wedding.  Shit.  I just had a surge of anxiety from typing that.  (Has second thoughts for the third time today alone.)  This isn’t the kind of fear I’m used to.  My usual strategy of running toward fear (to get it over with) doesn’t fit.

At least he’s agreed to wait for a while.  On to a new, less stressful topic.  It stormed today so no eclipse here.  I’m excited Will and Grace will start airing in the fall.  It’s been years since I watched NBC.  I don’t watch the original networks at all, normally.  If the show is good, I buy it by season.  I finished watching Moana.  I loved it.  I love the soundtrack, too.  I’m going to study American Samoan culture and find out how much was based on reality, (if any.)  I like reading about the folklore of other cultures.

We got a new statue in South Dakota (Chamberlain) titled, Dignity.

I love it.  She’s 50-feet tall.  I’ll be visiting her soon because I have to touch her and marvel.  Most people take photos of cool things.  I touch things and stare until I can close my eyes and conjure it in detail.  Now there are two reasons to visit South Dakota.  The Crazy Horse monument and Dignity.  Yay.  Deadwood is a horrible disappointment aside from Calamity Jane’s gravesite.  (The stoned presidents are a travesty.)  I don’t work for the state tourism industry, in case it wasn’t obvious.  🤣

The VA frustrates me so much.  I got my eyes examined last November.  I still haven’t gotten my new glasses.  The prescription expires in November.  I’ve gone three times (so far) to find the person who orders frames was on break or at lunch.  I space out my attempts so I don’t lose it in the waiting room and start bawling out of frustration.  I noticed a few other veterans tweeting at our House Representative, asking her to help.  She ignores them.  She tweets regularly but doesn’t respond to anything.  It’s something I despise about South Dakota.  We have no representation.  It sucks.

I’m going to write some scathing Letters to the Editor for our local newspaper at strategic times to let my neighbors know they all three have to go, and why.  Fucking GOP.  Putting party before country should cause a raging case of Herpes, dammit.  (I’m probably cranky from not sleeping last night.)  Every time I lay down, I had to get up to pee.  After the fifth time, I said fuck it and got up to work on my quilt.  It was bizarre and so annoying.  My body is doing weird shit lately.  This morning I found a hair on my cheek that was an inch long.  What the actual fuck?  It’s possible it was a cat hair stuck to my face by drool, but I don’t think so.  I think it grew out of my cheek and got that long before I noticed.  (I plucked it.)

You can call me Al instead of Alison now since I’m growing a fucking beard on my left cheek.  I’m going to name it Nigel.  Nigel the weird beard.  It’s possible this is a hormonal reaction to quitting Prozac.  I told M. earlier, “Thank goodness you promised to marry me before I started growing this hair out of my cheek, or I’d surely die alone.”  (He rarely gets my jokes, but I laughed for both of us.)  I’m off to read.

 

You cannot buy half a can of soda

I went downtown to the vigil for Heather Heyer.  I’ll remember her forever.  I didn’t stay long.  The Depression Monster is thrilled I’m no longer taking Prozac and is just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.  I’m going to disappoint him.  I can feel sad without sliding into depression.  It’s been an odd day.  I did a freestyle rap about racism earlier, (and it astonished me.)  Mostly because I don’t rap.  Ever.  It was good, too!  The rhymes kept flowing out of me!

I just kept saying whatever came to mind, and hearing it at the same time, and thinking, “Yes! These are the words!”  I started getting louder (Me! Being loud!) and could feel the knot in my gut unwind a bit with every rhyme.  S. was sitting there watching me, looking stunned.  I was so excited, (and so many other feelings at the same time.)  Then I laughed really hard because The Muse is back.  Huzzah!

I’m deliberately not writing down the lyrics because obviously, they’re for someone else, (a rapper, duh.)  I’m just thrilled they passed through me on their way.  It. Was. So. Awesome.  (I don’t even listen to rap!)  I’ve gotten bits of songs in the past, but never this strongly.  If you’ve ever observed how experienced musicians can create music spontaneously together in jam sessions, you’ve seen the river of inspiration flowing from The Muse.  Jam sessions make me so happy I could cry.

I’ve received other hints she’s back, and am trying to be wise about it.  Naturally, I want to drop my life and go compose some music until I collapse from exhaustion.  Instead, I redid my schedule to allow a set amount of time each day for creating music.  See Alison adult.  (Takes a victory lap around the playroom office.)  I’m reading The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy.  It was mentioned in another novel.  I’m enjoying it so much I’m off to continue.

P.S. Here’s an update on the quilt in progress.

 

Hey! I got the body of a taut, pre-teen, Swedish boy.

I’m going to redesign my blog soon, so this is fair warning.  There’s a good chance the new design will closely resemble the original.  Visual anchors are important to me, so I don’t stray willy nilly.  I’m aiming for visually appealing without being overwhelming.  When you spend as much time on auto-pilot as I do, things flow more smoothly when there are no sudden changes.  I’m at the point where I can tell the Prozac is no longer present in my system at a high enough concentration to work.  I thought I would celebrate this moment, but instead, I’m proceeding with caution.

My intention has evolved to remaining off the drug permanently.  I’m at a different stage in life where my priorities have shifted since my last summer Prozac purge.  Things that weren’t even on my radar then are now significant.  I think this is what’s led to being careful.  I’ve mocked the amount of thought, and energy others spend on arranging for sex.  It’s been an inside joke with myself for years because my complete absence of libido (thanks to Prozac) made it seem ridic and primal.  I’m not laughing anymore.  I’m kind of freaking out.

I’m trying to focus on how thankful I am this is happening now, and not when I was younger, and far, far more gullible and impressionable.  (Maybe just one far.)  M. is more mature than I am.  Shocking, I know. 😂  I’m happy with this fact because he’s a good teacher.  I’m learning how to be in the moment when in the presence of others.  The universe has this lesson on auto-repeat, so I’ve conceded, (finally.)  I’m certain I wouldn’t have survived being a kid with today’s internet.  Zero doubt, because any kid with a debit or credit card is an adult online.

I’m actually pretty amazed I’m still kicking it, to be honest.  (And a little smug because I die hard.  💪🏽)  I just had an urge to create a video game that teaches people how to be safer online.  (Suppresses the urge to begin a coding marathon.)  I’m not very confident with this topic, but don’t know how to dance around it very well.  My libido is back, and I forgot everything about being a sexual entity.  I’ve lived for years without having it, and it’s like going to bed and waking up as a teenager, the sequel.  (Except I involuntarily make a noise when I get up now, sometimes.)

So I’m kinda freaking out, but on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst… Kidding!  I’m only mildly freaking.  Memorizing Seinfeld has its uses.  I know the script for the worst case scenario, so it’s all good.  M. has a good attitude about it.  Not many men would continue dating a woman who made him sign a No Sex Ever contract, (on the third time hanging out.)  At least not many of the ones I’ve met so far.  I doubt I’m the only one who uses this method, though.  It’s efficient.

A lot of people just want to have sex and are doing the rest of the date to be polite.  It saves time to know these things up front.  I know about hookups and friends with benefits.  It’s more shit that used to crack me up.  Suddenly, I get it.  I’ve been giggling all day because lots of jokes that weren’t funny (to me) at the time are hilarious today.  I’m tripping on how much of an influence sexuality has on perspective.  These are all the things most people probably noticed when they were teenagers.  Or at least over a gradual transition.

Just one more thing to agonize over when deciding whether or not to take Prozac, I suppose.  Everyone’s mileage will vary to some degree.  It’s solidified my decision to refrain.  I’m tripping and experiencing things I forgot existed, but I’m certain I prefer being the sexual being I was born to be.  I also prefer being friends with The Muse and hated being in exile.  I regret trading my creativity and sexuality for a comfortable, stable numbness.  I realize now it was necessary initially, but not permanently.  Any further use will be for stabilization only, (which is unlikely considering how long it takes to reach a therapeutic level.)

Whew.  Okay, I’m calmed down now.  This is no big deal.  Aside from a slight decline in productivity, I see no cons.  I’ll be glad when I can go for more than ten minutes without realizing another new implication.  I can’t really afford to be more scatterbrained.  Also, it’s occurred to me that Stevie Nicks probably has lots of fans who lust for her.

On Prozac, this information wouldn’t have occurred and probably would have led to my feeling concerned for her safety.  Off Prozac:  Duh!  See what I mean?  I’m more adulty today than I was yesterday, (it is now.)  Yay.  And because I’m a kind person, I’m going to stop tripping out loud.  You’re welcome!  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.

Not only that, I broke his thumbs.

I’m having lots of fun with the camp kids.  S. taught us a type of meditation that focuses on breathing earlier.  Then I taught them how to solder.  I understand now why people choose to be teachers of children as a career.  I’d like to elaborate but lack the words.  We’re going on a nature walk to talk about design tomorrow.  We’ve acquired three more kids whose parents work in the building.  They’re older (14, 15, 17) and have been a delightful addition to the group.  They ask answerable questions, for starters.  😂  (I don’t know how much the sky weighs, but love the question.)

I taught in the Army and while earning my Ph.D.  I enjoy it, (but I get nervous.)  S. has been great about keeping things flowing.  (When someone asks a question, I usually lose my place.)  One of the kids is super energetic.  His mom said he gets in trouble at school.  The camp is movement friendly.  I think better when I walk around and imagine others may too.  I don’t want the child wasting his concentration on remaining still when there are better things on which to focus.  Sitting still is bad for our bodies, anyway.

I’m missing my drums even though I packed a practice pad.  It’s not as fun.  I’ve been spending more time with a guitar (that isn’t set up.)  My fingertips object after about an hour, but I composed a melody.  The inclination to tip the guitar up under my chin when I get to a hard part always cracks me up.  (I have a less painful acoustic at home with a strap that helps prevent this.)  I brought my 25 key midi keyboard, too.  It works great with my iPad Pro.  I’m going to play around with it this weekend.  It’ll be my first time using GarageBand in ages.

I’m holding my breath regarding recent developments in affordable health care.  I brought my emergency protest kit just in case.  Hugs to everyone who is doing the same.  Don’t lose hope.  Remember, together, we’re America.  We, the people, hold the real power in our unity.  The vast majority of Americans support life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for *all* Americans.  The opposition is trying desperately to hide their crimes.  They’re not a force, they’re an embarrassment to humanity.  The victory is ours, we just have to collect it.  Stay peaceful.  💜

 

Yeah, he’s dating a crayon.

I’m in Denver.  M. is babysitting Amelia Bedelia in my absence.  She thinks he’s a heated cushion that dispenses treats, too, so she’ll be okay.  I have a pet cam near her climbing tree thingy.  I can talk to her through it using my phone.  She usually comes over to see how I’m doing that, then knocks it to the floor.  She’s on a lifelong mission to make sure all surfaces are clear of objects (not nailed down.)  She’s totally winning.

S. (M.’s sister) and I have been blasting Stevie Nicks music and dancing around.  I got too hot, so I’m taking a cool down break.  My body sucks at regulating my temperature.  If I get too hot and continue doing whatever activity has me overheating, I barf…  I can juggle, too.  🙃  The TV is 75″, which sounded awesome at the time.  Now I find it overwhelming, and I’m tripping over people’s skin in 4k.  It’s not as perfect as it looked in 1080P.  The actors are so real.  I mean I knew they were real, but apparently, I used to think they had fake skin.  I like reality better.

 

I’m trying to distract myself from acknowledging my anxiety.  Between the news and being away from home, I’m a bit rattled.  So I should totally stop writing about it.  S. has been noticing weird shit about me out loud.  I hope it doesn’t mean I’m getting on her nerves.  It’s making me laugh because it’s shit I never noticed.  Like putting my plate up high while it cools, then forgetting about it, then remembering when I realize I’m still hungry and it’s less appealing.

I helped her get to the this is why I don’t cook part.  (Nature knew there were going to be people like me, so she made fruit and nuts.)  S. is an excellent cook.  I’m going to put forth extra effort to eat dinner at the table with her while it’s still warm.  I think I probably fucked up, but I need to think about it some more.  I put my food up high because I have a cat, but she’s not here.  Ah well, I’ll do better at dinner.  S. is a lot of fun to hang out with, and she’s funny.

There are going to be two new Harry Potter books!!!  I didn’t expect it, and I’m so happy.  There are so many books I’m looking forward to right now.  I collect things to look forward to in the future.  They’re my little arsenal of guided anti-depression missiles.  When the Depression Monster has me in an illegal hold, and I can’t muster the energy to hold my head up, I can still think about joyful things to come.  I have notes to myself in my hallway to remind me it’s there when I need it.  (I pace a lot when I’m anxious, so I figured two birds.)

I miss M. and my cat (and would very much like to return home immediately.)  Sigh.  I met two of the kids who will be attending the camp earlier.  They’re so cute I can barely stand it.  We mostly talked about their missing teeth (twin 7-year-olds.)  I’m excited for it to begin on Monday.  I have a sponsorship prospect meeting next week, (S. is going with me, yay.)  The camp is going to be free if I have to pay for it out of my own pocket, but that’s not likely.  Frankly, it would be worth it to me to pay kids to attend.  Fortunately, I’m not the only one who understands how to invest in the future.

The best part is they’ll graduate with tools that apply to all aspects of life.  You want to be a ballerina?  Perfect!  I’ll teach you how to map your course, and troubleshoot obstacles along the way.  Hacking is about finding solutions to questions with the means at hand.  It’s generally considered to be a method of subverting computer security, but that’s an outdated interpretation, in my opinion.  To me, hacking is about critical thinking, perspective shifting, puzzle solving, brainstorming, and MacGuyver’ing.  It’s about thinking differently and optimizing.  (I did a better job of explaining in the handout, but I can’t reach it from here.)

I recognize my autistic acquaintances and friends may be thinking, “So hacking is like being autistic (aspie) on purpose.”  Yep.  What we do on a daily basis to fit in as best we can.  (Except it’s optional.)  I suppose I’m kind of giving ladders to already tall people in some ways.  However, I want today’s children to (figuratively) be able to reach everything on the highest shelves (of life) when they’re ready.  Even those that don’t exist yet.  Perhaps especially.  I’m cold now, so I’m off to dance.

 

All you saved was the pea pods?

Victory in a meadow.

Growing up in a predominantly all-white community has helped me better understand what it’s like for my local peers to first encounter a person of color.  In my first twelve years of life, the only people of color I met were a few Native American parents of foster siblings, and my little sister, Heather.  (I don’t count Heather.)

Everyone else was Caucasian.  My teachers, neighbors, friends, family, everyone.  It was all I knew so, of course, it was normal to me.  Basic training was my first experience with diversity.  I stared a lot.  I got bullied by a black woman from Miami who claimed I “talk proper.”  While I tried to process this, the other women stood up for me and shut her down.  It was my first experience with social politics.

My first assigned buddy was a black woman.  We despised each other within a few minutes of the meeting.  She called me an oreo, and I told her she needed glasses.  (I know, I suck at comebacks in real time but think of hilarious zingers after sleeping on it.)  I remember putting all my energy into preventing myself from bursting into tears.  I failed.  Repeatedly.  Throughout the whole eight-week course.  (And that’s not counting the time I spent working one-on-one with a Drill Sgt learning how to walk right before I could begin basic training.)

I was assigned a different buddy since we both objected vehemently.  I got a Mexican-American woman whose English needed some work.  My Sesame Street Spanish served me well.  She was the best buddy I ever had.  We complemented each other well and conquered each challenge by working together.  I also befriended a woman (named Heather!) who was the glue that held our platoon together.  She had bright red hair and a few freckles.  She could find the funny in anything.  I learned so much from her.  Thanks to her wit, we laughed as much as we cried.

I loved serving in the Army.  Acquiring PTSD was my only reason for getting out.  It murdered my eligibility to serve.  I had both positive and traumatic experiences.  I learned a great deal about humans, war, and reality.  I lost my innocence in every sense of the word.  I recognized my vulnerability and gullibility.  I had known before I reenlisted that my reasons for joining initially were adorable at best.  In those initial three years, I grew up.  I entered a child, and before my first active duty enlistment ended, the child in me surrendered control to my adult self.  The military has converting children into soldiers down to a science.  Soldiers are adults.  The process was painful but fascinating.

I remember the day I realized I had a friend from every group identified by the government.  I ate chocolate cake for dinner that day in celebration.  I celebrated because I thought it meant I was safe from ever being called a racist.  I felt like I won some unspoken challenge in life.  This is something I tie to my upbringing.  It’s a subtle conformity to institutional racism.  Subtleties usually fly over me.  I fear I’m too distracted to grasp them regularly.

This recognition of my contribution to the problem of racism is extremely hopeful progress in my journey to being the best possible me.  Now that I’m aware of where I’m fucking up, I can consciously avoid it in the future.  I have several previous posts in this blog where I, unfortunately, demonstrated my ignorance.  When I gain new knowledge and annihilate the ignorance, I’m tempted to go back and remove anything I said that I now realize identified me as an ignoramus.  I chuckle, then leave it.

Another thing I learned in the Army;

 It never hurts to have a reminder handy for those times you’re tempted to shove your head up your ass.

My previous posts remind me, humble me, and (something that might be) embarrass me.  I’ll never forget the day I had to carry a giant cardboard ID card everywhere I went for losing my military ID card.  My Sgt took many liberties in drawing the highly unflattering photo on my large version.  I struggled to keep assholes from yanking it away and running off.  (Losing the giant card would have been devastating.)  People kept honking and scaring the shit out of me.  I was a nervous wreck that day.  I never misplaced a card of any type since.  Or keys.  I guess it was worth it.

I don’t classify my friends by political groupings any longer.  I know diversity enriches my life.  I like being surrounded by it, but I’m also okay with living in a community that doesn’t have a lot of diversity.  What matters is recognizing it’s positive for everyone.  The only superior race is homo sapiens.  We changed the face of our planet, for better or worse, and climbed to the top of the food chain.  This is our planet, and I hope we spread to much more in the future.

When a person creates something that propels mankind forward, that victory belongs to all humans.  The same goes for the athlete who achieves a world record.  And the scholar who wins the Nobel Prize.  The writer who captures our imagination so profoundly we believe the story is real.  The actor that makes us laugh, then cry.  The comedian who’s so funny you laugh and cry at the same time.  The artist who captures an idea and paints it on a canvas.  These are humanities victories.  These are proof of our awesomeness as a species.  We don’t worship people, we share what makes us amazing.  It’s in all of us.  All humans.  It’s in you.  It’s in me.

Knowing this makes me love people.  I know everyone I encounter has awesome in them.  I hope they show it off.  It’s a connection between all of us, and I think we should all celebrate it by eating chocolate cake for dinner.  You in?

We’ve already got a George.

Today flew by.  I Kramer’d my way into a job yesterday.  I went to a small software company nearby and parked.  I saw their ad for a programmer on an online job site, and the clever way it was written made me laugh.  I waited for someone to come out to smoke and psyched myself up to approach.  I reminded myself that Kramer just blended in and they accepted him as one of their own.  Naturally, this made me laugh inside because it’s such an audacious thing to do, which is precisely why I wanted to do it.  So I broke the silence by asking if he’d seen the leaked photos of a new Windows Surface phone.

It worked.  The smoker asked if I was there for an interview, and I said I was interested in a part-time position, but didn’t have an interview scheduled yet.  I’ll admit, my anxiety surged at this point, and I felt like I just finished sprinting 200 meters, and was trying to act like it hadn’t winded me.  Fortunately, I do this several times a day.  I have no idea what it looked like from the outside, but from my perspective, I pulled it off well enough.  He invited me to accompany him inside, and schedule an interview.

It was delightful inside.  Geek fodder everywhere I looked.  I couldn’t help myself; I gave myself an up-close tour of the displays.  Then I remembered I was a guest begging for a job and got it together.  I spoke to what I assume was a receptionist, and she asked me to have a seat.  The owner came out to greet me, and I recognized him instantly.  We went to school together.  He seemed genuinely glad to see me, which helped me calm down.  We were casual acquaintances who had a few classes together in High School.  We traded news about schoolmates, and he asked about what I’ve been doing since I got out of the Army.  Then he hired me.

I started today.  It went well.  It felt like it was time to go too soon.  I can’t wait to go back.  On top of that, I got invited to play board games tomorrow.  I would be dancing with joy, but I’m paying for my audacity now.  My physiological reactions to external stimuli are out of sync due to having PTSD.  Mine are almost always delayed.  It’s probably the only good part about it.  I can be calm and productive during extremely stressful situations, but the reaction I should have in real time comes later when I’m alone.  I usually shake violently, vomit, sweat profusely, and cry until it passes.  Sometimes, that’s better than freaking out when I need to keep my head.

I don’t know if the delay is strictly PTSD, or if it’s military training.  I decided it doesn’t matter.  I don’t go to the PTSD support group because my presence silences the Vietnam veterans.  They don’t feel safe to speak of horrors in front of a woman.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or one. – Spock.

Out of respect, I don’t go.  Support groups are only helpful to me for a few visits.  After that, I start getting pissed off by the ones who come every week and talk about the same exact issues, but don’t want to discuss a resolution, or actually do anything to change them.  I struggle to tolerate adults who insist wishing will change their lives.  I insist on reality.

I watched a few more episodes of Louie on Netflix earlier.  I’m almost caught up on season 5.  I can’t get over how good this show is.  Louis CK is a genius.  I know the word is overused, but in his case, it’s genuinely true.  If you love reading novels especially because you like recognizing foreshadowing, imagery, and symbolism, you need to watch Louie.  It’s a sitcom on FX, and it’s in its 5th season.  I don’t pay attention to awards shows, but I’ll be deeply offended if this show hasn’t won several awards.

It’s more than funny.  It’s a sitcom that forces me to think, laugh at myself, and look at the actors.  Usually, I rarely look at the screen when I “watch” TV.  I watch reruns of Seinfeld and Friends almost daily.  I also watch Bob’s Burgers, Archer, 2 Broke Girls, Louie, and Better Things.  I watch People of Earth, Conan, The Big Bang Theory, and Fixer Upper.  Every so often, I’ll catch an episode of All in the Family on a local OTA channel.  That’s probably the best sitcom of all time.  Louie is better written, more honest, and something that surprised me;  It’s healing.

Louis CK is a decent man.  He tells us he’s an asshole all the time, but then shows us over and over that he’s a thoughtful, intelligent human being.  He’s not perfect, and he proves that too.  He shows us lots of things he’s noticed while raising his kids in NYC.  Seinfeld shared all the funny superficial stuff.  Louis CK is showing us things about ourselves.  Things that matter and impact all of us.  It’s brilliant on a level I didn’t realize could be achieved outside of a novel.  He made me look at him.  Really look at him.  I’m so glad I did.  It made me love him and appreciate his gifts.  It’s been a gently healing experience, processing each episode and thinking about what I observed.

As a rape survivor, every man I encounter begins as a potential destroyer, while internally, I reason with my pain until the fear loosens it’s grip, and he’s reclassified as an unlikely threat.  This is done subconsciously, but I suspect it shows in my eyes.  I’ve sensed that I’ve offended more than one man by looking at him with naked fear in my eyes.  I don’t blame them for feeling offended and am working on controlling and overcoming it.  I imagine it feels like an accusatory look.  I’m working on it, because it’s not fair for me to treat every man like a potential rapist.  That’s what’s going on in my head when I encounter a man.  Despite that, I love Louis CK, and I trust him not to hurt me for being a woman.  See?  Surprising.  When I watch Louie, I look at the screen and am present for the duration.  It’s hilarious and awesome to me that a man I’ve never met got my attention by making me laugh, then used it to make me think.