Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

(Delayed post due to forgetting to publish)

It’s been a long day.  I went to walk-in at the VA to get a new sleep medication first thing.  After that, I headed to work, where I had to conduct some interviews.  The first interview was easy.  It was a college student working on his B.S. in Computer Science at a local university.  Surprisingly, he doesn’t know how to code.  I thought everyone who studied to work in computers knew how to code.  I told him no, but gave him information to apply for an internship next year.  And a homemade DVD with some good tutorials to get him started with coding.

He was under the impression that we’d hire anyone with Autism.  That’s illogical.  So that was short, and went well as it could.  The next person had scheduling conflicts that eliminated him.  The final person was perfect for the position.  She’s a senior citizen who had to quit her previous job at McDonald’s because being on her feet that long was a problem.  She’s kind, and the guys met her and like her.  We got an appointment with a local office store that will get her workspace situated ergonomically.  She complimented my rocking chair.  So yeah, I like her too.

When I explained to her that we all have Autism, (with Sean being my echo, because that’s not obnoxious), she said she has two grandchildren who are on the spectrum.  Then there was the awkward pause.  Then she sat with me while I helped her pick a computer.  I told her that I’ll teach her how to use the software, and any other stuff she wants to learn on the computer.

I sort of specialize in teaching the elderly how to be internet savvy.  It’s fun and simple.  I buy them a netbook (Windows), because whatever they were using was probably made by Gateway or Packard Bell.  Then I go through the steps to do a task.  Then I put each task on a notecard, step by step, so that they can refer to it until it’s natural.  Then let them file the cards in what order they want, leave an email address, and thank them for whatever food they gave me while I was teaching them.  I meet most of them at the VA in the waiting rooms.  Some have been neighbors.

One of them had a son I went to school with, but he was in a higher grade.  He works in network security at a bank, and would show his Mom how to do something on the computer one time, and then complain if she asked how to do the same task again.  What a douche.  So I taught her, and made cards.  She kept coming back to learn more stuff, so I taught her more stuff.  She’s a total computer nerd now.  She takes her netbook with her everywhere, (lots of bus trips to various casinos).  Her friends consult her now for computer advice.  She called me not long ago to tell me that her son was impressed by her website.  I could tell she was proud of herself.

I don’t understand why some people assume the elderly are incapable of learning how to be computer wizards.  People are so much smarter than computers.  For now, (laughs maniacally).

Veteran Tears

I finally got some sleep.  I took a double dosage of Benadryl.  I watched a show on a new channel called Viceland.  It was Weediquette, and the story was about veterans using cannabis to treat PTSD.  I probably should have changed the channel, as this is a touchy topic for me.  Fortunately, it was done well, and they didn’t include any graphic war scenes.  The show still got to me, though.  PTSD sucks so much.  It’s such a horrible thief.  It tries to rob you of everything, and is unrelenting.  It’s invisible, and it has only one goal:  To end you.  It’s as if the traumas that lead to PTSD were meant to kill you, and your survival was a fluke that left you in a tortured limbo.  It holds you there and attacks you from every direction until you somehow find a way exist despite your new status, or you take your own life.

It sucks.  But the worst part is that PTSD has existed forever. It’s had other names, but it hasn’t changed since the first war or life threatening trauma.  But in 2016, they still don’t know how to treat it successfully.  That’s not wholly true.  They know cannabis helps us survive PTSD.  They being the government.  The government doesn’t care that 22 veterans commit suicide every single day.  The VA doesn’t care that 22 veterans commit suicide every single day.  But the price of oil is down, and some rich people got a lot richer from government war contracts.  We are expendable.

I wrote a poem after watching the show.

The March of Tears

They say you will adapt to this radical lifestyle.
Freedom is at stake. You won’t see home for a while.
Shoot the targets. Throw the grenades.
Learn new skills. March in parades.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. America is at war.

Travel to your new duty station.
Make some friends in this new location.
Run PT. Eat some chow. Press your uniform. Shine your boots.
Bivouac. Requalify. Go on leave. Revisit your roots.
Left, 2, 3 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Now it’s time to go to war.

POM board, shots. Phone home and make a will.
Verify equipment. This time it’s not a drill.
You volunteered to fight, and you may even die.
Try not to remember that you’re fighting for a lie.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. It’s your duty to fight this war.

Your friends are dead! Your friends are dead!
Your truck blew up! Then the enemy fled.
You’re injured and can fight no longer.
What didn’t kill you did not make you stronger.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. What the hell are we fighting for?

Your body heals but leaves some scars.
You spend most nights looking up at the stars.
You’re finally home, but nothing goes right.
You’re constantly triggered into fight or flight.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. PTSD forevermore.

Here’s a pill, there’s a pill. Will these bring your life back?
The sacrifice is over, but in your mind you’re still under attack!
You’re still a soldier in your heart. You have the desire to survive.
But the nightmares and flashbacks make it impossible to thrive.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. PTSD is the invisible scar in your core.

Take some pills. Go to support group.
Try not to think about how you were duped.
Make the effort to adjust to civilian life.
Get a job or go to school. Just ignore the strife.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Life isn’t worth the pain anymore.

The VA treats you like a naughty child.
You’re not crazy! Fuck off! PTSD isn’t mild!
You want dignity, and you’re on your last thread.
These pills make things worse. You’d rather be dead.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Suicide would end this internal war.

Fuck the VA! They don’t care about you.
The number of suicides per day is twenty-two!
You’d like to try using cannabis for PTSD medication.
But your country won’t repair it’s misclassification.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. No one cares about the real cost of war.

Tired puppy.

I think I’ve recovered from my Denver vacation.  Well, almost.  Once I am able to sleep again, I’ll be there.  Anytime I break my schedule, it takes a toll on me.  I think I’m recovering faster, though.  Today has been surreal.  There’s a guy who lives down the hall from me.  He’s autistic, and lives with his Mom.  He’s always been kind to me when we’ve shared an elevator, or passed in the hall.  He invited me to come to his place once, but I declined.  He knocked on my door today after I came back from getting my mail.  I walk past his door, so he probably saw me.  I answered, and he asked if I wanted to visit again.  I said no.  Then I told him that I think he’s a nice person, but I wasn’t interested in going inside his apartment.  He didn’t respond for a bit, then asked if I wanted to go to the community room.

I thought about it, and said no.  Then I asked if he wanted to go to the theater room and watch a movie instead.  He said yes, and then ran down the hall to tell his Mom.  I grabbed my new Harry Potter collection, then put it back, and picked Howl’s Moving Castle instead.  I don’t want anyone to watch Harry Potter with me, because even if they say they won’t talk, they do.  He came back a few minutes later, and we went to the theater room to watch.  It was around 33 F, which is like a heat wave compared to the last 4 days.  He talked several times during the movie.  I didn’t mind because I’ve seen it several times.  Afterward, we walked back to our building, and I said goodbye, and started to walk to my door.  I got about 10 feet, then I heard him running to catch up.  He said he wanted to walk me to my door.  I think his Mom told him to do this.  When we got to my door, I unlocked it and opened it, and my cat was at the door like usual.  She ran away as soon as she realized I wasn’t alone.  I said bye and closed the door and locked it.  Then I thought about how it must have been obvious to his Mom that I’m autistic too.  I supposed parents of autistics can tell.  She’s always kind with me as well.

I have my annual shrink appointment next Friday. While I see it as only necessary to continue getting my Prozac, I have to admit, my shrink is a good one.  He has private practice, plus his VA position.  He’s open about being a Christian, even though it’s technically frowned upon for the VA staff to question me about my beliefs.  He asks me about my spiritual health, along with my mental and physical health each time we meet.  I talked to him about it a few times.  The first time, I told him I was an atheist.  I thought it was true at that time, plus I expected my response to end the topic.  The next time, I told him about encountering atheists online, and how I didn’t understand why so many were proud of being atheist, and thought their declaration meant they had superior intelligence to those who believed in God.

I went on to relate how I’d seen people who enjoyed baiting those who were proud of their religion by asking them to prove their God exists, and implying that anyone who believed was a fool.  I thought it was bizarre, and told him it reminded me of racism.  He asked me if I still thought I was an atheist.  I said no, that I was agnostic.  He asked me what that meant to me.  I remember feeling glad that he was basically saying I get to decide the definition.  I told him that I wasn’t sure yet, and that reading the bible is what led to my agnosticism in the first place.  I said I think agnosticism could be temporary.  It could be that I haven’t read or heard or experienced the something that will lead me to belief yet.  I added that I listen, and pay attention to people who show me their faith through their behaviors, choices, and lives.  I added that he’s one of the people I pay attention to in that respect.  My sister is another.  There are a few online, too.  It was a good appointment, and I left feeling understood.

I think a person’s beliefs are incredibly personal.  I don’t like extremists because they too often believe their faith is more important than the lives of other people.  I don’t like it when people use religion, or the lack thereof, to justify offending others.  I don’t think hurting people on purpose is funny, or cool, or indicative of superior intellect.  I think it’s being insecure loudly.  Most who believe are not extremists.  Most of the people I’ve encountered so far, whom I’ve known to be religious, were striving to be better people.  I think that’s awesome.  It’s not restricted to religion, of course.  I just can’t stomach hating on someone for being different than me, but harming no one.