Incidental Interactions


My socially awkward moment of the day came when I took my trash out. The dumpster rests on a platform that is a standard curb height. I used to just use the dumpster as a balance reference, but when I went out with just my cane, it was not pretty trying to lift the dumpster lid ~and~ throwing in my small bag. So I took my walker the last time and it was much safer (and I don’t know if I looked smooth doing it, but I felt like I did). Sooo, I actually looked forward to using my walker this time (it’s great stability for a single step with no railing AND fits perfectly on the lip of the platform). As I stepped down to cross the parking lot, a new neighbor from an adjacent building was exiting her car, 20 feet from the dumpster. She ended up lifting the lid for me. It was quite kind of her. In the moment, though, it surprised me. I am improving in strength and doing more generally, but before going out, I had consciously gone through my action sequence (like a seasoned athlete), which is how I knew to take the walker. It’s funny, but I was kind of disappointed I didn’t get to play the game I had just prepared for (insert any of numerous sports analogies here)–and I said something to the effect of the walker enabling my independence, and then caught myself and said a sincere thank you instead of rambling when I wasn’t sure whether she had said anything else. The dumpster lid is unwieldy, afterall… and now that I think of it, she very well could have saved me from a fall. I’m not afraid of falling, but I’m well aware of the disastrous immediate and delayed consequences on us folks with neurodegenerative disorders.

This kind of stuff isn’t really new. I’m just writing more to be writing. And if you have Big Brain Academy Wii Degree, and want to compete/assist me with my cognitive rehab, then drop me a comment or email. If you made iþ this far, I figure you are so inclined.

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Driver: (pointing)

Me: (looking outside)

***repeat a few times, adding driver’s exasperation and my growing sincere-and-not-intentionally-humorous quizzical looks to identify the object of attention***

Geese?

Wild driver?

Birds?

Oh, the sun visor!

Welcome back the silliness!

Driver: (pointing)

Me: (looking outside)

Geese?

Wild car?

Birds?

Oh, the sun visor!

Welcome back the silliness!

So my last weird episode was in early December.  I was supposed to follow-up the ER visit with my local neuro within two weeks. Oops! I don’t remember what all happened, but since I didn’t take a nose-dive and it seemed like the whole thing was an aberration due to a no-big-whoop head cold and possibly having missed a dose of my med, I ended up seeing how things went. (I do this a lot. I’ve documented it and written about it several times. I guess it’s part regression-to-the-mean, and part optimism.) Most gratefully, it worked well this time: my body seems to have re-regulated itself, and is certainly still on an upswing. (Confidently reinforced with a great book on neuroplasticity, deserving of its own post!)Ok, so as I was saying: When I called my doctor’s office via Cap-Tel to make the appointment, I had to spell my last name. Well, with the weakness in my facial nerves, my Ps and Bs are pretty weak. The advantages of Cap-Tel over traditional TTY/TDD relay and IP relay are many.
Speed, efficiency, personal connection, near-normal paced flow of conversation (seamless, invisible call assistant), recipient can hear me laugh, I can hear who I’m calling with my ABI while using captions to understand words…
The drawbacks are fewer but similar to other relays, with the slight delay for connections to be made and for voice to be converted to captions using Voice Recognition software.

Anyhow, I highly value using my voice as long as I have it, and I know callers catch on to Cap-Tel rapidly. I realized the nurse thought I was saying T, instead of P, and this post’s title is what came to my mind first to get it right. It worked. And I did get a chuckle. And I did get an appointment much sooner than I thought I’d get. Like I said, Cap-Tel rocks!

There were about twenty election workers in the cramped hallway of the church. No line when I entered, although a few voters arrived after me. I do miss the West Side Democratic Club. Paparazzi were absent this time, but it was nice to avoid the driving time today/this week.

I verbally self-identified as late-deafened, which I clarified as “you know, I can’t hear to understand what you are saying.” They continued to mumble. So be it, I was in a mellow mood and figured I’d be corrected if I did something wrong. I just did what I thought I was supposed to do… and you know how you tend to rush a bit when you’re unsure of yourself. I’ll have to practice the look-like-I-know-what-I’m-doing-even-when-I-don’t. I didn’t prepare myself mentally to do that today. I think it’s natural for a select group of individuals, but it takes a great deal of finesse for me to pull off seamlessly.

When I fed my ballot into the scanner, I saw the count, but it didn’t change after I was looking, so I assumed I looked too late, said another thank you to the crowd, and headed out the door. I didn’t get a sticker and probably seemed like I was rushing out, but it was just kinda weird. I don’t know what kind of operation they’re running. I did leave with a self-generated sense of goodwill towards the volunteers.

Long story on the DL renewal odyssey this week. I’ll spare you the full rundown, although it was instructive to experience such extreme contrasts in treatment w.r.t. a number of variables, especially in light of the different level of energy I brought Wed. vs. Thurs. And talk about a loaded question in a setting that’s bound to various legalities: “Do you lipread?” Reminder to self: Do not imply there’s an individual component to it… Stick to the environmental and situational factors. I realized belatedly that to simply say, “it depends on the speaker,” could be taken as an insult. Oops. I am so out of practice! (And little things can make a big difference, especially in incidental, everyday interactions. Man, the analysis goes in so many directions.)

So I’ve also uncovered yet another area in which preparatory online research failed to yield the info and forms necessary to render a process as simple as possible.

Anyhow, I just saw that the state’s changing the format of licenses next week. I will remain old school for several years, I presume.

And my photo looks like a mugshot.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I was on a sidestreet that’s moderate in the level of traffic flow it receives. It’s residential, with two lanes of traffic, and then curbside parking that’s marked. I noticed a funeral procession approaching. I know it’s respectful to allow the entire motorcade to proceed through signals, when it crosses traffic, but I wasn’t sure of the protocol (or law) when it’s in the oncoming lane. This was a large motorcade, so I took the cue from the vehicle ahead of me. I thought it would be tacky to pass anyone on my side who had pulled over to wait. So I pulled into the parking lane behind that car, and waited patiently.

After the funeral procession was past, I noticed the car in front of me was not moving.

I waited a few more seconds.

Next thing I know, the driver in front of me is frantically waving an arm. It quickly dawns on me the driver intends to back up into a driveway, even if it means running over me.

Right after that I had my first, very pleasant, experience with curbside pick-up of groceries at a local neighborhood grocer. I hope I assumed correctly that tipping isn’t expected in this instance. A handshake and gracious thank you are practically equivalent perhaps?

By the way, I adore massive, collective waves at sporting events or concerts, and I’m also quite fond of (even superfluous) courtesy waves in automobiles.

The last time I filled my gas tank, I had two vehicles waiting for my pump, and boxing me in while they affected some sort of macho stand-off, despite the fact there were no less than eight other open pumps. One truck waited the entire time while I was pumping gas. Weird!