Today at Walgreens I got my TB test, and I also got a COUPON for $3 off on any purchase above $15. Just like Walgreens wanted me to I immediately forgot what I was doing and wandered around the store trying to find $15 worth of worthy stuff.
In the toy aisle was a $15 FASHION FLUTTERSHY:
This is probably the most torturous thing that could happen. That is my authentic cell phone picture of the FF and you can see that she really wanted to go home with me. Forever.
My purse is like this:
I was also carrying/fumbling with other stuff. There was no way that I could bring Fashion Fluttershy to, on, and from the bus without dropping her and letting her be hit by a car. I was forced to use my coupon on lipgloss, batteries, and hand sanitizer, which are almost the only things I ever buy. Really hate my life. Stuff is miserable.
This is the only notable thing that happened to me today and I swear to God, I used to have a part of myself that would feel worried and guilty upon experiencing it. You guys! WHERE'S THE AUTISM?
Probs I should be reminded that I have a disability whenever I do anything, or my disability is not real.
I don't think it's really surprising that I feel this way, because our society treats autism like some kind of super strict religion. Even people who think that autism is tragic still seem to think it's a lifestyle. It's just not the RIGHT lifestyle. Autism is characterized as "stealing" people because little kids are growing up with the wrong personality. It's basically like they're joining a gang where you don't look people in the eye or have the right feelings.
I would argue that this explains why most anti-autism rhetoric doesn't focus on the feelings of people with autism. If autism is so bad then they would have a lot to say about their suffering, right? Wrong. We wouldn't want to listen to what they say anyway, because they're in a gang!
For some reason, I always find myself more annoyed by autism pop culture that pretends to be positive. Like, focus-grouped autistic memoirs and especially interviews and profiles by non-disabled journalists.
These interviews and profiles start out with pretty much the same question or concept every time.
"When did you realize you were different?"
This is the cue for the interviewee with autism to tell an exotic story about when they were a kid and used to line up all their sparkplugs/cow fetuses. It needs to be sparkplugs/cow fetuses, and not Transformers or Barbies, because non-disabled kids have those too. The interview can then develop into something that sounds like it was written by a barker at a Depression-era freakshow.
Like other people, I used to be a child. I did lots of interesting and boring things. But talking about those things isn't the most respectful way to do an interview with me as an adult. Actually, age aside, asking me about how different I am just kind of sucks.
Every single time I see an interview like this, I wish the person with autism would say, "You mean, when did I realize I was gay?"
I am different from the norm in a lot of ways--just like everyone else. Like many people with my disability, I did and do love stuff that non-disabled people love too. This summer the New York Times wrote the most obvious article in history about how kids with autism really like trains. Anyone who doesn't live under a rock already knows this. Still, I doubt that my beloved toothbrush
is being purchased only for autistic jaws.
In writing about this I deal with an obvious trap. If I try too hard to emphasize the normality of people with disabilities, I might feed into "disabled people are just like everyone else"--a 100% true statement that also happens to be the most annoying trope of all time.
Some fun facts are true about my recent trip to Walgreens. For example, if you sent a non-disabled person to choose $15 worth of stuff to buy I can guarantee they would be able to find those items in the store much more quickly than I did. Without causing me much grief on a case-by-case basis, my comparative slowness adds up. I'm really impressed that two girls in my nurse aide class go to work every day after class. After spending ten hours of my day in class and in transit, I find it hard to even eat when I get home and things like showering and laundry are tasks I can't always manage.
I forget why, but the guy who read my TB test remarked, "You must have a lot on your mind." I don't, but a little is a lot for me, which is fine--but an actual lot would be more than a lot and not really a fair expectation.
Disability adds up. That's the first thing. People don't need to be exotic cow fetus collectors for it to be true, though my lack of cow fetuses used to really wear on my soul.
to be continued