Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chicken Soup for the Bus Adventuring Soul (Or, My Trip to the Bookstore)

Having nothing to do and no-one to meet, a rarety for me, and getting up too late to even go to the hot dog stand, I was left with a decision. A decision of how I would engage with the world for the requisite couple hours to shut off my brain and distract myself from, well, me. You know how it is - getting out of our heads can take an act of Congress. At least for me! I have to remind myself there is a world outside of all the crises and paranoid visions of disaster going on in my head on a daily basis, in order to survive. Which, given my problems tolerating the outside world, is an interesting dilemma sometimes!

So, I had been doing so well tolerating the Westbrook bus, I decided I would try the mall bus and go to the big chain bookstore by the mall. (I am never going to the mall again.) I haven't been on the mall bus in several years, and like everything else, was scared of it. But, having little to lose other than the rest of my sanity, I decided to try it. I had tried the bookstore a few weeks ago with my caseworker and tolerated it.

The bus driver on the way there was the guy who used to drive the Falmouth bus when I lived in Yarmouth 2.5 yrs ago, so it was nice to see him again, a friendly face. My knees are killing me now, but I'm trying to be positive.

Books A Million: Where you can walk around for an hour ooh-ing and ahh-ing over all kinds of interesting things and still not get around to perusing a single book. Because the books definitely take second string to the toys,games,magazines and etc there. But hey, it amused me, I enjoyed looking at stuff, and when I was done, O grabbed a book and sat on the surprisingly comfortable chairs and read for half an hour. I also found some things to get for Rob's birthday, which is a good thing, as well as something for Nate and for my grandma. For me, I found a sticky note pad that said OY VEY and made me laugh. I spent more than I would have liked, but only a few dollars an item and it seemed like as long as I was there, I should make use of it.

Getting back was a little tricky. The bus driver told me I could go to JC Penney or Hannaford, but dropped me off at Macy's, and neglected to tell me that the bus comes to Macy's BEFORE the time listed on the bus schedule, not after. I got there 3 minutes before but apparently still missed it. I figured, it's a bus stop, the schedule says 750, it's 747, what's the problem? 20 minutes later, it became apparent it was not going to come. Back to the bookstore to wait an hour for the next  bus, and this time I decided to use the Hannaford stop. Which was somewhat nostalgic as it's what I used to do in 2007 when I used to come a lot. Finding Hannaford took me a couple tries (it's BEHIND the bookstore, not in front!), but I got there, and this time the bus came exactly when it was supposed to. A kind driver explained my mistake. No fragrance issues, knock on wood.

I still thought I'd miss the 925 bus back to my apt when we got back downtown, and have to wait 45 minutes in the dark for the next one, but as we got closer I realized we were very close to Maine Med. So I asked the driver if he went near Maine Med. He turned at Congress and St John (I think) which APPEARED to be very close. However, it turned out to be a 12 min walk uphill, and I was very frustrated by the end. I was yelling out loud to release my angst and swearing never to do that again. Live and learn. I've not walked further up that hill than the Mexican grocery store a few blocks down. On the plus side, now I know what Salvage BBQ looks like. It's quite hard to figure out where you are in the dark when you've passed the last thing you recognize and just want to be home already, but I suppose it was better than waiting 45 minutes for a connecting bus. I was going to take a cab, but thought it would only be a 5 minute walk.

So I am home, and I know my knees will hurt, but I am glad to be able to say I tried something new, and made myself get out of the house and out of my head for 2 hours. I may complain about physical pain, but thank goodness that the sense of desperation, anxiety and depression over having nothing I feel capable of doing has been at least lessened for another day.

And so I fight, one day at a time, to be part of this world in a way I can tolerate.

Thank you  for coming on this journey with me.

I spent half the time I was in Books a Million reading a copy of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book on Positive Thinking (Okay, yes, I'm still a hidden self improvement junkie) so I might as well apply that here if I can.

Lessons Learned: That huge Maine Med sign that you can see from like a mile away? Yeah, objects in the distance may apear closer than they are, lol.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Reflections on a Fall Day

Reflections of a Fall Day - September 22, 2016

It was such a lovely beautiful day, and I met my friend at the square at 3:30, when I got off the bus. I love how I can make her laugh! Even with little things. That's such a gift, being able to make someone laugh. We laughed about the really bad singer who sounded like he was on drugs hanging around the bus stop. Someone near me was like "God, I hope he doesn't get on this bus." We commented on how many people were around and what a beautiful day it was. Around 75, sunny, a breeze, no humidity. Warm in the sun, perfect in the shade.

We walked towards the hot dog stand, and sat for about 20 minutes listening to C talking about music. D gives the obligatory pun/found something to make fun of; he never fails to get a laugh out of me. Today, he had little cards printed up making fun of LePage, and at the very bottom it said "I should have shot it when I saw it at Marden's," a reference to the old theme song. While I don't condone violence, it made me laugh. Satisfied that I had gotten my weekly dose of D's humor, I sat back down again with Amber, bought a water from Mark, and then we decided to continue on our journey through New England's most beautiful city.

We walked down Exchange and said hello to Anna selling her pictures, and encountered our first street vendor at the bottom of Exchange on Commerical. Our goal is to go see the cruise ship that is docking in Portland for the day, and whatever  street vendors are left selling to the tourists.

Four street vendors are left out of the probably hundred that were there earlier. Lovely, connected, and spontaneous conversations occur with all of them. With one friendly guy I've seen many times before, I sympathize with his long hours and compliment his wares. One recognizes me from my synagogue, I don't know him but that was cool. One tells me how all the passengers today were British and had disabilities, very interesting. I get to hear the accent of one very British woman who comes back to pick up the magnets she forgot. I adore accents, but I can barely understand this one! Oh, what fun, I wish I could hear more. I whisper in my friend's ear "That's so cool!" We glance at the cruise ship when we finally reach our destination and make the long trek back. The breeze and sunshine play with my hair and feel good on my skin. I feel satisfied. I have a meeting that occurs on a bench by the hot dog stand. I then head to the library, spend a half hour peacefully lost in my thoughts, and get the bus home. I end up singing to the songs on my mp3 player as I wait for the bus, something I always enjoy but can never do on demand - it always has to come when the mood strikes me. "She's just singing to the scarecrow,
Trying to let the whole world know how wonderful it feels,To be here on this South Kentucky Farm
Singing to the scarecrow."

When I have days like this, and write things like this, it reminds me that I am part of a community, even though I can't go in many buildings. And I wonder how it differs from the way other people feel or don't feel part of their communities, I wonder if I have more than others and don't realize it, or less, or the same in different ways. I wonder if all of the begging I do for more would be quieted if I had a different way to perceive what I have.