Friday, August 10, 2012


God, I wish I didn’t have to stand out here on Nebraska Avenue waiting for the bus by myself. At least it’s not hot yet. It’s only 10:30 and I have a whole 2 hours to get to the doctor’s. I’m gonna need it. The HART bus line runs in dog years. For every minute that elapses in real time, 7 years pass on a HART line bus. Something happens to the time. I swear. JC does not like me being out on the streets by myself, but we kind of need to have someone in the house at all times, right now. We can’t move, just yet. Even though I can take care of myself and he knows this, he worries. Once, he was coming home from the store and he had a lot to carry. We live less than a block off the bus line and the grocery store is less than a mile north and a straight shot from our place. I could have sworn JC said he was getting on the bus. I walked to the stop to wait for him. A half an hour later I was still waiting.

I walked back home and called him to ask what dimension he was in. He hadn’t even gotten on the bus yet. So much for my hearing, or perception. Lots can happen between the earpiece and my brain. Meanwhile, I had been out there, fending off the ‘hood with my usual derring-do. Gah. It’s hard out here for a gimp. As if.

So, it’s 10:30 am, and I’ve just watched the ass-end of the #2 bus go north. I have to wait at least 20 minutes. Douchenuts. So, I wait. I’m practicing my latest martial art, whackamole twirling. This is way better than nunchuk or baton twirling. I hit myself in the head and decide to practice at home, so I don’t look like an ass and like someone who might be dinner out here.

Here comes black dude. With an ankle bracelet. Oh goody. It’s about his fifth trip parading up and down in front of the bus stop. He’s on probation and is panhandling, which is against the law. He hits me up for 50 cents. I am already having a bad patch. My PD has been hellish as of late. I’m bipolar and there is a huge connection between mental illness and PD*. My eyeballs are frying. I have electricity shooting out of my thighs. My feet are on fire and my hands shake so badly, I can’t hold a newspaper to read. At times, the bones in my hands ache so, I feel as if they have turned to metal. My eyes refuse to track and my visual field is more erratic than normal. Thankfully, this is not continual, but in fits and starts. As for impulse control… well.

Anklet guy hits me up for some change. I growl, snarl, drool at him “No, get the fuck away from me! I have poor impulse control and I’ll beat you to death if you don’t.” I mean it. He jumps back.  Out-crazy ‘em. Another legend born. My mouth tastes of metal. It’s getting hot. The stupid bus finally shows up. The bus driver is one of the nice ones. He gives me a TBT Times. Now, for the 364-year ride (yeah, I did some kind of half-assed math for verisimilitude) to the Tampa General Health Genesis Park. Who thinks up this shit? Why in the hell not call it what it is? Old Elementary School Turned Into Pretty Good People’s Clinic. Ahh, too long, I guess. I’m all about truth in advertising? My Primary Care doctor is an energetic little Indian lady. She remembers our last visit (miracle of miracles; that was over 2 months ago) and deals with my current issue. Meds for headache and nerve pain, just for relief; I have been miserable, until neurologist can start the regimen for dopamine and all the other whatevers for brain stuff. I love precision in medicine.  

The really downhill part of the day started when I stopped off at the Taco Bell that is kitty corner from Busch Gardens. There were quite a few people inside the store. I don’t do well at all in small spaces with lots of people. Most of the people saw the glasses and cane and were respectful and stayed away from me. I had just gotten my order and was at the little island, getting the sauces. I was going to get napkins and sporks or foons, which is like a tradition in our house; Taco Bell = spork, when I was almost knocked off my feet by this woman, intent on getting her own accessories. I was too astonished to say anything, which normally would have been “you fat, stupid bitch, I’m blind. Fuck you,” or something equally clever. I almost lose my balance and fall. I fear falling more than anything; I did plenty of it, when I first started walking again; the fear is really ingrained. So, I grab my food, sauces, purse and whackamole and negotiate a way to the OUTSIDE as fast as possible, forgetting napkins and sporks, in near-flight mode. Now, I’m pissed and working up a hate.

Okay, back to the ST:TNG bus stop or ST:Voyager for the ride home. Nothing much happens except for the 2 teenaged mothers with the beast-y kids. One of whom knocks over whackamole and hits me, while he’s trying to climb into my Taco Bell bag. I’m fishing around in there for my bus pass where I threw it, after Elephant Woman ran into me. I yell at the boy, when I should have yelled at the tattooed teenaged mom, who was jabbering on the phone, not paying one bit of attention to her stupid kid. I’m hot; I’m getting madder and I’m losing my concentration. I hurt, I can’t see; everything looks like metal, radiation and death, in duple time. When this happens, I start losing stuff; like control, along with bus passes. There is a very, very fine line between “I’m in complete control” and “Fuck it, I’m going to burn every mother-fucking bastard down NOW! I hate the ignorant, stupid lot of you. You’re all too unenlightened to live! I will eat your bastard children and revel in your misery!” I know it. I’ve been there. It is a confluence of rage and illness, madness and sickness. The fact that I have not had a psychotic break since late February is a testament to modern medicine and also to my will. But I would not want to push me too far. I don’t want to lose it.

I scrabble around and find my bus pass and stalk down to a shade tree, 15 feet away. Take deep breaths. Think about puppies and kittens. Look at the trees. Look for the bus. Pretty soon it comes. The two baby-mommas and their ill-begotten spawn get on the bus and sit right in front, facing the aisle, the little encroacher fidgeting and swinging his legs, making it impossible for anyone to pass without being kicked. I say, loudly “Could you please NOT do that?” and pass. I have to sit farther back than I normally would, but it’s fine. The only other thing that happens, is the bus is cut off by some ninny in a Chrysler. Cut off in a way that the sudden stop could have caused whip lash. Thankfully, baby mommas and spawn were gone, so by this time, it’s just adults. We reassure one another that yes, we are all okay. A few blocks down, I hear a man murmuring. The woman in the seat in front of him is laughing. This goes on for several blocks. One by one, we each start to laugh. I do too. I have no earthly idea why this woman is laughing. But it is a joyful sound. One of mirth. A laugh of happiness, pure delight in being alive. Laughter of the kind that is infectious, that invites you in. We all laugh. We continue to laugh and giggle our way down Nebraska Avenue, where 1 minute on the bus is 7 dog years.

* and “Parkinson’s Disease: Mind, Mood & Memory.” I recommend that anyone with any type of mental illness or any loved ones with Parkinson’s symptoms to visit this website. This booklet is free and has tons of useful information.

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