This Winter. (and also bonus: buying a car while autistic)

 

The storm is coming but I don’t mind/People are dying, I close my blinds

It is a natural disaster, but nobody is referring to it that way.  When hurricanes or tornadoes strike, people get the Red Cross and the National Guard mobilized, they have politicians flying in for photo ops, they have donations pouring in from around the country.  When you have a hundred inches of snow in five weeks, apparently, then you get none of these things.*

Roofs are collapsing.  People can’t get to work or school.  Cars are breaking.  The economy is suffering because nobody is shopping or venturing out to restaurants.  I read a quote the other day that people are going to lose their homes over this winter, and not because the roofs collapse, but because when you already live on the edge of poverty, it doesn’t take much to push you over the cliff.  And a hundred inches of snow is more than not much.  It is, in fact, quite a lot.

Half of our driveway is now a snow pile that is taller than I am.  A good quarter to a third of most parking lots are now mountains of grimy, off-white ice.  Going everywhere, doing everything, is taking longer.  Driving is dangerous – snowbanks ten feet high at corners mean you edge out, edge out, edge out, all the while hoping, please don’t hit me, please don’t hit me.  Don’t even think about trying public transportation – I’m quite grateful that I am not dependent on it on a day to day basis.

I want to change the world/Instead I sleep

My psychiatrist admitted that really, he cannot do much about anyone’s mood until spring.  There is simply too much blankness, too much grayness, going on.  Everyone is cold, all the time.  Everyone is in pain.  Getting through each day literally feels like I am slogging  through waist-deep snow.  I cannot seem to get anything done – not writing, not looking for work, not advocacy, not even cleaning out the jumble that is the bathroom drawers right now.  Instead, I spend my way-too-many, unpaid snow days reading mountains of fanfiction, losing myself in the world of Harry Potter where snow is a welcome thing, a nuisance, not a natural disaster.

All I can do is keep breathing/All I can do is keep breathing/All I can do is keep breathing now

This song has been running through my head for days.  It expresses, rather perfectly, my life right now – where I just need to keep breathing, and that is enough.  I breathe in, through the pain.  I breathe out, through the pain.  The pain will not be less and it will not go away, but I will not go away, either.

There was rain in the forecast for today – even if it didn’t happen.  The thermometer crept above freezing.

All I can do is keep breathing

Now………….

*I do think a few National Guard were called in to shovel, but I may be wrong.

An Unrelated Story About Cars and Car Buying

Did I mention that my car decided to die on me last week? Well, actually, on my mom, and I’m quite grateful I wasn’t in it when it started the horrible clanking, but still.   This was the car whose check engine light went on so regularly, for nothing ever serious, our mechanic no longer charged us for checking it out!  And then in the span of a day, it was headed for the junkyard! (Or to be recycled for parts, or whatever happens to cars you donate to your local NPR station because they will never work again.)I have had a crash-course in car buying in the last week, and much to my surprise, found one and am getting it next week.

Car shopping with autism, by the way, is really fun. (sarcasm.) The first salesman was a smoker, so I couldn’t go for a test-drive with him because, well, he stank. (I claimed an allergy.) The second salesman spoke with an accent that I didn’t understand, but didn’t have the courage to tell him I didn’t understand.  We went for a test drive and I really don’t know what he was talking about, but I liked the first car.  The second one had a funny smell I couldn’t quite place, and was also the exact same shade of sickly yellow-gold that my grandparents vinyl couch had when I was young.  I chose the first, for the color, I said.  Then I explained my accent problem to the receptionist and she hooked me up with an accent-less manager, who was a heavyset white man with dark hair.  As were two other salesmen on the floor, meaning that whenever he left the desk to go do something, I had absolutely no idea when he was approaching again because damn, they all looked alike.  (I am somewhat faceblind.  Not extremely, but I have a good deal more difficulty than the average person.)  Anyway.  This time next week, I will have my new (to me) car.

(song is Keep Breathing, by Ingrid Michaelson.  To hear it, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svfd999aej8)

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