Since I no longer expect anything from mankind except madness, meanness, and mendacity; egotism, cowardice, and self-delusion, I have stopped being a misanthrope. -Irving Layton
Hell is other people. Truly.
Am I walking around with a ‘be rude to me sign on my forehead?’
Today I saw a man walking in the middle of a busy 4 lane street.
His black jacket waving in a frigid April wind like a winged creature whipping its arms against his heels.
Maybe the creature in his brain told him today he would die, maybe it was the alcohol.
As he sauntered confidently toward oncoming traffic, I was hurtling forward in a minivan in the outermost lane.
To my right, a red mazda 6 sped up, aimed like an arrow at its target, a flesh and bone human and the motorist driving his foot deeper into the floor, gas peddle revving the engine, stopped short of the man to swerve in front of us at the last second.
He narrowly avoided hitting the person, clearly disturbed to be walking in the street in the first place and then proceeded to put me, my co-worker and our 2 clients in danger.
I was ready to jump out at the red light, open his car door and beat him to a bloody pulp for thinking because he was behind the wheel of a 2000 lb projectile that he was entitled to kill me and several other perfect strangers.
Was that to be the worst part? No dear reader, sadly it was not.
This should have been my answer to incident #2
“If you’re looking for sympathy you’ll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.”
Upon arriving home safely, my coworker brings client #1 into the house while I collect the belongings of client #2 and wait for the coworker to come back and help me with the wheelchair of client #2.
Cue psycho hose beast…
Her hair is a mix of black and grey, dried from over processing and her make up appears to be layered on with a trowel.
She approaches the fence separating her property line from our group home’s driveway and calls,
“Hey, are you staff at this group home?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Do you see a mat down the walk way there,” she points in the direction of the walkway and grassy area between the two houses.
“No, I’m sorry, I don’t.” The gate to the fence is closed, I have no clue what she is talking about and I can’t see past a six foot closed gate.
“Really? Are you blind? You don’t see a mat sitting in front of your door?”
“I’m sorry what?” This come out in the tone of, no bitch, you did not just take that tone with me
“It’s my mat! It’s been missing for 3 years and there it is outside this group home!”
I’m dumbfounded, struck into speechlessness for a second while this woman mouths off to me.
“Were your legs broken? Is that why you didn’t go get it?”
“How dare you!” she hissed.
“Are you shitting me?” I think I said, though it might’ve been in my brain, I lost all sense of time and composure at this point.
“They told me when this group home went here we wouldn’t have any trouble and all there’s been is trouble.”
For the record, I have no clue what she’s talking about. Both my clients are non-verbal, one is in a wheelchair and the other is concerned only with rides in the car and cartoons. I can’t imagine what she means by trouble.
“Have you ever lived next door to clients with mental illness who destroy property?” I ask her.
I say this because I’ve worked at houses that look like a warzone, where holes are made in drywall faster than they can be patched, where I’ve safety restrained people in rotating 4 hour shifts because they were a danger to staff and themselves.
This house she lives next door to is decorated with flowers and shrubs it has a lovely natural wood fence and trees all around that are all maintained by staff.
“My issue isn’t with the clients.”
“Well it isn’t with the staff either,”
“It’s not very neighbourly to put up a fence without consulting me.”
“Everything about this house is a problem, stealing other people’s property, my house is the most expensive thing I own,”
“Congratulations,” I say, turning to open the van door to my client who is waiting patiently to go inside.
“Listen bitch, I got more important shit to worry about…so go fuck yourself.”
“Excuse me?” she said, before walking away.
“Oh you heard me.”
My coworker has come back by this time, he’s wide eyed and helps me with client #2.
He whispers, “Did you just say that?”
“Yeah I did,” I replied, “fucking psychopath.”
Yep, I was unprofessional.
Nope, I don’t care.
I don’t know what happened before I arrived here over a year ago.
If you can’t have the civility to come knock on the door and clear up a misunderstanding while I help my clients get through day to day life with a disability, then you will have no respect and no patience from me.
Tell someone who actually cares.
I know what her fundamental problem is: like most people who live next door to a group home, she’s pissed because she thinks her property values are going down, she feels like her ‘tax dollars’ are paying for it so she can accost me and yell at me like I’m ‘the help’, that people with disabilities should live in the ghetto where she doesn’t have to deal with them, this is what her snotty obnoxious mouth is really saying.
And I’m replying with an unapologetic, FUCK you.
“I’m killing time while I wait for life to shower me with meaning and happiness.”