The sidebar has a short post. I can change that post every day, but the main one twice a week. My rules, always subject to change and whim.
This isn’t really about Fairway. It’s about how my mind works and how finally, after all these years, I have begun to find a measure of peace. Coincidentally or not, I was introduced to Susan P Koniack, the founder of Sarah’s-place.org
Read Susan’s story. It’s truly remarkable
Fairway is so crowded no shopping baskets or carts are available. I happen to be standing next to the man who is bringing them into the store so I grab a basket and venture inside.
My photoblog is being updated and does contain some pictures of Fairway.
Fairway makes its aisles too narrow on purpose. It’s all about product and nothing about design or comfort. It’s April but everybody is in their winter coats.
Were I normal, I would be bumping into people. I’m probably the only customer who is looking around me trying to gauge space. Should I move a millimeter to the right or left? Damn if I know. A woman gets ready to yell at me because she can’t move. Then she looks around. Almost nobody is moving.
It’s not worth getting angry over. It’s the Saturday before Easter Sunday and it’s still Passover. Anybody who dares venture into the very odd, used to be only produce, store called Fairway can only laugh as you know that you’re part of an experience only a New Yorker would put up with.
I tell myself that everybody is crazed. I tell myself that if i can’t get near an aisle, I won’t try to force myself into it. I have an emergency stash of Hot Wasabi Peas. But damn Fairway sells the only supermarket sushi I will eat except for Whole Foods. I’m too cold to walk to The Time Warner Mall. People are crowded, three deep, around the sushi section as if they’re trying to get on a subway car.
I want spicy tuna for dinner and smoked salmon for breakfast. Is that too much to ask? I haven’t bumped into one person from the time I entered the store until I manuevered my way to the back. I still have to go to the regular grocery aisles and don’t want to think about it.
Am I supposed to wait until all the people leave? What about the two people engrossed in conversation? Dare I interrupt?
I say: “Excuse me, I need me some sushi something fierce.”
One thing about New Yorkers: they’re not a tough audience. These people standing three abreast could be anybody from a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist to a hedge fund principal to a person on food stamps. But they’re all united in a common goal. Getting in and out of this store with as many foods on the list as possible, few impulse purchases, their body in one piece and their sanity.
They really like unexpected humor even as bad as mine. Anything to keep them sane. This is a tough city and only the strong survive intact. Oh yes, we’re manicured and wonderful to look at, except for Fairway.
I shouldn’t have to think about how to do Fairway properly so much.
I’m lucky. I have always instinctively understood that my basic problem was one of perceiving space differently; being just a bit off.
I’m luckier for other reasons. There’s something likable about me. My generation seemed to have invented embrace the weird, and we have been embraced ever since.
I have been given many great gifts. A fabulous family, wonderful friends, some resources, a modicum of talent. A wealth of stories many that I have never told here so they can possibly bring me wealth.
Something hinders me from reaching the level I should, and it’s not fear of success or any psychobabble. It’s both being surrounded by too much stimulus in Manhattan, and the organizational black hole that’s not solved by reading books on organization.
This sounds like an excuse. It’s not. It’s a reality that I live with and try to overcome every single day. I never stop trying. Is that enough? I know the answer and that’s a separate post.
The world we live in, and my mind are just one millimeter apart from each other. But it’s a mega millimeter.
For others, itâ€™s reading or writing, organization of time and space or interacting with others. For many, itâ€™s managing stimuli-packed environments. But because others see them as so â€œsmartâ€ or â€œsuccessful,â€ they have no way to explain why they are so â€œabsent-mindedâ€ or easily frustrated with the â€œsimpleâ€ tasks of life or why they seem so often to be operating on their â€œlast nerve.â€
People in any of these categories who do seek medical attention are all too often put on treatment regimes that do no good or worse, exacerbate the problem. For example, they may be told to keep four notebooks instead of one, to write every meaningless detail down and to check the lists every day. For those who cannot manage one notebook and get overwhelmed with details. these â€œtherapeutic interventionsâ€ may only lead to more frustration or to symptoms that mimic obsessive-compulsive disorders as they spend their days trying to manage their lists and notebooks. For some, these are Herculean tasks, requiring constant concentration and leaving little time for any creative or original thought.
Yes, yes, yes. I never understood when people talked about diagnoses being empowering experiences. But when I was introduced to Susan Koniak, I knew I had finally found somebody who understood.
I’m bright and intuitive. I wouldn’t trade being intuitive for anything. But I have always wanted to think like other people. Just for a day. I almost flunked out of high school. Whlle I had moments of greatness, I had years of doing horribly.
It wasn’t until my Junior Year of college when all classes were for people who think conceptually that I began to shine scholastically. But it was my third undergrad school. The damage had already been done.
I admit that I used my first college as a social playground. I will never regret that. After going to one of the “leading high schools in the nation,” I needed fun. The school insisted that I never studied, when I had learning disabilities, and couldn’t learn somethings. But only boys had LD’s. Everybody knew that. My IQ was high. My potential too great.
Had they tried to work around my problems, or listen to me and my parents things might have been different. I can’t excuse them for not having known. This is a school district that has always prided themselves on being ahead of the curve and being sophisticated.
Education. People with GPS and some other poorly understood neurological conditions are â€œincidentalâ€ or â€œintuitiveâ€learners. Our education system is, on the other hand, designed for â€œintentional learners.â€ In short, people with some of these conditions who succeed in life, often do so in spite of school, not because of it. That must change. We must study the educational path of those who have succeeded to find the secrets to educating those with these neurological conditions. Learning from the top down, not the bottom up, is key; keeping â€œmeaningâ€ front and center, not the details, is critical. We must begin at once to make our schools a â€œsafeâ€ place for these gifted people among us and not the nightmare it currently is for so many. We must begin at once to make our babiesâ€™ rooms â€œsafeâ€ with toys and art and music that soothe and do not disturb and disorient the many precious infants with this condition in homes everywhere. We need to start now.
I managed to become over-educated despite my problems. But it would have been a hell of a lot easier if I didn’t have panic attacks that began in Second Grade on notebook inspection day.
We only have one life that I’m aware of. We can’t start, stop and begin over again. I have been living that way for too many years. If I were murdered and the police investigated, they would call me rooted. I bought my apartment ten years ago. I have had the same core group of friends forever. I have many deep ties to the community. I obviously read too many mysteries.
I’m not really rooted. I feel two disparate thoughts. I have to leave New York. I have to get a book proposal together.
I’m selfish. I want to see myself succeed on my terms. It was easy for me to see that New York’s holding me back because of the over stimuli. Living in 600 square feet, and owning things don’t go together. Fairway’s the closest large food market. Loehmann’s is opening on the next block. This isn’t good for me.
I don’t get angry. If blogging and anger management classes or therapy were in competition, blogging would be the clear winner.
This winter I began watching TV at night, before 11:30 PM. It’s totally relaxing, and helps reduce the stimuli. Then I turn off the surround sound, mute the TV and just kind of stare for half hour. Puts me into a trance that induces good sieep.
Writing has become the single most important thing in my life. It keeps me together. I’m not willing to spend all my time on a quest to understand my brain. I have one book almost fully written. But the organizational black hole intrudes.
Intrudes but won’t defeat. I won’t let it.
Despite my need to finish this book I might have to get in literal touch with my inner brain. Or maybe not.
I’m wavering on everything right now.
These people often have received more than one diagnosis. They often have trouble holding down a job or hold undemanding, low-paying and unsatisfying jobs, well beneath their potential.
I have many diagnoses. I left jobs I excelled at because I was afraid all my mistakes would be discovered and I would be found out for the fraud I thought I was. Yet because I did excel, and live a good life, I’m considered to be a success.
My deepest truth and my deepest fear is that my conditions get worse with age.
Yet I am so determined to prove that wrong, I will myself to succeed. I can’t allow myself to fail. I know what an older age dependent on the system is like, and I will never allow that to happen to me.
I am lucky because I believe in impossible dreams. I believe that hard work, some talent, and persistence pay off.
If they don’t, I’m in deep….