Me and My Meltdowns: One Autistic Adult’s Experience

It’s humiliating and exhausting.

I was just diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in December of 2022, a few weeks before my 58th birthday. I wrote about what caused me to seek this diagnosis here. I’m rather new at this stuff, and I’ll probably be blogging quite a bit about various aspects of it as I go along, reading and learning and wondering what this means for me. I suspect that quite a few other people are experiencing a similar thing.

Check out my autism category for a list of relevant blog posts, and never forget that 1) I’m just one person, writing about my personal experiences with a thing I only just learned I had. 2) No two people on the spectrum are alike. 3) I am not a medical or mental health professional. 4) I’m not attempting to write a one size fits all autism advice column.

My whole life, I’ve had these meltdowns, where I cry hysterically, act irrationally, and feel completely out of control. The worst of these incidents can last for hours. They are exhausting and humiliating. I’m sure that those who witness them feel scared, helpless, and annoyed by them. They have caused me to lose a few friends, become estranged from loved ones, and I’m usually just on the brink of getting fired.

It’s only natural that people mistake these meltdowns for tantrums. They look similar at first glance. Because of that mistake, people often think that I’m being manipulative, because tantrums are all about getting your way, aren’t they? I even had one misguided therapist tell me that I was “stuck in my trauma” and that I “hadn’t matured beyond the age of 13.” I’ve also been called an “entitled little brat” and a “drama queen who is begging for attention.”

These misconceptions only add to my stress and frustration, and that, in turn, increases the intensity of my meltdowns. I try so hard to keep it together. It seems so easy for everyone else. I can probably count the number of meltdowns that I’ve seen in others on one hand.  And yet here I am with nearly 6 decades of meltdowns under my belt and no discernable end in sight. That doesn’t exactly improve my self-esteem.

The truth is that I’m devoid of any sort of manipulative agenda. During a meltdown, I actually want nothing more than to crawl under a rock and hide from the employer/coworker/horrified relative/random stranger that has borne witness to my acting completely and utterly unhinged. I have just as many meltdowns when no one else is around, by the way. No one throws tantrums in an empty room.

Afterward I feel drained and usually lose a day to recovering. It’s mortifying, and until quite recently, it has been utterly unexplainable. I constantly asked myself what the hell is wrong with me.

I’ve been told by many people that I should grow up, toughen up, and not be so sensitive. On numerous occasions I’ve been informed that I should snap out of it and stop taking things so personally. I’ve been called whiny, needy, weak, irrational, and a victim.

The worst one? When someone I love says, “For God’s sake, Barb, what is your problem? You’re overreacting. You’re acting like a child.”

I always knew that immaturity or manipulation had absolutely nothing to do with it. But I could never explain it to myself, so I couldn’t convince anyone else. Being so badly misperceived, of course, added to my frustration.

Because I have been incapable of turning myself into a more “normal” person, despite my best efforts, I’ve always felt like these meltdowns, along with all my other odd qualities, were my fault. I’ve felt like I was broken and needed to be fixed. And yet, as smart as I am, I couldn’t make any headway at all in those repairs, even after decades of therapy. I’ll never be accused of being level-headed. And that level state is all I’ve ever really wanted.

So what are these meltdowns like for me? The early warning signals are that I’m usually tired and quite often under a great deal of stress. I start to become more and more convinced that my mask of normalcy is slipping off, and I’m losing the strength to keep it in place.

I hope that I’ll become more adept at spotting these early warning signs, because at this stage there’s still a chance to avert the crisis. I can take myself to a place that’s less stimulating. Fewer people, dimmer lights, and less noise are all a big help. I can surround myself with soft, comforting things. A nap can be crucial.

But if there’s no opportunity to take myself away from the overwhelming overstimulation, or if I’m under a great deal of social pressure or stress, or if there’s a sudden change that makes me feel like I’m out of control, I can’t always compensate. If I feel as if I’m being extremely misunderstood and that explaining myself is really important, I reach a tipping point.

If I can’t take myself out of these situations, I sometimes think I can abort the meltdown by shutting down entirely. I stop speaking or moving. I try to get people to stop talking to me. This is not me being hurtful or rude or manipulative. It’s me trying to survive. At this point I’m hoping that shutting down will give me the opportunity to recalibrate so that I can cope. But this rarely works.

On a regular basis, I have to function under a lot of tension and exertion in order to keep up this façade of normalcy, but before a meltdown I can feel all of it starting to churn inside me like magma beneath the earth’s crust. There’s usually an exact moment that becomes just too much. I am unable to hold all this stuff inside anymore, and I erupt.

That “last straw” can be the pure frustration of trying unsuccessfully to explain myself, sensory overload, or big feelings that I can’t seem to adequately express. It can be someone verifying that they don’t think I’m behaving normally, or that they want me to change, or I get the message that I’m just not good enough as is. It might be that I’m feeling attacked, or that someone who has a certain level of control over me is not being rational.

I’m really grateful that my meltdowns have never resulted in violence or self-harm as they do for some people. But at this stage, the logical part of my brain isn’t working at all. I’m in pure survival mode. I feel like it’s the end of the world. It is impossible to reason with me at this point, and I’ve been known to say really hurtful things to anyone who tries. And that makes the meltdown even worse, because I then become terrified that my loved one will leave me or stop loving me, or that I’ll be considered crazy and wind up in an institution.

It may not look like it from the outside, but by now the inner me is curled up in the fetal position, in order to protect the emotional equivalent of my head and stomach. Usually my ears are ringing, and I can no longer hear what anyone is saying. I’m crying really hard, but the inner me is screaming in terror and wanting to call for help, but doesn’t know how to form the words.

Now the emotional storm is raging, and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it. Trying to reason with me at this point makes me feel even more out of control. The only solution is time.

Eventually the exhaustion becomes too much and I start winding down. It usually takes a day for me to recover. I miss work. I cancel plans. I sleep.

Often, people don’t understand my need for recovery after a meltdown, and they expect me to carry on with plans or errands or work or what have you. They figure it’s all over once I’ve stopped crying.

It’s bad enough that I’m humiliated and exhausted and I’m worried about how to mend hurt feelings, which is something I’ve never been very good at. But now you want to bully me to go straight into high-tension normal-acting mode on top of that, while my nose is still red and my face is all swollen and my head is throbbing?

If I’m forced to do those things too soon, I often start crying again. And then I’m even more humiliated. Why can’t I act like everyone else does?

Oddly enough, though, after I’ve wound down, I feel cleansed. It as though I’ve discharged a massive amount of negative energy and compressed stress and pressure. I kind of feel like a wet dishrag, but a clean one. My emotional regulation system has been reset.

Now that I have official proof that I’m autistic, I’m hoping to get connected with services that will teach me some coping skills. I’m already doing a lot of reading on the subject. And I’m fortunate that Dear Husband is open to talking about it.

Even though I still believe that these meltdowns can’t be stopped once they’re beyond the tipping point, I do think there are things that could be done to make them less horrific, if there’s someone with me whom I really trust when they occur.

This is definitely not the time to judge me or tell me I’m crazy. It’s not the time to call me names. It’s not the time to pressure me to grow up or snap out of it. Those things simply add fuel to the fire.

Every autistic person is different, but for me, what would help is someone hugging me really tight. (Preferably from behind so I can still feel like there’s an escape route if I need one. Making me the little spoon would be ideal.) And it would be nice if that person could calmly tell me that everything is going to be okay, and that they still love me and that I’m safe.

I’m thinking of keeping a sort of meltdown diary. I could look for patterns. What triggers me? What was the tipping point? Was I tired? Overstimulated? Confused? Frustrated? Was I feeling like I couldn’t express myself, or that I was not being heard? How could I have handled the situation better? What did help? What made things worse? What was I thinking during the episode? Did having something soft to hold onto make a difference?

Oddly, even without having learned any meltdown-related coping skills yet, I have noticed a marked decrease in my meltdowns of late, and when I do have one, it’s a lot less intense. My working theory is that a lot of my distress was caused not only by my utter frustration at being misunderstood and my total exhaustion from trying and failing to be something that I’m not. I think a good portion of it was my deep anxiety about not knowing why this happens to me when it doesn’t seem to happen to anyone else. I makes me feel so out of control. It’s like I’m handcuffed to a roller coaster, and I can’t get off.

But now I know I’m autistic. I’m still me, and I’m still riding that roller coaster, but the handcuffs are off. In addition, I have a greater understanding of how this roller coaster functions. Knowledge makes me feel a bit less powerless.

I’m not sure that all my loved ones get how epic this change is for me. I’m not saying I’m cured. In fact, I’m comfortable with my newly discovered neurodiversity. A cure is not necessary (or even possible). Coping skills are.

I’m definitely not saying I’ll never have a meltdown again. Far from it. I’m just saying that, from my perspective, even though my coping skills are not where I’d like them to be quite yet, on some level I know that everything is going to be okay.

That’s a new feeling for me. I’ll take it.

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Raise Your Hand…

Fed up? You’re not alone.

…if you are furious about this latest domestic terrorist act that has killed 19 innocent children in this country, along with 2 teachers.

Raise your hand…

…if you feel that this mass shooting, along with all others, is government-sanctioned by way of their failure to act.

Raise your hand…

…if the phrase “thoughts and prayers” coupled with an obvious intent to maintain the status quo makes you want to vomit.

Raise your hand…

…if you have tried to explain that you don’t want to take everyone’s guns away, just the ones that can fire 45 rounds per minute, which have no legitimate private use unless you are in the midst of a zombie freakin’ apocalypse.

Raise your hand…

…if you are stunned by gun advocates’ utter selfishness and refusal to absorb international statistics that prove that reasonable gun restrictions prevent the mass slaughter of children.

Raise your hand…

…if you refuse to vote for a politician who gets money from the NRA, because that person demonstrates that he or she puts that greed ahead of the lives and safety of the people she or he would be elected to represent.

Raise your hand…

…if you are fed up with a government that refuses to listen to the majority of us, especially with regard to gun restrictions, women’s rights, health care and the environment.

Raise your hand…

…if you see blood on the hands of every politician who refuses to make changes after expressing deep sympathy for the parents who will never see their children again.

Raise your hand…

…if you are profoundly tired and/or depressed and/or feeling helpless.

Raise your hand…

…if you are increasingly ashamed of congress’ inability to act on our behalf rather than in their own financial best interests.

Raise your hand…

…if you are horrified by the ever-increasing bias of the supreme court.

Raise your hand…

…if you believe that a political party that supports the overthrow of a legitimately elected president should be stripped of its power.

Raise your hand…

…if you believe that wealth should be taxed at a much higher rate.

Raise your hand…

…if you cannot and will not support fascism in any form.

Raise your hand…

…if you are tired of being scared, disappointed, and bitter.

Raise your hand…

…if you are disgusted by the utter lack of consequences for blatantly criminal acts, even as you watch other people get imprisoned for absurd reasons.

Raise your hand…

…if you struggle every day to not become cynical and sedentary.

Raise your hand…

…if you think that those who wish to suppress history and encourage censorship have an evil, racist agenda.

Raise your hand…

… if you are tired of decision makers who think that islands float, that snowballs prove there’s no global warming, that women can’t get pregnant if “legitimately” raped, that wind turbines cause cancer, that not all workers deserve a living wage, that we all don’t deserve the same access to affordable healthcare, that women should submit to their husbands, that Jewish space lasers actually exist, and that all homosexuals are automatically pedophiles and all immigrants are automatically violent criminals.

Raise your hand…

… if people who continue to vote for such politicians scare you.

Raise your hand…

…if you are sick and tired of gerrymandering for any political party, and think that all districts should be shaped as squares or rectangles, with 90 degree angles, with the exception of state boarders and coastlines, with their size adjusted by number of voters in the area, and that what party someone registers for should not be allowed to be taken into consideration.

Raise your hand…

…if you believe that the electoral college is an outmoded system that not only doesn’t serve us well, but also is harmful to this country. One person, one vote. We have the technology.

And most of all, raise your hand…

…if you’re feeling trapped in a f***ed up, theocratic, ignorance-worshiping, mentally ill, selfish, money-grubbing and utterly brainwashed society that is increasingly run by criminals, fascists and liars.


…for every cause you believe to be just, and in every single election in which you are qualified to vote, no matter how insignificant it may seem or how inconvenient the powers that be make it for you to exercise that right.

Do it for the lives of your children. Do it for your community. Do it to stamp out ignorance and hate. Do it for the planet. Do it to preserve whatever shred of compassion and hope and optimism and good will you still manage to possess.

Do it so that all this sh** will stop.

Because you are not alone in knowing that it has to stop.

What follows is a list of American cities or counties where mass shootings have occurred SO FAR in 2022 ALONE, most recent first, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Stanwood, Michigan
Anniston, Alabama
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Uvalde, Texas
North Charleston, SC
Cleveland, Ohio
Goshen, Indiana
Tacoma, Washington
Kissimmee, Florida
Highland, California
New Orleans, Louisiana
Chicago, Illinois
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Palo Alto, California
Laguna Woods, California
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Houston, Texas
Amarillo, Texas
Buffalo, New York
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Hot Springs National Park, AK
Chicago, Illinois
Saint Louis, Missouri
Indianapolis, Indiana
Paterson, New Jersey
Baltimore, Maryland
Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Baltimore, Maryland
Brookshire, Texas
Detroit, Michigan
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Clarkston, Georgia
Lexington, Kentucky
Garland, Texas
Miami, Florida
New Orleans, Louisiana
Sunnyside, Washington
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Cowley (county), Kansas
Beaumont, Texas
Lafayette, Louisiana
Springfield, Ohio
Tarpon Springs, Florida
North Charleston, SC
Atlanta, Georgia
Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson, Tennessee
New Orleans, Louisiana
Laurel, Mississippi
Bessemer, Alabama
Chicago, Illinois
Opelousas, Louisiana
Biloxi, Mississippi
San Antonio, Texas
Phoenix, Arizona
Birmingham, Alabama
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Lafayette, Indiana
Chicago, Illinois
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
San Bernardino, California
Atlanta, Georgia
Petersburg, Virginia
Cincinnati, Ohio
Washington, DC
Mountain View, Arkansas
Duluth, Minnesota
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Portland, Oregon
Furman, South Carolina
Sacramento, California
Miami, Florida
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Baldwin, Louisiana
Columbia, South Carolina
Baltimore, Maryland
North Las Vegas, Nevada
Daingerfield, Texas
Syracuse, New York
Stockton, California
Brooklyn, New York
Bronx, New York
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Elgin, Illinois
Willowbrook, California
Indianapolis, Indiana
Washington, DC
Miami, Florida
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Covington, Kentucky
Hartford, Connecticut
Buffalo, New York
San Francisco, California
Dallas, Texas
Sacramento, California
Shelby, North Carolina
Monroe, Louisiana
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Shreveport, Louisiana
Walterboro, South Carolina
Hollister, California
Cleveland, Ohio
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Stockton, California
Waterbury, Connecticut
Chicago, Illinois
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Houston, Texas
Austin, Texas
Norfolk, Virginia
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Dumas, Arkansas
Madison Heights, Virginia
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
New Iberia, Louisiana
Lansing, Michigan
Chicago, Illinois
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Irvington, New Jersey
Irvington, New Jersey
Ozark, Alabama
Reading, Pennsylvania
Chicago, Illinois
Rochester, New York
Columbia, South Carolina
Baltimore, Maryland
Autaugaville, Alabama
Columbus, Ohio
Aurora, Colorado
Jacksonville, Florida
Knoxville, Tennessee
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hazleton, Pennsylvania
Louisville, Kentucky
Lubbock, Texas
Monroe, Louisiana
Chester, South Carolina
Glendale, Arizona
Atlanta, Georgia
Las Vegas, Nevada
Baltimore, Maryland
Sacramento, California
Alexandria, Louisiana
North Charleston, SC
Las Vegas, Nevada
Bogalusa, Louisiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
San Antonio, Texas
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Omaha, Nebraska
Des Moines, Iowa
Portland, Oregon
Mccomb, Mississippi
Durham, North Carolina
Portland, Oregon
Charleston, Missouri
Turlock, California
Temple Hills, Maryland
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Houston, Texas
Miami, Florida
Joliet, Illinois
Racine, Wisconsin
West Hollywood, California
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Little Rock, Arkansas
Springfield, Missouri
Phoenix, Arizona
Romeoville, Illinois
Fresno, California
Wilmington, North Carolina
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Corsicana, Texas
Blacksburg, Virginia
Oroville, California
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Raleigh, North Carolina
Winter Haven, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Saint Louis, Missouri
Atlanta, Georgia
Bakersfield, California
Washington, DC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Inglewood, California
Baltimore, Maryland
New Orleans, Louisiana
Miami, Florida
San Antonio, Texas
Savannah, Georgia
Knoxville, Tennessee
Brunswick, Georgia
Eugene, Oregon
Brooklyn, New York
Chicago, Illinois
Fresno, California
Los Angeles, California
Montgomery, Alabama
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Houston, Texas
Jackson, Mississippi
Corsicana, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Columbia, Missouri
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Peoria, Illinois
Dillon, South Carolina
South Bend, Indiana
Denver, Colorado

A Brief Pause for Helplessness

Just trying to get through the day.

I just found out that a dear friend in Canada is in the hospital for at least a week. He’s all alone, in his 70’s. And I can’t cross the Canadian border without quarantining myself for two weeks. It’s frustrating beyond belief.

I’m feeling fidgety. I’m having trouble concentrating. I’m having trouble blogging. I’m having trouble.

I know what this is, though. It’s helplessness. I don’t do well with helplessness.

If I’m trapped in a corner with nowhere to go, it freaks me out. If I’m feeling bullied, and I can’t think of a way to resolve it without damaging important relationships, I struggle with that, too. I wouldn’t do well in prison. But the worst feeling of all is when someone needs help and I can’t give it to them. Not good. Not good.

But there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. So I’m going to allow myself a periodic brief pause to feel the helplessness, and then I’m going to do my best to set it aside and do what I can do. Because if I sit in this space for too long, I’m going to lose my ever-loving mind.

So, yeah. Just trying to get through the day, here. Hope all’s well with you, dear reader.

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BWI: Blogging While Irritated

My brain is sputtering.

So, I’m in a foul mood. I’ve been ensnarled in an idiotic bureaucratic bit of insanity, and the only one who will suffer is yours truly. To say that I’m irritated is putting it mildly.

I’d get it if it made sense. I’d roll with it if the hoops I’m being forced to jump through were mandatory. But no. I’m being put through my paces simply to avoid inconveniencing everyone except me.

And the worst part about it? My brain is sputtering. I can’t think of a single thing to blog about.

I’d really rather not turn into one of those bloggers who does nothing but rage against the machine. Okay, yeah. I do that every now and then. But I don’t want to only be known as the voice for the malcontents. I don’t want to simply rant so that no one else has to.

I want to be both light and dark, happy and sad. I want to be nuanced. I want to be layered, like an onion, only without bringing tears to the eyes of everyone who comes in contact with me.

So I’ll simply say that today I’m annoyed, and here’s a picture of a kitten. See? I can be nuanced, gosh darn it.


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Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Do snails ever get impatient?

As a bridgetender, I get to spend a great deal of time contemplating patience or the lack thereof. It continually astounds me how irritated people become when they’re held up by an opening bridge. The average opening is 4 ½ minutes long, and most commuters are well aware that a drawbridge is on their route, and therefore the possibility of a delay exists, and yet I still have the pleasure of watching their heads explode from sheer frustration several times a day. They curse. They shout. They throw things. They pound their steering wheels and beep their horns. And my drawbridge carries on.

Do snails ever get impatient? Are they resigned to their fate, or do they think they’re moving along at breakneck speed? I wish they could talk. I’d love to learn more about their attitudes about life.

Recently I came home to find a gorgeously striped one sitting on my doorstep. I’m a live and let live kind of person, so I bid him good day and gently stepped past him to get inside. I figured he’d move along eventually, and he did. I know some gardeners take a dim view of snails, but I think they have just as much right to eat as I do.

I’ve always been attracted to the unorthodox, or maybe it’s that I’m easily entertained, but when I found out that there’s a World Snail Racing Championship every July in Congham, England, I thought, “Okay, that goes on my bucket list, for sure.” It sounds like great fun.

As this race, the participating snails are arrayed along the inner circle of a wet cloth, and the first snail to touch the outer circle, about 13 inches away, is declared the winner. My goodness, that must be exciting to watch. The delayed gratification would have me biting my nails down to the quick.

One assumes that no snails are harmed during the course of this event, and that doping is not tolerated by the judges. But you never know. Scandals have been known to crop up in the most unusual places.

Another plus side to this event is it makes an excellent fundraiser. I’m kind of surprised that other communities haven’t adopted this sport. Snails come with their own safety equipment, so start up costs would be minimal.

Maybe you’ll see me at the races someday. My snail will have lightning bolts painted on his shell with orange nail polish, and he’ll answer to the name Scamper. That seems like a recipe for success to me.

Slow Down

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Falling Down the Customer Service Rabbit Hole

What follows are the highlights of an online conversation I had with Tracfone Wireless. For reference, “You” is me, and anything italicized is my inner dialogue. (Because I’d never be quite so rude as to say these things out loud.) Items in bold are a synopsis of things I left out so as not to torture you as much as I was being tortured. Some information has been changed to protect my privacy.

This conversation took well over an hour, and at the end it’s a pure miracle I had any hair left in my head at all, such was my level of frustration.

Chat Transcript

  : Thank you for visiting Tracfone today. How may I help you?

Wendy : Thank you for visiting TracFone Wireless.

Redundant, but okay…


Wendy : Hi Barbara. How may I assist you?

You : Hi Wendy. I have been trying to port my phone number from Tracfone to Verizon for two weeks. They said it should only take two days. Can you tell me what the hold up is?

Wendy : I’m sorry to hear that. Please allow me a moment to look into this.

You : Thank you.

Wendy : You are welcome.

Wendy : I did not find any record about a port out request. Have you contacted the new service provider to investigate the status of your request?

You : Yes. They claim they’ve placed the request twice.

Wendy : I will need to contact our Portability department for assistance. One moment, please.

Wendy : We will have to transfer you to a portability specialist to further assist you with your port request.

Ram : Thank you for choosing TracFone Wireless as your service provider.

Ram : Thank you for visiting TracFone Wireless.

Again, redundant. But again, okay.


Ram : Hi Barbara. Allow me a moment to review your previous chat conversation.

You : Hi Ram. Thank you.

Ram : You’re welcome. One moment, please.

Ram : Are we working on the phone number that ends with 1234.

You : yes

Ram : Alright. Do you have the phone with you?

You : I have both the 1234 phone and the one I want to port it to. Both are with me.

Ram : Okay. Phone is already active.

You : Yes. They gave me a temporary number.

Ram : What is the last four number of the IMEI of the new phone?

You : xxxx

Ram : Thank you. What is your security PIN?

You : yyyy

Ram : That is not what we have here.

You : zzzz maybe? You are talking about for my Verizon phone?

Ram : No. Your security PIN from us.

You : wwww?

Ram : Yes.

You : 🙂

Ram : We don’t have records on the new IMEI number.

You : Do you have a record of any portability request?

Ram : Yes.

(You’ll see below that that’s in direct contradiction to what he’ll say later.)

You : Hmmm. Are the last 4 digits aaaa?

Ram : No.

You : When you asked for my IMEI number originally, were you asking for my TRACFONE IMEI, or the one it should be ported to?

You : My current tracfone IMEI is xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

You : I want it ported to qqqqqqqqqqqq.

Ram : Yes.

Ram : I have that.

You : The Main phone on the verizon account ends in tttt, but we do NOT want my number ported to that phone. He wants to keep his number.

Ram : The new phone is this a tracfone as well.

You : The new phone is not a tracfone. Tracfones are incompatible with Verizon, apparently, so I had to buy a new one.

Ram : I see.

Ram : Let me check this one.

Ram : Do you still have this old phone?

I already told you that.


You : yes

Ram : The one that ends with 4321? Where did you get the new phone?

You : From Verizon.  And yes, I do have the one ending in 4321 still.

You : I’d like to NOT have it anymore… but I’m waiting for you guys to port.

Ram : Yes.

Ram : That is the reason I was not able to access the new phone.

You : Ah. So what do I have to do?

Ram : Are you leaving us?



You : Yes

Ram : You are porting out from us.



You : Yes.

Ram : If that is the case you need to call your new provider what you want.

You : They made their first request to you TWO WEEKS AGO. They repeated their request a week ago.

Ram : We did not received them.

You : I am not sure what the problem is. I just want my phone number ported from my Tracfone to my Verizon phone. I can’t believe how hard this is. Is there any number they can call directly and speak to a human being at Tracfone? Because otherwise they’ll just repeat their fruitless request a third time.

Ram : I am telling you, we did not received a request.

Ram : If that is the case, then yes.



You : So tell me a way they can call directly to someone who can fix this. Please.

Ram : All they need to do is send a port out request.

You : And they have told me they have, twice.  So I don’t know where the disconnect is. But if their human could talk to your human, maybe it could be resolved.

Ram : I apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced due to this issue.

You : I know this is not your fault, Ram. I’m not blaming you. But please understand my frustration. Two weeks. Two different stories.  And no one talking to anyone directly.

Ram : I don’t see any request from your old provider.

We’ve established that.


Ram : We are working on the phone number that ends with 1234?

For God’s SAKE!!!!!


You : Yes. That’s my old tracfone number. And they would be my NEW provider, not my old one. But if their requests are going to the wrong place, I need a direct number they can call.

You : My verizon temporary number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. That’s the phone I want my 1234 number ported to.

Ram : We can’t open your that temporary number, that is not with us.

I know that.


Ram : Just informed them that I mentioned that we did not received a request.

Ram : Not once.

You : Who did you inform?

Ram : You.



You : Yes, you did. What I am saying is that on THEIR end, THEY think they’ve put in the request twice. Apparently it’s not getting to you. Therefore THEY need a direct phone number to call at Tracfone, so that THEY can call YOU GUYS and get this straightened out. Because clearly they are sending their requests to the wrong place.

Ram : Okay. This is our portability hotline number 18003272077.

Was that so freakin’ hard?


You : Thank you Ram.

Ram : You’re welcome.

Ram : Is there anything else that I can assist you with?

You : That’s quite enough. Thanks.

Ram : You’re welcome.

Ram : Thank you for chatting with TracFone Wireless.

Give me strength.


After that, I spoke again with Verizon.

Then I had a pint of ice cream in one sitting.

The situation wasn’t resolved for another three days, and required 3 more phone conversations.


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Things That Make Me Lose My Composure

Someone told me the other day that I’m very composed. It took me by surprise, but I suppose it’s true. I don’t enjoy drama. I haven’t thrown a tantrum in, oh, at least a week or two. (Joke.)

I think the reason I’ve never thought of myself as the poster child for composure is that I know what’s going on on the inside of me. That is a bit more chaotic than the outside stuff. If all that turmoil were on the surface, I think people would assume I was crazed.

For instance, I’ve been perpetually freaked out ever since Donald Trump took office. I’m surprised I haven’t developed ulcers from the sheer frustration I’m experiencing as I watch him systematically destroy everything he touches.

I also tend to lose my cool at this time of year at work on my drawbridge. The sailboats are out in force, and for whatever reason, most owners don’t seem to take the time to know what the hell they’re doing with those very expensive toys.

And don’t even get me started about pedestrians. I haven’t crushed anyone yet, mind you, but they sure make it a distinct possibility. And I’d kind of like to keep my job.

The one thing that brings me closest to violence is witnessing the abuse of children or animals. If you can’t pick on somebody your own size, I’m sorely tempted to give you someone your size to pick on. But you wouldn’t like it.

I also can’t abide selfishness or greed. Be as self-destructive as you want. It’s your life. But when your actions negatively impact others, I take issue with that. And for Pete’s sake, take responsibility for your actions. Grow the %@$& up.

I find liars despicable, and people who are hellbent on believing those lies to their own benefit are even worse. If you can’t reach your destination without taking one of those two crooked paths, then you might want to reexamine your destination. It most likely will not turn out to be the paradise you envisioned.

So, am I composed? The jury is still out on that one. But I find that chocolate helps.

balance and composure

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Who Gave Me This Gift?

Here lately, I’ve been having quite a few frustration dreams. You know the kind. I’m lost and no matter how hard I try, I can’t find my way out. Or I keep cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, but the place is still a mess. Or I’m running in slow motion. Or I’m trying to say something really important, but no one is listening.

Just the other day, I was thinking about these dreams as I fell asleep. I was trying to figure out the source of my frustration. I was feeling… well… frustrated that I couldn’t reach any conclusions. And those thoughts, as I drifted off, triggered an even stranger dream.

In this one, I had been given the gift of a tank top. I do like tank tops, but it’s the dead of winter, so I was a little befuddled by this. I decided to try on the tank top anyway. It fit well, but I felt some strange lumps in the shoulder straps. I reached up and pulled out a wrench. And then a screw driver. And then a hammer. And then a saw… and so on. It was like the hardware equivalent of a clown car.

And then a voice said, “You have all the tools you need.”

That woke me up out of a sound sleep. Because… who was that?

The current thinking in terms of dream interpretation is that every actor in your dream is a manifestation of yourself. But that wasn’t me. I know it in the very marrow of my bones. My Id is not that confident. My Superego couldn’t be bothered. It wasn’t any part of me. Who, then?

A friend of mine theorizes that it was God. Her spiritual beliefs and mine aren’t very similar. I don’t anthropomorphize my higher power. And even if I did, in the Trump era, it’s safe to assume he or she has much bigger fish to fry.

Could it have been my mother, speaking to me from beyond the grave? Or my late boyfriend? My father? My sister?

I don’t know. I just know it wasn’t me. It was a good message, though. If it had been a sinister message I’d be worried. But it was a positive message. “You have all the tools you need.” The minute it was said, I believed it. So I’ll just focus on that.

Sometimes you just need to take the gifts that are given to you, and say thank you.

Voice of God

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The Dark Shadow Cast by the Golden Rule

Most societies seem to have some version of the Golden Rule. That only makes sense. It would be hard to live amongst one’s fellow humans without one. I really do try to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I can’t imagine functioning any other way.

The thing I struggle with is my huge disappointment/bitterness/frustration when others do not do likewise. “Oy! I’m playin’ by the rules here! Why aren’t you?”

Just the other day I got royally screwed over by 5 people. Without going into detail, we’ve all had long conversations and they agreed with my interpretation of events. But when this brought on an investigation, rather than tell the truth and have my back, these people chose to pull their pinheads into their tiny, soft, little shells and leave me out there all alone to be crushed by the bus.  I feel so betrayed. I could never do that to someone. Not in a million years.

Be that as it may, the situation isn’t going to right itself, so now the only thing I can do is cope with my feelings of disappointment/bitterness/frustration. On close examination, I realize that I wouldn’t even have those feelings if I didn’t think that these people were not holding themselves to a standard that I swear by.

So maybe I should blame the Golden Rule for all of this. Maybe I should stop expecting others to follow it. Heck, maybe I should stop following it myself, since it does not seem to have done me any favors.

But the day I can’t even count on my own integrity is the day I give up entirely.

crushed turtle

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True confessions: When I’m angry, frustrated, upset, or feeling helpless, I either eat or spend money or both. I don’t need to be hungry or in need of something. I just do it. I know this about myself. I know it even as it’s happening. But I can’t seem to stop. (What a First World problem to have, right?)

After a recent, really, really bad day, I ordered three Japanese Maple trees (one yellow, one orange, and one red) and one Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar for my new yard. To the tune of $250. I have the money, but I really ought to spend it on something that’s a higher priority right now. This was not the wisest budgeting decision.

Yes, I’ve always wanted these trees. They’ll look great. They’ll result in less mowing and more privacy. But I only ordered them because I was pissed off.

It’s really rather interesting that when I’m angry or upset with someone or something else, it’s me whom I punish. I either spackle the fat directly to my hips or fire a cannon ball directly at my finances. Better to do that, I reason, than lash out at someone else or actually be assertive for a change.

This is not healthy. And in the end, it really doesn’t make me feel any better. I berate myself. I lecture myself. I take myself on an epic guilt trip. And I pay. Oh, do I pay, in so many ways. And yet, I’ll do it again, no doubt.

Don’t get me wrong. Most of my shenanigans aren’t at the $250 level. I actually have stellar credit. Usually It’s more like a late night drive to Wendy’s for about 1800 calories worth of junk food and the accompanying regret. But it’s still self-destructive.

It could be worse. I kind of understand people who cut themselves. I just don’t like pain. Or blood. Or awkward explanations. So I cover myself in a layer of fat and financial stress instead.

Even so, I really am looking forward to planting those trees…

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar. Needless to say, mine will be much smaller.

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