Tag Archives: smile and the world smiles back

Coping with my disability

19 Apr

I believe in honesty. I like receiving it. If it ain’t so nice, I try to find a lesson in it. And when I don’t, I cry a little, but I’m always fine. And I appreciate knowing.  I like telling the truth too. At least I try to do it. Then if it fails, I try again a different way.

It would be fair to say that I’ve been feeling rather heavy and unwanted pressure lately. Pressure from work, pressure from my mother who wants me to be perfect, but it ain’t happening. Then she guilt-trips me with her sadness and somehow I end up the bad guy. Top that with the fact I decided to skip the placebo birth control pill week and jump right into another pack, and sure, I might agree I may have been going through a short phase of insanity for the past few days.

Given the circumstances, I decided to take my own advice and self-medicate. Problem is – as with anything – the more you do it, the more you need to get to where you wanna be with it. You follow?

Come home from work, change out of work clothes, roll a spliff, and smoke it while walking the dog: my routine for the past 4 or so days. We walk around Allston/Brighton with the Russian grandmothers strolling arm-in-arm down the wide, Spring-blooming-lined sidewalk. And the hipsters, and the homeless, and the school kids sneaking off to Ringer Park where they get high and fool around; where the homeless will soon set up camp, mattress and all, come summertime. With the middle-aged Asian men who crouch down on the building steps and chain smoke. I’m high, rather smiley, wearing a hoodie, and have the habit of looking at everyone and… keep looking. I smile at them, squinty-eyed and genuine, and never take for granted the happiness they shine back at me. Sometimes they’re a little older, pudgier, and Mexican, in which case, they might smile AND raise eyebrows, uttering a deep, masculine “Hhhelloo!” Mmmm… si, papi.

All is peaceful and friendly, breezy and sweet during our long walk, until we arrive at CVS.

Last Friday I was feeling particularly drawn to a pint of creme brulee Haagen Dazs, or a  Mango Tango Odwalla, or maybe crayons, markers, colored pencils and drawing paper so I can draw and color late at night. You just never know. CVS presents limitless possibilities. As such, if I were to – as I did – combine a long walk with Tori, being high, and going to CVS all cracked out to look at crayons, I might be in there for 10-15 minutes instead of 2-3. I believe it is perfectly fine for a dog to be tied up at a safe place outside of an establishment while its owner shops. So I exercise this reasoning, tie her outside, and walk in. She’s barking. I’m telling myself to hurry up. And she’s barking. But the birthday cards I just decided to get and the crayons are all the way in the back, where I can’t hear her. So I browse and browse, until I hear the store manager on the mic:

IF THERE’S SOMEONE HERE WITH A DOG, CAN YOU PLEASE COME GET YOUR DOG?

A guy is standing outside, taking the last drag off his cigarette and tells me, “just bring her in. If they ask, tell them she’s a service dog.”

I generally bring her into to the liquor and convenience stores in the neighborhood, but never CVS, with its very legible SERVICE DOGS ONLY ALLOWED sign. And I generally, when I can, like to play by the rules. This, however, seemed rather unreasonable; you only let my dog in if I’m disabled, and you won’t let her sit outside barking either.

Drastic measures must be saved for drastic moments. On Monday night i found myself back at CVS. High as I was, eyes squinty and red, I came up with my truth:

I’m disabled. This is my service dog. I smoke too much weed and I lose track of time, and I overspend on crayons and ice cream, so she’s here for my health and safety.  Protection as well. Try and kick me out, see what she does to you.

I walked in, head held high, doggie at my heel. Quiet, subservient, alert; service dog in her pink harness leading disabled, cracked out young woman, as she tours the pharmacy, snacks, and magazine aisles. We are harmless. We bring joy and smiles. The manager says nothing. We stroll on back home.

Except today. I skipped the weed, went boxing, and decided to try a little more writing. This feels good too. Maybe I’ll give it another go tomorrow.