Day 216: Let the Grumpy Lady Pass

Let the Grumpy Lady Pass

“Guess what happens if you eat a raw snail? They have a parasite that goes into your brain and eats it. And our brain is not prepared for snail parasite. And you can’t defend it. It’s pretty much if you eat a raw snail, it’s all up to the snail if you live or die. If the snail has the parasite, you die!”

I am looking at snails with new eyes now, since my son’s enlightening comment on parasites. I have also reassured myself over and over that the chances are null that I will accidentally eat a raw snail and die from parasites eating my brain away.

Words are powerful, how they can alter the way you once viewed a person, place, or thing….even snails. Words can change the course of a life, too. Certainly happened for me. Just yesterday, in fact.

It was early afternoon, and I was strolling down the aisle in my favorite grocery store, when I spotted a blonde mother with five children. The oldest of her children, a young girl, was carrying her plump baby sister. The other three youngsters were little tots, all boys, ranging in height by a couple of inches from the next.

I stared, because that’s what I do when I’m processing. And about a dozen thoughts traveled through my mind all at once. I examined the mom’s facial expression, and instantly wondered if she was happy or frustrated with the shopping excursion. I noticed two of the boys had little shopping carts and that as a collective clan the family had barely gathered any groceries—just a couple bags of snack food. I evaluated and reevaluated, concluding that the mother enjoyed the attention of onlookers watching her shop with her little crew of miniature hers. In fact, I am quite certain she liked the attention. There were several of us shoppers trying to maneuver around the cute little ones, a line of about five or six of us squeezing our way down the aisle.

I was still watching and evaluating as I crept my cart forward. When I was near the mom, she eyed me closely. Then she turned to her troop and said, “Wait,” putting her arms back in stern gesture, “Let the grumpy lady pass.”

Immediately my right eyebrow shot up. Had she meant me? I was fairly certain she had. I rolled my eyes up and gave a quizzical expression, and then moved onward. A few steps ahead, I stopped to retrieve a can off the shelf. I noticed another lady standing close behind me. Feeling extremely self-conscious, and a bit flustered, I said, “Oh, I am sorry, if I am in your way.” She said, “No problem at all. But maybe you can help me find the artichokes.” I did. We scanned together, and I pointed them out with my over extended finger, while smiling big and glancing the direction of the meanie mom, as if to say, “See, how cheerfully helpful I am!”

Five aisles later, and I couldn’t get the meanie mom out of my mind. Was my expression seriously that sour? For a moment, I wished I was an always-smiling golden retriever.

By the time I reached the last aisle, my thoughts were still wrapped around the incident. By then, I had rationalized that the meanie mom wasn’t a very patient woman, and certainly wasn’t showing an effective example of behavior to her children. But I also reckoned she likely was juggling a full plate and was having a tough day. I also decided, with a mischievous little smile, that her husband, if she still had one, probably didn’t like her.

At the checkout area, I found the safest checker I could—a round-faced, middle-aged woman with a friendly natural grin. At the end of any shopping excursion I don’t look for the shortest checkout lines, I look for the least-threatening face. Typically, I chat it up with the grocery checkers as they are scanning my items. Conversation helps the time go faster, and alleviates some of my anxiety. Not much makes me more self-conscious than a line of strangers watching me; especially when they are waiting with those daunting expressions, seemingly cursing my high-piled grocery cart and wishing they’d chosen another route.

“I hope I don’t look grumpy,” I said, as I approached the checker and eyed the nametag Marge on a purple blouse. (Interesting conversation starter, don’t you think?)

I then explained, with rapid fire, what had happened on the aisle with the meanie mother. Marge smiled and responded kindly, and we bagged the groceries together. I told her about my Aspergers, and the man at the park who gave me his number as a result of my practice smiling, and she told me about her grown son with Aspergers. Turns out she homeschooled her son. He is now twenty and doing very well. We exchanged a lot of information and support in only a few minutes. I dodged the evil glares from the people in line. We were packing up the groceries rather slowly.

As Marge was bagging up the last of the food, she looked up at me, and said, “The main reason I homeschooled my son was because when he went to school he had to become someone else. He couldn’t go to school and be himself and still be accepted. He had to let go of who he was. God made my son in perfection. I wanted my son to be able to be who God intended.”

A bell went off in my head right then. My middle son was struggling in middle school even though  he was attending part-time. His anxiety was very high and depression was setting in.

I decided then and there to not send my son back to school and to instead homeschool him fulltime.

Later that day, as I calculated the probability of choosing the one checker out of a few dozen that so happened to have homeschooled a son with Aspergers, and as I processed that typically I would have not mentioned my Aspergers to a checker at a grocery store (had I not been upset), I smiled to myself about that mother and her five string of words that had changed the course of my life: Let the grumpy lady pass.

© Everyday Aspergers, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

36 thoughts on “Day 216: Let the Grumpy Lady Pass

  1. That woman was just putting her complaints and worries at your feet and labeling you. There you are, take my baggage, I need to get rid of it… It might have happened even if you had a warm and cheery smile on your face… Nothing for you to feel guilty about!

  2. “The main reason I homeschooled my son was because when he went to school he had to become someone else. He couldn’t go to school and be himself and still be accepted. He had to let go of who he was. God made my son in perfection. I wanted my son to be able to be who God intended.”

    Perfect words and just how I felt in school. I am so glad you are going to homeschool him. Your post has really helped me also. You know why. 🙂
    God makes us all to be ourselves, I forget this at times and still try to fit. Thank you for being you, for also being a mirror to remind me to keep being me.
    Love you my lovely friend. xxx 🙂 ❤

    1. a freid of mine who has not offically been told on spectrum but has all the sign s has decided to homeschool her child who is nearly 8 as to put it bluntly s is happier at home

  3. I thought you handled the “grumpy lady” commenter with amazing good nature. There are several people I’ve worked with (who don’t have Aspergers) who, in similar circumstances, have thrown out insults or asked things like, “Are you talking to me? Surely you want to take that back,” making me want to hide. Sometimes, turning the tide by overlooking the unexpected waves is a sign of a true sea-worthy person.
    Pat yourself on the back!

    1. lol. At one point I was going to approach her and ask sincerely if she meant me, and kindly educate her about Aspergers, and tell her how much words can hurt people. One of the many thoughts that crossed my mind. Thank you for your very kind comment. I try to live by example, instead of teach and preach or bombard people with my “stuff.” Love your sentence about turning the tide—lovely how you stated that. I will pat myself on the back. Thank you so very much. 🙂

  4. Oh my….what a nice slice of singletrack trail to rail on 29″ wheels…:D (Enjoyed the read too 😉 :P,you look so happy in that pic!)

    The DC

  5. Now that I’m old, I get the same reaction if I don’t grin like a monkey all the time! Notice how old people look grumpy if they don’t smile. I’ve always been curious so I’m inclined to stare at people. My grandson reminds me that it is “not polite to stare”. I suppose we’re supposed to go around looking at the ground instead of into the faces of the people we encounter? Don’t worry about creating a bad impression. Keep on being yourself. 🙂

  6. I wanted to quote the very same section that Alienhippy quoted! (Great minds you know…) Some things were meant to be – that little snippy comment turned from thorn to rose when you cast your magic on it and used it well. Someone was looking out for you to get you such important advice. And now – you pass it along to me – when I’m thinking of the exact same thing at the same time (see my post today). I just asked my Alta worker what I do to home school the little guy. You are my angel! I know this was meant to be for both our kids –

    And you have to let the snippy blonde’s comment go. Clearly, she needs an eye doctor on top of all her other issues! Born in 94 is not old!! 😉

    1. 🙂 I love this!!!! So much!!! I will answer more later. But wanted to tell you look into Horizons and I want to hook you up with another source/school; one of my very best friends is a homeschool supervisor…she could be your supervisor. Facebook me. 🙂 I homeschooled in the area for 2 years, so know some. Write more soon.

  7. I love this entry so much!! It’s a beautiful example of Synchronicity at work. You also give a terrific example of how to turn a ‘bad’ situation into a good one and I’m inspired to copy
    your style the next time something or someone does a “grumpy lady” on me! 😀
    Hugs, Joanne

    1. Oh, I’m so glad you did, Joanne. 🙂 That makes my heart smile. Yes, synchronicity…one of my favorite words. Oh, do tell, if you copy the style. Would love to hear about it. This was a fun one to write and share. Much love to you. 🙂

  8. What a story Sam!! Seems like this was one of those “meant-to-be” kind of experiences. You are right – what are the chances you would open up to the one check-out lady who could relate to raising a son with Aspergers… and now this home-schooling idea that resonated with you so. As for the other lady — she’s the grumpy one — looking for a sweet ‘target’ to project her misery at — would just thank her for leading you to your happy decision today 😉 Much Love and Congrats on your decision today!! xxoo Robyn

    1. Totally picturing you crawling on the floor…is it okay to giggle! My fatigue makes it so I can barely move…I use to be a fidgeter though. Thanks for reading the tale. thanks for calling me a “sweet” target…that’s a great image to hold onto. Like she was attacking an angel….lol….so humble I am. lol. I am very happy with my decision, and I can already see relief in my son’s spirit. Seems a no-brainer now…just took a little message from the universe, is all. I just love you and your ways….hugs adorable Robyn. 🙂 Sam

      1. Yeah – only you I will accept giggles from at the thought of my squirmy self!! Yes — the fatigue is something I have not really experienced though understand through others… it’s what made my hematologist decide I do not have fibromyalgia back when — I’m on the other side — jumping out of my body with the pain and racing heart – so never rest – but never relaxed either. It’s all so hard. yes – you are the angel — how dare she— but I am glad this seems to be a decision you are very aligned with …. Bless you sea-sister — and your son is one lucky little guy!! xo

      2. Only giggling in a kind, poor sea sis way. Want to make you smile at silly jokes to get you out of your misery. Wish you didn’t have pain 😦 But you know that already. Get some good sleep. I am so happy that you are loved dearly by your family. :)))

      3. They think I’m kind of ok — 🙂 Know I’d be a ton more fun with out the ‘yuck’ though ! Have to go post this poem I wrote last week about the sun and the sea having an intimate encounter — I wrote it on my knees — took me an entire day and have not been able to sit in a chair at all — so this was the way I entertained myself — slowing down the posts – but this may keep people amused for a few!! Love U!

  9. Well, firstly, I would like to mention how you know your own thought process so well. It’s impressive. c: I can’t imagine just KNOWING myself that well, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

    And wow… is that why I fell into such a deep depression in the eigth grade? I’ve always wondered why. I mean, I know I was being alienated… but still. I never considered that the act of ‘fitting in’ couuld be what’s made me so unhappy in the past, but it really makes some sense. Especially considering that the eighth grade was the year that I tried so hard to understand sarcasm and such. I didn’t want to be left in the dust. (I often find myself using sarcasm myself, nowadays. However, I still find it rather difficult to accept sarcasm from others. It often offends me… even though I know it’s teasing. Strange!)

    It seems that you’re really helping me clarify some things about myself!

    Thank you for that. :3

    1. It didn’t happen for me until I started blogging 2 years ago. 41 years of feeling totally alone hence the name Alienhippy. Now I see that I am unique and have a lot of Aspie history to share. So good to find a new friend in Bloggyland and facebook with such a cool name too. The Amber Raven, so very cool. Love it!!! Love and hugs. Lisa. xx 🙂

      1. Oh, wow. That must’ve been hard. My mom’s always been really supportive of me. c: I’m afraid that I’m a bit too dependent on her. I’ve been on various sites for around… two years? Nearly two years. All of my friends are either Gifted or Aspies. Mostly both. The ones that aren’t Aspies are rather quirky. I LOVE THEM. And thank you! I love your penname as well. I, myself, have some rather hippie-ish qualities. The way I dress, for example. 😛 I love making friends, too! c:

  10. So, the “mean” mother was actually a Godsend allowing you to make a wonderful choice for your son? Hmm…now, you are starting to see life as I see it all the time. There is nothing truly bad in the world. It is just our ability to let the good come in because of it and use that for our good and the good of those around us. It is not always a popular position as people often like to complain and have others stick with them (I think I have found my post for tonight!). Anyway, good for you!

  11. I have a wonderful sign on my shelf.
    “Everything Happens For A Reason, But First We Must Believe.”
    It was a gift, from a loved one, which I unwrap everyday! :)) xx

  12. Just found your blog and I’m totally enjoying it! My 16yo daughter is Aspie and has always been homeschooled and I love that she has never felt that constraint to change herself into someone she’s not just to fit into the sardine tin with the other sardines. I’m using your blog to inspire her to start blogging about life with Asperger syndrome!

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