Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Coping with Coprolalia

            On Saturday morning when I went to the mirror I had clown hair. I need to get it cut soon, but I’ll do it after my exam on April 18th.
I finished my Shab-e She’r review before heading over to the food bank. Because last week Martina had just finished handing out the numbers when I arrived, I went five minutes earlier this time. I got there at the right time, as Martina and Angie were having a smoke on the steps of 1501 Queen and the numbers hadn’t been distributed yet. When she finished her cigarette Martina went inside to get her little box of numbered wristbands and then went down the line. I was pleased to have selected number 2, which is something I never would have gotten under the first come first served system because I would have had to get there ridiculously early. A tall, muscular looking man whom I’d never seen there before and who looked out of place in a smart suit jacket that either said “gangster” or “undercover cop”, lucked into pulling number 1. I told him that in the old days he would have had to show up at 7:30 to get that number. He responded that it’s like life. You never know what cards you’re gonna be dealt.
            Bart, the food bank regular with the type of Torette Syndrome known as coprolalia that causes him to shout out obscene phrases, was particularly loud this time. One of his themes on this occasion was “that chick is so ugly” with one riff going into “she has to fuck herself with her own foot”. Another of Bart’s recurring subjects involves absurdly and cartoonishly described scenarios of fathers and mothers having sex with their children. Bart is almost constantly bumming cigarettes every time I see him and for on this day he even approached me for the first time to ask if I smoked. For a while he crossed to the sunny side of Queen with a couple of other guys and was standing in the streetcar shelter for the length of a cigarette as he gesticulated and spit. When they came back to my side Bart pointed at my shoe and said one of the others, “This guy’s shoe gets stuck in the middle of the street along with your spit and then gets displaced by that guy over there’s penis part …” During one of Bart’s rants a white haired man with a moustache and a baseball cap and who was waiting for PARC to open for breakfast, shouted angrily at Bart, calling him by name and telling him he wasn’t in the mood to listen to his bullshit today. He told him to get away. Bart just calmly said, “Okay” and moved up the street, but he couldn’t go far since he was waiting for his number to be called. He ended up in the middle of the main body of food bank clients and when he manifested another of his tics the man in the suit jacket finally blew up at him and threatened to slap him for talking about children. I walked up to the man and tried to explain of Bart that, “He can’t control himself!” “I don’t give a fuck! He’s talking about kids!” “He doesn’t know what he’s saying! What are you gonna do, beat up someone that is clearly mentally ill?” “I didn’t say I was gonna beat the shit out of anybody!” “You just talked about it!” “Get the fuck out of my face! Go hang out with your friend if you like the things he says so much!” “It’s not a matter of liking what he says, but understanding his situation!” He shook his head with disgust and moved away from me.
            Martina called the first five numbers and I went inside. A Native woman wearing a baby blue hat in the shape of a funny animal that I didn’t recognize, though it definitely wasn’t a pussy hat, was walking behind me and she commented about the confrontation I’d had with the angry man. She told me that her brother has the same problem and I was right that there is no point getting angry with someone with the condition because it just causes them to shout louder. This is true, based on the information I’ve read on a Torette Syndrome site. The tics manifest themselves more strongly with heightened emotion, even when the emotion is positive. In Bart’s case it must not help matters for him to always be jonesing for a cigarette.
            Downstairs the volunteer situation was quite a contrast to the week before. I think there might have been as many as ten people working and in fact it seemed a bit crowded.
            The elderly Ukrainian lady was my helper at the shelves.
            At the top of the first set of shelves was a bag of vegetable chip triangles made from five vegetables: potato, tomato, spinach, broccoli and carrot. One assumes the five vegetables are supposed to appeal to people that want to eat healthy but I was sceptical that vegetables that are broken down to a powder would have any nutritional value. From what I’ve read online though, vegetable powders made from dehydrated vegetables are supposed to keep a lot of the healthy contents of the original veggies. When I look at the nutritional information on the bag though it says there are zero vitamins in the chips but 4% iron. From another shelf I grabbed a big bag of ketchup potato chips with the unattractive name “1 lb of Chips” from the same company called “Yum Yum” that makes the vegetable chips. I was surprised to see that the ketchup chips have 10% vitamin C. It turns out that both potato chips and ketchup are high in vitamin C and they also are 4% iron. I’d never heard of Yum Yum, even though they are a family business out of Quebec that’s been around since 1959. Of the vegetable chips, I couldn’t detect the difference between a green, a red, or a white chip. They all taste like Munchos, which I like, but there is nothing in their flavour that would suggest any of the five vegetables. The big bag of chips really does weigh a pound though.
            At the bottom of the first set of shelves there were little packages of cookies for kids. They didn’t interest me very much and there were none of the usual granola or energy bars. There was however a lonely bag of coffee beans, which I grabbed.
            Under the shelf that held the big bag of chips were three kinds of drinks: bottles of coconut water, drinking boxes of peach nectar and bottles of green tea. I took the green tea with the snazzy packaging by Vitasoy from Hong Kong. It also has vitamin C so it will go well with the potato chips.
            From the soup section I got a pack of soup noodles with chicken flavour and a carton of beef broth. That shelf was well stocked with cans of soup as well.
            Further down I took a can of chickpeas and from another shelf a small tin of tuna.
            In the pasta section I found a jar of organic tomato and basil pasta sauce.
            Among the boxed cereals I found a naked bag of raisin bran type cereal.
            There was a bit of a traffic jam around Angie’s dairy and meat section. She had gone to the back to look for something and left a line up waiting and as I said there were so many volunteers on the floor that were cutting across the line to do various things that it created some chaos.
            Once Angie returned she offered me a choice between 1% and 2% milk. I selected the 1% because of a recent decision to make lighter choices, especially in my coffee. She gave me four cups of fruit bottom yogourt and then seemed to forget, because she paused and asked me if she’d given me milk and yogourt yet. I confirmed that she had and then she paused and asked me again. Two of the meat choices were the usual chicken wieners and frozen ground chicken, but there was also this time whole chickens and hams. I picked the poultry and Angie said, “There ya go my darling!”
            The always cheerful Sylvia handed me a bunch of broccoli, a seedless cucumber, two onions, a bag of rainbow carrots and two double fistfuls of small potatoes. She also passed me two bananas, an apple and a big mango.
            I had bread at home, so I didn’t bother digging for anything interesting in the bakery section.
            The wait wasn’t half as long as the week before and in terms of the food received, if every visit to the food bank resulted in one taking home a whole chicken or a ham, two litres of milk, and a good selection of greens, there wouldn’t be much to complain about. Obviously there were more donations this time because of people feeling generous leading up to the Easter Weekend.
            After the food bank I took my groceries home to put them away.
I finished my review of Shab-e She’r and posted it on my blog and Facebook.
Once that was done I rode up to the Bank of Montreal at Lansdowne and Bloor to take out my rent and phone money. On the way home I stopped at the big No Frills at Dundas and Lansdowne.
The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday might be the worst day of the year to go to the supermarket. The place was packed and many of the shoppers seemed to be in a nervous frenzy.
Grapes were on sale so I got three bags. My main interest was picking up a few dairy items because on Sunday I would be breaking my annual vegetarian fast. I bought some cheddar cheese, sour cream, three bags of 1% milk and some yogourt. I also bought a set of tongs, which I’d been living inconveniently and clumsily without for the last few years, since my old set from Dollarama finally broke.
On the way home I stopped at Freedom Mobile to pay for my April phone service. There was only one guy working and two people in front of me that took a long time. The guy just before me was Tibetan and he spoke with the counter person in Urdu. A lot of Tibetans here in Toronto have never lived in Tibet and came here from India. It was interesting when he was speaking that he also added the kind of sideways head movements that a lot of Indian and Pakistani people use while talking.
After I got home and put my stuff away I went back out to the liquor store to buy a couple of cans of Creemore.
That night I watched an Alfred Hitchcock teleplay starring Bruce Dern.
Marcia, the wife of a successful businessman, is sunbathing in her backyard and flirting with a man on the phone, when she notices a young man, Roy peeping at her over the fence. Bruce Dern was 28 at this time but Roy is supposed to be 19. She confronts him but he doesn’t flinch. He argues that he’s not on her property and that there is no law against looking. She calls the police and an officer tracks Roy down to where he is living with his aunt and uncle. The cop tells Roy to stop peeping or else. When Marcia’s husband Jack comes home she gets him to go over and talk to Roy too, but Jack ends up being won over by Roy. Jack’s son is a boy named Stevie who Marcia, his stepmother neglects. Roy strikes up a big brother friendship with Stevie. Marcia starts receiving obscene phone calls and she thinks it’s Roy. One night when she is along\e Roy walks right into her house and confronts her about cheating on her husband and being a bad stepmother. She still thinks that Roy is the one that’s been calling and as he approaches her she becomes frightened, pulls out a gun and shoots him. He dies right there and then the phone rings. It’s the obscene caller again.

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