Thursday, March 3, 2011

Crashing into walls

The room is empty except for customer service staff, and 4 clients. I'm the fourth client. 2 other clients came in after me. 1 client has given up and left. Staff members lean casually on the counter, discussing their favorite movies, and singing "Oh Cecilia". The other 3 clients are showing varying levels of frustration at the whole situation. There is a sign letting us know that we are to be patient, because not everyone is seen by the same servicing personnel. 2 clients get up and put on their coats, the third guy's eyes brighten and he looks at them standing at the counter with interest.

This is a social services office and I have an appointment to discuss services for Jaedon. I have definitely been inconsistent in capitalizing on the possible services available for him but this always feels like a grand waste of time. As I explain the procedure for getting these services for Jay, Isaiah looks at me incredulous. "Have they seen him?" he asked. "Maybe you should take him next time."

A customer service person comes out asking for the same client for the third time. The 2 remaining clients give him piercing stares that say, "He's not here, but we are!"

I was tempted to bring Jay, to make the point that sitting here for blocks of time waiting to get him services is counterproductive to his progress, especially any progress he could have made that day. Bringing him would definitely have made the point that he has autism, but would not have cut through the red tape any, or saved any time. In fact it would have been straight masochism. Jaedon would have run around the office, and I would have run around after him. With no food allowed, there would have been no distractions. I'm watching a 2 year old run around and scream, and his resulting restraint in the stroller by his mother (the 5th client). Movie discussions continue without missing a beat.

My feeling of frustration feels similar to those I feel when stuck in traffic on the Deegan Expressway. I need to get somewhere in 30 minutes, the Deegan will get me there in 25 when there is NO TRAFFIC, but, the law of averages says, there will be traffic. So invariably, I will get there in 45 minutes. Maybe I should get the 25 minutes out of my mind. That's the same as thinking a doctor's appointment will actually happen at the time that it is scheduled at. Or that social services appointments should take an hour.

There are many choices available when faced with a wall. We can sit at it and complain about it being in our way. We can crash our head into it. We can beat at it with our fists. Or, we can explore its length, the ground around the wall, the plant sprouting up through the crack at the wall, or, we can hurry along the length of the wall, because it probably will come to an end sooner than we think. Or, scaling the wall will not take as much effort as we think it will take. Or maybe it will take more effort than we think, but we are quite capable of the effort.

Anyway, I'm thinking that the wall is just a wall, not a bad thing, not a good thing, and my frustration is about something else. While I explore what it's about, I don't need the frustration to energize me to create anything. I can happily decide to create what I want, without beating my head against a wall.

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