Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

Memories and more

| Filed under Uncategorized

 

This post is going to ramble on about writing a fictional piece drawing from personal experiences, so I understand if you don’t wish to read it if you are not into the writing life.

Anyway, also allow me to preface that I am a bit cranky due to chronic foot pain and a stubborn streak of not asking for narcotics to dull the pain. I simply do not wish to become constipated. >horrified face: TMI! <

Okie-dokie, here we go. Last week I began reading a client’s life story. It is interesting, exposing much of this person’s history. At first I didn’t actually want to read it, thinking it might slant my objectivity as this person’s counselor and I struggled for months about the pros and cons to desiring to read it and the real possibility that there may be information in there this person hasn’t disclosed, and the risk of this potentially causing some difficult transference issues.

Okay, I decided that the potential benefits outweighed the risks and I purchased the eBook. I am glad I am reading it, I think it will benefit the therapy sessions and I am ready to let this client know how honored I am to be her helper.

 

But I digress. This reading of a life story inspired me to continue writing my own memoir based on my life. First I struggled with the constraints of traditional memoir, which focuses only on one short time period. I struggled with the tense in which I wanted to write and have since decided on a first person present tense to provide a more literary panache. I also decided to begin at the beginning, which is to say, the beginning of my protagonist’s story, the start of her vision trouble and a family divorce upheaval. This is what I know, thus, this is why I am writing. I have also chosen to fictionalize the story and change names, places, and other items to protect those still living. I have not, however, sugar-coated any of it, just sprinkled on a little literary license.

 

It is excruciating to write this, to put personalities down on paper, to put hurts, traumas and other family issues to the virtual pen and hope they make sense, are relevant to the reader and don’t cause too much backlash when the book is finally published.

 

The latter is my biggest fear; I know I want it published, I know I deserve to have it published because I took the time and effort to write it. Yes, I do want the book to affect others, to make them empathize, sympathize, emote and maybe even want to rip the book to pieces. Most of all, I want to know that the lines printed out in the book will resonate with people, that I will connect with people through the written word. This is one of the reasons why I believe I was chosen to write, to create. Am I borderline eccentric? Perhaps. I am going to keep on writing because it is what my soul needs and for what I was born to do. I am also hoping that what I write resonates with someone else and helps them on a path of acceptance and peace.

Personal fulfillment comes in many forms, this is just one form.

End of my rant, now onto writing the actual story, right?

 

Below is the poem inspiring the rant:

Line By Line

By Ann Chiappetta

 

one character at a time

creates the word

a word strung together with others

Divines a sentence, Forming

Into lines

 

Lines collect into paragraphs, transforming

a blank screen, filling

a file with text

One page at a time.

 

Conveys a thought

Identifies a feeling, recorded

One syllable at a time

A breath, an intonation expresses

A desire to act

One movement at a time pushes

awareness to the sweet spot, the goal

recollections, via The pinnacle of a mind

 

The story coalesces

By character, word, line, page

memories stated

By thought, feeling, emotion, action

assembled page by page, experience

gathered only with reflections and the acuity of time.

2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Ride Refusal

| Filed under Guide dogs Uncategorized

I wanted to share a recent experience. It’s something that happens to guide dog handlers more often than we’d like to admit. It’s also something that I personally consider unnecessary and find the cultural stigma of some foreign populations attached to coming into contact with a service dog fearing uncleanliness frustrating, especially after recent statements from religious leaders that helping someone with a service dog is a good deed and outweighs the risk of saliva contact.

. Maybe this is ignorant on my part and maybe I should be more tolerant but when one has to face ignorance each and every day, when one must greet each day saying, “wow, I hope my disability is only a mild problem today,” it is even harder to find tolerance for others who claim not to want to help a person like me because of religious beliefs.

Ah, well, onto the story.

One morning in May, I called a local taxi company for an appointment. I called with extra time because I knew from prior incidents that I might need the time just in case the driver refused me due to my guide dog. I gave myself 45 minutes to go 3 miles in the same city. I told the dispatcher not to send me a driver who would refuse me, as I’d had the experience of being refused because of my dog once already and he was also the same dispatcher on the day it happened last year. He assured me he would send a driver who would not refuse me.

 

In a point of digression and fact, I do not need to disclose my disability to request the same service as my peers without a disability. By Federal law outlined in the ADA I am to receive equal access to all modes of public transportation with my service dog. It sure sounds good on paper, but in reality it’s a crap shoot with the taxi services and is a chronic problem with shared ride services like Uber and Lift. I disclosed because I thought it would avoid the possibility of a ride refusal.

 

Well, back to my story. I waited 15 minutes. He didn’t show. I called dispatch. He spoke to the driver while I was on the phone. Then, as luck had it, my friend got off the bus, came over and watched the whole situation unfold. I am grateful that fate and circumstance put a witness where I needed one. She told me the car number when the driver would not. She told me how he idled two blocks away when the dispatcher told him to come get me. She told me when the car came; he crept up to where c I stood as if he didn’t want me to notice he was there. She heard him say he e couldn’t take me because my dog was too big. And then, after the dispatcher told him he had to take me, he changed his excuse to, “I’m allergic, I can’t take her,”

 

By then I was mad and had to hold back from yelling at him to go back to his country because he isn’t helping anyone here.

 

I then called his boss, who called the police and the driver has since been issued a summons and is due to appear in court. This is his first summons, but, I wonder, will it be his last?

 

I am all for fighting the good fight and mostly step up and do my share. I do my best to be fair and unbiased. I am also getting burned out. I am tired of fighting, of the anxiety I feel when I call a taxi, knowing my chances of this happening again is a fifty-fifty shot. I wonder if it will ever get better. Since I don’t have a crystal ball and no friends named Nostradamus, I guess I will have to put on my big girl panties and suck it up. Drivers with road rage ain’t got nothin’ on me, in my world it’s called refusal rage. I am hoping it doesn’t happen again, but it will and I hope I can keep a lid on it and not resort to nasty language for next time. It really bothers me and I am ashamed when I lose control like that. I also wish there was a way to get these drivers to understand what it is like, have them walk in my shoes; maybe then attitudes will change for the better.

 

 

 

I wanted to share a recent experience. It’s something that happens to guide dog handlers more often than we’d like to admit. It’s also something that I personally consider unnecessary and find the cultural stigma of some foreign populations attached to coming into contact with a service dog fearing uncleanliness frustrating, especially after recent statements from religious leaders that helping someone with a service dog is a good deed and outweighs the risk of saliva contact.

. Maybe this is ignorant on my part and maybe I should be more tolerant but when one has to face ignorance each and every day, when one must greet each day saying, “wow, I hope my disability is only a mild problem today,” it is even harder to find tolerance for others who claim not to want to help a person like me because of religious beliefs.

Ah, well, onto the story.

One morning in May, I called a local taxi company for an appointment. I called with extra time because I knew from prior incidents that I might need the time just in case the driver refused me due to my guide dog. I gave myself 45 minutes to go 3 miles in the same city. I told the dispatcher not to send me a driver who would refuse me, as I’d had the experience of being refused because of my dog once already and he was also the same dispatcher on the day it happened last year. He assured me he would send a driver who would not refuse me.

 

In a point of digression and fact, I do not need to disclose my disability to request the same service as my peers without a disability. By Federal law outlined in the ADA I am to receive equal access to all modes of public transportation with my service dog. It sure sounds good on paper, but in reality it’s a crap shoot with the taxi services and is a chronic problem with shared ride services like Uber and Lift. I disclosed because I thought it would avoid the possibility of a ride refusal.

 

Well, back to my story. I waited 15 minutes. He didn’t show. I called dispatch. He spoke to the driver while I was on the phone. Then, as luck had it, my friend got off the bus, came over and watched the whole situation unfold. I am grateful that fate and circumstance put a witness where I needed one. She told me the car number when the driver would not. She told me how he idled two blocks away when the dispatcher told him to come get me. She told me when the car came; he crept up to where c I stood as if he didn’t want me to notice he was there. She heard him say he e couldn’t take me because my dog was too big. And then, after the dispatcher told him he had to take me, he changed his excuse to, “I’m allergic, I can’t take her,”

 

By then I was mad and had to hold back from yelling at him to go back to his country because he isn’t helping anyone here.

 

I then called his boss, who called the police and the driver has since been issued a summons and is due to appear in court. This is his first summons, but, I wonder, will it be his last?

 

I am all for fighting the good fight and mostly step up and do my share. I do my best to be fair and unbiased. I am also getting burned out. I am tired of fighting, of the anxiety I feel when I call a taxi, knowing my chances of this happening again is a fifty-fifty shot. I wonder if it will ever get better. Since I don’t have a crystal ball and no friends named Nostradamus, I guess I will have to put on my big girl panties and suck it up. Drivers with road rage ain’t got nothin’ on me, in my world it’s called refusal rage. I am hoping it doesn’t happen again, but it will and I hope I can keep a lid on it and not resort to nasty language for next time. It really bothers me and I am ashamed when I lose control like that. I also wish there was a way to get these drivers to understand what it is like, have them walk in my shoes; maybe then attitudes will change for the better.

 

 

 

 

 

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0
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