A Photograph of me without me in it

A Photograph of me without me in it
A photograph of me without me in it

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Animal Spirits

Last night our writer's group had our second meeting. It was awesome. We wrote about what animal we would be, and at the end I remembered a similar exercise that i had done with a writing class twenty five years ago. 

I am inviting the group to post their own. I hope they will. The writing, like the people, was varied and fun.

What kind of animal are you?

1) I am a cat. I am not like a cat. I am a cat. I curl in front of the fire, toasting myself in the best place, the place where the heat is most radiant. I meow when I want your attention or when my food bowl is empty. When I feel like it, you can pet me and I will purr. When I’m tired of your attention, I’ll walk away without saying good-bye. If you sit in my favorite chair, the deep lounger by the fireplace, I may sit in your lap. Or I may just look at you until you move.

Sometimes, I like to play. I chase little suns reflecting off of the dinner knives. I chase dust balls, but I never throw them away. I never chase my tail. That is ridiculous.

I play only if I am in the mood to play. If you want me to chase a string, but I want to rest, I will almost close my eyes, leaving only little suspicious slits to keep my eye on you.

I am an outdoor cat. I run in the grass. I chase shadows. I stretch in the sun. I have claws.

When you pet me, I rumble quietly, a lawn mower sound of contentment. My hair sheds onto your hand, but do not stop. I like being close to you even when I pretend that I do not care.

2) I am a dolpin. I swim in the ocean with the sharks, but I don’t get too grim when they bare their teeth. I tell them jokes and hope that some day they will laugh. They never do.

When I swim with my friends, we jump through the ocean’s waves just before they break. Synchronized diving. I like it when the seagulls or the pelicans come close to watch us.

In the summer tides, I swim into the sound. Small children jump in the water at the shallow shoreline.  They clap their hands and point at me. They are my soulmates.

I follow ski boats, dancing in their wake. I watch over fallen skiers. I love and I protect.

3) I am a turtle. I carry my house, which I call a backpack, on my shoulders. I move slowly. If there is a bright light, I bob my head in its direction. I will not rush.

I was born wrinkled, already old before my time began.

When I hatched, I dug myself out of a sandy hole and fliippered my little shell over hot sand mounds to the ocean’s shore, watched over by sentimental tourists and frigate birds. I do not want to be a frigate bird snack. I have not yet lived long, but I know that I do not want to die yet. I work for life.

I want to go to the home where I belong, an ocean of warm and cool currents, friendly starfish and blob-like jellyfish. An ocean where I can go unnoticed.

I carry my home wherever I go. My shell is my home and my shell is my shield, too.  When I feel shy or uncertain, I pull my head in unapologetically. I am a rock.

You will not know me. You will know only my shell.

Twenty-five  years ago, a friend who is now a psychiatrist told me about an exercise in which you ask someone three times What kind of animal they would be. Each answer gave some insight into the person, which I think was:

What kind of animal are you?
1)   How you see yourself.
2)   How you want others to see you.
3)   How you truly are.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The words, they are a'changin'

Our words change with our times. My church friend and her daughter told a story today of their recent experience in a drug store:

Customer (to a young woman who is a checker at the drug store): I'd like to buy a telephone. Can you tell me where to get one?
Checker: I don't know what that is. Ask the guy on  the floor. I'm sure he can help you.

Customer (to the guy on the floor, another young one): Excuse me, can you tell me where to find a telephone?
Worker: A what?
Customer : A telephone.
Worker: I don't know what that is.
Customer (holding her thumb to her ear and her pinkie to her mouth): You talk into a receiver like this, and someone talks back to you.
Worker: Oh, go down two aisles on your left.

This conversation reminds me of a conversation I heard in an elevator a few years ago. Two teenagers were talking, and I eavesdropped from the middle of their conversation:

Teenager #1: What's a record player?
Teenager #2: It's something about this big (she illustates the size of a breadbox with her hands.) Back in the day, people listened on records to music.
Teenager #2: (nods): What's a record?
Teenager #1: It's this plastic round disk that musicians recorded their music on. Sort of like CDs, only bigger.
Teenager #2 nods, and I get off of the elevator.

Then there was the first time that I felt significantly older than my high school students. Before class, they were quizzing each other for their American History test.
Student #1: Watergate.

Student 32: Some guys broke into a hotel room and stole some secrets.
I interrupt: "No! No! Watergate!" I open my eyes in surprise, and I gesture dramatically. "Watergate! It wasn't dull! It wasn't a history lesson! It was real life drama every night in front of the color t.v.!"
The students look patiently at me though I've interrupted their quiz. Sure that my outburst is over, Student #1 says, "Vietnam."

The words, like the times, they are a-changin'.


My first good friend with disabilities, though hers were invisible, was my college friend Jenny. She had childhood-onset diabetes, which affected her ability to see, especially at night. She was also color-blind. She wanted to go into medicine, but she could not see the little flags on the pig in the Biology lab to identify body parts, so she took a long road. Now she’s a psychiatrist, and she’s thriving after a kidney transplant.

Jenny came to visit after my surgery, and she told me that one day I might be grateful for my tumor. I inferred that she is grateful for her diabetes, and I admire her wisdom, but at the time I was not yet grateful.

Though I still would not choose a life touched by tumors, almost five years after neurosurgery, I am grateful for so many gifts in my life, gifts that I recognize more now than I did before my tumors.

Like my other inspirations, Jenny has a great spirit and a delightful sense of humor. One night when we were in college, I called her on the phone for emotional support. She lived in a dorm on another part of campus, about a ten-minute walk away, and she said she’d be right over with a cup of tea.

When she hadn’t shown up after an hour, I started to worry, but Jenny finally arrived, a mug of cold tea in her hand. She had miscounted her steps as she was walking in the dark and turned off a path into a tree. She had long hair and got tangled in the tree; when she finally extricated herself, she couldn’t figure out how to reorient herself. The cute boys on the porch who watched  her wrestle with the tree helped her to point her toes in the direction of my dorm.

She laughed hilariously as she told me this story. Then she apologized that my tea was cold. I laughed, too. Her sense of humor helped me to gain some perspective on my own troubles.

Little Brother Matt asked me recently how my spirit has remained so strong in the days with these tumors and my disabilities. I have puzzled about this strength of spirit myself. Where did this spirit come from?

Today's sermon, titled "Dayenu", from Hebrew meaning, "It would have been enough..." made me think about gratitude and its role in facing life-changing struggles.

Our minister cited Brian McLaren's book Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in Twelve Simple Words (the book's about 80,000 words...so maybe those twelve words aren't so simple).

McLaren posits that gratitude may be our greatest road to happiness. He also tells of a time when he experienced insomnia and took that time to picture all that he was thankful for. I gather that gratitude helped with his insomnia.

My primary emotional response since the brain tumor diagnosis has been gratitude: for a loving partner-a rock in my life, a family generous with care and support, communities and circles of friends and colleagues who seek to help me use my skills and experience meaningfully, professional care-givers, health and disability insurance, the flexibility of administrators and directors in helping me continue my education and work in schools as I recover, wonder in the world's extravagant beauty and a faith that cradles me and gives me hope.
The closing of Wordsworth's "Intimations of Immortality" reminds me of the miracle that remains, of the joy in living even in--and maybe especially in--times of loss, the power of natural beauty to overwhelm me with a sense of this miracle that is living. Wordsworth writes,

The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
Is lovely yet; The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

Perhaps I have found strength in this gratitude. My life has changed, and I am grateful for the life I had and for the life I now have.
I am grateful for you, too. Thanks for being here. Mary

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Social Director

The bus is my favorite place for people-watching. Yesterday, an African-American man with white hair and no front teeth boarded the bus talking, and he never stopped. He was one of those talkers who invites others into his stream of words and creates an immediate community. That's a gift. I think of him as the bus social director

When he got on, he said, "Yesterday I went downtown on the bus. The whole trip took two hours, and in that time, it rained and snowed. The sun came out. It hailed. Spring in Seattle is crazy." I nodded in agreement. I got caught out in all of that weather.

The social director said to the young man across from him, "I've been riding buses for twenty years. When there are beeps, the driver waits for the third beep before pushing the gas. The driver can't push on the second beep. The bus will cut off. At the turn from John onto Madison, the driver has to slow way down because there's a dip. If the driver doesn't take it real easy, the front end of the bus will hit the ground. Isn't that right, driver?"

An older African-American woman boarded the bus with a cart full of groceries. "Here you are," said the social director, indicating his seat with a generous sweep of his arm, "You'll have room in this seat. I knew that was you. I'll give my seat for you every day." She nodded and said thank you.

The bus driver was training another woman who was in the front disabled seat, and the social director said to the man across from him, "This driver's a trainer. See her sheets right there?" He pointed to a pile of charts hanging from the driver's seat, and the young man said, "Yeah, I see 'em." The social director continued with his lesson, "That means this driver's been driving for at least ten years. Look at the way she holds the steering wheel. She knows how to drive this bus." Then he said, "Hey driver, how long you been drivin'?" The response: "Thirteen years." To the young man he was schooling, the social director said, "See. I knew it was more than 10 years."

He continued, "Once I got on a bus, and the driver told me he was an atheist. I said, 'Thank you, Sir, I'll be getting off right here. An hour later, that bus went off a bridge. Remember that in the news? That driver was an atheist. You don't mess with God."

"Hey, Driver, how many excuses you heard in those thirteen years?"

The driver didn't answer, but the social director, his friend, and another man starting listing excuses: "I lost my pass....My dog ate it.....My pass melted in the rain....I left my pass at church." That one got the biggest laugh.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Slow Day for News

Saturday, March 10 must have been a slow day for news. There must not have been much going on in the Middle East or in a local area impacted by gangs and poverty. No one must have gone hungry, or been cold, or taught a child something worth knowing.

How do I come to this conclusion? On the front page of the intational/national section, a headline reads, "Miss Seattle's missteps on Twitter provide a lesson in Social Media 101." The story reveals that Miss Seattle tweated that she doesn't like Seattle's gloomy weather, and she doesn't like Seattle-ites either. A gaff, for sure. But front page news?

Page two suggests their other options: "Ranting flight attendant restrained by passengers", A picture of a lonely gorilla with the rabbit that's become his friend, "Second near collision for air traffic controller", and "U-S-A' chant at Latino team roils San Antonio." My vote would have been for the gorilla and his little bunny friend.   
In the local section, a headline reads, "Father may fight $250 fine for Son's Party." A teenager on Mercer Island, a wealthy Seattle suburb, gave a party that got out of control when his family was out of town. Underaged kids were drinking alcohol. The dad doesn't think that he should have to pay for his son's misdeads. Sounds more like Family Feud than The Seattle Times NWSaturday front page.

The Sports page is about men's basketball and football. At least the sports writers know their subject, though I'm looking forward to the Storm season so that I might see that women play sports worth reporting on, too.


March 13, 1964

On the day I was born, Mom’s forty-five minute public bus ride to Grady Hospital in Atlanta must have been uncomfortable as she rode to give me birth. (She was nine months pregnant and thought she was having intestinal distress.)

I hear the hours of labor were no luxury cruise either. (Carol Burnett once compared giving birth to blowing a bowling ball out of a nostril.)

I was born on the thirteenth floor of Grady hospital’s White wing on Friday, March 13, 1964, so I have always considered thirteen my lucky number. For me, being born was lucky.
 My parents, because they were White, took the front entrance while African-Americans took a back entrance into the hospital. President Johnson signed “The Civil Rights Act of 1964” that June, and though racial integration comes slowly in the South, I’m pretty sure that little White babies and little Black babies can now lie in cribs next to one another. How strange the separation of the babies seems now.

I am the first child of two first children, so in my first years, my parents and I are a young family of type-A personalities: perfectionists, anxious about success, planners committed to a plan. We control our destinies. It is our responsibility to be good and to do good in the world.

When I was born, Dad was a 27 year-old pediatric intern in the Air Force, and Mom was 22 years old, an army nurse released from her duties because she was pregnant.

The first thing my dad said when he saw me was, "She's a beautiful girl. With a big nose." You will be relieved to know that I have grown into my nose over the last 47 years. In fact, now my nose is remarkably small.

Lots of other things have changed over the years, too. I'm taller and wider than I was then. I have a larger vocabulary. Though we didn't know it, I had a brain tumor then. I don't now.

Here's to this lucky life!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Strength of Spirit

"Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune." Max Erhmann, "Desiderata"

Little Brother Matt asked me yesterday how my spirit has stayed so strong through these brain tumors. I do not know.

If I did know, I would bottle it and sell it for a very low price so that anyone could afford it. I would call it "Strength of Spirit." I don't know what would be in it: maybe banana, orange juice, plain non-fat yogurt, faith, and magic.

I asked Ann last night why she thinks I have had such a strong spirit. "I don't know," she said, "but I've been surprised. You've been stronger dealing with these brain tumors than you used to be when you had the flu."

Before my tumors, when I got sick, I channeled my Dad. When he gets sick, he lies in bed and moans. He used to have a bell by the bed to summon Mom when he wanted something.

Once, when he was lying in bed moaning, he wanted some Sprite with some ice in it, so he rang the bell and asked Mom for his Sprite with ice. She nodded and delivered it to him. A minute after she left, he rang the bell again. "Could you bring me a cold wet washcloth to put on my forehead?"

She delivered the washcloth and placed it gently on his feveish forehead. Then she ripped the clapper from the bell.

Yep, I used to channel Dad. Now, I channel my Grandmother Matthews.

My maternal grandmother grew up in a poor Southern farming family during the depression. Her mother died when grandmother was five years old. Her aunt hanged herself from the rafters in the family barn when grandmother was a child. Her beloved "Papa," who sold the family cow so that grandmother could have a winter coat, died when grandmother was a teenager. Grandmother was the second of four children and put her siblings through college, though she wasn't able to attend college herself.

Grandmom was tough, and she had no patience for softness. Whenever my granddad was doing one of his favorite things, like watching Westerns, playing horseshoes, or eatin' a good t'mater, she would holler at him, "Robert!" She did not drawl. She yelled quickly, the way you might yell to a frog, "Ribbit!"

Perhaps with these tumors, I have channeled my Grandmother Matthews. Like her, I am a survivor, but I don't yell so much.

Maybe I would call that solution, "Grandmother Matthews." Like me, Matt carries her name, though I am named for her first name and he for her last. He named his oldest son for her maiden name, Hayden.

Her name and her spirit run deep and wide in our family. We have her to draw on. She's a guardian angel for us.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Small world

When Ann and I were having dinner with our friend Kari, Kari told us about a retreat that she and our minister Jim were going to the next day, "We'll be flying to (some town) in California. The retreat is small, for about 22 people, and we'll be guided by leaders from the Center for Courage and Renewal."

This sounds familiar, I thought to my very clever self. "Is this town near San Francisco?" Why, yes it was. "I think my friend Rose is going to the same conference. Maybe you'll even be on the same flight." (They were.)

Small world.

The next week Rose and her daugher Nora were at our home, making books with our crafty friend Karen and her granddaugher McKenzie. Both girls are 11 years old. And both girls are in the same Gggrrrlll Power class.

Small world.

Another day, Rose was telling me about her friend Selene, who gave her good advice. She had told me about Selene before, but I had never met her. "Wait. Does this Selene work at GH hospital?" Why yes, she did. And yes, she's my therapist. And yes, she's a good person to talk to.

Small world.

Maybe I should just go everywhere with Rose, and we can notice the duplication in the moment. She'll love it. No, she gets up too early.

But even without Rose in the world, it's a small world.

My previous student Chancey, who's living in NYC now, visited over the holiday. She's studying literacy at the City College of New York with the writer's workshop guru, Lucy Calkins. My colleagues Jenn and Joanna studied there with "Lucy," too.

As Chancey would say, "Gosh."

And now, at Ann's school, appeared "a woman named vander...something...she's a colleague of yours and her son goes to my school."

Ah, Laura. Yes. It's a small world, after all.

And, holy cow, there's more. I talked with a student from my first years of teaching--that's a quarter of a century ago--recently, and I asked her if she knew anything about another student, Leslie. Well, of course, Leslie lives in my city, about a mile from me. We like the same bakery.

Yep. Small world.

AND my primary care physician and I were discussing yoga, and she recommended her studio, the studio where I first experienced yoga. Her teacher, Denise, was also my teacher.

It's a small, small world.

Golly, as Uncle Tommy would say.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ependymoma Awareness Day: April 1, 2012

My brain tumors were rare. They're called "ependymomas," and not much is known about them.
They are slow-growing tumors that appear more often in children than in adults. In children, they are more likely to develop in the fourth ventrical of the brain (that's where mine were...always a child at brain). In adults they are more likely to appear in the spine. Cells can travel through the spinal fluid, sort of like dandelions spreading their seedy tufts, so tumors can spread or reappear in other places of the brain and along the spine where spinal fluid flows.
Their danger lies in where they grow. Both of my ependymomas, for example, grew in the fourth ventrical of my brain, a kind of holding tank for spinal fluid before it exits the brain's water system and enters the spine. When I was diagnosed, my first tumor was the size of a plum and was growing into my brainstem. Had it grown large enough to cover my fourth ventrical, I would have had hydrocephalus, a swelling of the brain due to too much water. (Hydrocephalus was common among European royalty in the 19th century due to inbreeding. This supports my theory that I am royal...and no, Dad, I do not mean a royal pain.)
These tumors are classified by a grading system. (I've always hated grades.) Grade 1 tumors are the least likely to spread or return. Some doctors do not call them cancers. Grade 2 tumors are more likely to spread than Grade 1 tumors, but less likely than Grade 3 tumors. (My tumors were grade 2). Some doctors do not call these tumors cancers either. Grade 3 tumors are the most likely to spread or recur. Everyone calls them cancerous. I think I have all of this right. This much is known.
Much is not known, however. No one knows why this disease occurs. There is even disagreement about whether this tumor that can spread and return is officially a cancer or not. There is no understanding about why the tumor can sometimes be seen in multiple family members or neighbors. Ependymomas are probably multiple diseases under the umbrella term "ependymoma," but we don't know that yet, either.
This lack of information impacts those of us with ependymomas. It affects treatment options, life expectancy, and disabilities resulting from the tumors and treatments. It affects whether people with ependymomas can get life insurance.

Clarity on the cancer classification is important. Funding for research designated for cancer research cannot currently go to ependymoma research because the World Health Organization does not classify it as a cancer. More research is needed to support this classification. Circular, yes.
People with ependymomas and our advocates are working to get more support for research on the disease. The Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN) is a research group working to apply more resources toward understanding this disease. This year, they are initiating "Ependymoma Awareness Day."
For more information about ependymomas and CERN, go to their new video called “Advancing Patient Care; Working for A Cure”.  www.cern-foundation.org
They are also promoting awareness through the symbol of a butterfly. They explain, "We’d like to start with the butterfly symbol: The butterfly is delicate and beautiful; hence it was chosen to represent ependymoma as it symbolizes rebirth and hope."
The symbol's a stretch. I'm pretty sure thast they don't have an English major on their staff. I'm guessing they rather intend that the butterfly is a symbol of ependymoma research, as the research may provide rebirth and hope. The tumor does not. Or if it does, it provides hope and rebirth in the same way that a heart attack or death might.
The foundation is more articulate about its other plans: "There will be a mass butterfly release on April 19, 2012 (with a rain date for April 20) that will coincide with a gathering of researchers who are studying ependymoma and working to develop a cure. The butterfly release will be posted to the internet so that patients, families and supporters around the world can participate and share in this moving event!
To participate in the inaugural Ependymoma Awareness Day, we encourage you to purchase a butterfly to memorialize a loved one, or simply to demonstrate the need to create greater awareness of this poorly understood disease. To purchase a butterfly (or several butterflies!) please visit the CERN Foundation website at www.cernfoundation.org ."
You may also promote awareness by wearing an Ependymoma Awareness Lapel Pin! These colorful die-cast metal pins feature the ependymoma awareness butterfly graphic and can be proudly worn to show your support of our cause everyday! To obtain your lapel pin, click here."
I think I'll wear a pin and offer to help them with their thinking about symbols. Who says an English major isn't practical?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Master Teacher

“Education is experience, and the essence of experience is self-reliance.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King

"How was your yoga class tonight, Ann?"

"It was great. Throughout the session, Denise wove commentary on  the essence of her mini-sermon on uncertainty. Going to yoga class and letting someone else tell you what to do and how long to do it is practice for dealing with the uncertainty of life.

The poses were hard, but I could do them all. I challenged myself to do poses that I don't do on my own. I felt strong. I made it through today's uncertainty . Denise is a master teacher."

Yes. Perhaps Denise helps me define master teaching. A master teacher is someone who challenges me to do something hard and then supports me so that I can do it. In the end, I feel stronger. I learn to do something challenging independently, and I learn that I can take on challenges that I didn't know I could manage. A master teacher ties my activities to a bigger idea, an idea that guides me in life.

Through Ann, Denise teaches me, too, as I live with the uncertainty of this life, those brain tumors, the MRIs, my disabilities.

I consider Denise's sermon as I do yoga each morning, now, a habit that I developed twenty years ago in Denise's class.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Seattlle Crosswalks

Soon after I moved to Seattle, Mom was visiting and when the traffic cleared, she headed across the street against the light. When she got to the middle of the crosswalk, she realized she was alone, turned back to the crowd on the corner and asked, “Where is everybody?” Then she returned to the curb to wait for the light to change like the rest of us.

Pedestrians in Seattle wait for the fellow in white lights to tell us it's time to cross. We are patient. Once we get in our cars, however, we're not so good.

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking to the bus stop. I crossed an intersection that is usually busy, but on this day at this time, there were no other pedestrians, and there weren't even many cars. As I waited at the corner for the white man in lights to signal me to cross the street, I thought, "There's not much traffic. Maybe this is good. But the day that the monster Bronco smashed my little Honda Civic was a day of little traffic in an intersection that was usually busy. I must be wary."

When the little man in white lights appeared, I looked around the  corner to my left to make sure that no one was turning right. All clear. No one was turning left into my cross walk, either, so I stepped out. As I got across the first lane and was into the second lane, a white car (white again!), lulled by the unusual lack of traffic, scooted into the intersection and then across my cross walk.

Peripherally, I saw the car, and I screamed, "Holy moly!" them's
strong words) and jumped. (Yes, I jumped. I didn't know I could do that.) I jumped out of  the white car's path, and saw the driver's round eyes, opened large, as I gave the driver my evil eye and continued across the intersection.

The driver looked as surprised as I did. He did not deserve the evil eye. He was trying to get through an intersection where too much is going on and visibility over a hill is difficult. I have heard that a group of parents submitted an appeal for this intersection to be made safer. Their appeal was denied. The board that denied that appeal deserves the evil eye.

I was not hurt, but the near-miss did trigger post-traumatic stress, and I've been jumpy. I'm even more anxious when I ride in a car than I was before. I squelch a screech when I'm afraid that my driver hasn't checked the blind spot or when I see other cars headed for a common space. (I know from high school physics that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.) One dark early morning, I screamed when Ann was unexpectedly in the living room. She did not like this.

I am settling down, but I will contact the city about this intersection. It's not safe. I can't imagine why the first contact didn't cause enough concern to change the intersection by putting in protected left turns.

I also think that as a city we need to demand more patience at stoplights. There is never a time when a pedestrian can step into the cross walk without worrying that a right-turning driver, who also has the green, won't bash us. Busy lights, especially in the central district, where I live, and the South end, (both areas that are traditionally areas where people of color have lived and perhaps for this reason have not been afforded luxuries like protected lefts) should have protected left turns at busy intersections, like the one at 23rd and Yesler where I yelped.

The city should give a little more generous crossing time, at least 22 seconds, which is the time that a woman testing me for disability services for transportion told me that most lights allow for crossing. I haven't timed this cross walk, but I'm guessing that the light allows at most 10 seconds before the red hand starts to flash. My therapist, who is able-bodied and quite energetic, said that she and a friend struggled to get across this same intersection just a week before I did.

I'm going to write the city about this. They will probably tell me that there is no problem, just like Metro did when I pointed out problems for people with disabilities getting seats at the front of the bus. They'll probably ignore me again, just like they have every time I've called to have a handicapped parking space identified in front of my house. But I'll keep speaking up.

Especially now that I know I can yell and jump at the same time.