I have been going to the same day program (Clubhouse) for 15 years this month and have had the same supported employment position for over nine years. Many know that individuals on the spectrum cannot accept sudden change and that it can come to the point of even a meltdown, however I gradually become more accepting of change. In our county the clubhouse provides transportation to and from the facility as well as jobsites due to what is a severe downfall of public bus routes. However, since I moved last year, I am within a few blocks away of a public fixed route that connects my city with the county seat 15 miles away. I have used other systems when living in other communities, but there’s a presumed stigma in our community about using it. However, me wanting to try new things and getting out more, feel the benefits of using it. I have used it a time around here and there, but today was a day that I had no choice but to use it to get to work.
Let’s rewind back two days to Sunday night, I was at my parents house working on fair entries when severe thunderstorm warnings came across my devices. I wasn’t worried because it has.been occurring aplenty over the past few years and especially in the county seat where the Clubhouse and Work are both located. In fact,.I have begun to ride the public bus back and forth to local destinations as needed and have been doing well, so again I didn’t worry. Later that night, flood warnings were issued. This too has happened before in the county seat, but has never affected the day program since the past five years we been at the downtown location. So when I came home for the night, I didn’t worry about it. I went to bed and didn’t care.
5:15 and the alarm went off, somehow I ignored it and I woke up a few minutes before 7, I usually get a call, but didn’t, which seemed odd, so I called. The van driver answered and told me the four Clubhouse vans were flooded and unusable. There would be no van services today and he asked me if I was scheduled today. I told him I was off, but I had to work tomorrow because we were getting audited and I was required to attend. However, I should make arrangements should transportation nor be available today.
First, I was thankful that I had the day off because I had things to do. But I had to get things in order should there not be vans today. I got out the bus schedule and figured out the connections and necessary information and was ready for the call. Normally I would have had a meltdown because I would have to do something different, however I feel that something told me to put a bus pass in my monthly budget and to begin learning about riding the bus.
Anyway, I went about my business and as 2:00 came around, I received a call from the facility that I would have to follow through with my plan. Nonetheless I felt confident in doing so.
This morning I for up and got ready and began the three and a half blocks journey to the bus stop. It’s nice having app for the bus that says where it was. I have to admit that I got worried when the tracker didn’t move, however it was a minute late. The reason was because the drivers were training a new one. 40 minutes later and on time we arrived in the county seat. I had a 50 minutes layover, so I walked over to the clubhouse for about half an hour, then I went to the convenience store to get a drink and bagel. The headed to the next bus stop and headed on the last part of the journey made it to work 1 hours and 40 minutes later. My mom was picking me up anyway, but if usually ride the bus home at least once a.month when I need to buy my pass.
To my fellow Aspies and Autistic community fans, change can come in many forms, including those we have no control of. This was one of the latter and we know change isn’t easy, but we must garner the bravery and tact to face it and overcome them.