In idle moments, my mind goes back to recycle past events that did not make sense and might be influencing more recent events. Such an event was one several years ago when I bought a ladder, realizing that I needed a tall ladder so as to deal with overgrowing limbs on a big tree and to caulk cracks in the shingles on my house, that were too high to reach from the ground. I had kept an eye out for such an extendible ladder but at low cost, and had seen one at the local Walmart store, which has been a very welcome source of the many kinds of things I need, and generally at the minimum cost necessary for social security retirement life.
So, in my Asperger's struggle way, I arrived at the Walmart store, and first thing I pushed my shopping cart over to where I had seen an extension ladder in the recent past. Yes, there was one there.
Usually I do my non-groceries items first and then do the groceries and then to checkout counter. But the unwieldy ladder, about eight feet long, would be very awkward to have sticking out from the cart while going back and forth in the grocery section, trying to avoid hitting shelves and people while searching for the grocery items I also needed that trip.
So I then headed for the grocery section and got my groceries, but instead of going to checkout counter, I pushed my full cart of groceries into the back of the large building, where the ladder was. I always have to wander around a bit looking in the huge busy building for even things as obvious as where the ladders were, as I finally approached the now again-spotted ladder stack, I noticed two young women, both unusually pretty for Walmart people, watching me, one of them gestulating at me with an odd look on her face, maybe anger.
I found the ladder, got it out from among the step ladders there, and got it set on the top of the shopping cart, and wound my way toward the checkout registers.
I arrived at nearest the checkout register that was open, which was the one on the far end from the grocery area. There were several customers in the line ahead of me so I waited in line, doing what seemed needed to keep from hitting people with the ladder. But mostly it was boring there in the line, waiting.
Something caught my eye, moving to the side to my left; it was a Latino toddler, proudly holding high a wristwatch in the kind of case they sell them in, and the toddler was practicing his walking as he headed fairly rapidly toward the front of the store, going past me about 10 feet to my left. I idly wondered how he had managed to get a hold of such a thing, must have been given it by an adult, my thoughts puzzled. Then I saw another movement, it was a Latino woman pushing a loaded shopping cart towards the nearby store entrance, and she was clearly looking towards where the toddler was racing in his way on a course to meet her apparently at the entrance of the store. Well, people do all sorts of strange things, in my opinion, and this one had a toddler headed toward its mom with a present. My task was to keep from bumping people with the ladder on my cart.
Eventually I got to the checkout counter; it was a very attractive young woman doing the checkout. I did not think of it then but she probably was one of the two I had seen earlier when hunting for the ladder site; but now in retrospect, it fits a bit better with comprehending social situations. She checked my ladder and groceries out, I paid for it all as usual by credit card, and then I headed out the store, with the task of figuring out how to carry the big ladder in my small car mostly on my mind, along with continuing to avoid bumping things and people with the ladder on the cart along the way to my car.
Now, this would probably have all been forgotten except for subsequent events, including one even this morning, years after that event.
It was one of the very next shopping trips to Walmart, as I was leaving the store with loaded cart, the greeter there asked me what time it was. Well, I usually don't wear a wristwatch anymore, no longer having to use a public transit system to commute; I had to say I did not know.
Subsequent shopping trips to Walmart I noticed a resumption of being stalked by guys in the store, which had faded away from when I had first started shopping at that store. Being stalked by apparently a snoop (or several) while I was shopping was something I had long endured, and while they practically jumped on me the first few times I had shopped at this Walmart - basically the only store I can reach easily from my home - I had ignored them and eventually they were not so up-front about it. Happens when shopping at Safeway too, which on rare occasions I do too, for items I really need and Walmart does not carry, like red grapefruit and figs.
Anyway there was this stalking going on again while I struggled to find my way around the complex store looking for things on my shopping list. Those men typically either pushed no cart or if they did, the cart was empty. And more often than not, when I finally got to the checkout counter, there would be a line and it would get shorter with only me in the back along with a guy behind me with only one item in hand, usually a soft drink bottle carried by the neck as if a billy club, the guy holding a poker face but watching my every move, as I endured the unloading of my basket and paying for it all by credit card. Over and over again, this kind of thing, it is like they never learn.
Sometimes in nice weather and I don't need large items, I will ride my bicycle wearing a Yucca Pack to haul stuff back in; the Yucca Pack I had learned decades ago is exactly the size of a paper grocery sack, and so it holds the same amount.
The first time I rode my old bicycle there, as soon as I got in the store I put the Yucca Pack and bicycle helmet in the cart, and shopped, but even the greeter as I left was making a big deal of commenting that was a nice helmet I had there, as if to point out I had not paid for it. So from then on, I put the old worn Yucca Pack in the cart, but I wore the bicycle helmet all the time while in the store, hoping people would realize I was not stealing it but had it with me when I came in the store. Eventually people stopped giving me the odd looks about the helmet while seeking out and buying groceries. But the interesting thing is that whenever I was wearing the helmet in the checkout line, there no longer was some lean and mean poker-faced guy right behind me holding a soft drink bottle by the neck as if a billy club to bash me on the head with it.
People stopped looking at my wrists as if maybe looking for a wristwatch, presumably the one the toddler had gotten when I was in line waiting to pay for the ladder, long ago. In summers obviously I wore no wristwatch; or if I did, I wore my old trusty Ultima plastic watch with cloth strap, as my acidic skin reacts to metals, ad I had learned decades ago not to wear metal wristwatches and their metal bands.
So then I got began getting deluged with spam email ads for wristwatches; easily deleted each time but they kept coming in and getting past my junk mail filter. A few days later, another one would show up, delete. Going on for years now. In the past year or so, "they" have figured out how to send things using my own email address, and so I get an ad apparently sent by myself, selling Rolex imitation wristwatches.
And, I got another one again this morning, the huge picture of a fancy wristwatch appearing on my screen. Delete; but there seems a pattern in all of this, sorted out of the huge number of small experiences of life, that I need to sift in hopes of learning "what is going on" among the hundreds of social games people are playing endlessly, that apparently due to my Asperger's affliction, I do not have that faculty inbuilt like most people apparently do.
I could get off on a tangent about all that, but this post is not a book, and it's intent was to describe the ladder incident, long a fairly up-front puzzle of possible importance - if a bunch of people are attempting to make people think I am a thief for some reason, I need to beware to not let that happen insofar as possible. But since it is their game, I have little means to deal with it.
Oh, another possible part of this particular puzzle. Often when I checkout at Walmart, the receipt has an ad on it saying I could win a thousand dollars if I fill out an online survey. If the checkout lady was especially nice, I would do that as a rule, and have never won anything thereby. But while the survey which is very long and of multiple-choice options, not allowing anything but what they provide as a possible answer, which one must pick from or the survey won't complete. The now possibly suspicious items come at the end of the surveys which start asking personal questions. Often they have the pattern of asking if I am of Mexican descent; it then also in a separate question asks which race classification I would put myself in, again the Mexican option but also Asian etc, seems redundant per the prior one about Mexican - Latino - ancestry; did I shop with anyone else, and how many people live in my household including myself. So the pattern sifts out that maybe they have identified the toddler with the wristwatch held so high, the Latino mom watching for him, and my ladder being bought with so much struggle, and are attempting to pin that on me. and with the many years of this going on, was the watch and Latinos thing actually originally done intending to be something to pin on me, I wonder; although putting that on a lower likelihood level.
Maybe I will go off on that aforementioned tangent, but in a subsequent blog post. This one is enough is enough already.
But lest I give the wrong impression, I also need to mention that by far, the workers in Walmart are just fine people, and sometimes go out of their way to be nice and even helpful in finding things at times. And the goodies I buy there have been very welcome in my life, perhaps even making it possible for me to live here where I can - barely - afford even my own home. I think the stalkers and possibly also a very few women associated with them, are a somewhat separate bunch, but somehow they are linked to stores.
Labels: Asperger's, people-games, shopping, stalkers