Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Which the Mystery of Austin's Work is Unfolded

I work for a company called Region V services. Region V is a company that helps mentally challenged people be active and play a role in the community. It is the greatest job in the world. I get paid to do things like go swimming, go bowling, go to movies, go to Salt Dogs games, and much, much more. And the people I work with are seriously so hilarious. I’m not allowed to use their names on the internet, so I will refer to them as Q, T, and D.
Q is an older, diabetic African-American gentleman who needs help remembering to take his pills and check his “suga blood” in the morning. When I first started working with him, he would feed me full of lies and tell me anything that would get me out of his house. I would show up, knock on the door, and wait. I could always see him through the front room window, but he would ignore my knocks and go into his bedroom to hide. One time I knocked for a full twenty minutes before he finally gave in and opened the door. Unfortunately, getting him to open the door was only problem number one. Problem number two was lying - that was when things got really funny. One morning he opened the door a fraction of an inch and said, “I’m really really sick today and I don’t want you to catch what I got, so you’d better just go on home.” I asked what was wrong, and he said, “Uhh, I’m just really sick. I don’t know what’s wrong.” I said that I’d better call the doctor if he was so sick, and he quickly said, “No, no. It’s alright, I’m feeling better now.” So then I said, “Oh, so it’s alright if I come in then?” And then he grudgingly let me into his apartment. When I finally got into his apartment, he would always tell me things like, “The other guys who work with me usually only stay for about a minute or so, and then they take off, so you can leave now.” Talk about tactless.
Fortunately, things have changed drastically between Q and me. I took him to Omaha for a couple of the second round games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and we’ve been good friends ever since. Q was being so funny. I was using my GPS (her name is Gypsy) to find the Quest Center, and it kept saying things like, “In point two miles, turn right.” And Q would say, “No Gypsy! Maybe we don’t wanna turn right!” And during the games he kept yelling things like, “Nice legs!” whenever the cheerleaders were on the court and grinning like it was Christmas.
T is a middle-aged man who was injured very badly when he was eighteen years old. He now lives full-time in a rehab hospital because he is unable to use any of his limbs, and he can’t say more than, “AAAAah!” through his damaged vocal cords. I had heard about T before I actually met him, and I was worried that it would be really depressing to work with him. It’s not. I don’t know how he does it, but T is almost always in a good mood (except for Wednesday morning when we take him swimming; he hates swimming!). Whenever I show up to hang out with him, he always has a huge grin on his face, and he laughs at anything that anybody says.
He gets especially giggly when the Alzheimer’s patients are around. One of the patients in particular gets him laughing so hard that he chokes. She is the most negative individual I’ve ever met; she always says things like, “What time is dinner? Never?” Then when the nurse tells her what time dinner will be, the patient says, “What are you gonna feed me, nothing?” It was especially funny playing Bingo with her; she yelled “Bingo!” after every number that was called. Everyone ignored her but T, who was laughing hysterically and had to be escorted from the room so he wouldn’t suffocate. Another funny thing about T is that he always says the same things every time I go visit him. He has a terrible short-term memory so he remembers next to nothing of what I say from visit to visit. I think I’ve told him over a hundred times that my wife is going to have a baby on August 2. He always says that we should name the baby after him. Bottom line is, he’s hilarious, and I’ve learned a lot about attitude from him.
D, the third guy I work with, is just a really cool dude. He owns every item of Husker apparel ever created, and he shows it off with swag. I tried to count all of his Husker hats one day, and I got all the way to 200 before I gave up; there was still a HUGE closetful that I hadn’t even started looking at yet. He loves it when we go to Scheel’s (the local sporting goods store), but it’s always very dangerous because he wants to buy everything in sight. Sometimes he starts fixating on a certain hat or something, and I have to convince him that it’s really ugly and boring so that he doesn’t buy it. He thinks farts are the most hilarious thing in the entire universe. So basically, D is awesome, and we always have a blast when we’re together.
Getting paid to go have fun with people is the best - I have the greatest job in the world. J 

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