Why veggies made me cry

Coping with unexpected changes. Sometimes I can manage. Sometimes I can’t.

I’m picking up my weekly bag of veggies at the shop.

Checkout lady: “You’re not on the list.”
Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, I should have picked it up on Saturday.”
CL: “Then that’s someone else’s bag. You can’t take that.”
Me: “Oh I’m so, so sorry! I’ll put it back right away.”
CL: “Do you want next week’s bag?”
Me: “Yes please.”
CL: “Right, then you can pick that up next Monday.”
Me: “I’m sorry? Why can’t I pick it up on Saturday?”
CL: “You can only order bags for Monday to Friday.”
Me: “Yes but I’ve always picked it up on Saturday.”
CL: “We only keep bags for one extra day. So then you want the Friday bag.”
Me: “I guess?”
CL: “Oh, I see you’re already on the list for pickup on Saturday.”
Me: “Yes, that’s the bag I want.”
CL: “OK, I’ll put you down for one bag.”
Me: “So I can’t get this week’s bag at all?”
CL: “[string of words with names of days somewhere in the middle]”
Me: “OK…”
CL: “[string of words]”
Me: “OK, thank you. Bye!”

[Walk out. Try not to cry.]

I’ve taken a look at the website and at the emails I get each week and I still don’t understand. Maybe she thought that I wanted to change my pickup day? Or something? Whereas I just wanted to know when I am allowed to pick up my veggies. Communication is so confusing.

And it basically means I won’t eat any fruit or vegetables this week because I can’t deal with the confusion.


19 thoughts on “Why veggies made me cry

  1. YES.

    Done this. So many times. People don’t get why bureaucracy makes me cry or why troubleshooting a game that isn’t working on my PC makes me so irrationally angry (and yes, I admit, it’s a wholly irrational level of anger and an extreme over-reaction. I’m someone who might – maybe – raise my voice at you for threatening me, yet troubleshooting a game gets me to the point of throwing stuff and hitting myself. Just to give you a frame of reference for how unflappable I am at stuff that pisses off “normal” people, yet how irrationally and severely angry something that I paid money for expecting it to work and then it’s not working makes me).

    Yes, yes yes.

    I think it’s the combination of rules that make no fucking sense and unexpected change and unwritten rules about how to handle a thing and then someone getting upset with me for something I have no control over (because the people who I’m talking to often get annoyed that I didn’t somehow psychically know that I’m supposed to ask for that person to resolve this issue), plus anxiety from there being a scene and not knowing what to expect because what I expected didn’t happen.

    But yes.

    Literally, me calling my credit card company (phones, I hates them) and being told I could do that online now had me in tears once. Because while online banking might indeed be the greatest thing since sliced bread (and, in fact, now that I’ve tried it, I greatly prefer it), right now all I want to do is let you know to okay transactions in another province for the next week.

    I eventually ended up stammering “I have to go” and hanging up on the person and then melting down.

    And if my insurance messes up my coverage? Guaranteed meltdown.

    Also why I hate hard-sell tactics. Because then you add feeling pressured/coerced and my no reflex kicks in even if I actually do want the thing the person is hard-selling me to buy. Because I have a mental script for how buying stuff is supposed to go and here’s a person trying to bully me into buying something I’m already buying. It makes no sense, no reflex kicks in and person hard-sells more and… I’m getting myself anxious just thinking about it!

    So. Yes. I get this. A lot.

    • Yep. I’m still beating myself up because after all, I’m the one who broke the rules by not picking up my veggie bag on Saturday so this is all my own fault anyway. Whereas most people would either just shrug and go buy something else, or make a scene because they’re entitled or something. I just… can’t. I come to a complete standstill when something like this happens. I might be able to think about buying some other veggies tomorrow, but right now I’m still processing.

      • Sure you could have gone and bought something else, and sure you could have thrown an entitled tantrum (and it probably would have been warranted)…but this is so much bigger than just picking up your groceries on the wrong day. This is, I think, very much a “no, wait, what? I don’t understand, please explain, no please explain again, does not compute, no I’m not trying to be difficult! please I just want help, I’m really trying here, no I just don’t understand…” which DUH results in a brick wall and having to quit.

        Just like ischemgeek said, bureaucracy is maddening. So many opportunities for “breaking the rules” out of confusion instead of entitlement or malice. And so many opportunities to be blamed for your confusion. It can be heartbreaking and utterly defeating. You are so completely not alone in this.

        I wish you the very best of luck in getting some good meals in this week. I know your ingredient magnets will be sad without them. I’m rooting for you.

        • Yes, my magnets are looking very sad and forlorn! All huddled together while the days are completely empty. Poor magnets.

          But yeah. The “no wait what?” thing was hardest to cope with. Not a full blown meltdown by any stretch, but definitely felt shaky for a couple of hours. I just didn’t understand where it all went wrong and how I could have prevented or fixed it.

        • I understand completely. There isn’t a whole lot worse than simply needing explanation, knowing that all you need is explanation, requesting explanation, and being refused explanation with the cherry on top of being made to feel like it was your fault to begin with.

    • Yes. This is a thing. People who try to get you to buy things. I do not like it at all and it is the worst and I just want to run and escape. Because you know what you are buying and that is why you are here and that is all. No extra talking or confusion needed.

  2. Shoot. I’m sorry. That sucks. I was just talking to my husband two days ago about how unexpected changes are the easiest way to completely upset me and/or send me into a meltdown. Hope you’re feeling better.

    • I am, had a nice nap which always makes things better.

      It’s one of the hardest things to explain to non-autistic people, I’ve found. They simply don’t understand what’s so upsetting about a scenario like this. And to be fair, I don’t really understand it either. I just accept it.

  3. I’m not autistic but actually that scenario would make me quite cross. Because it’s not like the person with the veggies is coming over as trying to be helpful at all.

    But I understand it must be much worse if you are autistic. I realise reading this how much I rely on facial expressions, and remembering to feel relaxed and happy, to deal with these situations, whereas if the situation itself is fundamentally stressing you out it just makes it even worse.

    • Oh thank you for letting me know it’s not me! Maybe it was just my interpretation of events but this is pretty much how the conversation went. And even though I’m trying to let go of that whole “beating myself up about everything” attitude, I did think that she was trying to explain and I was simply failing at making sense of it.

      • It was a bit weird to me when she said, “Do you want next week’s bag?” and you said “Yes” and she said, “Well you can’t have it till Monday!”

        To me if you ask someone whether they want something, you are implying that they can have it! For it to be otherwise is just unhelpful.

        Some people aren’t too good at explaining things either. Or maybe they are being inflexible in their minds as to how things should be. That is what bureaucracy is all about.

        • me too. i’m not autistic either but i would also find that situation really frustrating/exasperating.

  4. That confused the heck out of me just reading it! I find it’s worse when somebody’s speaking to me because I’m using part of my attention to figure out the words, which leaves less to work out what they mean. If they say something that I have to stop and think about in order to make sense of it I lose track of what they’re saying — and this happens frequently.

    I find that the majority of people express ideas in a way that causes me problems when I try to visualize what they mean. It might be because they are using an analogy that I interpret literally (my anxiety therapist did this a couple of times before I explained to her and she made an effort to be more literal). Or it might be that they are simply not conveying enough of the background knowledge because they assume that I already know it.

  5. Paint a scary vegetable face on a bag (tomatoes for angry cheeks, courgettes for furrowed eyebrows, etc.), pop it over your head and go stare at CL through the perforated ‘pea eyes’ whilst loudly listing names of vegetables you like to eat on each day of the week. I know, the things we gotta do huh? 😉

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