22 July 2015

Communicating with Veterans

As much as I don't like saying this, there are just some people in the world that I will never be able to effectively work with. I'm not happy about this. I'd honestly rather get along with everyone around me. Life is easier and more productive that way. For the record, PTSD is a whole lot easier to manage when people around me either just go on about their business or, if we need to interact, when people are professional (or at the very least, a little bit polite).

Enter my landlord, who I called early on Monday morning to set up an appointment. I need to sign a new apartment lease.  Most people I know that live near campus signed leases for the next academic year months ago. I've been immersed in a lot of my own issues (that PTSD thing again), so I haven't been as proactive as I could have been, so perhaps I can't bitch too much. Still, there are people in Silicon Valley that work in sales that contact me every other week to see if I want to buy one product as a service or another, proving that at least somewhere in the world, business people who want to make money actually try to do so. My landlord doesn't think those rules apply. 

Landlord knows I work nights-- I've told him as much several times.  Last night he called (reading from my phone's call log) at 17:37, 17:37, 18:52, 18:52, and 19:18 while I was at work. He finally left a message berating me for calling when his phone wasn't forwarded, when he was busy, and at the wrong for him time of day. I'm to either call him immediately (taking a break at work if I have to) or call within certain specific hours today so we can work out a time to meet.  

I should note that, when I called and left a message, I suggested an appointment between 13:00 and 15:00 on Friday because that's when I have empty space on my calendar. Between VA appointments, work meetings, help desk work, software development work, sleep, and getting back and forth between home and all of these things, that's what I've got open this week. It's not a coincidence that those hours are within the time that Landlord always says are his hours when he's available for meeting with tenants. 

This is what happened the last time I tried to set up an appointment with the guy. It wasn't pretty

I'm taking a deep breath here. You can't see it, but I am. I learned how to do that in PTSD therapy.

I'm going to call again later this morning. It's actually the middle of the night right now, so (at least in my book) it's a bad time to call anyone unless someone's either headed to the hospital or it's judgment day. My phone is on DND this time of night, with exceptions for a very few numbers. This is when my free, do whatever the fruck I want time is most days-- the middle of the night. So I'll wait until daylight, when it's more appropriate to call and leave a message. Once that's done, I'm going to get undressed and go to bed. (You can't see that either. Sorry.)

When I call, this is the message I'm going to leave:

Hi, ____. This is ____ from (where I live). This week I am available to meet between the hours of 1:00pm and 3:00pm this Friday afternoon to sign a new lease. If you would like me to suggest a specific time, I suggest 2:00pm. Other than Friday afternoon, this week is very busy for me and I am unlikely to be able to directly answer my phone. Please leave me a message and let me know if Friday at 2:00pm works for you. If not, please let me know what time between 1:00pm and 3:00pm does work for you. Thank you.

That's not the message I want to leave, but I still have some military bearing remaining. I really hope that I can just get the damn lease signed and not have to deal with the guy until this time next summer when I'm packing my stuff for Silicon Valley. 

One can hope.


Here are the other things I'd like to say (besides, "just give me the f*cking lease, let me sign it, and GTFO). 

I'm writing these down for two reasons: first, because I need to get all of this off my chest. Dealing with this landlord has triggered me to my medication's end and kept me awake all night, and I need to get some sleep so I can get to work in a few hours. Second, maybe someone else will come across these things and it will help them communicate with a veteran they're trying to talk to.

If you call, and you get my voicemail, leave one message. Tell me exactly what you need to tell me and then hang up. Don't hang up right away and call back, and especially don't call back several times in a short time span. Every time the phone rings it makes me jump. I've received too many phone calls in my life that brought bad news. I might also be in the middle of dealing with my own shit, and so I'm not at all ready to talk to anyone right this second. When I'm ready to talk, if I want to talk to you, I will call you back. 

It's honestly much better if you email or text me. Both will go straight to my phone. You still are not likely to get an immediate answer, again unless you're one of those people who I will always answer right away no-matter-what. Again, if you're one of those people, you'll know. Otherwise, email or text gives me a chance to see what you have to say and think about how I want (or need) to respond. If I'm having a really shitty PTSD day, you'll greatly prefer the delayed response.

My sense of time is all wibbly wobbly because of both the PTSD and the medication I take to treat the PTSD (and my sleep pattern, or lack thereof).  A sense of order-- a schedule-- is essential to my existence because Tuesday and Thursday feel the same to me sometimes. If you're not on my calendar, if a task isn't on my list, it doesn't happen. If you say you want to talk to me on Wednesday, it's meaningless to me. Give me a date and a time. Wednesday at 15:00 is something I can put on my calendar, and then my phone will buzz to tell me we're meeting a half hour ahead so I have time to get ready and travel to where we're meeting. I'll be in a frame of mind where I can talk to you because I'll have had time to tell the demons to shut up for a while, and I'll have enough strength built up that they might even listen. 

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