state route

United States Road Trip Gothic
  • the ice tea is Different here. you try to remember the various regionalisms — is there sugar? lemon? caffeine? — but you’re right on the border between two zones. (you are always right on the border between two zones.) the beverage that finally comes is acrid and smoky, and you drink it while actively trying not to examine it any more closely
  • the burgers, on the other hand, are exactly the same. this diner calls it something different, something special, something unique, but it is the same burger you had last night, which was also called something different, something special, something unique. not the same as that burger, but exactly the same burger. you have eaten this burger every night of your life. you look around at the other diners and wonder if each of you has your own burger, or if you are all, every single one of you, biting down perpetually into one eternal, ever-recycled meal
  • the speed limit is dropping, as tho you are coming to a town. you would like to find a town. you are tired, your car needs gas, and you could use a break. the speed limit drops from 70 to 55, 45, 30, 25. you have not passed a welcome sign. the speed limit is 10. the road stretches ahead, shimmering under the sun, the landscape around it barren and desolate. the speed limit is 5
  • you are on a meandering back road between two nowheres. inexplicably, there is a heavy truck in front of you. there is nowhere to pass for miles and miles, until at last you reach a long flat stretch and zip around, zoom ahead. you turn the next corner, and find another truck in your way. it is the same truck
  • the highway you are traveling along somehow carries routes going in all four cardinal directions at once. you try to remember whether you were aiming for the state route or the interstate, but all the signs seem to be for county roads. did you need to go west or north across Nebraska anyway? you try to gauge your direction from the angle of the sun, but it is shrouded in impenetrable clouds
  • there are police cars studded every ten miles along this road, crudely hidden behind foliage, around bends. as you pass one — slowly — you look inside and notice there is no one. it is a shell, a malevolent carapace, a scarecrow designed to slow down rather than speed up flight. the husks increase in density until there are vast, glittering piles on either side of the roadway, blocking out any view of the landscape beyond. the drivers with local plates are doing 90 in a 65
  • you see a sign giving the distance to the next town. it’s an hour away. you drive on, and twenty minutes later, you see another sign giving the distance to that town. it is still an hour away. it has been an hour away for as long as you can remember
  • it is day seven of your trip. it is not actually day seven of your trip, but every morning you tell yourself it is, because seven seems like a nice number. you’ve still got a few days to go on day seven, but by day seven, surely the bulk of the driving is behind you. surely, you tell yourself. the bulk of the driving. behind you. that’s what it means to be on day seven, which is the day you are on. if you are cheerful enough in your morning humming, you sometimes forget that you told yourself this yesterday as well, and that you are already planning to tell it to yourself again tomorrow
  • there is road work ahead

The “Green Man” is an urban legend which originated in Pennsylvania and is said to be a glowing supernatural entity or a demon which wanders the country roads at night. This is one urban legend that has truth behind it and the truth is a lot more upsetting than scary.

In 1918, Raymond Robinson, who was just a young boy, was climbing on a train track bridge to get a closer look at some birds when he was electrocuted. The shock sent 22,000 volts of electricity through his body and literally melted his face - he lost both of his eyes, his nose, an ear, and even an arm. As Raymond grew up, he was bullied by other kids, who mocked him by calling him cruel names such as “The Zombie” and because of this, he chose to stay indoors. The very rare time he would venture outside was at nights when he would walk along State Route 351 with his walking stick. Locals caught wind of this and would go out at night in an attempt to catch a glimpse of Raymond - some would mock him as he walked alone while others were friendly.

Raymond stopped these late night walks during the last years of his life and moved to the Beaver County Geriatric Center where he died when he was 74-years-old. The real story of what Raymond experienced became obscured and overshadowed by the ghost stories that grew out of them and Raymond became more of an urban legend than a sentient being who was ostracised by the community purely due to his appearance.

Crazy Critter of Bald Mountain

On November 14th, 1974, numerous eyewitnesses claimed to see a fiery object plummet to Earth approximately five miles away from Bald Mountain in Lewis County, Washington.

Three days after this event, Seattle grocer Earnest Smith was deer hunting in the area when he spotted a strange creature that was unlike anything he had ever seen before. He described it to Jim Brandon of “Weird America” as horse-sized, covered with scales and standing on four rubbery legs with suckers like octopus’s tentacles. Its head was football-shaped with an antenna sticking up, and it gave off a green, iridescent light.

Days later, Roger Ramsbaugh and his wife were driving along State Route 7- a nearly 60-mile stretch of road between Morton and Tacoma- on a fog shrouded evening, when they suddenly noticed a dull green glow near the side of the road. When they slowed down to investigate, they saw that very same creature standing there, and they presumably sped off out of fear.

These reports soon reached the local paper, who dubbed it the Crazy Critter of Bald Mountain. Eventually, William H. Wiester the Lewis County sheriff began an investigation. Shortly after, he was visited by United States Air Force and NASA officials and instructed not to continue his investigations. The sheriff’s own team of county officials was replaced by heavily armed agents wearing uniforms with no insignia. As soon as they swooped in, no new information regarding the Crazy Critter was revealed, and no more sightings have been reported ever since.

I wanted to ask you this question specifically because I think we’re in similar situations. I’m applying for a four month intensive that will give me a Developmental Disability Counselor certification and a fast track to employment in this field. The only catch is that I will have to take a course called “Introduction to ABA”. I realized that in order to get to what I really want (changing the system from the inside and being able to truly live “Nothing about us without us”), I’m going to have to submit to the ABA course and recognize that it’s probably not the venue to start explaining why it’s bad. I was also advised to use “Asperger’s” on my application (since disclosing is actually my selling point in this situation) instead of “Autistic”. 

The actual question is: Is it OK for me to do these things? I feel like I’m betraying my community by doing this, but I do have my eyes on the prize, and I realize that in order to get through the door, I’ll have to make some sacrifices. My adviser told me that once I’m employed there will be room for me to start improving things for us, but do you think the community will accept that I’m doing this for the time being?


Oh gosh, I love this question so much because it deals with a whole lot of really big things that are also really hard things.

When it comes to ABA, you are right. You have to get through the class in order to make the changes you want to make. Without, you are excluded from the positions of power that allow you to affect the most change.

So take the course. Don’t just take it though, excel in it. Be the best student you know how to be. Ask questions - not to be subversive or discredit the practice - but to learn everything about it that you can. It is perfectly valid to learn the ins and outs of ABA so that you can undermine it.

It is so exceptionally important that the people who have been abused by ABA are the people that lead to fight against ABA. But having working knowledge of the practice from the other side is another important aspect of that fight.

Pathos and ethos are equally important in that each has a role in affecting the people around us. Some people are going to be swayed by the emotionally charged appeals of those who have suffered abuse, while others are going to be swayed by the appeal to authority. Those of us who have been through ABA are the emotion, those of us who learn it are the authority.

When you put those two together, you have the most universally convincing argument possible. I wish we could just take people at their word, but I’m also a realist, and recognize that in the world we live in, we need both voices.

Even so, there are ways that you can be subversive while also attending the classes. Let’s take person first and identity first language, for example. Most people are going to push for person first. You can say that you prefer to use autistic, which is the standard used by the self-advocacy groups like ASAN.

If anyone calls you on it, you have two routes: 1.) state that APA guidelines allow for identity first language or that 2.) if they would like you would be happy to provide a citation for the use of identity language. In fact, it is not exactly uncommon in academic publications that use identity language to see a citation for a study on the need for identity first language. I suggest adding one of the common citations for that into MS Word so you can insert it easily in your preferred (presumably APA) formating.

You can also reframe questions in ways that don’t make accusations but do get other students thinking. Instead of saying, “ABA causes PTSD,” for example, you can ask a questions like, “I read that some people that went through ABA were later diagnosed with PTSD. Obviously ABA does what it is supposed to, but how do I address parents’ concerns about harmful effects? Are there any studies you can recommend regarding long term effects?”

I have yet to have anyone do anything other than blow that question off, but honestly? That’s all you need to start changing the minds of people who are open to change.

Keep yourself educated on studies in other types of therapy. CBT has proven effective, and so has putting the parents through “Awareness” training (put another way, ABA to make the parents understand autistic perspectives). Seek things studies out, and if you have the opportunity use them. Have to write a paper on ABA? Rather than frame it as ABA is bad, frame it as self-advocacy groups have pushed back against ABA, do their arguments have any merit? Cite long term studies on ABA or the lack thereof, and frame it as, “if the advocacy groups are ever going to be onboard, these studies need to be done to address these concerns.”

This, btw, is pretty much how I handle all of my psych classes. Rather than assault the institution directly, I ask questions that I know are loaded or unanswered and leave it at, “it seems prudent to address these concerns.” This is especially important with ABA because while it is awful for many reasons, it is effective. Like, it does what it claims it does. So don’t even try, at least not in that setting. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be subversive even as you toe the line.

As for the whole Asperger thing, I wouldn’t personally do it because I’m that girl who would dare someone to turn me down on the basis of my autism, but I absolutely do believe that when you’re dealing with the hierarchy of stigma it is okay to call yourself an aspie or an HFA.

The simple reality of it is that people who want to work in that field are a dime a dozen. There just is not a shortage of people. In order to Change the World from the inside, you have to play by their rules, at least for a little bit. If you don’t, they will just ignore you.

Put another way, respectability politics of any kind is bullshit. But I have no problem at all playing respectability politics to subvert an institution.

There’s a theme in all of this that I want you to consider: You are using their tools against them. That is so, so, powerful when fighting for marginalized individuals, and there is nothing wrong with it. It is and always has been the primary strategy of subversives throughout history, for good or bad.

I have a lot more thoughts on this, but this is already long so I’m going to call it here. Keep your eye on the long fight. Let those of us who can fight the now fight. We need both.

Hitched (1/10)

a Captain Swan AU fan fiction

Summary:  After a series of events leave her life in pieces, Emma Swan finds herself hitchhiking out of Maine, her wallet empty and her heart broken. The best she hopes for is a driver who isn’t a pervert and takes her far away from the painful memories of Storeybrooke. But when she finds a ride with a quiet truck driver named Jones, Emma discovers that maybe a trustworthy friend is all she needs.

Rating: M or MA; some profanity and sex scenes.


Cover art: created by the absolutely fabulous @thesschesthair!!

Links: ff.net // ao3 // ch. 2 // ch. 3 // ch. 4 // ch. 5 // ch. 6 // ch. 7 // ch. 8 // ch. 9 // ch. 10 // epilogue

(also @teamhook, who really wants to read this ^^)


CHAPTER ONE

The southbound on-ramp seemed to beckon to her, stretching wide and flat up the small hill until it crested on a small incline, leading to the highway.  Emma gnawed her lip, torn. She didn’t know whether it was legal to hitchhike on highways in Maine—it was definitely illegal in some other states—but even if it was, the alternative was trekking back to the truck stop in Bangor and trying to con someone there into giving her a ride.

And if I did, I’d end up using my boobs to do it, she thought bitterly. She gritted her teeth, suddenly filled with determination, and strode forward toward the ramp.

Chilly wind whistled from beneath the underpass, and she reached up to pull her tuque lower, snugging it around her ears. Then taking a deep breath, she extended her arm and put up her thumb.

“Anyone but a trucker,” she muttered. “Come on.”

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You Fall Hard by Thomas Hawk