I had been searching and applying for jobs online since February and had only been to maybe four interviews in that time. Two were for desk positions and two were for cashiering positions at fast food businesses near my house. At a certain point about two months ago I started to apply at any and all businesses near to my home in hopes that I could at least get a part time job close by to make even a little money.
Ideally, I wanted a job sitting at a desk that was low stress and rather than get hired at a position such as that, I was hired at the local Del Taco near my house. Which apparently was just what I needed! I have been working there part time for a month now and the staff and management are truly fantastic there and have really helped me feel at home. I do struggle with a few negative aspects of the job which are the fact that it’s very hot working at such a fast pace and that I must stand for my entire shift apart from my breaks. The sweating doesn’t bother me all that much since it’s sort of a cleansing thing and so it’s not all bad so long as I stay hydrated. It’s the foot pain that has been bothering me the most. I did buy myself some insoles for my slip resistant shoes last week and so I am hopeful that it will ease some of my pain. Sadly foot problems run in my family so I think no matter what I do, I will have issues with this job in that department.
I am still applying for a few desk positions near my home mainly because I would prefer making more money at a job where I am sitting down all day and also I have some experience in the field. However, I have not heard back from any of these applications in over a month and a half and so I think it is in my best interest to stick with the current job I have and just work with what I have been given.
I am still waiting to hear back from Social Security on when I might be getting another hearing for my disability case, but at this point I am not too hopeful that I will ever be approved. I do only have seizures maybe once or twice a month now and so I feel like things have been much improved in a sense. Still though, it would be nice to not have to worry about my financial burden I have acquired while waiting for my benefits to kick in. I will keep this updated as things go along. Until then, be well friends.
These are my little windows looking in at all the artisans at Knott’s Berry Farm altogether for everyone to share and see.
Greetings fellow Knott’s Berry Farm lovers! My name is Sarah Mason, Buena Park resident and longtime lover, annual passholder, seasonal employee to the Knott’s Amusement Park. Not only did I grow up in Buena Park, but I also grew up in Knott’s somewhat. My parents made sure that we had annual passes growing up and so Knott’s was like a second HUGE backyard for myself and my sisters.
I would like to share with you a very intimate and close up look into the world of the artisans that inhabit Knott’s Berry Farm during the holidays as well as during the Boysenberry Festival. Since 2016 I have been employed by the crafters and artisans inside the Ghost Town area of Knott’s to help sell goods and promote sales of products. I have worked for upwards of over 8 different vendors throughout the seasons. In this somewhat lengthy article I will show you what I have learned about being a friend as well as employee to these wonderful heart-warming folks and how we have all grown together as a family over these few years.
First of all, I would like to introduce you to the lovely and very girlish woman they call Maria. Since 1996, for nearly 23 years, she has stolen all our hearts with all her bows, tutus and best of all her boysenberry pie hats. Her and her mother Edwina have been a part of the Christmas Craft Village in Ghost Town since 1996. Miss Doolittle’s Cottage is full of handmade creations which make every girl feel she is a princess! Handmade goodies of all kinds including tutus, hair bows, crochet hats, headbands, hair accessories, and wooden garden decor.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Boysenberry Pie Hats
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 1996; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2013
In the Historic Silver Jewelry booth, you’ll find Adam who has been designing historic silver jewelry since approximately 1996 and has made over 1,520 custom designs for jewelry including customized wedding ring sets for couples. He works with Museum Replica Jewelry creating rubber molds and other artisans poor the metals to create the jewelry. His designs include celtic knots, celtic runes, dragons, fairies, owls, and much more.*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Boysenberry Stone Pendants and RingsChristmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 1996; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 1996
Chances are if you’ve seen dragons or other creatures of many colors, then you’ve entered The Dragon Flame Shop and met Nitha. Creator of sand filled creations such as dragons, lizards, snakes, bunnies, unicorns and more! Nitha is also the creator of high quality and durable sewn handbags, drawstring backpacks, and totes starring sports teams, popular characters, and much more. Nitha was previously a post office employee who retired and turned into a gifted artisan who found her love of dragons shown in her flame print fabrics, sand filled dragons and other animals. Founded circa 1998.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Dragons
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 1998; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2015
A Cute Little Shoppe & Unique Birdhouses have been run by Pam and Fred for almost 20 years have been creating crafts for the Knott’s Berry Farm Christmas Crafts Village and the Boysenberry Festival. ALL of the gifts in their store are handmade by them and they take pride in offering beautiful, customizable gifts at affordable prices. You’ll be sure to find something there that you can’t find anywhere else! Among these crafts are birdhouses made by Fred, Pam’s yard signs for Christmas in the winter and Easter in the Spring, ornaments, signs, suncatchers, and many more items.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Birdhouses & Yard Signs
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2000; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2001
Wolf Den Emporium is owned by Keith and Gabby Smith and their daughters Megan and Katie run and operate Wolf Den Emporium, which at Knott’s Berry Farm is known for their personalized stainless steel rings which they stamp almost anything into for guests. They also create leather wrapped steins and other leather products. While not at Knott’s Berry Farm, the Emporium appears at Renaissance Faires across the country creating leather goods and costumes. The Smith Family has been creating these items since 1998.
Home Baked Beanies is operated by Tracey and her daughters and together they create handmade crocheted beanies and other items. All Tracey’s life she has been creating many items including their famous reindeer hat and elf hat for the holidays. They now make boysenberry pie hats, tarts, and much more for the Festival. They are mainly known for their lovely scented hats which come in the scents of cupcakes and boysenberries.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Pie Hats, Reindeer Hats, and Kitty Cat Hats
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2010; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2015
The Glass Gal Christina has been creating works of art from glass for quite some time. She has achieved such a high level of works that she now takes up residency in the old Glass Blower’s Shop as a full time artisan in Ghost Town. She also still creates a great deal of accessories including her classic item you can always find in stock her guitar pick earrings.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Blown Glass Pendant Necklaces
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2011; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2015
Stony Forest Gems was thought up by Rebecca who specializes in crafting natural stone jewelry for today’s gemstone and rock lovers that are interested in beautiful jewelry and the healing energies provided by each piece. Her pieces include stone, crystal and glass. Founded circa 2013 after being retired in 2009, Miss Kitty’s Soaps referred Becky to Knott’s so she could sell her wonderful healing stones to theme park guests. Becky has been making jewelry for approximately 15 years.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Wire Wrapped Pieces
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2011; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2016
Country Craftin’ is a both family owned and run local handmade goods shop based in the Oak Hills area. Everything the family creates is handcrafted or refurbished and given their creative spin. Choose from their wide selection of jewelry, signs, accessories, holiday decorations, decor or customize your own signs and more.
Udderly Natural Goat Milk Body Products is a small family run business in Southern California which grew from a 4-H project from 20 years ago into a family business. We use the milk from our herd of registered Alpine and Oberhasli dairy goats to handcraft a wide range of soaps and lotions. We utilize all natural ingredients to make our products as wholesome as possible for our family and yours. At Udderly Natural they handcraft goat milk body products including: soap, lotion, whipped body butter, face and body cream, lip balm and laundry soap.
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2011; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2011
Daffodil Gems Soaps owned by Miriam who handcrafts all her products with natural ingredients including shea butter, cocoa butter, and extra virgin olive oil to name a few. Her soaps have absolutely no animal products and no detergents. Thus making soaps great for your skin, also as your party favors. Daffodil Gems can help you make your event even more special as all party favors are customized for you. As all soap is handmade no two batches are ever alike. Founded circa 2011, Miriam has been crafting her soaps for 15 years and quit her day job in 2015 to pursue her artisan career.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Lip Balms(most popularly her boysenberry lip balm)
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2013; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2015
De La Luna Designs by Virginia brings Earth to life through design in an expression of individuality and a celebration of life and the journey we travel through. The creative process starts with finding unique materials which are combined together making a functional one of a kind piece of art. This is the art of redesign. The materials range from handbags, wallets, luggage, leather jackets, coats, fabrics and anything else that can be used creatively. Her items feature Selena, Prince, Juan Gabriel, and much more! Virginia started making her creations in March 2006.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Embroidered Jackets
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2013; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2016
Collective Scents by Susiana handcrafts soy candles, body candles, and other natural body products in beautiful scents including soaps, body scrubs, bath bombs, lip balms. Susi also makes fragrance oils for diffusers, wax melts for wax warmers, incense, sage bundles and more. Susi also has candle dipping available most days for those who would like to make their own candles which is super fun for folks of all ages. She has been making her candles and other products since 2014.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Soy Candles
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2014; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2015
Seffira Bead and Beyond by Meiliyani, designer of the fun and fabulous chunky gumball jewelry which is themed with all sorts of popular characters, sports teams, holidays, movie characters, and much more. Mei began designing jewelry for her daughter Seffira at a very young age and now she creates for folks of all ages who see her at Knott’s and other craft fairs since around 2014.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Large Gumball Necklaces with Bling Pendants
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2014, Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2016
Edge of the World Art, starring Rachel Walker’s works of art, showcases that she and her husband are purveyors of things strange, magical and fashionable. She includes gorgeous women, men, mystical beings and creatures and cats in her works of art. Watercolor is her favorite medium and she tends to create works based on her view of the world. Rachel and her husband Dave travel and are exhibitors at multiple venues and conventions across Southern California and even a few out of state. With Spookie her pet cat Rachel and her husband Dave have found that many folks have cats just like her and so she has centered Spookie as the highlight of her show. Using Spookie as the star of her husband’s comic books titled “Spookie the Cat Tells the Future”; Issues #1 which was written in and published in November 2016 and #2 written in June of 2018. Also, Spookie is a fortune telling cat which you can gain a fortune from for just $0.25 from the gumball machines in their booth each show. Founded circa 2011.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: All things “Spookie The Cat”
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2015; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2017
Irma’s Glass by Irma and Al whom create many different styles of jewelry including art glass, gemstones, and more. Al creates geode art with pewter statues which are made by cutting the stone, adding glitter, glaze and pewter statuettes. Irma has been designing jewelry from a young age and has always wanted to provide affordable jewelry for all. Founded circa 2011.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: $5 Earrings
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2016; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2019
Heather’s Confections by Heather, chef and maker of gourmet and premium brittle including over 40 different gourmet brittle flavors as well as fine english toffee. Founded circa 1998 when she starting creating her delicacies. Heather has an interesting story behind how she inherited her family’s recipes for the treats that she creates. Her relatives from London were owners of an “Olde Candy Shoppe” where they perfected their recipe of old english toffee treats which was lost and disappeared for over 45 years. In 1994 Heather inherited her great grandmother’s cottage in the small town of Berkinghamshire and began renovating the property to its original glory when the workers came upon a small metal box including parchment paper with the original recipes of the candies scrawled on them.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Boysenberry Brittle
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2016; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2016
Whimsical Charm by Rosita Arias, designer of a posh line of luxurious baby blankets, baby robes and apparel for families who desire to provide their children with warmth comfort and style. Specializing in luxurious embroidered baby blankets, robes pajamas, onesies and onesie dresses. Rosie also personalizes upon request. Rosie has been designing her blankets since 1999 and started out making them for her friends who were having babies and found out what a hit they were with people and how unique they are. Rosie went to FIDM for Fashion Design and even had a retail store in Redondo Beach at one point, and then attempted to open a Bridal Evening wear business. When neither was successful, she tried her hand in the real estate business, but to no avail. Rosie finally chose to become incorporated in 2011 and did 2 years of research and development via a local church and began selling wholesale to stores on the East Coast. In 2016 she opened a couple of pop up shops in Los Angeles and Huntington Beach.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Embroidered Baby Blankets
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2017; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2017
California Myth by Cecilia Taibo Rahban, created a glamorous new minimalistic line of stainless steel laser engraved pendant necklaces and bar earrings as well as charm bracelets and anklets. Cecilia also is able to make customized pieces off site on her stainless steel pendants. She has been designing jewelry since 2014.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Laser Engraved Pendant Necklaces
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2017; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2017
LGH Ceramics owned by The Martinez Family has created a fun experience at Knott’s Berry Farm where they have brought their ceramic business from the city of Paramount to share with guests in the park. Inside the bottle house you will now find the Martinez family has made a space where folks can come and select a piece of ceramic art and paint it however they want to and take it home that very same day. While this is a fun activity, it also is a way to create memories with your family that will last forever. Visit the Martinez family and create your own masterpiece to take home with you!
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Light Up Christmas Trees
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2017; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2017
Mike Goes Geek by Mike Vasquez, is a booth filled with Freelance Artistry and Illustrations of geeky things. He’s worked on many great licenses including Adventure Time, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, The Walking Dead, Lady Death and so much more! Mike often attends conventions to sell his art which includes comics, sketch cards, prints and stickers. He has dreams of becoming some sort of art studio director or an art gallery director. He also would like to continue his education in the arts to further expand his knowledge in the field he loves. Private art commissions are welcomed as are professional projects. Founded circa 2011.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Character Stickers
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2017; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2019
Jerked Out Jerky owned by Ed and Tina, have been making beef jerky with many flavors of beef jerky, peanuts, pistachios and Mexican candy including mango, gummy worms, sour patch kids and gummy bears. Tina quit her day job 2 years ago to pursue managing the jerky business. Founded circa 2012 when Ed made some jerky for friends and they encouraged him to make a business from it. So far they have been a big success! Ed and Tina have been feeding everyone jerky since 2012.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Carolina Reaper Beef Jerky and Boysenberry Flavored Nuts
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2018; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2019
Flores Honey by Juan and Claudia Flores, provide the best products from the hive to you! Honey, Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly, Body Balm! 100% Pure local honey. The Flores’ have bee colonies in Brea, Temecula, and the Lake Arrowhead area. Founded in 2018.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Boysenberry honey!
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2018; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2019
The Purple Monkey by Frances Ginty whom was taught from a young age to recycle jewelry, glass, shells, and other items and to make something beautiful from them. She uses glass and other mediums to create new images such as crosses, Christmas trees, mermaids, dolphins and other works of art.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Glass Crosses
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2018, Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2019
The Crafty Soaps by Julie Love whom creates natural handmade products with all natural ingredients including soaps, bath salts, loofah soaps and body butters. Julie originally went to a school to learn about skin care and wanted to create a skin friendly all natural product line. Julie has been making soaps for about 3 years and has been selling her products at Knott’s since 2014.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Loofah Soaps
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2018; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2018
Global Fashion Mission owned by Malyneath Vong is a creator of a line of upcycled products which are made by using cement bags, manure bags and fish food bags to create new items such as totes, backpacks, purses, wallets and more. GFM advocates for the economic growth of economically challenged people and only partner with suppliers by, observing recognized fair trade standards. Global Fashion Mission donates 10% of our profits towards the abolishment of Human Trafficking and other social critical causes. All items are Fair Trade & Up-Cycled products.
*SPOTLIGHT PRODUCT*: Elephant Tote Bag (once was a cement bag)
Unity Stamp Company by Marah Johnson is an artist who uses baby spoons and other antique silverware to create rings, pendants, keys and more to create customized pieces that are fashionable and have meaning.
Christmas’ at Knott’s Berry Farm: Since 2018; Boysenberry Festivals: Since 2019
Renegade Carving Company run and operated by Jamie and Lisa Doeren in which the pair both create monuments and sculptures using chainsaws and many other tools in wood, stone, ice, clay, and metal. Jamie has over 27 years of experience in sculpture, he is most well known for his chainsaw art and has been perfecting his skill, since he first started experimenting with a chainsaw in 1989. He has authored 2 books on chainsaw carving – “Chainsaw Carving a Bear – A Complete Step-By-Step Guide” in 2003 and “Chainsaw Carving an Eagle” with Dennis Roghair in 2004; and has even been credited with the creation of the United Chainsaw Carver’s Guild in 2002. Lisa Doeren has been carving full time for a few years and was introduced to chainsaw carving by Jamie, but it was another female chainsaw carver that convinced her to pick up a saw and give her her first lesson. In June of 2014 Lisa quit her corporate job to pursue her new passion. Founded circa 2014 as “Sculpture by Doeren / Big Bear Carving Company”, which has now been converted to the Renegade Carving Company.
Thank you to all my friends and family at Knott’s Berry Farm for helping me put this together for you all. I dedicate each and every bit of my work here to you all. I love you and look forward to many more years of being a part of the Artisan world that you all make up. Most especially I would like to thank my closest of friends Becky, Miriam and Rachel and Dave for pushing me to always be awesome. Love ya’ll!
So I have decided to start writing a book. A first I hope of many books. This first one will be all about me and my bull shit life and issues and obstacles I’ve had to overcome in my life. I’m so mad at myself for not having written an actual book by now. It’s time for a severe change in my life.
I’ve always dreamed I would write stories for young adults that were fantastical, but maybe I was meant to write for persons like myself regardless of age. I’m not sure just yet but I’m just going to go for it and let the world have whatever comes out of me. I feel like it’s fucking time to let it all out without any constraints. What I thought was supposed to be, maybe wasn’t meant to be at all.
Well maybe I needed to reach this point in my life where I’m sick of everyone’s bullshit and I just want to put all my own bullshit out there for everyone to see and be honest with the world. My life is messed up and I should share it and be proud of how fucking far I have come.
I have been raped, assaulted and just lied to and cheated all around and I’m sick of it all. It’s time I show the world who fucking made it out alive. I’m alive mother fuckers, so suck on that!
Well I did the thing. I finally came to the conclusion that I am incapable of being my own representative. I was unable to gain disability benefits for myself and so now that an administrative law judge has gone and denied me of my disability benefits after 3 long years of waiting, I have taken it upon myself to hire legal representation. And yes, I now know that it is necessary and I probably should have done so from the beginning.
It is really sad that a being, meaning such as myself, should be unable to convince another being that one is disabled. I have considered myself a disabled person now for a few years since my seizures first began back in May of 2013 and the fact that in all this time I have not been able to gain disability benefits in all that amount of time on my own is just mind blowing. I mean I do realize that it may have to do with the fact that because I am a disabled person that all this work just doesn’t measure up to what a person whom is not disabled is capable of and so I get that hiring a lawyer is essential in most cases. However, I thought that me, an educated women of now 30 years old would be able to obtain these benefits all on my own. I was wrong.
The interview process for hiring a lawyer was generally easy. I simply described to the lawyer that was referred to me by Steven Hicklin, a friend from the LGBT Center of Orange County who helps out with the Name Change and Gender Marker Change Clinic there, what my disabilities were and where I am currently at in the process of filing a case for benefits with the Federal Government and Social Security. Upon hearing my case, the lawyer did have some fairly good news for me. Though hard to hear the timeline, I would hopefully be able to receive my benefits after some time. this was like music to my ears.
And so, I signed the contract and we will move forward through this process from now on. I just need the help of my friends at this point. If you would like to aid me in my quest for obtaining disability benefits from Social Security, please send me an email at email@example.com. Thanks for listening.
To celebrate nearly 20,000 post hits on my blog, I wanted to write about something that maybe isn’t often talked about in the way it should be. Sure, lots and lots of people are obsessed with what’s between a trans guy’s legs, and what ‘they do with it’, but that doesn’t help those lucky folk who happen to find themselves in bed with a trans man.
To be honest, you don’t really need to read further than number 1). Everything else I have to say comes back to that. The other thing to remember is that, as in everything in life, we are all different, and what is true for one trans guy will be the complete opposite for another. Just be aware of those differences, and refer back to number 1).
1) Talk to your man. Ask him about his body, and how he relates to it sexually. Find…
It sucks. Let me tell you. Especially now that I am in the process of applying for Disability. I still have seizures, and I still have panic attacks. I am mega stressed out because I have no income anymore. I was on state disability for a year(year 2017), but it barely kept me afloat with the bills that I have to take care of. I have also been trying to keep up with my small jewelry business, but even that is hard. You have to spend money to make money. I don’t care who you are, that is a fact. Got a new job? Need to buy a uniform of sorts. Want to start a business? Gotta buy supplies. And when you’re chronic depression is constantly knocking at your door, well, you don’t want to get out of bed. You want to pull your covers over your head and hide there forever.
Well, right now, I’ve been waiting to see about meeting with a judge that works with Social Security Disability on whether or not I qualify for benefits and I’ve been waiting over a year now. So, naturally I have been constantly scraping up any cash I can from stuff I have lying around. I had a garage sale. I sold some electronics I had that I hadn’t been using. I sold some TVs that no one in my household had been using anymore. And now I’ve been scrolling through local job postings on Indeed and LinkedIn. And yep, that makes me even more anxious and freaked out about how poor I am right now. With just a few dollars in my bank account, I post as often as I can on my social media about my jewelry to try to gain some online sales attention, but even that doesn’t bring me much income.
I truly do not want to have to work again. I feel that the stress from being managed by some crazy bitch will just freak me out as it did in my last few jobs over that last like 5 years. Then again, who knows how it would really go. I am always assuming the worst and not reaching out to try something new. I did apply for like 15 jobs a few months ago and had a few interviews. But those did not pan out. I have also been working part time over at Knott’s Berry Farm over the last 2 years trying to make a little income from the craft vendors, but even that was stressful with the long hours some of them gave me. I really love the environment I was working in, but sometimes just knowing I had to have a smile plastered on my face at all times was exhausting enough. Anything for the guests!
Their are many things that are dragging down my want and need to get a job. Mainly though I simply cannot imagine being back in the workforce after not having a regular paying job after being out of it for 2 years now. Doing some small shifts of volunteer work at my local LGBT Center has been great, but even getting there and being present for that little job was a struggle for me. Mentally, emotionally and at times physically it was draining. I would have to prepare my head for having to be ready for any persons coming in searching for aid, emotionally prepared for at times mean and cruel phone calls from persons who would call to harass someone with hate and ignorance, and then physically I would have to drag myself out of bed and wait for sometimes an hour for my ride to pick me up with OCTA Access to take me to the Center in Santa Ana. My health just wasn’t up to doing it all anymore. Not being able to get up and get myself over to a job for just 4 hours a week… just makes me so sad.
So now, I am attempting to intern with one of the Service Coordinators at the LGBT Center OC so I can simply just have little tasks to assist with, rather than dealing with every little phone call and doorbell ring that the front desk would have waiting for me on Thursday mornings. And so, I will be working with the Transgender Services Coordinator for now, to try and assist her with anything she may need. Trans*Pride OC is coming up in just a few weeks so I totally am on board with helping in any way I possibly can.
If I haven’t already made it super clear, I don’t drive any longer. I take public transportation, and to be perfectly honest, it’s not all that big of a deal. I used to really hate it due to the fact that it takes away some of my independence, but I have come to embrace it somewhat and some days I find I even enjoy the rides. The Orange County Transportation Authority has been kind of sketchy to most people and at first I’ll admit I was a skeptic about riding the public buses around town. Now that I have been from the northernmost parts of Orange County down to the beach and back and forth a bunch of times, I find that it’s not all that terrible. Some days I am able to focus on audio books even or watch a video or two on YouTube, but for the most part I just listen to my music and watch Orange County go by.
Of course what goes along with riding on the OCTA buses is everyone else who needs to use public transportation. These persons range from anyone who is unable to drive like myself, to senior citizens who are too fragile to drive, to handicapped persons in wheelchairs, to young people getting to school, to homeless folks going to the local shelter or even persons who are on the way to work. The spectrum of people who ride is so wide, it blows my mind. I have seen so many different types of people coming and going from place to place and it makes me wonder all the places they are coming and going to and I wonder what they’re lives are like, and families, and all sorts of things. This is people watching at its finest folks.
I also take advantage of my access to OCTA’s Access program. This is for persons such as myself who may need assistance while riding in public transport. I had to go in and interview for such a privilege as this because I have a seizure disorder and at times, may need help getting from point “A” to point “B” as it were. Lucky me, I have this “Dial-A-Ride” service at my service now and so I take advantage of it when I am in need. If I otherwise might have to take 2 to 3 buses to get across Orange County, the Access bus will be able to take me directly from one point to the next in one go. It’s amazing and the drivers are truly wonderful people from what I have seen. Some of them have been working for the OCTA for years and some only a few months. So many different lovely persons who are able to drive around persons such as myself with special or specific needs in transportation and they are well skilled in making sure we are safe throughout our rides. The Access buses are able to carry multiple wheelchairs at a time as well as persons like myself that are “ambulatory” as they call it and are able to get around on their own. I am truly blessed to be able to have this service when I need it. Annnnnd it only costs me $3.60 each way. BEAT THAT UBER!
Through the OCTA Access program I have learned also about the Yellow Cab Company having a deal with them since I have been picked up and driven by many a cab driver over the past few years. Some of them are Indian yes, but some of them are immigrants from other places, while others yet are simply people from the states trying to make a living. One man I recall meeting while in his cab was from Ethiopia and I somehow began asking about his life as I tend to do if alone in a vehicle with my driver. He told me that he used to own his own business in his country and that he had a family there too. When I asked if they came to the United States with him, he began to tear up. I apologized for prying and he said it was alright, just that no one had asked him about them in so long. He told me that in his country, they took his business from him when the government went under and they killed his family in the war and that he left to come here to live a new life and make money. He told me about his wife and children and how he missed them very much but that he is doing his best now to be successful without them. I thanked him kindly for sharing his story with me and for being my driver that day. The following day he was my driver once again, and when he picked me up I could see the obvious glee that he felt that I would be his passenger. During this second trip with him, he spoke about things he loved to do and his goals with his business and things that we had in common. It was a whole new day and to be perfectly clear, I made a friend and I know that when I ride in a Yellow Cab, not to judge anyone who drives me based on anything I see, but to get to know the driver and who is making sure I get where I am supposed to be safely.
Each time I meet a driver I try my best to be the best passenger I can. By doing so, I make every trip I take much more fun and a pleasant time for my driver as well. I also try to be pleasant to anyone else I meet on the public buses, Access buses and yellow cabs. You never know who you will be crossing paths with, and it is best to be on your best behavior. At least that has done me some good thus far!