Wild goose chase

My son is on social assistance, not disability, so he has to live on $600 a month which is impossible in Vancouer. His welfare cheque is direct deposited. But it hasn’t come in this month.

He phones the office. He’s told he has forgotten to submit the stub. He’s told to pick up the cheque from the office which is near Metrotown. He buses out there and then he’s told that it’s been mailed out instead.

He buses back to his friend’s where he is couch-surfing. The friend reminds him that his ‘official’ address is at a friend of a friend’s place in Burnaby. Because his couch-surfing friend lives in a subsidized co-op he can’t receive extra money or he will lose the subsidy. So my son has to cheat the system and say he lives with a friend in Metrotown. That’s where the cheque is.

Next day he asks me to help him out. We drive out to Burnaby. But he doesn’t have her address. He doesn’t have her phone number. So we drive around the area hoping it’ll trigger his memory from when he was at a party there. Then he remembers the name of the street. We drive up and down looking for something familiar.

He phones his friend but then his phone dies. He uses my phone. His friend is sleeping off a night shift.

He tries one house, knocks, no answer. Then tries the house next door. No answer. As he turns back someone comes out of the garage. It’s her!

No cheque has arrived. Only a notice to say a stub was not submitted.

Back to the welfare office. I’m waiting in the car for over an hour. The check will be ready for pick up tomorrow. So tomorrow another trip out to Metrotown.

This is what he is like. He is unable to do simple tasks even when his life depends on it. Everything about him is chaotic. His mind is scrambled eggs. The problem is that other than his Kurt Cobain scraggly hairstyle he presents too well. He dresses fairly well. He’s eloquent. Looks capable. So it doesn’t appear that he needs help.

In reality, what he needs is someone to shadow him – 24/7.

I was the shadow for him all those years when he was a kid. We lived in his chaos. All of us always dealing with him and his inability to manage. It was so frustrating.

But I could only be his part time shadow because I also had a full time job, a commute, ran the house, made all the meals, shopped, and had homestay students to make ends meet financially. Is it any wonder we didn’t cope.

How can I help him today while he transitions into adulthood. When I let him back he not only lies to me but he is disruptive. His sleep cycles become opposite ours. His dramas are tiring when we see that he never improves himself. He never seems to take our advice. Eventually he loses it. Meltdown. Whoever is nearby suffers the wrath. Throwing stuff at us. Foot or fist through wall or door. Breaking things. Very scary.

But he’s family. How does one push the chickadee out of the nest when you know he can’t fly.

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