Part V of the multi-part post from Summer 2007.

Part V

Saturday the 29th was a waste. Sunday I tried to clean the living room, with little result, then had a big crying jag. After two months of treatment and one month of medication I don’t feel one iota better than I did back in July. Monday, October 1st was more work bullshit. Still, I had to stay late, so I managed to dodge the bullet of seeing that fat gal on the bus.

Tuesday I took a break from the groups to attend to other errands. I had over 10,000 frequent flyer miles from the Paris trip and I had to generate some kind of activity with American Airlines in order for the hours to roll over for another 18 months. Someone had suggested I donate some miles to re-unite military families, but I’ve not been feeling too charitable towards the military, or indeed any branch of the government, for some time now. Several Basset charities suggested I buy a ticket that could be used any time, then donate it to them, to be auctioned off at a fund-raiser. But I didn’t have enough miles to buy a ticket for free, and I didn’t have any money to throw into the pot.

American Airlines had suggested I get some magazine subscriptions, but I don’t need any more fucking magazines in this house, and anyway, they didn’t offer the kind of magazines that I read. They suggested I get a hotel/dining package, but there’s no point doing that with no money.

So I wound up donating 500 miles to help sick kids who need to fly somewhere for medical treatment.

Wednesday—skip it.

Wait a minute—there was an odd incident that day.

After work, I got my Slurpee and headed for the bus stop. There was a pretty good crowd there, and I began to pace furiously back and forth, as has been my habit all my life whenever I’ve gotten impatient. After I’d drank about one-third of the Slurpee I looked up and saw a boy—maybe 13 or 14—pacing around as well, practically imitating all my moves.

Then I continued to pace and he followed suit. I finally stopped at a spot on the sidewalk where the building on the other side of the street cast some shade. I propped my hand on my hip and began to peer down the street, looking for the bus. Then I saw the boy had also stopped, and was standing fairly close to me, looking worried. I felt a bit paternal. Would I one day have a son who try to imitate my mannerisms?

I finally turned to my left and said, “Are you okay?” “Umm, yeah.” “I just asked ’cause you seemed upset about something.” “Nah…mmmm….” Then the kid walked off and stood a distance away.

I had no idea what that was about. But I told James that story that night and his theory was the kid probably thought I was a cop.

Thursday the 4th I was on my way to my therapist’s office, crossing a vast, sun-baked parking lot, my headphones on, walking with my eyes completely shut, confident I’d not step into any pot holes or get hit by a car,  listening to a Devendra Banhart song called “Now That I Know.” I giggled because it felt like such a Wes Anderson moment:

Now that I know
The way it goes

You gotta pay back every penny that you owe

Twelve years old
In your mama’s clothes
Shut the blinds and lock up every door

And if you hear
Someone’s comin’ near
Just close your eyes and make them disappear now

Years away
Finds me here today
On my own, always on my way now

So I send my friends
Gifts from where I’ve been
Something for the hand they’re never there to lend

Better keep those eyes
Climbing paradise
And don’t pretend you won’t reach it in the end now

Dearest dear
I know you been here
Why’d you run tell me why’d you disappear now

That you’re not
Here with me
Seems to be the only time that I can see you clearly

I may not know
How to treat or give you what you need
But I am a gentleman who says what he means now

And now I sing
Upon my knees
And praise the kindness of a gentle breeze

I see it swell
Like a story in me to tell
Told years away and past my baby dying

So you raise them up
To heaven always hell
they’re unaware, share, give a hand to help son

Oh you give them away
But they’ll come back to you someday
Wanna know why nobody was ever there to help them

And no it ain’t fair
And if God forbid you care
It’s enough to get you in a whole lotta trouble

Oh realize
It ain’t wise to idealize
Or put your life in the hands of any struggle

Never renounce
Or ever claim to be
And never buy that freedom just ain’t free now

Ella sang
Sifting in the sand
Like a hymn within to help us understand

Heaven awaits
We’re making our stand
Glory bound and sparrow in our hand

(At first I thought the song was just pretty, but after I looked up the lyrics I realized how applicable they are to me.)

Therapy went well, as it always does, though my therapist is focusing on the work/career aspects of my illness, and I had another agenda in mind. It doesn’t matter—I’m in no hurry and we’ll cover everything sooner or later.

In the evening I went to see “Across The Universe,” the Julie Taymor-helmed British-boy/American-girl-versus-the-turbulent-Sixties musical with a Beatles soundtrack and trippy visuals. While I enjoyed it, I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more had my bladder not been so full during much of its 2 ½ hour running time. After the movie I pissed three times before leaving the men’s room.

Then I went home, watched TV, thought about work, and started crying again.

Friday the 5th was pretty typical. I woke up tired, began the day with dread, got to the back door of the store at 8:30am, praying 5:30pm would arrive soon, then slid into boredom for several hours. When the delivery truck finally arrived I leapt into action, slashing open the boxes and piling books on a cart to take up front to price and process. I got very over-heated doing this, and though I kept turning the thermostat down, I could never cool off. My co-workers didn’t notice the heat, but I felt like I was in a kiln.

During the course of the day, some crazy old woman called the store three different times over the space of several hours, and talked to one of my co-workers, then me, then my manager. She muttered jibberish like Boomhauer on “King of the Hill.” We never did figure out what the fuck she wanted from us. Needless to say, I was the least patient with this old bag, and tried to get her to get to the fucking point. The more unintelligible she got, the louder I spoke.

The manager, on the other hand, remained calm with her and seemed bemused by the whole exchange. Afterwards he said that it was crazy incidents like that that made him love working at this store. I shot him an incredulous look and said, “It’s calls like that that make we want to hunt down that old woman and go after her with a pick-axe!”

As the day dragged on, I got irritable, and after being interrupted by customers wanting me to ring them up and the fucking phone ringing off the hook, I was more than a little jangled, and snapped at a co-worker. Not long after that, though, I cracked a joke and slipped into a phase of dullness and exhaustion.

The new part-timer, who I hoped the manager hired to replace me, came up and asked if he could help me with the shipment. I knew if he tried to shelve the books he’d put them out in a manner contrary to how I wanted them and out of order, so I told him to empty the rest of the book boxes and start bringing them up to me, because I was pricing and shelving books at a pretty fast clip and the cart was developing gaps. After that I had him break down empty boxes and take them to the dumpster—a chore I never enjoy. By the end of the day I had single-handedly processed and shelved almost the entire 27-box shipment in about five hours, despite the fact that I was physically drained by the heat and was very sleepy. Oh me, oh my—such proud and productive and useful work for a grown man with two fucking university degrees!

From there I slipped into yet another mood—anger—as some fat bitch and her cue-ball husband dragged ass around the store after we’d announced we were closed and I had very loudly locked the front door, smacked down the “CLOSED” sign, and began heaving a series of very audible sighs. By the time these idiots left I was in such a state I was this close to storming into the office, quitting, and telling the manager to go fuck himself, but I held back, and sank into the dread of the next work day. By the time I was on my bus home, I was on the verge of tears, and during the last leg of my commute I was figuring the logistics of what it would actually take for me to commit myself for a few weeks to a psychiatric hospital.

I was back to garden-variety worry and dread and sadness by the time I got home.

This is my fifth week on the mood-stabilizer Lamictal. At first it made me constantly irritated and irritable in a very concentrated way. And that effect hasn’t changed much.

This is also the end of my first week on my anxiety med Ativan. It calmed me at first, but no more. It does still keep me sleepy, though. I’m pretty fucking mad that these prescriptions are so fucking useless, and will be even more so if they can’t find something that’ll work on me. I meet next Tuesday with a nurse to see how my meds are working out. I expect I’ll have a great deal to tell her.

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