“I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down,” Parts VII, VIII, and IX–(Originally posted in 2007.)

–Part VII–

–Wednesday–11/7/07–This evening my dinner was cooking in the oven. I was sitting at my computer. The TV, radio, and stereo were turned off. Things were absolutely quiet, or so it seemed. I became aware of a sort of rattling. But there was no fan on. My leg wasn’t shaking under the table. My body was making no movements that should cause any object in the house to move.

I stopped typing. I listened closer. I began to perceive the sound of an animal enjoying his dinner, or more specifically, a dog eating a bowl full of dry dog food. But I knew that Fred and the kitty weren’t here anymore. Then I began to focus in on the sound.

It was coming from inside the heating/AC duct that opened out on my living room ceiling. It had to be a rat or mouse. I shone a flashlight up in the hole and the noise stopped. Then I left a message with the apartment maintenance crew. But no telling when I’ll hear that sound again, or when or if the maintenance guys will do anything about it. I just don’t want to see a rat fall out of the ceiling into my lap, or find one munching inside one of my kitchen cabinets.  But I suppose living right next to the woods it should be no surprise that there are wood rats here.

Now I love animals way, way more than I do people. Mankind has fucked things up so much that I would love to give Planet Earth back to the animals and zap the human race into a well-deserved oblivion. But I am thoroughly creeped out by rats. I used to find wood rats the size of house cats doing the polka along the ceiling beams of our store house in Conroe, but before I could go get a .22, the damn things would run away.

[NOTE: This was all before I went vegetarian. If I saw a rat now I’d probably just run the other way.]

In Kirkley Hall, my old dorm at Sam Houston State, during finals week in Fall 1985, Brent, a friend with paramilitary tendencies, trapped a rat in his closet. There was a great hullabaloo as several of us ran down the hall to see what was up. Doug, my friend and RA, insisted that there couldn’t be a rat in the dorm.  The rat jumped from there onto the desk, grabbed onto a cord for the Venetian blinds, swung over to the top of the refrigerator, jumped to the floor, ran through Doug’s legs, and scampered across the room, where Brent attacked the rat with a broomstick. But I took out a semester’s worth of rage and frustration on the poor creature, not only killing him, but breaking off bits of his skull and teeth into the tightly-woven carpet, and splitting my Louisville Slugger in the process.

Doug was eventually promoted to Hall Director, and in August 1989, after I’d spent part of the summer camped out in his spare room, I figured the least I could do for him, to repay him for his kindness before I left Huntsville for good, was help him move from Belvin-Buchanan Dorm into his spacious three-bedroom Hall Director’s apartment at White Hall. I stuck around a few days to help him unpack, and one night saw a huge rat running across his kitchen bar. I’m not ashamed to say I screamed like a woman. But Doug didn’t turn around fast enough, and didn’t believe I’d actually seen a rat, or at least, he found no evidence of a rat being in his kitchen.

A month passed. I moved to Conroe, then Austin. And I heard from Doug.

It seems a few nights after I’d left another rat made an appearance. Doug called the Maintenance Department and they sent a few guys over to investigate. They found some tell-tale holes.

Then somebody got a hunch.

Doug’s apartment was one floor above the old White Hall cafeteria, which had been closed for several years.

Doug and the maintenance men went downstairs, unlocked a door to the cafeteria, and found the floor “alive—swarming, swimming with thousands of rats. It was like waves of grey and black all over that floor,” as Doug put it. It seems when the University closed the cafeteria nobody bothered to get rid of the excess food that was in storage. Doug told me it was a massive operation for the exterminators to kill all those rats, and the whole place stank for weeks.

I forget what the final tally of rats was. I think somebody calculated how many years the cafeteria had been closed with how many litters rats can produce in that many years, and came up with an astounding figure.

And I said, “Well, you’d think by now you’d believe me when I say I’ve seen a rat.”

–Thursday–11/8/07–A busy day. On the way downtown on the bus a young woman told me all her problems—lack of housing and health care and so forth, and I gave her the names of four agencies she could go to to get those things.

At my second bus stop an off-duty bus driver came up and started talking about his love life, how that now he’s in his 50s he thinks he’s too old to bother with most womens’ bullshit. Then during the last third of the ride he held forth on religion and how important it was to get right with God. The conversation was actually more interesting than I’ve made it sound.

While I was on the second bus on my way to see my case worker in East Austin, some dumb yuppie bitch turned the wrong way on a one-way street, almost getting broadsided by the bus and two cars. Then to a chorus of car horns she makes an awkward U-Turn the right way, but only gets into the lane at a 90 degree angle. And then and only then did she condescend to put down her cell phone to concentrate on the fucking road.

My meeting with my case worker was to last from 11 to 11:30am, but it ran until 12:37, after which we rushed out to her car and she sped me over to my therapist’s appointment with just a few minutes to spare.

My case worker talked to me about a job-training program, but concluded it would probably be too simplistic for me. She gathered it was for people with no career skills whatsoever, who aspired to, at best, a position at Goodwill or in the custodial arts. We also discussed my getting on disability, yet again.

Before my meeting with my case worker really got started we discussed our tastes in music, and I gave the rather cliched answer that I like a little of everything. Then she said, “You know, a lot of times when I’m racing around town in the mornings I like to turn over to KUT and listen to a show called ‘Eklektikos,’ hosted by a guy named John Aielli. Are you familiar with it?”

Boy, am I. She had no idea how much I hate that prissy, pedantic jackass.

I have long had a love/hate relationship with KUT. Sometimes they play the coolest music I can imagine, and other times they annoy the bejesus out of me. A few years back they had a DJ who had absolutely no business being in broadcasting—he had a weak, quavering voice that made him sound constantly on the verge of a stroke. Just listening to him made me feel I was breaking into a palsy.

When I had that graveyard shift job, after I’d pretty much played all my CDs so often I was sick of them, I often had my radio turned to KUT. The late night jock sometimes played stuff I enjoyed, but then he’d get on kicks where he played shit that annoyed me, which included the likes of Lucinda Williams (who, as I’ve written before, has an annoying habit of repeating one line over and fucking over in her songs), Brett Dennen (who sounds like Droopy the Dog), and quite a few over-rated local Austin acts (that “crying-in-mah-whiskey-glass” shit gets real old real fast). One night we had serious rain storms and this guy played rain themed songs for at least 75% of the show—a very lazy DJ practice, or proof the DJ knows how to Google song titles—take your pick.

Now I loathe morning radio. Radio is generally shit between 6 to 9 or 10am. I cannot understand what sort of mind would actually enjoy listening to the inane babbling of DJs instead of music. (Sadly, when I was in Paris I discovered they have silly radio morning drive-time shows there too.)

But when I go off for my regular outings to the therapist, to group therapy, to see my case worker, or to attend to all the bureaucratic bullshit attached to my treatment, I always take my portable radio with me, and I enjoy flipping between the channels. Aielli is on from 9 to noon, and God help me, sometimes he plays stuff I enjoy.

But the high price I have to pay is enduring his annoying fucking mannerisms. He is always smacking his lips and popping his consonants into his mike. And he is the King of Dead Air. If you’re listening to Austin FM radio on a weekday morning and turn the dial down towards the far right and hear prolonged silence, you can bet it’s Aielli.

And I have never experienced anyone—yes, even myself included—who is so self-involved, so thoroughly impressed with himself, so single-mindedly set on entertaining himself and only himself. It’s masturbation over the airwaves.

He’ll babble for ten fucking minutes about the weather, then rattle on about his garden, and whatever sorts of caterpillars are making nests in the trees this season, before plugging his blog—which must be unbearable in its smugness—I’ve never attempted to read it. Then he’ll play a piece of Peruvian flute music, then smack his lips, go “Mmmm” a lot, then conclude that the piece reminds him of, say, Rosemary Clooney singing “Harbor Lights” or some fucking far-fetched thing like that, and will spend the next half-hour playing every version of “Harbor Lights” he can find in the KUT library.

He’s also one of these types—you know the kind I mean—who feigns an ignorance of certain aspects of pop culture, in an attempt to show off his supposed intellectual superiority: “What’s a ‘Paris Hilton’?… Is that a hotel?…Mmmm…Smack smack…Could that be a reference to Paris in Homer’s ‘Iliad’?…You know the 19th century American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens named his son Homer…Mmmm…Bill Murray named his eldest son Homer…Smack smack…If you ever saw the film ‘Broken Flowers,’ directed by Jim Jarmsuch…and if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend you rent it immediately…It’s sooo good…One of the best films of 2005, if you ask me…Mmmm…Well, if you did see the movie—I’m not giving away the ending here, but  remember at the end when Bill Murray is standing in the street and a car goes by and a young man looks at Murray?…Mmmm… Well, that’s Bill Murray’s actual son, Homer….Smack smack…Mmmm…Well, anyway, Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the man who designed the old $20 gold pieces, the kind FDR removed from circulation during the Depression…Mmmm…The $20 gold piece was the one with the double eagle on it…There was a march called ‘Under the Double Eagle’ written by Josef Wagner…No relation to composer Richard Wagner, though…Mmmm…Smack smack…Saint-Gaudens was also a friend of the architect Stanford White, who designed the original Madison Square Garden, and was later murdered there…Mmmm…You may remember that Stanford White was played in the movie ‘Ragtime’ by Norman Mailer…Smack smack smack…So when I heard the other night that Norman Mailer died I put ‘Ragtime’ on my DVD player again, and I thought Mailer was actually quite good, though he really didn’t have that many lines, which was a shame…Mmmm…There was another movie about Stanford White…an old one…Oh yes, ‘The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing,’ starring Farley Granger, a very young Joan Collins, long before she was on ‘Dynasty,’ and Ray Milland as Stanford White…Smack smack…I don’t remember much about it…I watched it on the late night movie back in the ’70s…But since Stanford White was such a big womanizer I thought it was fitting they cast Norman Mailer to play White in ‘Ragtime.’…Do any of you remember that TV movie they made of Norman Mailer’s book, ‘The Executioner’s Song,’ about Gary Gilmore?…Mmmm…Well, that starred a very young Tommy Lee Jones as Gary Gilmore. That was long before anybody knew who Tommy Lee Jones was…Smack smack…Long before things like ‘Lonesome Dove’ and ‘The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,’ which, by the way, was also a very good movie. Highly recommended….Mmmm…Oh, but before that he was also in ‘The Eyes of Laura Mars’ and ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’…And did you know that when he was going to Harvard Tommy Lee Jones roomed with a young Al Gore?…Mmmm…Soooo Webster’s says the name ‘Norman’ comes from the Old German and means ‘northener’…Mmmm…So in tribute to the late Mr. Mailer and all the Normans out there—Norman Rockwell, Norman Lear, Norman Vincent Peale…let’s play a little Norman Greenbaum…’Spirit in the Sky.’”

Honest to fucking God, that is exactly the way that fucker goes on for three hours a day, fifteen hours a week! I just want to reach into the radio and throttle that fucking ponce!

But anyway, these people who pretend not to know of pop culture usually don’t watch TV, and feel that that renunciation makes them superior to others in some way, but to his credit, I think Aielli does at least watch some TV. But he still doesn’t know the difference between Nick Drake and Nick Cave, or for that matter, Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle!

You can tell from his interviews with musicians that he doesn’t really keep current with things, and doesn’t feel it necessary to do any kind of pre-show prep if the interviewee doesn’t vitally interest him. If he’s interviewing a garage rock band he’ll ask the lead singer if he had classical voice training at some point, and while the singer is trying to sputter out an answer Aielli will go into a a long, drawn-out anecdote about his own experiences teaching voice. But most of the time he’s so caught up in his own little prissy, self-involved world he probably doesn’t even notice when he has guests in the studio. I can just imagine the daze he goes around in when he’s not at the station.

(And yes, yes—I will be the first to admit I am more than capable of indulging in pedantic self-absorption and wild tangents, but I think if I was in a position where I was supposed to entertain the public on a regular basis I would at least make an attempt to yank my head out of my asshole.)

But I have digressed, and digressed mightily.

As usual my therapist and I covered a lot of ground, and we also discussed these job-training programs (and after the appointment she called me with information on other programs, though after looking at the websites I’m not so sure they’d be helpful). She did say, however, that I really don’t need to be getting any more stressful jobs, as they are just making my symptoms worse. She suggested I supplement my contract work with something quiet and stress-free, possibly even something boring.

She also asked me to try walking 15 to 30 minutes a day, fast enough to get my heart going. I tried this out in my neighborhood after I got off the bus, by taking the long way home. The hills nearly killed me. I did, however, check by my apartment office and learned that traps had already been set for the rats. I was assured that the rats wouldn’t die in my heating/air conditioning vents and stink my apartment up.

I had a nasty telephone argument with James, wherein he held forth with his usual nonsense, and asked if my care-givers had agreed that everything he’d said about me was right. I screamed obscenities, told him he was being no help at all, and he hung up. And I went to bed about 9pm.

–Friday–11/9/07–I went back to my apartment complex gym for the first time since Fred got sick last year. I got on the treadmill and did some sit-ups. I left sweaty and with my ass thoroughly kicked.

Tonight we had some excitement in [my apartment complex]. A domestic disturbance beef. Three cop cars, then four. One drunk young woman, talking smack and screaming.

–Saturday–11/10/07–Monday–11/12/07–I spent these three days writing the first installment of my latest writing contract job.

–Tuesday–11/13/07–Today’s main project was going across town for a doctor’s appointment. Three hours on the bus all told. And when I got there the doctor had gone off to a meeting and hadn’t bothered to call me and cancel. I met with a nurse, but nothing really productive came of it. When I left the clinic I put on my headphones and the first song I heard on the radio was, appropriately enough, “I Wanna Be Sedated.”

And in keeping with the new tradition, I again heard Wagner on the way down, this time the sublime Prelude and “Liebestod” from “Tristan und Isolde.” The Liebestod, or “Love-Death Theme”–and once you’ve covered love and death, what else is left?–is considered by many to be the best and most accurate musical depiction of sexual ecstasy.

–Part VIII–

–Wednesday–11/14/07–I really wish I could disconnect my doorbell and put up a gate about ten feet in front of my front door so nobody could knock. Today I was awakened by a maintenance man, coming to fix my outdoor AC unit! Why did he have to drag me into it? And anyway, I thought they’d fixed it yesterday. The upside of this is that they’re finally considering replacing my old AC completely. I’ve always had problems with it, especially making annoying scraping metallic noises which are impossible to sleep through. But then again, I can’t think of any apartment I’ve had where the AC or heater worked correctly.

I think this maintenance man is Cuban, because he’s black but speaks with a pronounced Hispanic accent. What drives me up the wall about him is whenever he knocks or rings the bell, he doesn’t give me enough time to get to the door before he does it again, and he whines again and again in this childish voice, “Meeeeeeeen-teeeeeeeeen-neeeeence!!!”

[NOTE: I have since concluded he’s actually Haitian.]

–Thursday–11/15/07–I had to cancel my therapy session due to some explosive diarrhea I got from dollar store beef stew.

–Friday–11/16/07–I made arrangements with a friend of Matt’s who run an employment agency to go in and see her about something part-time. In the evening I watched “Les Mistons” and some documentary on Truffaut, then finished the evening with “South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut,” which I’d not seen since it came out in 1999.

–Saturday–11/17/07–Another quiet day. I went to the grocery store with the last of my money and bought some survival food, totally botched a recipe James suggested for potatoes and onions (making it nauseating and no doubt ultimately diarrhea-inducing), and watched “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.”

–Sunday–11/18/07–I didn’t do much this day. I don’t even think I was awake for very long.

–Monday–11/19/07–I had to get up early, take a bus, then walk quite aways for an appointment. Matt has a friend who runs an employment agency, so I met with her today. She might have me something next week.

On the bus home I saw two real pieces of work. One was a kid wearing his pants sagging so low that not only was his entire boxer-clad ass hanging out of the top, but from the front it was clear his belt buckle was sagging way below penis level. Fucking idiot.

In the seat next to him was a guy with some weird tic—the entire ride, every few seconds he’d abruptly arch his shoulders up high and throw his head back. At first I thought he was just stretching, but after he did it repeatedly I wanted to break his fucking neck with a baseball bat.

Of course, part of the reason I was so irritable was I had over-done it with the warm clothes that morning and as a result was sweating, and every time I sweat or get over-heated I get very angry.

I puttered around the rest of the day, had a little more success with James’s potatoes and onions recipe, then zonked out in my room because I was so tired from my early start. When I got up I had some phone messages and IMs from James, asking if I wanted to go running around. I was sure he’d already done this, that the messages were several hours old, and so I was surprised when he contacted me again to see if I wanted to go. I said yes, then got all excited by the prospect of getting out of the house. Then our call got interrupted by his fucking call-waiting.

I waited and waited and waited, then finally IMed him to see what was up. He was still on the fucking phone. I asked if it was one of his long-winded friends, because he knows this one asshole who calls and yammers on for hours, and James just sits there saying “uh huh” over and over, never considering telling the guy he has other things to do.

The wait just stretched on and on. I was getting very angry, and IMing James to tell this fucker to stop blabbing and say good-bye. James wouldn’t say who was on the phone; I assumed this was because he knows I despise several of his friends.

Finally I called James’s number and just let the phone ring for about five minutes, knowing that my call would trigger the call-waiting and interrupt the conversation. James finally picked up, and said his call had just ended, and now he had to work on something. I asked if he was ready to go, but he insisted he had something to work on. I was screaming by this point.

Then James explained that the long call was from a guy he was working for on a contract assignment. Then the fucker called again and interrupted us and James let me go. When James finally called back I said that had he just explained that it was a work-related call and not just one of his asshole friends blabbing and sitting around smelling his own farts, I would’ve let James alone and waited for him to call me whenever the call was over.

I asked why he didn’t just tell it was a work call, and he said it was none of my business and he was protecting his “privacy.” He came by a little later and my heart was beating fast because I was so fucking mad. I had even taken one of my useless anxiety pills to try and calm down. I said, “Why the fuck are you obsessed with this notion of your privacy? You sit around playing computer games all day and at night either go to lodge meetings or watch movies? Where’s the privacy in that? If you’d just been straight with me I wouldn’t have gotten so angry and been such a pest.”

But I’ve concluded that James derives some perverse pleasure from watching me blow my stack, that merely making me angry is, for some reason, its own reward.

As we were driving around tonight he opined that I needed to learn how to edit again—this coming only a few weeks after he declared, “You’re a good writer, but a superb editor.” What he was carrying on about were my blogs and their length. I said that since no one really reads my blogs anyway I figure I can babble on as much as I wish. I said I needed a forum to express my thoughts and feelings. James admits he doesn’t really read my blogs so much as skim them for perceived libels and violations of his so-called privacy. The blog I’m working on here is at this point already over 14,000 words long and only covers a month of my life; though I’m cutting it up into five pages [typed], I seriously doubt anyone will take the trouble to read them all the way through. So if I have no audience, what’s the point it cutting my work short and holding back on all I want to say?

–Part IX–

–Tuesday–11/20/07–Wednesday–11/21/07–Busy  working on a contract writing job.

–Thursday–11/22/07–Thanksgiving. Am I thankful for anything? Hmm. 1) That I’m not homeless and haven’t lost my beloved possessions; 2) that I no longer work for that fucking store or that fucking OCR scanning place; and 3) that I have contract work coming in. That’s about it. Everything else about this year has been a complete, pointless waste.

This evening I went over to James’s for Thanksgiving dinner and watched “Amadeus” and “Conan the Barbarian.”

On the drive over there James got a call. During it he made noises of shock and sadness and I knew immediately what that meant. Tree and Eric, the friends that had taken in and fallen in love with my kitty, came home last night to find her dead behind a couch, her tongue and face burned. She had bitten into a power cord and been electrocuted. I hope she died instantly. It’s too much to expect she died painlessly.

This news cast a pall over the day. I felt as if all effort was useless—I had tried so hard to save that kitty—from probable death by a busy intersection, from probable death at a kill shelter. I’d found her a good home and she still managed to die horribly.

–Friday–11/23/07–Friday–11/30/07–I stayed busy working on my latest contract assignment. It was for 20 articles, initially due on the 3rd, but on Monday that got moved up to the 30th.

–Tuesday–11/27/07–This evening I put some vegetable oil in a pan, turned on the heat, put on the splatter guard, and went back to my computer. I was planning to fry some potatoes. But after a while I heard a loud “WHOOOOSSSSHHHH,” and realized the oil had caught fire.

I freaked out.

I’ve had a morbid fear of fire for years, which was only strengthened and affirmed after my apartment complex burned in 2004. And here it was again. I was so scared I was about to lose everything important to me.

I had a fire extinguisher, but I was afraid to use it with the pan on the stove, afraid it might blow the fire over to the stuff on the cabinet. It never occurred to me to look for the pan’s lid.

I unlocked my front door. Thanks to the poor design of my apartment, it’s impossible to get out of the kitchen when the front door is open. So I grabbed the flaming pan, rushed it down the entry hall, making grey stains on the walls, ran a few feet into the living room—the flames coming dangerously close to some books and DVDs on a shelf–threw open the door, and chunked the pan and burned splatter guard down onto the concrete stoop. My smoke alarm was beeping loudly and my exhaust fan was working over-time. One of my neighbors came out to see what the fuss was.

I ran back into the kitchen and got out he fire extinguished, but had a hell of a time getting the plastic tie off the safety ring. But when I finally got the thing undone, it just took one spray and the fire was out.

For several hours thereafter I was highly agitated and shaking. I called my mom to ask about how I should treat the burns on my left hand. (This reminded me of the time, a decade ago, I seriously cut my hand with a kitchen knife and called her for first aid advice while blood was gushing everywhere and I felt I was in danger of blacking out. The guests she was entertaining at the time were baffled that I had called.)

I was also worried about typing. I had a lot of work to do, and I couldn’t afford to be side-lined by an injury. Fortunately my left hand was good enough after a couple of hours that I could get back to work.

–Wednesday–11/28/07–Today I met with a doctor for my three-month follow-up on my crazy pills. He suggested I keep the Vistaril on hand if I ever needed a sleeping pill, but to switch to Fluvoxadine for anxiety. He also gave me a prescription for my thyroid medication, which I had run out of.

My case worker had to accompany me downstairs to attend to more bureaucratic matters with the pharmacy. As the elevators doors closed her eyes grew wide and she clutched my elbow:

–This is the first time I’ve been in an elevator since I got stuck in one over the Thanksgiving holidays.

–Yikes.

–Have you ever been stuck in an elevator?

–Not that I recall….But I did get stuck in a toilet stall in the Louvre once.

–Oh, well that’s a much better story.

(My case worker says she enjoys hearing me expound on the events in my past and present because I “organize them into neat little chapters.”)

–Thursday–11/29/07–Today my therapist said that contrary to my observations I have indeed been making great strides in therapy, and she’s pleased by my willingness to take an active part in the process and try out her suggestions, even when they involved doing things outside my comfort zone.

–Friday–11/30/07–I finished my contract assignment and watched “Léolo.”

–Saturday–12/1/07–Why the hell have I started getting all this spam offering me watches? Viagra and penis-enlargement ads I’m used to, but why watches all of a sudden? I seldom see people wear watches anymore, since most people seem to tell time with their cell phones. This is a damned shame, because my watch is in need of repair and I’m always obsessed with he time.

–Sunday–12/2/07–Worked.

–Monday–12/3/07–I started a new assignment and finished 75% today. I also got an e-mail from my friend and former manager Jeremy, telling me he’d be in town tomorrow and wanted to take me to lunch. That was a pleasant surprise.

–Tuesday–12/4/07–Jeremy was in town, so we went to lunch with former co-workers and had quite a jolly time of it.

–Wednesday–12/5/07–I got distracted by an on-line art site and stayed up for hours and hours looking at it, getting no work done. I did, however, buy some much-needed groceries before going to bed.

–Thursday–12/6/07–I reported to my therapist how, apart from my quarrels with James, things are going extremely well, that my freelance/contract work seems to be falling into place, and that I should soon be back on my feet financially if things keep going the way they are now. She was almost beside herself with happiness for me. She was surprised things came together so quickly.

Of course, if the contract job was to dry up everything could revert to shit again just as quickly.

After I got home I stayed up late finishing my assignments.

–Friday–12/7/07–I had to post all my articles and prepare an invoice. Because the articles had so many parts to post, the whole process took at least six hours.

–Saturday–12/8/07–I always like this time of year because 1) the temperature finally suits me (I hate how hot and sunny it is most of the time in Texas), and 2) I get photographic Christmas cards from Basset Hound aficionados from all over the world, people I’ve met on-line. These cards allow me to see the dogs my Basset friends write about all year. I probably get more cards from Basset people in one year than I have from all the non-Basset folks throughout my entire lifetime.

James and I got into another IM quarrel. He was suggesting I do a certain something to tell how many hits I was getting on a site, but he was being vague and talking in that techno-speak he’s so fond of and which he knows I don’t understand. I kept asking him to translate what he was saying into plain, direct English and stop being so deliberately vague, because I was tired of having to type every little question out. Then I repeatedly asked him to call me and explain it and he refused.

I then tried to muddle along and attempt to do what he was suggesting—not that I understood it. I asked if I was to do XYZ, and instead of saying yes or no he said I was framing the question incorrectly. I continued to ask him to translate or call me and he continued to refuse.

Finally I called him and like a stubborn child he let the phone ring and ring, despite the fact his wife and two guests were asleep in the next room. Then he wrote me this high-handed IM: “I am not going to talk to you for the duration of one week….Since you cannot behave within set boundaries I will enforce a greater one.”

Needless to say I flew into a rage that he was being childish, unnecessarily vague, difficult, and condescending, as well as using psycho-babble with me.

–Sunday–12/9/07–Sunday–12/23/07–Despite all the crap that’s gone in recent months and years, especially the crap that I’ve posted in this multi-part piece, things are going superbly right now. The change came at the beginning of this month. I’m actually happy for the first time in years. I am keeping very busy doing writing work that pays better than anything I’ve ever done. And the work is expected to last at least through the end of 2008. And I’m finally making plans for the future.

In our meetings the last few weeks my therapist has been offering some pretty amazing insights on a dream I had. My meds are pretty disappointing; the side effects  include serious dry-mouth that chokes me in my sleep. I don’t know whether the meds are contributing to my good mood or not.

So I guess this is as good a place as any to wrap up this particular long piece.

As to the title of this blog, it comes from an old Negro spiritual. James, my whiny guardian of all things Politically Correct, says that “Negro spiritual” is not the preferred term anymore. (Would he prefer “Person of Color spiritual”? It does seem the PC crowd likes to coin the most unwieldy possible expressions.)

As an aside I should mention that I am vehemently opposed to political correctness. PC seems built on the premise that not offending others is the most important thing we can do, whereas I believe most people deserve a swift kick in the ass and to hell with their supposed “dignity.” It’s high time people stopped taking themselves so fucking seriously.

PC is a huge waste of time, drawing our attention and efforts away from more important political and cultural work. It is politics as window-dressing, which, unfortunately, thanks to most of the politicians of the last few decades—presidents especially— has become the order of the day. (Remember “Mission Accomplished”? I’m sure you do.)

I hate anything that bastardizes and destroys the beauty of my native tongue. James and I have had huge battles over this. Since he has difficulty writing and spelling and using correct grammar, he naturally advocates anything new and trendy, anything that exalts ignorance and vulgarity of expression. (And don’t get me fucking started on camel case.) He suggests if I have such a problem with English changing, or, as he prefers to see it, “evolving,” then I should speak a prescriptive language that really doesn’t change, like French. “Well, maybe I will,” I said.

And let’s not forget how plain silly PC is. In PC a handicapped person is called “differently-abled,” which seems to imply someone who can do something other people can’t do, like for instance, perform auto-fellatio, not someone who can’t do even the basics that most people can do, like, say, walk. I’m not insulting the handicapped here, but again, I think we’re taking everybody way too seriously and going way overboard with handling everyone with kid gloves.  

Anyway, I got the lyrics from negrospirituals.com, so take the issue up with them, not me:

Wish I’s in heaven settin’ down, settin’ down
Wish I’s in heaven settin’ down
O, Mary
O, Martha,
Wish I’s in heaven settin’ down

Wouldn’t get tired no mo’, tired no mo’
Wouldn’t get tired no mo’
O Mary
O Martha
Wouldn’t get tired no mo’

Wouldn’t have nothing to do, nothing to do
Wouldn’t have nothing to do
O Mary
O Martha
Wouldn’t have nothing to do

Try on my long white robe, my long white robe
Try on my long white robe
O Mary
O Martha
Try on my long white robe

Sit at my Jesus’ feet, Jesus’ feet
Sit at my Jesus’ feet
O Mary
O Martha
Sit at my Jesus’ feet

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