Journal Entries for November 2011.


Tuesday, November 1st–

Wednesday, November 2nd–Today was my 48th birthday. While it wasn’t my shittiest birthday of all time, it was pretty high up on the list.

I woke around 2am, and being sick with allergies, couldn’t stay awake, so I took some meds and went back to bed around 4am and slept until about 11:40am, which was way too early to be up, since I wanted to watch movies and it was too bright out for that….

[I received an unpleasant phone message.]

I took Belle for a walk. We passed a second-floor apartment that had a curtain behind the balcony and a cat walking out on the edge of the balcony. Then I heard a woman speaking from behind the curtain. She was the mother of the girl who rented the apartment, and had let the cat escape because she wasn’t paying enough attention to him.

Belle and I walked away and it seems that then the cat jumped off the balcony and disappeared. From a distance I saw that the woman had come downstairs, and like an idiot, had neglected to put on shoes first, and so was walking gingerly over the rocks and broken twigs of the grounds in her bare feet. By the time Belle and I returned the woman had walked all the way around the building with no sign of the cat. She said she was afraid she’d have to call her daughter now and confess what she’d done. I suggested she check out the rocky ravine alongside the building, but said she’d need to put on shoes first. And then I spotted the cat, sitting on a ground floor window ledge, obscured by a bush, and pointed him out to the woman. She was carrying the cat back inside the last I saw of her.

I piddled around the rest of the morning and afternoon, bored and frustrated at being awake in the daytime.

I took Belle out for another walk. I saw this couple walking across the various parking lots here. They went part of the way, then turned back. They saw Belle heading towards them and stopped.

Without speaking the young woman bent over and began petting Belle’s head, then continued with that, her face, ears, neck, etc. She petted Belle more extensively and for a lot longer time than is normal for a stranger. I got the impression she may’ve been unburdening herself of something, like a great loss or grief. Belle just looked up, appreciative and curious, though by no means boisterous. I got the slight uncomfortable sensation I was intruding on an intimate moment.

When the woman finished and straightened back up, I thanked her, and we all went our separate ways. The woman and the man never spoke. But I felt something unusual had just taken place.

I got a bunch of birthday greetings, especially on Facebook, but there were some people I really hoped to hear from who didn’t bother to write.

Eventually I left the house and went to Petsmart to buy treats for Belle. I was annoyed by a loud, clueless customer at the register who didn’t seem to understand something. Then I went to the dollar store for some groceries. I bought too much stuff, and was really weighted down. The clerk guilt-tripped me into chipping in a dollar to buy a cheap Christmas gift for a needy child of a service man, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the store doesn’t just do that as a dodge to make some extra bucks without ever sending the toys.

I then went to Schlotzsky’s for my “lavish birthday dinner,” and goddamned if they hadn’t changed the menu, removing the particular type of pizza I always order. That pissed me off. then they gave me all these goddamn food items to carry without benefit of a tray, along with my bags of groceries. Some clueless, lanky old man was wandering around up front, not paying any attention to where he was going, and got in my way. I got a table, got my food, but had barely started eating when some kid at the next table coughed up phlegm into his napkin. As is almost always the case when I eat out, I left angry, and feeling I’d wasted money on an inadequate meal.

I got home the same way I always do–angry, panicked, and stress-out. Belle’s silliness calmed me down eventually, though.

I never did get around to watching any movies. I was so and achey from the flu-like allergies and kept debating about taking another nap, but before I knew it it was almost time for “TMZ.”

I got too tired and it seemed every time I got ready to do something Belle wanted to go out again. I just want to get this goddamn day out of the way and my sleep schedule back to normal.

Despite all these bad things, several people made nice contributions to my birthday charity–the House of Puddles–which serves elderly Bassets whose owners have either died or become unable to care for them. I’m very happy about that.

Thursday, November 3rd–I’ve grown to despise some of the people I know online almost as much as I do the ones I know in person, and that’s saying a great deal.

I read in Huxley today and slept a lot, due to my illness.

Friday, November 4th–I wasn’t awake much today–my sickness kept driving me to bed. I did read some in Huxley and watched “A Single Man,” as well as “After You’ve Gone” and “Outnumbered.”

Saturday, November 5th–I watched “My Family,” “Outnumbered,” and “Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part I.”

Sunday, November 6th–James sent me lengthy extracts of a report on treating allergies, the gist of which was that I needed to drink lots of water to make up for that that’s been drained out of me by the anti-histamines. The problem’s also been making me sluggish and dizzy. So I started drinking a large mug of water. James and Nyssa took me for a birthday dinner at Opal Divine’s after buying me a new mouse at Fry’s. I confirmed James’s warning that I am becoming seriously agoraphobic. I watched the excellent “Page Eight,” with Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, and Ralph Fiennes.

Monday, November 7th–I decided to skip the Cinematheque tonight. I got a check in the mail several days before I was expecting to get it. I also didn’t recognize the return address, thought it was junk mail, and came close to throwing it away. It’s a good thing I looked into it.

Tuesday, November 8th–I woke earlier than I would have liked. I went to the bank and cashed that check, went to McDonald’s, HEB, voted at Randall’s (on issues I’d not researched), then went to the dollar store, a liquor store, and Petsmart. In that period my moods ranged from contentment to depression and sadness.

I watched “Outnumbered,” “After You’ve Gone,” “My Family,” and “Doctor Who: the End of Time: Part I.” I also watched  my birthday movie, “Patton,” a week late.

Wednesday, November 9th–I got up for awhile, ate and puttered, then went to bed and read in Huxley until I lost the light and began to be bored by an essay of his. then I napped awhile.

I dreamt I woke up in a dark room, possibly to sounds of voices from a hallway or outdoors, and thinking there was someone else sleeping in the other bed nearby. I got up and found myself alone, in a dorm room or possibly a co-op room. So there it was again–my recurring dream where I go back to college.

Apparently my mother had agreed to send me back to college, provided I take some “useful” courses. Maybe I would be doing this without also having to get some crappy job on the side as well. I perked up thinking I might be able to take some fun courses as well.

I puttered around the room, unpacking and moving items. It seemed my mother had sent along a lot of household items and toiletries. Then I realized that I’d unpacked my own stuff and had accidentally moved over and started unpacking stuff belonging to my room-mate. I quickly put his stuff back, revolted by the notion I’d touched something someone else had handled, disgusted that I’d have to again be near another person and his odors.

I had awakened thinking it was the middle of the night, but it was actually close to sunrise. I had a lot of errands to run that day, a schedule to set, classes to sign up for, and so on. Did I get ready and go downstairs and maybe grab breakfast?

I then began to wake up in real life and realize the logistical impossibility of the dream. I couldn’t move back to Huntsville. I’m sure it still has no public transportation and it’s no longer filled with friends willing to drive me around. So getting around, grocery shopping, etc., would be as inconvenient as it was in Bryan/College Station.

I have too many belongings to live in a dorm or co-op, especially with a room-mate. And there’s also Belle to consider.

As I woke up more and more, I felt the layers of the decades pull away until I returned to my present form.
I watched “Sherlock: A Study in Pink.”

Thursday, November 10th–The Mexican laborers who lived in one of the apartments off my landing for about five or so years moved out today. This was a surprise. I’d much prefer to see the last of the sinister drug dealers downstairs, the cranky old woman next door, or the inconsiderate asshole upstairs with the loud stereo and the love for dubstep.

The Mexican guys were always nice, greeted me when we passed outside or on the sidewalk, and never made noise. There were at least three men living there, not counting occasional visits from family members, including the old mamacita who came to cook and clean.

They always dried their laundry out on the rocks of the “moat” in front of the building. But the main thing I’ll remember about them is the time I saw one of them wipe a big glob of snot from his nose, onto his his finger, and thence onto his door jamb. I’ve not touched any of the deck railings since then.

I watched “Sherlock: The Blind Banker.”

Friday, November 11th–I watched “Sherlock: The Great Game.” I finished Aldous Huxley’s charming travel book, “Along the Road,” in the morning.

Saturday, November 12th–I monitored “My Family” and “Outnumbered,” then watched “Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part II,” “Kiss Me, Deadly,” and two episodes of “Nova:” “The Fabric of the Cosmos: The Illusion of Time” and “The Elegant Universe: Einstein’s Dream.”

Sunday, November 13th--After finding out that the Serge Gainsbourg film I’d wanted to see Monday had already fucking left town, I went to the dollar store for snacks and Randall’s for beer, and was in a great state of anxiety and depression, feeling as if I were about to cry. Matters were made worse a few hours later when I settled down to watch some TV shows I really wanted to see and the goddamn TV went out.

Monday, November 14th–I made some copies at the UPS Store, took a bus downtown, returned some books, renewed my library card (a slow, laborious process–or at least the clerk had trouble doing it– which wouldn’t surprise me, as I had trouble with the process when I had her job), renewed a few books, checked out six more, and since I wasn’t up to going to the Cinemathque, I bussed it back home, stopping off at McDonald’s before getting home. Later on, James and Nyssa took me out to dinner at IHOP. I started reading Erle Stanley Gardner’s “The Case of the Fabulous Fake” (or was that last night?) and Hilaire Belloc’s “At The Sign Of The Lion.”

Tuesday, November 15th–Slept, got online, and read.

Wednesday, November 16th–Slept, got online, and read.

Thursday, November 17th–Slept, got online, and read.

Friday, November 18th–Slept, got online, and read. I spilled a drink on my keyboard–the first time I’ve ever done that–and it stopped working a few hours later.

Saturday, November 19th–I watched “Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour” and most of “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

I finished Erle Stanley Gardner’s “The Case of the Fabulous Fake” and started Dorothy Sayers’s “The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club.”

Sunday, November 20th–I read and watched TV and sorted and tossed some newspapers.

Monday, November 21st–I watched TV and re-arranged my living room, or at least some of the boxes.

Tuesday, November 22nd–I woke around 3:27am, and walked Belle just as a rain started. I gave my computer a try and found my keyboard was working again, so I returned to the Internet like a man athirst. Later I went to the dollar store and watched “After You’ve Gone” and “Outnumbered.”

Wednesday, November 23rd–The day was largely uneventful, spent mostly online.

Thursday, November 24th–One of the reasons I hate holidays is they remind me how broke I usually am. Thanksgiving reminds me I should be eating a big, lavish meal, when I usually don’t have the money for one. I used to get at least two Thanksgiving invitations a year, but I didn’t get any this year.

Belle woke me up today, as usual, but this time instead of merely squirming around until I gave her her usual belly rub and full-body scratching, she managed, by means of vigorous burrowing and nudging, to push me off all of my pillows and into a narrow corner of the bed, so she could sprawl across the entire center of the bed in splendour.

I had a grim lunch of macaroni and cheese, spent a few dull hours on the computer and watching TV, and was really congested by my allergies. I went back to bed, read for a few hours, then napped.

I had two weird dreams during my nap this evening. In one I was at a gathering of people who were supposed to be my relatives. I realized one of them was Brad Pitt and I was his cousin. I discovered I was slim and good-looking. We were all getting dressed-up and going to a Hollywood premiere, but for some reason I was wearing a wrinkled black suit.

In the other dream Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland Sanders came back from the dead to promote the release of a posthumous and kitschy collection of his aphorisms called “Colonel Sanders: From Heaven to Anita.” (Anita was presumably his widow, though in real life she’s dead as well and her name was actually Claudia.)

I went to a KFC with a hipster girl, and were sitting in a booth when the Colonel came by. I didn’t get a chance to tell him I once wrote a review (albeit a snarky one) of his autobiography, “Life As I Have Known It Has Been ‘Finger-Lickin’ Good.'” Though I’m a vegetarian he forced me to eat a hamburger and a handful of paper napkins.

I woke up reluctantly and still very tired. Within an hour Matt called to say he was coming by to bring me my traditional Thanksgiving plate, prepared by his mom. We talked awhile on the phone, but didn’t really resolve any of my issues.

Friday, November 25th–

Saturday, November 26th–I went with James and Nyssa to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate our friend Gary’s 40th birthday. James gave me a new keyboard.

Sunday, November 27th–

Monday, November 28th–I finished reading Dorothy Sayers’s delightful “The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club” and began Denton Welch’s “A Voice Through a Cloud.” I tried to watch a “Doctor Who” serial, but the third episode was incomplete and stopped short.

Tuesday, November 29th–I had a nightmare that Belle was missing or that possibly someone had taken her. I was exploring a more luxurious version of our apartment complex, looking for her. I woke up felling very sad, got up to piss, went back to bed, and cried myself to sleep….

I spent the day reading. I took a brief nap. I got most of the monthly checks from my mom, went to the bank, McDonald’s, and HEB, and returned home very upset.

Wednesday, November 30th–[I received more stress-inducing, unpleasant messages. My chances of a decent future and good job are looking more and more grim.]


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