Journal Entries (May 15-21, 2012)

Tuesday, May 15th–I woke at 1pm, exhausted, got ready, and headed south and east.

I arrived at the school a little early, managed to get a passing student to let me in, then made a beeline for the restroom, where I pissed like a horse. Then I paced back and forth in the commons area between the cafeteria and one of the many courtyards, listening to music, gobbling down little chocolate doughnuts, and marveling at the sight of a low-flying airplane as it was making its final descent into the nearby Austin Airport. On the other side of the room, a little teenaged Hispanic girl dressed as a dancer was squirming and wheeling around on the balls of her feet, giggling gossip to her fey male friend, who had shoulder-length hair and a peach-fuzz starter moustache.

The classroom was freezing. I was finally issued a mouse, which helped matters with the laptop somewhat. For some reason, possibly due to the lack of a computer network, I was unable to upload and use certain lesson materials the instructor e-mailed me. That, along with the cold, and a too-long-delayed break, frustrated me greatly.

I was given a ride over to Braker Lane, over by the MAP Clinic, by a fellow student, Josie, and though I had a long wait for the bus, I was in a good mood. Once back in my neighborhood, I went to HEB and bought too many groceries, which made for a painful walk home. I was exhausted once I got home, walked Belle, put all my groceries up, and sat down.

I finally finished Graham Greene’s charming “Our Man In Havana.” I think I’ll have to read more of his works now.

Wednesday, May 16th–I woke exhausted and stayed that way the rest of the day. I got ready, walked a mile, rode on buses for two hours, walked one-hundred feet, went to class, got a ride most of the way home, stood at a bus stop for five minutes, caught a bus, rode for maybe fifteen minutes, grabbed a stack of free newspapers, and walked another mile home. And yet I’m as sore as if someone had been beating me all over my body with a baseball bat.

I took my camera with me to class this evening and took photos all over that section of the school to which we adult computer students are confined. During my first trip to the restroom, a group of small, Hispanic teenaged boys came in, looking rather dangerous and none of them speaking English. I was sure they’d try to gang up on me and steal my camera. I got the distinct impression they resented me being on their turf. But I kept to myself, looked mostly at the ground or off into the distance, and we had no problems.

Towards the end of class some of my fellow students suggested we have a party tomorrow and all bring a covered dish. This bothered me, but I kept my objections to myself. First, I hate enforced socialization in any form. Second, I don’t really cook. Third, if I bought something from the store, it’d take away from my dwindling Food Stamp funds, which have to last three more weeks.

My fellow student, Josie, dropped me off at the Braker Lane MAP Clinic, and because the bus was running late, I caught it a mere five minutes later! I was home walking Belle within about twenty minutes!

I should mention that when I got home I stopped first to check my mail. Now you know how much I enjoy the suffering of idiots. There is this one asshole in my apartment complex who has a ridiculously over-sized pick-up truck, with four doors, and which protrudes several feet in front and back. It won’t fit in a normal parking spot.

If this stupid cocksucker parks in front of a sidewalk, you can’t walk on said sidewalk, because his goddamn front end hangs over it. I have been inconvenienced by this huge truck several times. Why anyone would need a truck this large for private use is beyond me.

Anyone with common sense would realize that if your vehicle is too large to fit in your home parking space you either need to move somewhere else, or get a smaller vehicle. But apparently this hasn’t occurred to this ignorant son of a bitch. In fact, in recent days, this guy has taken to parking over by the mailboxes, at an angle, no less, taking over two parking spots, and with one tire up on the curb.

The truck was in this position when I came home tonight. A much smaller SUV had just managed to squeeze into what was left of the other parking spot to the right of the truck. I saw the truck’s owner strut out. He was probably in his thirties, probably an ex-high school jock with a chip on his shoulder and a pecker shrunken to the size of a Vienna sausage by steroid abuse (hence the need for a big truck to prove his manhood).

I turned back to my mail box and soon heard the sickening sound of metal and fiberglass crunching. I made no attempt to suppress my gleeful smile. I looked back around just in time to see the truck pull into the driveway and shake off the SUV with which it had just been entangled. The SUV fell back into its original position and shuddered on its under-pinnings.

The driver got out of the truck and ran over to inspect the SUV, and after a few seconds, ran to the right side of his truck. He passed his fat, stubby fingers over the body and said, “Fuck…FUCK!… FUUUUCCCKKK!!!” My smile widened.

I walked away, and noticed, coming up on my left, a blonde woman who did not look at all happy. At first I hoped she was the owner of the SUV and was going to rip the truck owner a new asshole, but she had a sharp, lantern jaw, a hairstyle that was easily twenty-five years out of date, and an overall white trashiness about that led me to conclude she was Truck Boy’s significant other.

The next time I saw the truck it was parked under a parking shelter, out of which it greatly was protruding. There was a large dent in the right side.

I was very tired that night, and just managed to start Martin Amis’s “Money,” but I went to bed around 4am or so, in hopes of getting a decent night’s sleep for a change.

Thursday, May 17th–I got a full night of sleep, but still could’ve used more. I got up, ready, and out okay, and stopped by Randall’s for stuff to nibble on, as well as a bag of Chips-A-Hoy cookies for the class party.

Once aboard the bus my misanthropy was in full flower. I was looking around, at the bus driver, a bench, a wino, a newspaper honor box, a secretary, an empty Coke bottle, a lawyer, and a street sign, and they all seemed the same to me–just objects–collections of atoms and molecules with different shapes and colors, but none more or less important than the other.

I took in a good last look at the far end of the East Side and the high school.

We were given an end-of-class survey to do, and I got very stressed out when the instructor began a review before I had time to finish the survey, as I don’t do multi-tasking well.

After the review we were sent our final project, and then we took our break and had our little party. Even the store-bought guacamole dip was damn good. One of the women really went all out. She made a delicious Mexican rice dessert, with just the right touch of sweetness and cinnamon. It was still warm from cooking and served in little cups. She also brought strawberry yogurt topped with strawberry slices, and also served in little cups.

I finished eating and went on to the final project, but got very stressed out and made a lot of mistakes, because the student assistants in the classroom were talking and chattering and I found the noise terribly distracting. I was so stressed out I was forgetting things, and even after e-mailing my work to the instructor, I wasn’t sure if I’d done it correctly. Still, I got to leave almost an hour early.

Classmate Deborah and her husband drove me home, and we mostly talked about Catholic matters and the classes this non-profit offers.

After getting home I started a tutorial for Microsoft Office Publisher 2010, and got about two-thirds of the way through it.

Friday, May 18th–I slept until after 4pm today. Belle tried several times to wake me. I had a dream about riding a college shuttle bus at a school where many of the students had a tradition of going to class naked one day every month. This worked out better in the dream than it would in real life, since in real life, most people are ugly and have unattractive bodies, and in my dreams ugly people are usually weeded out.

I puttered, blogged, and finally finished my tutorial about Microsoft Office Publisher 2010.

Saturday, May 19th–I tried to sleep for as long as I could. The construction workers kept knocking away at something. I thought at first they were finally tearing off my balcony, but they weren’t making enough noise for that. I kept falling back to sleep. I finally woke after 4pm when Belle started baying at the workmen outside the living room window.

It turns out today’s construction project was in fact the nailing up of new rain gutters, now that there have been several huge rain storms that have caused stains and leaks all over my living room ceiling and walls.

I took Belle out several times, and scanned the books I need to return to the library Monday. That took a long time.

I finally finished Charles Bukowski’s “The People Look Like Flowers At Last.”

Sunday, May 20–Well, crap….

I got a message that they over-booked the MS Access class I signed up for weeks and weeks ago. They said I could come down Monday evening and hang out, in case a seat frees up, but there’s no guarantee. If I don’t take Part I this week, I obviously can’t take Part II in two weeks, and they aren’t offering any more advanced courses until the Fall.

So I may just go down there an hour early and bluster and bully my way in. Generally people don’t like provoking angry-looking fat guys. And I have to go downtown anyway to go to the library, so the trip won’t be a total loss either way.

I spent the evening puttering, posting things online, and generally not doing much of anything. I seem to be getting post-nasal drip, which always means there’s a cold on the way.

Monday, May 21st–I got up, ready, and downtown okay, dropped off some books at the library and checked out others, then put in an early appearance at [Tek Skilz] to ensure I had a seat for the Access class. (They’d over-booked, with twice as many students signed up as they had seats and computers available.) I didn’t want to wait until the Fall to take the course, so I just took my favorite seat, turned on my I-Pod, and let the other students and instructors hash out who should stay and who should go, while I busied myself online.

For about the first hour of the course I was sitting next to some disgusting slob who, contrary to the posted rules, was eating and drinking almost constantly at his computer. I have heard dogs snort, grunt, gurgle, burble, belch, smack, munch, fizz, spew, and spit over their food less than this guy. He was revolting. But he kept getting phone messages and suddenly had to leave.

My instructor is a folksy State employee–a nice, friendly guy–though he makes his points a little too quickly and switches from one step to the next in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it manner I found frustrating. He also mispronounces “data” as “DAH-tuh,” rather than “DAY-tuh,” so while I’m frantically looking between my notes, my computer screen in front of me, and the Power Point presentation behind me, I’m also muttering the correct pronunciation of “data” under my breath, and since the words “data” and “database” come up often in a discussion of Microsoft Access, I had to do a lot of talking.

One of the students I am almost certain is also a State employee. In both clothing and hairstyle he’s still stuck in the 70s. I see this often in State employees–perhaps the refusal to catch up with the times makes these sort of people well-suited for hide-bound bureaucracies.

But the strangest thing about this guy is the way he talks. It sounds as if he doesn’t open his mouth much when he does it. His accent is a cross between that of Droopy the cartoon dog, and an Old Western prospector–albeit one who’s chewing on a rather tough piece of meat. I often hear him and wonder “What the fuck is he saying?,” but don’t want to bother turning around and looking at the mother-fucker.


I think I’ve seen it all now. Tonight a man, maybe sixty years of age, boarded the bus and sat in the back near me. He had a droopy moustache, tattoos all over his arms and shoulders, was wearing sunglasses, a wife-beater T-shirt, and khakis, and was carrying a cane, a backpack, and a plastic bag full of toilet paper and unshucked ears of corn.

He fumbled around in his backpack and produced an empty plastic bottle, then began shifting his weight around uncomfortably. He then whipped out his penis and with difficulty began to fill the bottle with urine. In all the filthy, disgusting years I’ve been a passenger on Capital Metro, I think this is the first time anyone has violated the unwritten “no genitalia” rule–at least in my presence.

That the bus stopped and took on more passengers, one of whom came down the aisle and sat opposite him, did in no way affect what he was doing. I had the good manners to turn my attention to a stack of sketches I had with me until he finished his business.

Afterwards, the man replaced the top to the bottle, and stuck the bottle into his backpack. Thirty seconds later he fished out what I hope was a duplicate bottle, this one half-filled with a golden liquid that may have been–must have been–apple juice or sports drink, and took a long guzzle on the contents.

The shocking thing to me was not so much that people have started eliminating their bodily wastes on board the bus, but that I was so relatively unfazed by it happening.

At home I started on an Access tutorial and W. G. Sebald’s “On The Natural History of Destruction,” but my illness (post-nasal drip, exhaustion, and allergies) made me so tired I retired at the early hour–for me–of 2am, after taking an allergy pill that I knew would knock me out.


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