Journal Entries (May 22-31, 2012)

Tuesday, May 22nd–I slept about twelve hours, though I woke sore and exhausted. Coffee didn’t really revive me. I’d been awakened repeatedly by the need to piss, by my inability to breathe, by the sensation I was choking, by the fact that though I had the “smart thermostat” set at 69 degrees, the mother-fucker won’t blow cold during the daytime.

I got ready, went by Randall’s for my snacks, and caught the bus a little after 4pm. Naturally, it only went a few blocks–just enough for me to settle comfortably into my seat–when we pulled up to the end of the route and were told to disembark and get on the bus parked ahead of us, the driver of which was still having his lay-over break. I fucking hate when that happens, and it happens altogether too often.

At any rate, I began Paul Strathern’s “D. H. Lawrence in 90 Minutes,” confident it would take me much longer than that to finish it. I got downtown with little time to spare.

Many of my classmates were having trouble with their computers, so we really didn’t have a lesson for the first hour, while the instructor was trying to attend to that. My computer was working well, so I piddled, twiddled my thumbs, and looked at various websites. There was a bit of a discussion from 7 to 7:30, a break from 7:30 to 7:50, and after that the instructor began to lecture in earnest. In the last half-hour or so he got off on some geeky, esoteric topics, and I couldn’t understand what the fuck he was saying. As is true of all topics presented in these computer classes, I asked myself, will I ever need to know this fact or use this skill in a job?

He prated, prattled, and babbled for so long he didn’t let us out early enough, so I go up to leave on my own accord (something he said he was okay with last night). I just had trotted out the front door when I saw my bus pass by down at the end of the block. I yelled, “SHIT!,” just as a confused-looking young couple approached me, asking directions to the Violet Crown Cinema, and I instantly switched into genial tour guide mode and told them.

I went to the bus stop and returned to my book for the twenty-two or so minutes I had to wait for the next bus.

There were some interesting people on board tonight. There was a group of skateboarders. One told of how his brother had stolen his brand-new skateboard, and within an hour of doing so, had broken it: “I beat his ass. I didn’t put him in the hospital, but I beat his ass like only a brother could.”

I have no brothers exactly. Well, I have nine step- and half-siblings, five of whom are males. But none of them are the children of my mother, none of them were raised with me, and one half-brother may not even know I exist.

So, as I said, I have no brothers.

At the School for the Blind a sighted man got on board. He was the very image of Vincent Van Gogh.

At one point a black homeless man boarded carrying all sorts of bags–a huge Columbia blue duffel bag, an overstuffed gym bag/Naval-style duffel bag, a smaller backpack that was falling apart and was wrapped up in plastic bags, and possibly other crap as well. Though it was well into the 90s and very humid out, he was wearing an insulated winter coat and insulated winter pants. On his feet he wore flip-flops.

He had the hood pulled up over his head, and the draw-strings for the hood pulled tightly and tied, so that his face and mouth were completely covered, except for a small portion of his nose, moustache, and glasses. His hands were wrapped in masking tape.

His bags took up three seats, while he personally occupied a fourth.

He began sneezing, over and over again. I pressed my book to my face to avoid infection–I was sick enough as it was.

As is often the case with people who take a long amount of time and trouble to board a bus, he only rode a short distance.

I got home, continued to feel sick, and finished Strathern’s “D. H. Lawrence in 90 Minutes.” I retired around 4am.

Wednesday, May 23rd–I got up around 1:30pm, still congested and thirsty. I headed off without much difficulty, though I almost turned back for home, when, at the bus stop, I saw an ambulance and fire truck turn towards my apartment complex.

At UT a group of Middle Eastern students boarded the bus. I’d seen them before–they have their own soccer team. They consisted mostly of pretty boys, though, like attractive girls, they had two fat friends along with them for comic relief. I was tempted to ask if they were studying at UT to become catamites. Then I remembered “Colonel Gentleman” on “The Venture Brothers,” with his Moroccan fuck-boy “Kiki,” and I started laughing so hard at this that I began choking.

Class was for a time confusing. The creepy, overly-friendly guy sat next to me again, tried and failed to make conversation, even tapped my shoulder when I got an answer right, but he also kept making his low, gurgling, sotto voce observations into his phone. He disappeared after the break.

During the break I went outside, hoping that would cause others not to consider approaching me for a chat. I eventually kinda/sorta understood the evening’s project, finished it about fifteen minutes ahead of everybody else, went to the bathroom, then slipped out five minutes before class was to end, catching my bus just in time.

Old Man Golden Showers boarded at UT and sat directly behind me, but I don’t know if he did a repeat performance tonight.

I began reading D. H. Lawrence’s “Mornings in Mexico,” did some tutorials, and took an allergy pill and some cough suppressant (the latter three years past its expiration date) before bed.

Thursday, May 24th–I woke an hour before my alarm, pissed, and still managed to get back to sleep one more hour! When I finally did get up I was tired, of course, but I didn’t have as much crap in my lungs and throat as I did yesterday.

I took Belle out, and just as we stepped outside, two white trash meth head types stopped in their tracks and looked at us as if I’d caught them doing something illegal. They were carrying cheap plastic window screens. I walked Belle, then once I got back inside, one of these guys pushed a ladder to my front window, popped his head up, slashed my window screen with a knife, ripped the screen and its frame out, and put in a replacement.

The new, piece-of-shit plastic screen is so dark it shuts out a great deal of light, and I wasn’t even able to see Belle’s face in the window when I left for my class.

I was in an okay mood, glad to be done with at least the first half of this tiresome Microsoft Access class, and looking forward to ten days of vacation–if you can call passing time with no money and little food a vacation.

At the bus stop I saw an old wino who looked a great deal like Umberto Eco.

And again, I had to switch buses just a few blocks after boarding.

At some point downtown a slumping woman got on board. Her body was not proudly erect with fat, but rather had the saggy quality of a stack of deflated inner tubes. She de-boarded within two blocks.

Despite a downtown traffic jam that made the day feel more like a Friday, I got to class on time. That creepy guy was back, sitting next to me, trying to be buddy-buddy. For some reason, I could not find the work I saved from last night, and he kept offering suggestions in his creepy, annoying, barely understandable, rumbly, burbling voice, despite the fact that with my body language and sharp tone I was trying to make it clear I did not want his help or input.

Eventually the instructor helped me, and we were given an assignment for the first hour of class. As usual, they turned off the goddamn lights, so it was all but impossible for me to see what I was typing. People got up and started helping their classmates, making a hell of a lot of noise, which in turn made me very upset and nervous. The racket stressed me out terribly, and I kept making mistakes, and it took me several tries to finish the assignment, though I got the impression I finished well ahead of everyone else.

At the break I went outside and avoided everybody again.

During the last hour, the instructor got very drunk on the sound of his own voice and just rambled on and on. It became clear he wasn’t going to wrap things up in time (just as he, and most of the other instructors, tend to drone on and make us late for our breaks).

At 8:53pm, I got up and grabbed my attendance certificate. He noticed, and commented that he’d wanted to make a big production of handing them out. But still, my act managed to snap him out of his trance and at least make an effort to wrap things up. I had already shut things down and packed things up a few minutes before, and I shot out the door while he was still going into the final lap of his presentation. I didn’t have time to go piss. But I did catch the bus on time.

The ride home was uneventful.

I gave myself a haircut tonight over the bathroom sink. I now look like a fat version of Audrey Tautou in “Amelie,” albeit with a moustache.

Friday, May 25th–I slept until the late afternoon, but was awakened by Belle yelping in pain, as she tried to pass overly-hardened stool onto a newspaper. You see, several months ago, I started buying her bones from the meat market section of HEB. I’d warm one up in the oven for an hour, let it cool, then let her gnaw on it.

But the problem was I was letting her chew up too much of the bone and marrow. It was going into her digestive system and producing hard, dry, rock-like stool that she had trouble passing. So I stopped giving her the bones.

The other night, however, I was out of chew treats, so I warmed up a bone, let her chew it for a little while, then put it away. I did the same thing the next night. But apparently last night she chewed too much of it, because it wound up hurting her. So I’d better just get rid of the bones completely. I don’t want to hurt my baby.

I went across the street and got dog food and treats for Belle, as well as toilet paper and a few food items for myself, though not enough stuff for snacking. I’m almost out of all of my money in all of my accounts, and my Food Stamp payment isn’t until the 7th.

Later on in the evening I did some posting to my blog, did some more Access tutorials, then read in Lawrence and Sebald before bed around 8am or so.

Saturday, May 26th–I slept late, made some posts, and did some tutorials–though I’m really having trouble catching on to this Access stuff. I really hope I never have to use it for a job. Belle’s pooping is more or less back to normal. I read more in Lawrence and Sebald in bed.

Sunday, May 27th–I slept in and basically did a repeat of yesterday.

The new screens on my windows make me feel as if I’m living inside a dirty aquarium. It perpetually looks as if a rain storm is approaching.

Monday, May 28th–Memorial Day. I hate holidays, partially because everything shuts down, and no one is available when you try to contact them.

While walking Belle I noticed that the apartment once occupied by those geeks is now empty. Just about every night there’d be a gathering there of at least half-a-dozen guys of various races, generally misshapen appearance, an overall air of social awkwardness, and ranging in age between mid-twenties to late-thirties. There’d always be a couple of them having a smoke break on the balcony.

I thought at first it was a cult or something, but then I noticed that activity and attention seemed to focus around a huge TV in the bedroom. I gathered they were playing video games or watching anime or something like that. These gatherings lasted until late in the night.

I finally finished my Access tutorials, though I didn’t understand much from Lessons 8 to 14 of the 15. I’ll have to go over them again sometime.

I had a long IM discussion with James about my career problems, that really didn’t resolve anything. I went to bed, read in Lawrence and Sebald, and probably went to sleep around noon.

Tuesday, May 29th–It was after 9pm when I finally got up. I continued my discussion with James, waited on Belle, posted some pieces, then twiddled my thumbs when my Internet connection went down.

I also had a scare at one point: I’d had to shut down my computer and reboot, and after I did so I found the lengthy document upon which I had been pasting links and articles and such-like, was now totally blank. I felt sick to my stomach, but was eventually able to recover an earlier saved version of it.

The Texas Primary was held today, but I didn’t bother voting. Obama lost my vote when he came out in favor of Michael Vick, and the other Democrats running for President are the sort of oddballs that usually run on third party tickets–the kind that don’t look like they could even win a local school board race. And I don’t intend to ever vote for a goddamn Republican ever again.

Wednesday, May 30th–I stayed up well into the day. I got the news that a High Court in Britain ruled against the plan to turn Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s home, Undershaw, into condos. I was so surprised and overjoyed by the news I burst into tears.

Later on I had an IM chat with [Paddy] about the [Tek Skilz] thing, and he seemed to imply they’ll make a job for me or find one. (Never mind that I don’t want to work for them.) I explained my various issues and objections, and predictably he shrugged them off, saying I should just take any job I can get. (Where have I heard that line before?)

Well, regardless, I plan to just schedule an interview with one of [Tek Skilz]’s “Workforce” guys, and go in there and lay it all out on the line with him: my likes, dislikes, what I want and don’t want, my psychological problems vis-a-vis work, my goals, and all of that. I want to know what I need to do to get where I want to go. If he tries to offer me a job either with his office or somebody else, and if said job doesn’t suit me, I’ll either turn him down or sabotage the interview somehow.

I did some reading and retired after noon.

Thursday, May 31st–I woke after 10pm Wednesday. I puttered and posted. The day was pretty much a repeat of the one before.

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