Journal Entries (June 15-21, 2012)

Friday, June 15th–I slept until about 8pm, having some nice dreams that I sadly forgot. Almost as soon as I was up I started worrying about the DARS thing all over again. I don’t want to be forced into a kind of work I can’t or don’t want to do, and intend to quit the program the second I feel I’m being pushed into something against my will. Since this is a State agency, I fear it will be like all the rest–long on rhetoric and red tape and short on results. But we’ll see.

I watched Matt Smith in “Christopher And His Kind,” which was done better than I expected it would be. I spent the morning in bed, reading Greene, McMurtry, and Welch.

Saturday, June 16th–I woke a little before 9pm, and almost immediately began worrying about things–DARS, the way certain people have treated me lately, and so forth. I puttered and tried to add more photos to my Picasa–photos that had been removed recently.

Sunday, June 17th–I spent part of the morning doing computer tutorials.

Around 7:45am I called my mother to wish my step-father a Happy Father’s Day….

Around 10am Belle wanted to go out for a walk. As we were heading back I saw a guy with two dogs–one large, one small. Apparently the guy lives upstairs in my building. We stood fairly near to the entrance to the bridge that connects the parking lot to the building. As the guy and his dogs got closer, the larger dog got upset and Belle started growling back. The guy snarled back at his dog and dragged both dogs upstairs. I followed with Belle, who continued to growl a little bit.

Then the guy surprised me by saying something to the effect, “You know, this keeps happening over and over with our dogs. You ought to do something about it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, our dogs don’t get along, you know our dogs don’t get along, we always seem to walk them at the same time, and yet every time you see us coming you wait right here by the entrance, and instead of giving us a few minutes head-start you walk in right on behind us.”

“Really? I’ve never really noticed that before.”

“I find that very hard to believe. I say that’s bullshit.”

“Honestly, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve really never noticed that before.”

And just before he shut his door he called down to me and called me a bastard.

I was rather shaken. I honestly had no idea what he was talking about and didn’t really recognize his dogs. I barely recognized him. So I don’t know what brought that outburst on.

Had I had a little more time to speak and defend myself I’d have explained that I pay as little attention to the people in this apartment complex as possible, and there’s only three groups of people whose dog walking patterns I’ve noticed: 1) the chubby Aggie and his wife who live two doors down, 2) the skinny gal who lives near the road and has a cat and dog and who may’ve moved by now, and 3) the middle-aged woman who told me about the child rape, and who lives several buildings over and has two yappy dogs. Apart from that, I’ve not really paid attention to anybody else’s dogs.

During a night-time walk with Belle, I saw something small and shining out of the deep darkness in the ravine behind my building. I thought it might be some electric something one of the ignorant workers had left on while working down there, but it also looked rather like the shining eye of an animal. But what kind of animal? And why only one eye? What was down there looking up at us? I didn’t get creeped out until we went on another walk a few hours later and I saw that the light or eye was gone.

Monday, June 18th–I woke a little before midnight.

I made a long post onto my blog. I wonder if anyone will bother to read it….

I got on the Capital Metro website and used the Trip Planner to try to figure which buses to take to this DARS thing Wednesday. I finally finished my Picasa tutorial.

In mid-afternoon I went to bed and read in Greene, McMurtry, and Welch, and retired around 6 or 6:30pm.

Tuesday, June 19th–
I woke a little before midnight on Monday, surprised I’d not slept until at least 3am.

James had called twice yesterday afternoon, presumably wanting to take me out to eat, but he hadn’t given me any advance warning, so I didn’t get the calls in time.

I finished reading Graham Greene’s “A World Of My Own.” While most people, if they remember their dreams at all, tend to dream about having sex with their favorite celebrities, giving a speech before a large crowd while naked, or flying through the air on their own power, Graham Greene’s dreams, judiciously edited from three decades of diaries, read like short stories or mini-essays, filled with all the amazing people and places he encountered in his long life.

While walking Belle I found someone had left a little bookcase and a little triangular corner cabinet by one of the dumpster. I managed to bring them home while also holding Belle’s leash. But once inside I saw they were too nasty and beyond repair for me, and that made me depressed. I took them back to another dumpster a few hours later.

…………………

Here is a typical day for me, for those who are interested:

I wake whenever, usually due to a combination of a painfully full bladder and Belle wanting attention. I get up, piss, wash my face, and add shorts and shoes to my perpetual uniform of T-shirt, boxers, and white socks, then grab three plastic bags and my keys, bend over, and with great difficulty put Belle into her harness, then take her out for a walk.

Since I am broke, unemployed, have social anxiety, and live in an unbearably hot climate, my walks with Belle are the only times I ever leave my apartment, unless I have to go the the grocery store, the pet store, the library, my computer classes, or an appointment.

After we get back inside–and not a moment too soon for me–I spout obscenities and blasphemies because of my physical discomfort, unharness Belle, and give her a treat so she can stay occupied while I prepare her meal. Once the meal is served she often leaves it untouched for a few minutes or even several hours.

I might grab something to eat. I try to check my computer, usually find it so full of crap popping up, unwanted tests running and slowing me down, and so forth, that I often have to just completely reboot. I check the various outposts of my online empire, especially Facebook, Tumbler, Twitter, my Word Press blog, and possibly my e-mail, as well as the Google news and a few other sites.

I take a shower. I might be lucky enough to drink half a cup of coffee, but usually Belle likes to go out again immediately after my shower, which undoes one of the key reasons I take showers–to wash the filth of the outside world off of me.

It usually takes about three hours of walking, feeding, giving treats, rubbing, scratching, playing with, and cleaning up after Belle before she settles down into a long stretch of napping and I can get onto “work,” which mostly consists of more Internet, writing and editing for my blog, eating, drinking (coffee, Coke, or a no-calorie punch), watching the occasional movie, listening to music, and doing computer tutorials.

If I have the time I’ll get down onto the living room floor or in my bed and read for two or three hours. Belle loves this, and tends to snuggle up against me then. There are at least one or two more walks, then I’ll lead the procession into the bedroom, let her get into the bed and choose a spot first, and I’ll sleep for usually eight to twelve hours.

…………….

Today I mostly farted around on my computer, and didn’t get much learning done. I went to bed in the afternoon, began Jack London’s “The Road,” and read more in McMurtry and Welch, before retiring a little after 7pm.

Wednesday, June 20th–I woke a little before 5am, got ready, and decided to postpone my shower until after I got through running around. I had two cups of coffee before leaving. I got to the bus stop in perfect time and didn’t have a long wait, though the second bus I took was a little late.

I got to the office park where the DARS office was located with no trouble. The office park was labyrinthine, cut up into asymmetrical passages that made no sense. Some of the offices were on ground level, while others were located up about four steps. Jutting into the passages were planters, with brick walls about three feet off the ground, which added to the lab-rat-in-a-maze effect.

Unlike many agencies, this one had pleasant and clean, if boring, offices. They didn’t stink, and there weren’t boogers wiped on the walls or dried blood on the floor. Still, I had the uncomfortable sensation I was there to apply for some crummy call-center job.

The only strange thing about the place was that since it catered to disabled people, it had automatic doors. So when I opened the front door, it stood open for a full minute. Likewise the men’s room door, which made things very awkward the three times I went in there for a desperately-needed piss.

Once I was allowed into the meeting room, I took a seat (the “power seat”–at the end of one table–rather than along the sides), and began filling out a form. One of the questions was “Are you the victim of a natural disaster?” I was tempted to respond, “Does my birth count?”

Here are some notes I took while waiting for the meeting to start:

“Public services tend to treat their patients/clients as ignorant children.

“A [construction] paper chain (pink, black, brown, red, blue) hanging from the ceiling. Blue & silver stars covered with glitter [hanging from the chain]. Attached to these were tags, but I couldn’t read the inscriptions. Motivational posters. Strange doors, automated, stayed open.

“Rather like a tele-marketing job. Low acoustic-tile ceiling. Labyrinthine office park.

“I seem to be one of the best-off persons in here. One guy [whose face was twisted up like a kaiser roll] had trouble remembering his birthday. Another, when asked if he’d survived a natural disaster, said a man had tried to kill him with an axe & destroyed all his personal property.

“Red, white, & blue lettering on Power Pt. like Godard [film] titles.”

…………………

After this, I went to the Little Walnut Creek Library and checked out three books, and to the HEB, where I had a devil of a time picking out something for lunch. All the sandwiches and salads, for instance, had meat in them. I settled on orange juice, crackers with peanut butter, Fritos, and peanut M&Ms. I opted against going back and eating these things at a table in the deli area.

I crossed North Lamar and tried to find the nearest north-bound bus stop. I ate as I walked in the hot sun. I passed El Tacolote, a taco joint I used to patronize when I lived at James and Nyssa’s old place in 2004, but though it still seems to serve food, it seems now to be more of a bar and dance hall than a restaurant.

A bus approached the stop just as I was about to cross the street, and the driver was kind enough to wait on me as I ran/stumbled towards him. I got off at the Chinatown shopping center and explored the southern side of it while finishing my lunch.

I went to the MT Asian Supermarket and was almost knocked down by a strong […] odor in the lobby. I checked my bag, then quickly made the rounds to pick up a few specific items. At the register the cashier told me the bean sprouts I’d selected were no longer any good, and I set them aside and said that was okay, that I’d pass on them and that I didn’t want to go buy others, but when I got outside and was arranging my purchases into my backpack and tote bags, I noticed the sprouts were in one of the bags, and I’d been charged for them. Oh well, I’ll just try to use them in the next 24 hours.

I struggled through the heat, lugging my purchases to the next bus stop. I was very worn out and weak from the heat. I had just crossed the street when I saw the once-an-hour bus pull up, and I said out loud, “Oh, thank you, God!”

I thought I’d get caught in rain on my walk from the last bus stop home, but I wasn’t. The mile-long walk, however, was exhausting, and my arms were shaking by the end of it.

I took Belle out for a walk. A truck pulled up. A guy got out, and walked my way, scowling. I muttered a friendly greeting before I realized it was the asshole from upstairs who’d chewed me out the other day. Yeah, buddy–scowl a little harder next time. Maybe that will make me go away.

I got another fucking note from the apartment management:

“The construction company, Texas Legacy Renovation, will be working on your building for patio repairs today and continue until complete, weather permitting. access to your apartment may be necessary to assess or complete work. Construction work will begin at 8:00AM, Monday through Friday.

“We ask your cooperation for the following:

+Remove all items from your patio or balcony.

+Do not walk on wet concrete.”

This is not too different from the note they left back in fucking March. Since then, I’ve felt Belle, my apartment, and myself to be in a constant state of siege, and I’ve stayed constantly worried those idiots would come in while I was around and leave the door open, letting Belle free to run outside, get lost, and probably run over. At best, I’ve worried the idiots would come inside while I was here, disturb my privacy, and knock shit over….

Before bed I finished Larry McMurtry’s “Books: A Memoir.” I had checked it out from the library intending to just thumb through it, then found myself drawn into it. It was highly enjoyable, and reminded me of when, two decades ago, I immersed myself in the buying, collecting, and study of used and collectible books.

I’m not sure, however, that the book would appeal to the average reader who doesn’t know anything about first states or incunabula, for whom the names Rosenbach and Quaritch mean nothing, and whose faces don’t light up at the mere mention of an Audubon “Birds of America” double elephant folio or Poe’s “Tamerlane and Other Poems.” If you do know about that esoteric world, you’ll find this an entertaining read.

Thursday, June 21st–I woke around 6:45am, immediately dreading those stupid goddamn construction workers coming around bothering me. But they never showed. Later in the morning, I attended to my bills, mailed them at the UPS Store, got some supplies at the dollar store, then came back and looked over my requirements for the DARS application, before doing the prep for my Big Ass Soup.

Unfortunately, the soup took over four hours (not counting prep) to cook, rather than the usual two, and it didn’t turn out well. Something was lacking, and some of the produce from the Asian market didn’t taste very good (especially the carrots, daikon, and yuca roots). We’ll see if the flavor improves over the next few days, as it sometimes does.

No one worked on my balcony today, but when I took Belle out for an afternoon walk I was horrified to see a balcony worker going in and out of an apartment.

And it just doesn’t fucking stop here. I got another notice today saying they were turning off my water from 8am to 5pm tomorrow to do some plumbing work!

I did some reading in Garner and Welch before bed.

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