Journal Entries (July 28th–August 3, 2012).

Saturday, July 28th–I got up around 10pm or so. Even without consulting the clock I would’ve known this, since I heard my upstairs neighbor turn on his shower, which he always does about the same time morning and night.

I did the usual routine, ate refried beans on tostadas, attacked a fire ant infestation in the living room, cleaned up some of the kitchen to ward off the roaches, then for hours got sucked in to clips and other coverage, mostly on the Tumbler, of the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics.

There were a couple of wonderful skits, including one with Mr. Bean playing the synthesizer in an orchestra that was performing the title theme to “Chariots of Fire.” Eventually Bean dozes off and dreams of running along the beach with all the other British athletes in the film.

The other skit featured Daniel Craig as James Bond arriving at Buckingham Palace in a Rolls, running inside and up the stairs, stepping over the adorable Royal Corgis, and entering into the presence of The Queen Herself (not an actress). She looks up from her desk, says, “Good evening, Mr. Bond,” and they go out to the lawn and take off in a helicopter. They fly over London and are waved at by the citizenry, including the statue of Winston Churchill over by the Houses of Parliament, before they both jump out of the helicopter with Union Flag parachutes and are presumed to be landing inside the stadium. It was a wonderful bit of British triumphalism, and so naturally I was in tears for much of it. (The smiling, waving Churchill did it for me.)

I really must find some way to see the whole opening ceremonies online.

Eventually I was able to tear myself away and do some tutorials. I also tried to watch “9 Stories,” which I’d checked out from the Library, but the DVD froze up about two minutes in. Later on, I went to bed, and read in Strathern, Bradbury, and Nabokov.

Sunday, July 29th–I woke a little before midnight.

My last dream before waking involved me and some woman–possibly my mother–driving somewhere. We stopped at some place–a shop or office–and she began talking with some woman at an information desk. I encountered a little black boy of maybe two or three years of age, who was in great distress.

I finally figured out he really needed to go to the bathroom, and though the restrooms were just a few feet away, he apparently was young enough that he still needed help. There were no signs of his parents, so I consulted the others, and none of us seemed to know what to do. Meanwhile, the child continued to cry and whimper.

Eventually his mother, a tall large woman, emerged from the women’s rest room. She looked familiar. I’d met her somewhere before. She had a smooth face, her hair looked like this: v~, and for some reason she kept her eyes closed. I thought at first she was blind. She looked a bit like Queen Latifah.

I told her what was going on, and she opened her eyes and began to explain that her son had some sort of unusual constipation problem. She took out a pocket-sized electronic device, intent on showing me more about the condition, but I was sure it would both bore and disgust me, so I took out a pocket-sized electronic device of my own, and somehow, either by speaking or typing, called up information on the disorder. I was sure my device would be quicker and give me more succinct information.

I don’t know if the woman ever got around to taking her kid into the bathroom to relieve himself, though.

………………..

I finally finished Paul Strathern’s “Borges in 90 Minutes,” but found the book overly critical of Borges’s work.

I learned to my horror that a friend is a Ron Paul supporter. I thought he was too smart for that. God, at the rate I’m going I won’t have a single friend left. There’s so few I see eye-to-eye with or have anything in common with anymore.

In the afternoon I went to bed, started Quentin Crisp’s “Manners From Heaven,” and read more in Bradbury and Nabokov.

Monday, July 30th–I dreamt I was in a waiting room at a jail or public building or something. I was there to meet with some Case Worker who was almost like a Probation Officer. While I was waiting, I got up and went over to a single, tall filing cabinet next to a door. The door was open, and led into a hallway, off of which branched another open door and hallway.

I happened to know that the second door led to the County Jail, and it was wide open with no one guarding it. I could hear a bunch of the convicts a short distance away in the shower room, whooping and hollering. Why were these doors open?

I noticed a large kitchen knife on top of the filing cabinet. I picked it up and examined it. Had this been left here to test me? Did someone think I would use this knife on someone else? Was a hidden camera recording what I was doing? I put the knife down, and shortly thereafter my Case Worker appeared. He was a tall man in late middle-age, with silver hair, and wearing a boxy 1950s-style suit.

He led me down a drab, poorly-lit hallway with pale green walls–the hallway to the Jail–and at the end where the hallway bisected another, he turned and led me into his dark office, which was small and had a low ceiling. He took out my case file and began rapidly writing something down. (The incident with the knife?)

I explained that I’d been trying to improve myself lately, taking computer courses and doing tutorials, so as to improve my job skills. I’d been working on a tutorial in the waiting room and had left my bag and paperwork back there. He had noticed all this and congratulated me on my diligence and hard work, though I wondered if he was being a bit patronizing.

He said I was going to be dealing with some young woman on the staff. She appeared, and I started trying to impress her. She said as part of my treatment I would start attending her group meetings which were to be held in a nearby classroom in the building, on the southwest corner, just past a staircase. She said the room was called “The Echo Chamber.”

I knew the building well–it rather resembled the Rio Grande Street building of the Austin Community College, which I attended from 1993 to 1994. It was an old building, constructed in the first half of the Twentieth Century, of yellow brick, and was just the sort of school building I love. I was pretty sure “The Echo Chamber” jutted out from the corner of the building, and had windows on the west and south sides, and possibly east and north sides as well.

The young woman explained we’d be watching and then discussing classic and foreign art films in the class, and my heart jumped with excitement. She named the first film we’d be seeing, and to show off I asked if we’d be just discussing the film for its basic story or were we going to do a “deep analysis,” looking, for example, for Marxist themes in the work.

I was also to meet with someone at a shop–the same woman or another? I think another. I knew I also had to impress her.

I arranged for us to meet by accident in a crowded square. Friends arranged a pedestrian collision, as as this second woman picked herself up, she heard me saying something a few feet away–supposedly to myself. I forget what I was saying or reciting, but it was supposed to indicate to this woman that I was brilliant. It was also to sound as if I were talking or rehearsing casually and she’d just overheard me being brilliant.

Later–maybe a few days later–I entered this shop, which was amazing and upscale, filled with artwork, gadgets, and wonderful examples of good design. It was a wonderland for anyone who loved art, architecture, and design, and I wandered around, and finally took a seat, and started leafing through a glossy magazine.

I looked at an article about a famous European designer who designed a house for a client based on the conceit of a mathematical or scientific formula. The formula was the starting point for all aspects of the house’s design.

The second woman had watched me come in, and was about to come over and greet me. I realized that my impending association with this store and the firm with which it was associated was finally going to make me self-actualized from a career standpoint, that I’d finally do useful, interesting things for a change. My money worries would at last be over. I would finally be recognized for my brain and talents, and brand new vistas of hitherto unimagined creativity were about to open up for me.

I was drifting from sleep to wakefulness as serotonin cascades dribbled through my brain, sending me into indescribable physical ecstasy. This continued after I finally woke up, and Belle climbed into bed. I began scratching and stroking her fur, and the contact with her was prolonging the cascade.

……………

I woke around 4:30am, and got out of bed around 4:48am.

I got a message from my friend Tim that our friend Jen’s Border Collie “Truman” went missing at 10pm last night. I e-mailed him links to local lost dog services, then called him. I’d never heard him sound shaken and scared before. He got me the basic information and photos and I made some posts on Facebook, Tumbler, and Twitter. Fortunately, Tim messaged me around 7am to say Truman had been found and kept over-night by neighbors and was now back safe at home.

I don’t know where the day went. I filled out those two tax forms in ink, re-tracing over where I’d originally written in pencil, then decided to look at a certain part of one form again. I thought I’d made some sort of mistake, tried to tally things ups, found the instructions confusing, then finally left a Post-It Note on the form, explaining that I was confused and have a math disability, then folded it all up and stuck it into the envelope. But I didn’t bother to go to the UPS Store to mail it, even though it’s late. I just wasn’t up for leaving the house today.

I looked at apartment listings in Portland and Seattle, to try to get a feel for what the real estate market is like there, even though I have no prospects of moving up to either city.

I did some more tutorials in Photoshop Elements. Some one IM-ed me and asked what I’d been up to, and when I explained, it made me depressed.

I gave Belle a decent amount of attention.

One of my neighbors moved out, but sadly, not one of the ones I really hate.

I had to deal with the usual bullshit “nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah” talk from friends and followers on Facebook who won’t let me post a single thing against Romney or the Republican Party without them chiming in their ignorant two cent’s worth of childish comments. I’m getting really goddamn tired of that. If it’s not Tea Bagger shit on Facebook, it’s gender theory and “I hate whitey” shit on the Tumbler.

I read in “Lolita” until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.

Tuesday, July 31st–I woke up cranky, but got into a better mood a little later on. I took awhile getting ready. Close to noon I dropped off my rent check, went over to the UPS Store, copied one page of my tax forms, and mailed my tax forms and washer/dryer rental check. I then went on in the unbearable heat to the bank, deposited $10 to cover my over-draft, and got $10 in cash.

Next I went to Randall’s to buy eggs for $1.99 and bread for $1.19. I was going to pay for the former with the $3.06 I had left in my Pay Pal account, and the latter with the $1.50 I had left in Food Stamps. But I forgot to bring my new Randall’s card for activation, and my old card has my old phone number from eight years ago, which I’ve long since forgotten, and anyway, the old card doesn’t work. So the bread was going to be a little more expensive, as $1.19 was the card holder’s discount price.

So after looking for awhile at magazines I couldn’t by, I got in line. There were about three customers ahead of me. The noise of the store and my exposure to the heat were really getting to me. Like me, the customer ahead of me was buying groceries in two separate transactions. I had no problem with that, but I had a huge problem that she got engrossed in her cell phone call while her purchases were getting rung up.

There was some sort of problem, and the clerk asked her a question, and instead of attending to it, this woman continued to gab on her phone. I rather loudly clearly my throat and stood in a way to indicate my annoyance, and she finally turned her attention to the task at hand and got all of her purchases rung up and paid for.

Now it was my turn. I told the clerk what I intended to do. I swiped my SNAP (Food Stamps) card for the bread, but for some reason, the machinery wouldn’t work correctly. And the total wound up being more than the $1.50 I had on the card, so I plunked a dollar on the counter to cover the difference. This, however, did not resolve the problem, and the machinery still was refusing to read my card.

Add to this the problem that I was having trouble hearing what the clerk was saying to me. To begin with, he had a muttering sort of voice. He also turned his head away from me any time he had something to say, making his voice harder for me to hear. Then there was the noise of all the people inside the store, the blaring music, periodic loud speaker announcements, and the roar of the air conditioning system, all of which combined to make all talk into blurred, garbled sound.

And the old lady behind me in the line was now giving me the fish-eye, rather like I’d done with the chatty woman who had been ahead of me. And to add insult to injury, the clerk mentioned my problem by name, referring to my “Food Stamp card,” so everyone in the line now knew I was broke.

Well, the Food Stamp card just wouldn’t work, I couldn’t hear what was being said, so I just told the clerk, “Look, just forget the card. Here’s another dollar, if the card won’t work.”

So I paid for the bread, then used my Pay Pal card to pay for the eggs, had no trouble with that, and went on my way. I was pretty wound up by this point, and walking almost a mile home in the heat didn’t help. Then when I got home Belle started barking loudly, which hurt my ears. It took me a long time to settle down after all that.

I forget how I spent the afternoon. Probably I just puttered online and did tutorials.

Later on, I read in Nabokov, Crisp, and Bradbury, then watched “My Name is Bill W.,” starring James Woods, Jo Beth Williams, and James Garner….

Afterwards, I did some research on Bill Wilson and the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was not aware that some A.A. members are so into it that they make pilgrimages to the homes and buildings associated with the people and early events of the organization.

Also, some sources claim that Wilson was not the secular saint some believe him to be, saying he never kept it in his pants, and cheated on his wife shamelessly, even after he got sober, sometimes even using A.A. meetings and techniques to seduce vulnerable women, then trying to make excuses for his behavior by saying it was part of his addictive nature.

I forget when I got to bed.

AUGUST
Wednesday, August 1st–
I got up some time during the afternoon. The day was uneventful. I e-mailed the gal from DARS I’m to meet with later in the month, asking when my psychiatric evaluation is to be. I did tutorials and read.

Thursday, August 2nd–I woke a little before noon. I’d had a racially-themed night-mare as my first dream of the night. I dreamt I was walking down a road similar to the one off of which I live now. It was that time of night when it had just gone dark. I became aware that three black people were walking behind me, and I sensed they meant me harm. I can’t remember if it was two men and a woman or the other way around.

I was beginning to take off my coat and became scared they’d jump then, at that moment of weakness, so I sped up my pace. As it was, they walked past me, completely ignoring me.

I ducked into a student union building for a college that was nearby. It was a rather ugly modern building of glass and brown brick. About the only people there were Mexican janitors, but they had taken over the building and made themselves at home there.

It was between semesters, as I recall, and these guys seemed to be living in the student union. The various rooms were crowded with empty food containers, beer cans, and the like.

I became aware that one of the janitors was following me. He was tall, angry-looking, and was wearing a blue janitor’s uniform shirt, blue pants, black shoes, and a cap. It began to dawn on me that I’d stepped into territory where I wasn’t wanted. This guy continued to follow me, spitting at me.

I tried to escape by going into other rooms, but they were all small, narrow, corridor-like rooms, and were dead-ends. I felt like a rat in a maze. Other Mexican janitors appeared, also looking annoyed with me, and also spitting at me. I think I avoided getting spit on me. I had on a backpack and was clutching a teddy bear under my arm. Eventually, I found a way to an exit and ran the hell out of there.

………………….

During my first walk of the day with Belle, I saw a black bunny sitting out on a balcony in my building, watching the world go by. I had to suppress my squeals of joy.

Food is running a little low….

I got a phone message from DARS that my August 22nd afternoon appointment had been changed to the morning of the 31st, and which asked me to call back to confirm. I called and got a prissy operator who asked who’d called me. I said I had no idea, as I’d not jotted down the name. It didn’t seem important. So I had to listen to three goddamn messages to get the name, after which the operator connected me to the caller.

I am to receive a letter soon, telling me about the date for my psychiatric evaluation. It’s with a Dr. T___. I had a weird feeling and asked where he was located. I was told South Austin. Was he located near a bus line? The woman thought he was. How long do these evaluations usually run? Three to four hours.

Then I looked up to see where this guy had his offices. Dripping Springs–way the fuck outside of town, out past the bus routes. And he was apparently one of the top guys at some mental hospital out there.

I began to panic. The abnormally long evaluation was bad enough, but throw in the inconvenient locale, and the fear that I’d be looked up and committed to that place once they gathered enough information, and the whole experience seemed to promise all sorts of horrors.

Friday, August 3rd–I woke in mid-afternoon….

Jen called to thank me for helping with Truman, and said she’d gone to a CVS drug store and found a nice, albeit abandoned Dachshund that had apparently been left behind by a regular customer in a wheelchair. Jen took the dog home, but she doesn’t have room for him, and is leaving the country next week on a trip, and can’t leave Tim three dogs to tend to, since he lives in a condo.

She said she knew I was “hooked into” the dog rescue world, and asked for my help. I told her to send me digital photos and information, and I’d see what I could do. She said she’d put up flyers near the drug store tomorrow and get the dog scanned for an ID chip.

I watched “Paper Heart,” with Michael Cera and Charlyne Yi.

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