Journal Entries (August 11-17, 2012).

Saturday, August 11th–What did I do today? I forget.

Oh, I remember now. I cooked my famous soup for three hours and watched “Love is the Devil.”

Sunday, August 12th–
I woke in mid-afternoon, scanned selected pages of books I need to return tomorrow, and stayed in a low-key mode so I could easily get to sleep when I retired around midnight.

Monday, August 13th–I had a dream I was living in a sort of student-run collective house, something between a dorm, a frat house, and a co-up. I had some manilla file folders I wanted to hide from others, so I put them in boxes in our huge central storage area, which was also a birch forest in the middle of the house. (The hundreds of tree trunks tended to get a person lost and hide things you wanted to keep concealed.) Someone was making noise outside my room, walking around, rattling paper. I woke and found it was Belle walking on the papers I’d put down on the floor for her to relieve herself on.

I woke about 5:30am, but didn’t formally get up until a little after 6. I got ready, then took an express bus downtown, and then the #5 into South Austin.

I got to see a section of town I’d never before seen, but I missed my stop, had to get off south of Ben White, walk several blocks, cross Ben White, and start looking for the office building where I was to have my test. Oddly enough, the first building I walked into was the new home of the publishing group I applied for back around 2004 or so, where I had such a disastrous interview.

I eventually found the office, then settled in. I was about twenty or more minutes early.

There was a waiting room, off of which several unrelated offices opened. This psychiatrist had a small suite–an outer room for a non-existent receptionist, and an inner office for himself. Both rooms were about the size of my bathroom at home, and the guy had to move one chair from the inner office to the outer one in order to give me room to sit down.

He was impressed that I was on time, and even early. Apparently that’s not often the case with the people he sees.

He was short, younger than me, and had a crossed right eye, so I had trouble looking at him without staring. I forget if his left eye was normal or not. The ear bridges of his glasses bulged out close to the lens end; I don’t know if that was just part of the design or if that was some special modification to accommodate his vision peculiarity.

His diplomas were from Alabama, though he had at least a trace of a northern accent.

He had me start with summarizing the history of my condition, as well as my various ailments, confirmed or suspected. After this we went into the tests. He did not give me specific tests for such disorders as sociopathy or oppositional defiant disorder. Indeed, the first round of questions seemed to test my intellectual knowledge, and seemed designed for an episode of “Jeopardy:”

“This is divided into 114 suras, going from longest to shortest….”

“The Qur’an.”

“This vaulted structure was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV, and….”

“The Sistine Chapel.”

“This former actress, her husband’s second wife, became beloved by the people of her country as a champion of the down-trodden and lower-class….”

“Eva Peron.”

“This object is found outdoors, and consists of a face divided by marks, and is used for telling the time by shadows cast by the sun.”

“A sundial.”

He said no one had ever answered that section of questions so fast before.

We moved on to shapes and pictures–which of these is not like the other. A few at the end totally threw me. On a few he told me to guess again. This surprised me, and the second guesses I’d make were not make all that confidently.

There was a section where I supplied the missing word in a sentence.

Word associations: blank is to blank as blank is to blank. What is the word for ___? (I forgot the word “jellyfish.”)

He provided me a long list of words to read aloud, then asked me to slow down, as I was reading too quickly. So I gave a second, more relaxed reading, doing a sort of Ken Nordine “Word Jazz” thing, commenting at the end that the list was rather like some modern blank verse poem.

He gave me a spelling test, mispronouncing one of the words in a sentence. I didn’t bother to correct him.

When we got to the math I was, as I told him I would be, wretched. I finished rather quickly, since I didn’t know how to solve many of the problems.

After this I answered a two-page questionnaire about my mental health over the last two weeks.

I made a few corrections and changes here and there on the tests.
The DARS people had said the tests would take three to four hours. On the phone, the doctor said they should take two hours. I finished in seventy minutes.

At the end he said, “Without even scoring this I can tell you quite confidently that looking at the intellectual skills tests, I can see no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do upper-executive-level jobs. I don’t know what your case worker will say, of course, but I’d recommend you get further testing for anxiety, ADD, attention, and probably some more specific stress tests to see how you work under pressure.”

On the bus back downtown I was so relieved that there was at least one other person in this world who believes me capable of high-level jobs that I almost started crying.

I got downtown, and since I was really hungry, went to the CVS pharmacy on Fifth to buy some food, then went to the library, returned some DVDs and books, checked some more DVDs and books out, and seemed to take my sweet time about it. Afterwards, I did not have a long wait for the express bus.

Belle was beside herself when I got home, and took a long time to calm down. I walked her, showered, had an IM conversation with James as I monitored the news of a shooting in College Station, then lay down for a nap, sleeping about five or six hours, and waking around 10pm or so.

I got up, ate, puttered, and watched “Vincere,” an Italian film about Mussolini’s secret first wife and son.

I spent much of the morning reading in bed, as well as being disturbed by those fucking workmen, who were doing something with an air compressor just outside my window. I eventually fell asleep while they were still working.

Tuesday, August 14th–I woke a little before 10:15pm.

While walking Belle I noticed in Phase II of the apartment complex that the portable toilets are gone. Also, the junk inside and outside of the temporarily fenced-in area in the parking lot over there is largely gone, as is the front-end loader, which tells me the construction work, and the Siege of B____, which has lasted almost all of 2012, is almost over.

I am unimpressed. The buildings are still as ugly and architecturally dated as ever. It seems that for all that time and money all they really did was cut down some trees and bushes, replace a board fence, tear down the old balcony walls and stair railings and replace them with flimsy metal ones, replace the rotting plywood siding with new plywood siding, replace a few of the stair tread and cat walk planks, leave a big mess, and make a lot of goddamn noise.

I’m sure some of the workers will use their knowledge of observing the comings and goings of the residents to come back and rob us, or pass the information on to friends and relatives who will.

One hot tub has been left unrepaired, while the other has been turned into a planter. No dumpsters have been added to Phase II. No pet poop stations have been added anywhere. The grounds sprinkler system still doesn’t work correctly. (I saw a water jet shooting up last night that put me in the mind of an ornamental fountain.) And the grounds are so dark at night you can’t see your hand in front of your face. It’s a wonder all of the residents haven’t been robbed, raped, or murdered by this point.

I started tutorials for Adobe Photoshop Album.

I watched the short “Brendan Behan’s Dublin” and the film version of Behan’s “The Quare Fellow,” with Patrick McGoohan. It was quite good. I read the first hundred pages of Charles Bukowski’s “Love Is A Dog From Hell” and a few pages in Crisp, retiring around 3pm.

Wednesday, August 15th–Most of today’s activities are listed in Tuesday’s entry.

Thursday, August 16th–
I got up around 11pm on Wednesday, and stumbled around, still half-asleep, walking Belle.

I did quite a few tutorials, then looked up the fall schedule for [Tek-Skilz], learning that for the entire term, they’re only teaching two classes I need. They’re offering both courses twice, but in locations that are very inconvenient for me. So I may not even take the courses.

I went to bed in the afternoon, read about fifty pages in Bukowski and a few in Woolf. I finally finished Quentin Crisp’s “Manner From Heaven.” I tended to disagree with most of what he had to say. Crisp dislikes the prescriptive rules of etiquette, as he says they tend to re-inforce class distinctions and make certain people feel superior and others inferior. (This is precisely one of the reasons I like them!)

He advocates instead what he calls “good manners,” which involve bending over backwards not to hurt anybody’s feelings ever, no matter how monstrous they are. (I, on the other hand, believe there are many people well worth offending, and I don’t hold human beings in any sort of sentimental fondness.) He claims his system will result in social leveling, and everyone being equal and being kind to one another. He further claims his system adapts to changing times. None of these things appeal to me.

I finally retired a little after 5pm.

Friday, August 17th–I woke a little before midnight Thursday, needing very badly to piss. Belle got excited, thinking I was finally getting up, but with only a little less than seven hours of sleep under my belt I wasn’t ready to get up yet. I did my business, then went back and slept until after 4am.

I had this dream that I was running errands, frantically going back and forth, north and south, in some city, possibly an improved version of Austin. Something important was happening, and part of it depended upon my getting all my errands done. but they were taking a long time. (Was I traveling by taxi or bus?)

I needed to get a special magazine, possibly “Texas Highways,” in order for this event to happen, and the only place I knew I could get this issue was in a certain shop. Well, I got distracted doing something fun, and before I knew it I realized it was too late for me to get to the store, that the store was already closed. So I decided I’d just try to go by there as soon as it opened the next morning, which I think was the day of the event.

I found my way to a neighborhood and a house. On the front porch was an Hispanic woman and an Anglo man. To my left, out in the street, the woman’s twenty-something daughter was loading up her belongings into a U-Haul, in preparation for a move. I was supposed to know these people and they were supposed to know me, especially in connection with this big event, but it took awhile for us to recognize each other and exchange greetings and information.

In the next scene I was in this huge, dark, rambling building, possibly neo-Gothic in style, and part of which seemed to be crumbling. I was there with the Arctic Monkeys, all of whom seemed to be friends of mine. They spent most of the day filming music videos, all very different in theme and appearance, and it was amazing how many of them they managed to film completely in one day.

The main event seemed to be, however, the marriage of one of the band members, who was a rather stout, jowly young fellow. The wedding was to take place in a lofty chamber, rather like a parliament chamber, very grand, with dim artificial lights, and with the only natural light coming from clerestory windows high up near the beamed ceiling. There was a central area, sort of an altar or speaker’s table, and there were rows of seating rising up in numerous levels on three sides, and with rows of stairs between them leading upwards. The third wall had coats of arms and such displayed on dark linenfold paneling, and there were two massive doors leading back to more private chambers.

Several dozen people were in attendance. I forget who was presiding over the service. For some reason, I was up by the altar, to the left of the couple. The groom was to my right, and the bride was to his right. Directly opposite me, to the right of the bride, was some fat blowhard, who looked like a cross between Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Lewis Prothero from “V For Vendetta,” Christopher Hitchens, and the Right Honourable Nicholas Soames, British MP.

For some reason, right in the middle of the ceremony, while the couple was kneeling at the altar and after the rings had been exchanged, this blowhard started in on a verbal attack of the bride, criticizing and condemning her in all sorts of ways, indicating she had a slutty past, saying what a mistake this marriage would be, and so forth. The couple was visibly uncomfortable, and the groom was sweating and looked over to me to see if I knew what to do.

By gesturing with my fingers, I managed to convey to him and possibly the bride my prophetic knowledge of future events. All would be well. And I indicated by some large hand gestures that all of the members of the Arctic Monkeys would wind up in the British Parliament, in the House of Lords, no less, as Peers of the Realm. This seemed to relax the groom. And the other members of the band were able to read my gestures from their front row seats.

The blowhard, however, noticed nothing, because he was banging on so loudly. Finally, in his last expression of contempt, he sneered down at the couple, “And is there anyone who will even see this disgusting thing you two are trying to do today?”

And I replied with a loud, ringing, keening, piercing, magnificent voice reminiscent of the late actor Edward Woodward, “YES! THE LORD OUR GOD!”

Everyone’s eyes bugged out, and there was throughout the chamber a massive intake of breath. Everyone was shocked and amazed. Everyone but the blowhard was delighted, stunned, pleased, and impressed that I’d invoked the Name of God. The blowhard fell back speechless. I had robbed him of his power to reply. I had shut him up for good. I had shamed him, and the people were glad.

The next scene took place after the service. The blowhard was gone. I was seated in a pew to the right of the altar. Instead of having a wedding reception, everyone was sitting around relaxing, having been exhausted by the stress and drama of the ceremony. People were waving at me and I was acknowledging their waves with a comic imitation of the Royal “unscrewing a light bulb” wave.

The band members had changed out of their wedding finery into normal clothes. The band’s lead singer, Alex Turner, came out of one of the back rooms, grinned at me, and flashed me the “thumbs up.” I flopped over the right lapel of my ample, cream white, splendidly-tailored double-breasted waistcoat, and raised another hand, waved, and nodded, indicating, “Think nothing of it, old man.”


I forget when I got up, but I seem to think it was around 4am.
I puttered. I did more tutorials. I read in Bukowski and finally moved from the dull, rather academic introduction to “Mrs. Dalloway” and on into the text itself. And I also started L. E. Smith’s “An Edwardian Youth.”

I retired a little after 11pm.


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