Journal Entries (November 17th-23rd, 2012).

Saturday, November 17th–I had a dream where I was one of several house guests of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I wandered into a large, bright, L-shaped garage where he was showing another guest his large collection of old or expensive cars and motorcycles, including one old car he’d just purchased and was about to start restoring by hand.

This sort of thing always leaves me cold. The other guest left, and Gordon-Levitt looked over at me, eyebrows raised, as if waiting for me to comment on the collection. Instead, I totally dismissed it by changing the subject. One of the inside walls of the L consisted of floor-to-ceiling windows, which offered a magnificent view of whatever city we were located in. I then said something to the effect that with a little work, that if a few more windows were added and the cheap plyboard interior walls were replaced with something nicer, that this garage would make an excellent art studio.

……………………………………

I had walked Belle and her breakfast was being cooked in the microwave, while mine was being cooked in the conventional oven. I went to the toilet to make a little room for breakfast, and was in mid-dump when the doorbell rang.

Now I hate it when people ring the doorbell or knock on the door. If I had my wishes I’d put up an iron gate fifteen feet in front of my front door, so no one could bother me again. But I was afraid it might be those idiotic maintenance men wanting to come in and do something pointless, or the cops or somebody, so I got up, my work on the toilet still incomplete, and went to the front hall.

I looked through the peephole just in time to see a short fat woman turn and walk away. Belle was barking loudly, so I grabbed her collar, furrowed my brow, and unlocked and opened the front door.

The woman was from some church. Before she could really get into her spiel, I whined, “Look, I’m really busy doing something right now,” (I wonder how she’d have reacted had I said, “Look, I’m right in the middle of taking a big shit right now”), so she just handed me a large black card that said, “God doesn’t care….”

The woman went her way, I locked up, let go of Belle, and went back to the business at hand. Several hours passed before I bothered to look at the other side of the card: …“About your past mistakes, failures, and bad decisions….NEITHER DO WE!”

……………..

The creation of art and the protection and preservation of nature are really the only two decent arguments I think of for sparing the human race.

The human race is a cancer and a pestilence on the face of the earth. There’s too many of us around. Most of us ruin everything we touch.

…………………

I watched the peculiar documentary “Marwencol” tonight.

Sunday, November 18th–This is why you should carry a camera with you wherever you go.

I was just taking my dog out for a walk at 5pm, remarking to myself how unusually pleasant it was outdoors. (This evening it’s maybe in the upper 60s Fahrenheit, when normally in Texas it’s always as hot as a goddamn furnace outside.)

Anyway, we ventured over into Phase II of the apartment complex. I was looking for interesting rocks to pilfer from the grounds, when I noticed a young man practicing tightrope walking on a rope stretched between two Live Oaks, about two feet off the ground.

I stopped to gawk. Feats of agility—especially things like surfing and skateboarding—always amaze me because I have trouble enough just walking on the flat ground.

He made the short jump to earth, then turned to me, scrunched up his face like a rodent, and smiled.

“What’s the occasion?”

“Just Sunday afternoon.”

“Ah, I see. I was just thinking that this is an excellent argument for never leaving my house to walk my dog without bringing my camera along.”

A bit puzzled by my long-windedness, he returned to his tight-rope.

………….

I made a big soup, cooked it for two-and-a-half hours, but it tasted medicinal and terrible–probably because it lacked the ingredients I’d wanted to get at the fucking MT Market. I read in Genet and then watched the Edmund O’Brien and Joanne Woodward TV episode “Dark Stranger,” as well as some DVD extras for “The Naked Kiss.”

Monday, November 19th–
I opened my documents, and found a whole fucking week of journal entries had been erased, so I’m going to have to try and reconstruct them.

I need a really large doormat that says something like “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY APARTMENT OR I’LL CUT YOUR FUCKING THROAT AND MAKE YOU INTO CHILI.”


Tuesday, November 20th–
I got up at 8am and left the house a little after 9am in order to make a 12 noon appointment. That seems ridiculous to me.

I told my therapist I’ve been thinking about the different kinds of fears that beset me: those that probably won’t come true, those that probably will, and those that could go either way. But what confuses me most is when I get overcome with anxiety, have a racing heartbeat, or feel as if I’m about to cry for no reason at all.

I also told her that I’ve had fears that have persisted even after I’ve received empirical proof that I have nothing about which to be afraid.

I told her that in late 1973 my parents and I moved out to a wooded, five-acre tract in the country five miles west of Conroe, Texas.

Initially we lived in a trailer while we waited for our house to get built and the land cleared. At the back of the property we built the first of a series of out-buildings: a big store house that consisted of at least 1,000 square-feet. Behind that was about a half-acre we left as uncleared thicket, so as to preserve our privacy.

At the time, my mother wasn’t working. My father was a band director at an inner-city high school in North Houston. The student population was working class, divided between blacks, Hispanics, and whites. (After my father quit a few years later the student population became almost entirely black.) Every year the school had a race riot.

On Friday nights during football season, if there was a home game, my mother and I would drive down to watch the half-time show. In the Fall of 1974, the race riot fell on a Friday, and was particularly vicious. Students were throwing one another off the pedestrian bridge down onto the street below. My father issued an order for all band students to come to the band hall building, and once a head count had been done, he locked them all inside and stood guard at the door. Police helicopters flew overhead all day, and that night the band had a police escort on and off the football field at half-time.

Needless to say, that Friday my dad called home and told us not to come down to the game. So my mother and I were left alone in this little trailer in the dark woods for half the night, worried if my father would get home in one piece.

Around 9 or 10pm, we heard someone beating on the walls and doors of the store house and screaming. Though we had plenty of guns in the house, my mother was not about to go outside and check on the disturbance herself. She called our next-door neighbor, Bill H___, a former FBI agent who was then a top security executive for Southwestern Bell. Mr. H___ came over with his rifle, checked around the store house, and later reported to us that he had indeed found lots of footprints all around the building.

A few weeks later, on a Sunday morning, my mother was standing at the kitchen sink, washing the breakfast dishes and looking out the window. A car pulled up on the road in front of our property, and the driver took out a gun and fired it at our house, before speeding away.

My mother worried that perhaps my biological father had found out where we lived and come to harass us. At the time I was undergoing therapy and medical treatment for some sort of traumatic abuse I’d suffered under him–possibly sexual molestation, though it was never proved. And I was also fairly scared of my adoptive father as well.

Needless to say all of this scared the shit out of me. I decided the store house incident was the work of criminals, but never made up my mind whether the drive-by shooting was my biological father’s doing or that of a criminal.

The half-acre at the back of our property became a 21,789 square-foot monster under the bed for me. I was convinced that at night, bad guys would slip over the fence and gather there, plotting evil deeds, and the only thing that kept them from attacking us inside the house was their fear of my father and his arsenal. It made sense to be afraid–hadn’t adults, even an ex-FBI agent, for God’s sake, told me the bogeyman existed?

We later added more out-buildings and structures, including dog pens, chicken runs, and rabbit hutches, and every time my father sent me out back after dark to do something, such as collect eggs, I was terrified, and ran back to the house at full speed as soon as I turned my back to the thicket.

It didn’t matter that I had explored the thicket during the daytime and found nothing unusual–I was convinced there was something sinister going on back there.

In 1984 my parents moved elsewhere, but my grandfather stayed there for five more years, and I often spent weekends, summers, and holidays with him, and many of my belongings were stored in the big store house. Since I had by this time become a very nocturnal creature, I sometimes went down to the store house at night to examine my possessions, taking with me always a flashlight and a gun.

Every time I opened one of the store house doors and turned on the lights, I expected to see faces. I turned on every light in the building and cranked up the radio, hoping the lights and noise would keep the bad guys away. But I always knew that one night I’d look up from a box and find the leering faces of bad guys peering around the door frames, just before they jumped into the room and killed me.

And every time I finished up in the store house, as soon as I turned out all the lights and closed the doors and turned my back to the thicket, even though I was armed, I would run as fast as I could back to my grandfather’s house.

It took me thirty-five years to learn the truth of what had happened in 1974. I reconnected on Facebook with Bill H___’s son, J___, my oldest friend, and we went out to dinner when he came to Austin on business. At one point I talked about my fear of that thicket and how it was connected to those strange incidents. He said, “Oh, you didn’t hear what that was all about? My parents found out about it a short time later and they told your parents as well.”

Of course no one bothered to tell me.

It seems there was a crime boss or a crooked businessman in Houston who was the subject of a lengthy investigation for tax evasion, mail fraud, wire tapping, money laundering, bribery, corruption, and similar offenses. He was tired of the law interfering with him, so he poked around and learned that the investigation was being headed up by Bill H___, whom he further learned lived in Conroe, Texas, in the first house on the left on Old Highway 105. So he hired some goons to go try and scare Bill H___ and his family, thinking that might get the investigators off his ass.

At the time the businessman got this information, Bill H___ did indeed live in the first house on the left, but before the guy did anything with the information and sent goons out, my family had moved onto the vacant lot on the corner, and our house became the new first house on the left. We got terrorized by mistake.

And even now, knowing all this, I explained to my therapist, if I went out to our old property tonight with a police SWAT team, had the whole property illuminated with a bunch of spotlights, and was myself armed to the teeth, I would still be terrified to go back there, because the fear is stronger than my empirical knowledge that nothing is there anymore, and that the bad guys are long gone.

I told the therapist about other incidents, such as the time when I was in junior high when my mom woke me at 2am and told me to get up without turning on the lights. Earlier that night, my father’s eldest daughter, Frances, had confronted her asshole husband Martin about his drinking and extra-marital affairs. Martin beat Frances and almost suffocated her, then when their oldest child came into the living room to see what was going on, he knocked the boy across the room, then stormed out of the house.

Frances called her maternal aunt, who called her ex-brother-in-law, my dad, in the middle of the night, and my dad and his eldest son drove over to Katy, Texas, with guns, to go rescue Frances and her kids.

Nobody knew where, when, or if Martin would resurface, and since we figured that Martin might look at our house, we had to be ready for him. So my mother handed me a gun, took another gun for herself, and we padded into the dark living room in our pajamas, and sat down.
She told me to shoot Martin if he tried to break into the house.

This both confused and delighted me. I hated Martin and thought he was an asshole. And I’d just been given permission to kill him (or so I thought). I was raised to believe that my parents’s rules and order had an equal weight with national laws, and were just slightly below the laws of God. So I firmly believed that if I killed that asshole, I wouldn’t get into any trouble.

Well, I realize that second story sort of veers off the topic, but suffice it to say, I grew up in the Wild West, where guns and danger were very real, and I often felt as if my life was in danger. It’s easy in such an environment to become a fearful person.

My therapist agreed that I genuinely had reasons to fear for my life when I was growing up. She said some of her patients report to her fears they consider life-threatening, and she has to set these people right and explain that no, their fears are really groundless.

The fears I’ve had over the years have been built on those very realistic childhood fears, and have been reinforced with decades of very bad experiences, especially where my family and jobs have been concerned. I fear for bad treatment from my family or bad experiences in future jobs, because I’ve already had these things happen to me many, many times before. I don’t want yet another repeat. And these fears have paralyzed me, making me almost unable to function. The trick now is getting me to a safe place where I can cast off those fears and begin to lead a normal life.

I think today may’ve been the day I missed my bus connection. The first bus back arrived quickly, but just as it pulled up on Northland Drive next to the HEB supermarket, I saw my next bus heading north up Burnet Road, rapidly approaching the bus stop. The light was against me. By the time the goddamn light had turned the bus pulled away from the bus stop and up the twenty or so feet to the intersection, while it waited for the light. I ran up to the door, but the bitch driver waved me away with a dismissive gesture, as I yelled “SON OF A BITCH!” in disappointment. Then I had to wait another twenty or thirty minutes for the next bus.

Once I got to my neighborhood, I got an Icee, then went to Randall’s, where I think I had some trouble with my Food Stamps card.
I got home, walked Belle, and sat down at my desk at exactly 2:16pm.

I forget just when I went to bed.

Wednesday, November 21st–I got up in early afternoon, still very tired, and after walking and feeding Belle and myself, and checking to make sure that money was in my bank account, I headed out. I went first to Petco and got Belle some food and chews. So far, so good. No problems other than an increased heartbeat.

Well, now that I think of it, that’s not entirely true. I tried to pay with a gift card and it was rejected. Same with my Pay Pal card. I finally covered everything with my bank account debit card.

Then I made the long walk to Target. The traffic on the access road was pretty bad, and a cop car and fire engine had trouble breaking through. I got to the store, but found they didn’t have any boxer shorts in my size. I searched for quite awhile, very upset and in denial.

I went over to the DVD section, and saw a few things I wanted, but couldn’t afford, so this depressed me. I saw a copy of “Chinatown,” which I don’t have on DVD, for a mere $7.50, and while I wanted it, I didn’t want it badly. I noticed the strange feeling that sometimes overtakes me of preparing to buy something just because it seems the thing to do, rather than because I desperately need to have it. As it was, I surprised myself and put the DVD back. I only bought a big chew bone for Belle and a bag of M&Ms for me.

The people were getting underfoot and upsetting me, and I was noting with disgust the grotesque Boschian qualities of their distorted faces and bodies. I wanted to get away.

I went to Barnes & Noble. I saw more things that I wanted and couldn’t afford and so I got more upset. I saw more people that disgusted me. I left without making a purchase.

When I was in the process of trying to cross Great Hills Trail, my brain clouded up a bit, and I somewhat forgot what I was trying to do. By that I mean for a few seconds I forgot that on-coming cars were dangerous and should be avoided. Then my head cleared up again and I understood that that was a dangerous instance of spacing-out I’d just had and that I ought to be more careful. I looked again at the on-coming car I’d spaced-out on and tried to judge the distance, to see if I could cross before it got up to me.

Things got even worse at HEB. I had three sources of money: my bank account, my Pay Pal account, and my Food Stamp account. I wanted to buy some beer and pens and knew I couldn’t put that on my Food Stamps. But I didn’t have enough money in my Food Stamp account to cover all of the food items there. I wasn’t sure what should go where. I began to get confused and muddled and panicky, the way I often do anytime math is involved.

By the time I got to the cash register I was in bad shape. The woman ahead of me was leaning on one of those plastic dividers you use to separate your purchases from those of other people on the check-out conveyer belt. I conveyed to her that I wanted the divider. She gave it to me and I put it down.

I then put the beer and pens on the conveyer belt, asked the woman for another divider that was out of my reach, put down the next divider, and laid out the rest of my groceries. Another divider appeared, and I put it down behind the last of my purchases for the sake of whoever was to come after me.

But I got even more confused as to what card I’d use to pay for what group of purchases. Would I pay for the beer and pens with the Pay Pal account, then pay for the rest with my bank account? Would there be too little left in the bank account, requiring me to cover up the difference by using the Pay Pal account again? Would their computers accept that?

I got so confused and upset I picked up the beer and pens and set them behind the other groceries, then dithered as to whether to keep them separated with a plastic divider. Should I just try to pay for them all in one lump sum, then cover the difference with another card? Finally, I decided to just keep them separated. My brain wasn’t working well enough for me to work this problem out all the way to a logical end.

A family got into line behind me. There were at least two men, a woman, and two or three young children. And of course, they all had to crowd into the fucking line, though one of the men did eventually go out to the area where the groceries are sacked up and taken away.

I paid for the main body of groceries with my bank account debit card. But then I couldn’t find my Pay Pal card anywhere. I didn’t want to have to retrace my steps all over my end of town–in the dark. Nor did I want to undergo the pain in the ass of having to replace my card. I got more and more freaked out. The noise of the store, the beeping machines, the music, the voices, the announcer on the loud speaker, as well as the stress of having a bunch of people impatiently waiting on me, in some cases waiting in line, sent my panic through the roof.

I asked the cashier to hold up while I searched for my card. The adults behind me started stacking groceries right next to my beer and pens. Then two of the little kids started squirming and slithering around me, getting underfoot like swarming vermin. I lost it, and sharply barked to the kids: “KIDS, STOP! MOVE BACK PLEASE! YOU’RE TOO CLOSE! YOU’RE IN MY WAY! MOVE BACK, PLEASE!”

I don’t know what the parents said in response to this, since I really didn’t speak their language. I didn’t really look up at them, the cashier, or the sacker, since my outburst had sucked the air out of the immediate vicinity and clearly shocked everybody. I knew they had identified me as The Crazy Guy, and were alert and probably a little scared as to what I might do next. But I found my Pay Pal card in a little-used pocket of my wallet, paid, and got the hell out of there, offering the cashier and sacker mechanical words of thanks.

I was now extremely stressed-out, panicky, depressed, and sad.

I went over to a convenience store and got an Icee. (That’s what I’ve been getting lately–not Slurpee’s–though I’m goddamned if I can tell the difference between the two.)

There were quite a few people in the store, including three or four rough types in blue T-shirts that said something to the effect of “Reconstruction Team.” Two or three were fairly young, in their early twenties–another stayed outside smoking–and the leader was a moustachioed older man who was probably in his late thirties.

Their manner, appearance, hygiene, and other characteristics suggested jail birds to me. They were in the line next to me, buying cheap beer in over-sized cans, and they got indignant with their cashier in that manner so particular to trash, upset with some rule or ordinance, and making a loud scene, thinking to make an example of the cashier, thinking that if they were loud enough and haughty enough, that he would waive the rule in their case.

I never really found out what they were upset about.

(And no, their outburst and mine were two different things. They were making an ostentatiously adolescent scene in hopes of impressing an audience, to restore their pride over a trivial matter. I was cracking under mental duress, correcting the ill-mannered children of indifferent, negligent parents. The trash shouted. I merely spoke in a sharp, severe, and malicious manner that scared the hell out of everyone around me.)

They filed out ahead of me, continuing their shouted conversation with the guy who’d stayed outside. He took off his shirt for some reason, showed off an ugly tattoo, then put his shirt back on. They crossed the street with me, and walked behind me. I had relaxation music playing on my I-Pod, but I could still hear them talking loudly. They followed me most of the way home, and I was afraid they were going to attack and rob me. I didn’t see where they turned off.

Belle barked her head off when I arrived. When I showed her her new chew bone, she got excited and barked even louder, hurting my ears. And then I had trouble cutting the goddamn plastic wrapper off. She ate 75% of that chew bone, which was maybe 8 to 10 inches long, in one sitting. I shouldn’t have let her over-indulge like that.

Later on, after I showered and decompressed, I finished “Blonde Ice,” then listened to the DVD commentary for it, and read a little in Genet before bed.

Thursday, November 22nd–Thanksgiving Day–I woke about 5:15pm, walked and fed Belle, and immediately began preparing my unusual Thanksgiving dinner. It adhered to no type, school, genre, or region of cooking, but was rather just a random collection of foods warmed up. I nibbled on peanut butter and cracker sandwiches at first, then had that vaguely Asian vegetable soup I’ve been eating on for days (with jicama and daikon radish providing the crunchiness). I washed my dishes and clothes, and warmed up some spinach quiche and cornbread, and drank the HEB house brand equivalent to Crystal Light. (I had planned on having beer at some point, but I got a headache.) Sometime later I had two slices of pecan pie and a cup of coffee.

I took Belle out again, and this time she wanted to go out along Jollyville Road, to the east of our complex. We walked down the sidewalk to the corner of Jollyville and Floral Park Road, then turned left in front of the dry cleaner’s. We approached a big metal box used by an East Austin-based charity for the collection of clothing and bedding donations. I’ve noticed a lot of cardboard boxes left out in front of it lately.

I had a thought, or rather, I imagined James and I discussing this matter, driving by the box, and him, seeking another point upon which to berate and scold me, asking, “Have you ever taken anything from those clothing donation boxes?” And I would answer, with lackluster indignance, “Are you kidding? Stealing from a charity is like stealing from God!” And he would fold back into himself, not sure I was really telling the truth, but also regrouping, trying to come up with some other point of attack.

And this scenario had scarcely flashed across my brain when I got closer to the box, and saw one of the cardboard boxes on the ground was piled high with books! The paper-thin wall of my ethical standards fell over with a puff of air. I bent over and discovered the books were not cheap airport paperbacks–crap by Stephen King, Danielle Steel, and other hacks–but by God LITERATURE!

I sped up our walk, took Belle back to the apartment, took off her harness, stuck a flashlight and some cloth grocery bags into my largest backpack, and headed back to the donation box. I questioned the rightness or wrongness of what I was intending to do.

On the one hand, people leave belongings beside the dumpsters at my apartment complex all the time. It’s understood that people can help themselves to these things if they wish, or if that fails, the trashmen will take them away. I’ve also seen our maintenance men looking for treasure in and around our dumpsters early in the morning, and I’m sure they loot their share when they’re ordered to toss out the belongings of evicted tenants. Still, these books were not left at my apartment complex, but 75 yards away in front of a charity donation box.

I thought that, after all, this was a box for clothes and household items, but mostly clothes, right? Did the charity have a place to sell books? Would the charity staffers take the books to a used bookstore or some other place and sell them and return the profits to the charity? Maybe I’d just take these books now and one day after I get a decent income again I’d make a donation to the charity for whatever I thought the books were worth.

And wasn’t I, after all, poor myself, a pauper who hasn’t really worked much in over two years, who hasn’t earned a cent since August 2011? But then again, I do have safety nets, and 10,000 other books at home. There are people much worse off than I am.

Of course, if the books stayed outside they could get rained on, and what good would they be to anyone, then?

When I got to the box I saw that it was for the collection of clothing and bedding. Any other household items were to be taken to the charity’s physical home, and nothing was to be left on the ground around the box.

So there you go. It wouldn’t really be stealing, would it?

Due to my poor physical condition I can’t bend over or squat for very long, so I soon sat down on the dirt and gravel and took each book out to see what I wanted. There was a decent collection of literature, books on teaching English and literature, some novels for children, technical manuals, a few books of popular fiction, and a good deal of books about India. Though I’d thought there were other boxes of books, I found just the one, as well as some cassette tapes, picture frames, and other items. I put my hand on a wet pillow and a sandal and the filthy connotations connected with both made my flesh crawl.

At one point a car turned in to the little strip center off Jollyville Road, and pulled up fairly near to me. Was this the person who’d left the donation, wanting to donate more or get something back? Was it a new donor? Was it someone who, like me, wanted to pick through the boxes? Was it someone who just wanted to see what the person sitting on the ground was doing? The car stayed still too long for it to be a case of someone cutting across the parking lot to by-pass the traffic light and turn east. Was this person giving me a thorough looking-over and calling the police while I sat there?

The car pulled away.

While I had a nice little stack of books I considered keeping, I was not hugely attached to any of them. Knowing my bad luck of late, I wouldn’t have been at all surprised had the cops pulled up and started asking a bunch of questions. I wasn’t clear as to who was considered the legal owner of those books. and of course it looks suspicious to be poking around anywhere at night. I didn’t want to go to jail, even for a few hours. I couldn’t abandon Belle. I couldn’t afford legal trouble, nor could I mentally handle the inconvenience and loss of caste such an event would confer.

I put all of the books back in the box and walked back to my apartment empty-handed.

I took my shower and finally finished the book I’d been reading–appropriately enough it was “The Thief’s Journal,” by Jean Genet. I also planned to watch a movie, but instead spent about three hours book-marking and closing hundreds of pages I’d left open on my computer.

I didn’t get around to watching a movie tonight, but I did start Erle Stanley Gardner’s “The Case Of The Restless Redhead” and Bukowski’s “Bone Palace Ballet.”

Friday, November 23rd–I dreamt I was in a very hilly city, and I met up with former co-worker Dru. All during the dream I saw these huge delivery trucks for Half-Price Books (where I used to work, quite unhappily), making their way between the warehouse and the store. (This was no doubt inspired by seeing a HPB truck while waiting for a bus Tuesday.)

Anyway, these trucks were piled thirty or forty feet high with huge wooden crates of books which weren’t tied down. We kept driving past these trucks, and I noticed how the boxes kept leaning more and more out into the road, and finally they collapsed onto us, and I tried to dodge the falling boxes and survive.

In my next dream I started working for a very wealthy legendary country singer, who’d become a successful businessman with various companies and operations. His name was Sonny Shroyer, which I believe was the name of the actor who played the dim-witted deputy, Enos Strate, on “The Dukes of Hazzard.” But this guy was in his late 60s or early 70s, with silver hair and glasses, and a tendency to wear Western-style leisure suits and open-collar shirts. (Christ, I just looked up Sonny Shroyer and he’s 77!)

I was brought in to work on his ranch in some capacity. He had an enormous house, and some woman, possibly his wife, secretary, house keeper, office manager, or something, was showing me around. She pointed out some narrow little hidden doors that led into secret passages. (This was probably inspired by that Louvre documentary I watched recently.)

I went into one of these doors, and met employees going up and down a complex network of stairs and passages. The passages were inconveniently narrow, so much so that it was virtually impossible for a normal-sized adult to turn around in them. I quickly got lost, and discovered some passages that hadn’t been completed and others that had been abandoned. I was amazed at how deep into the ground these passages ran.

I found one abandoned passage, the entrance to which was only half-completed, and was blocked with cardboard boxes and covered over with shag carpet remnants. I pushed through all this crap, and took the stairs down. The passage became even more narrow and steep, and I soon got pinned-in, unable to go any further down or to pull myself out.

In my last dream I was working in a very upscale, elegant, and much-improved downtown Austin for Frank Sinatra, who was visiting in town for awhile. It was getting on to lunch time and he wanted me to go get us lunch. He wanted a special kind of pizza from a specific restaurant. (I forget the name of the pizza, but it had to do with the cheese. I’m also not sure whether or not Sinatra was affiliated with the Mafia in this dream.)

I didn’t want to disappoint Mr. Sinatra (what I called him throughout this dream), and I didn’t want to seem anything less than 100% professional and on my game, so I didn’t let on that I wasn’t entirely sure where that pizza place was located. We were working somewhere west of Congress Avenue, east of Guadalupe, and probably south of Sixth Street, close to City Hall, and I was sure the restaurant was in that area. Was it, perhaps, a food truck?

I took off looking for it. To spare myself too much walking, I squinted down the streets to see if I could spy the restaurant off in the distance.(Downtown had a great deal of Italian restaurants in this dream.)

Having no luck, I saw an Italian restaurant with a stack of phone books stacked on a shelf in front, and decided to go in there. I started looking through the phone books for the restaurant when the owner of this particular restaurant where i was standing poked his head into my line of vision. I wasn’t completely sure, but I was pretty sure it was M___, a friend of my buddy James. Now I despise M___, and have told James that if I ever see that piece of shit again, I’ll not be held responsible for what I do to him. (M____ once stated to me he thinks movies where animal cruelty is played for jokes are funny. He’s also a cheapskate. Those reasons are enough to make me pray for his death.)

Anyway, I acted with surprising civility towards M___, and explained that I was looking for the Italian restaurant named “___,” and he said that was in fact this restaurant here, that it went by both names. That seemed to me unnecessarily confusing, but it didn’t surprise me that M___ would do something so stupid. Finally, M___ handed me a menu, then drifted off to wait on, fawn over, and drool on some women who’d come in after me.

The menu was large and confusing, but I finally found a photo and descriptive text for the pizza Mr. Sinatra wanted. Mr. Sinatra had handed me a large amount of money, and I couldn’t remember if he wanted us to share the pizza, for me to get one for him and one for myself, or if I was to go to some other restaurant and buy my own lunch out of my own pocket.

I got bored with waiting. There was a shelf or platform at a slight horizontal slant there in the front of the restaurant, and I lay back on it and dozed off. Finally, M____ came back to attend to me and I explained why I was there. As soon as I mentioned “Mr. Sinatra,” M___’s whole manner changed. His posture straightened up, he got serious and even a little scared, and he started moving very quickly to fill my order.

……………………..

I woke about 5:21pm. Dinner was a repeat of yesterday’s, minus the pecan pie.

I finished Jean-Louis Fournier’s “Where We Going, Daddy?: Life with Two Sons Unlike Any Others,” which was a dark, depressing, bittersweet, brief, heart-breaking meditation by the father of two severely disabled sons. I think tonight I also watched “Slightly Scarlet.”

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