Journal Entries (November 24th–December 7th, 2012).

Saturday, November 24th–I woke about 6pm.

Though I was out of sweets and munchies, I decided not to go to the store.

I listened to Max Allan Collins’s excellent DVD commentary for “Slightly Scarlet.” I read in Bukowski and started L. Sprague De Camp’s “Lovecraft.”

Sunday, November 25th–I had another dream where I moved into New Guild Co-op, though it was arranged a little differently. The mailboxes, for instance, were no longer directly under the main stairs.

In another dream I went back to my old hometown Katy, Texas with my “mother” (someone who didn’t look like her or never showed her face). We took our usual route from our neighborhood into “town,” going east along First Street. But it was grown over, with dirt and grass instead of pavement, and trees and bushes arching thickly over the track.

I looked to the left and said, “Let’s see if we can see Mrs. Zubik’s house.” (Mrs. Zubik, our one-time housekeeper, whom I treated abominably, lived in a cottage along this street.) But there was nothing. A little further on, though, where older houses once stood, there were blocks and block of brand-new, ugly, identical tract houses, with white or spotted white and pink brick walls and grey board privacy fences.

We went into the “downtown” area, only to find most of the little stores and businesses gone, replaced by high-rises and skyscrapers, all of which seemed to house hospitals and doctor’s offices. I saw a tower twenty or more stories high, all devoted to dentistry, and joked, “This is a far cry from Dr. McMean’s clinic!” (Dr. McMeans, I believe, was our dentist.)

……………………………..

I got up a few minutes before 7pm….

I did some tutorials and looked at some job descriptions (something my DARS case worker had suggested weeks ago, but which I’ve been putting off), and had trouble finding anything to suit me. And I also gave Belle a good going-over with the flea comb.

Monday, November 26th–The day was fairly short and uneventful, seeing as I have to get up earlier than usual tomorrow. I scanned a bunch of stuff, then listened to two different sets of DVD commentaries for “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.”

Tuesday, November 27th–I got up about 2:30pm, a half-hour before I’d set the alarm, walked and fed Belle and myself, then took a bus down to the Yarborough branch of the public library to turn in some stuff and check out more, as well as pick up some free magazines.
Once back in my neighborhood I got an Icee, then had more trouble at HEB, when the self-check-out machine wouldn’t read my cards. Plus the girl in charge of assisting customers in that area took her sweet time helping me. Finally, I gave up and left empty-handed. I got back home, walked Belle, then checked the balances of all three cards and they were exactly what I thought they’d be, so I don’t know why the machine turned me down.

I watched “Black Adder V: Back and Forth,” along with all the DVD extras.

Wednesday, November 28th–
I did almost nothing today, apart from fart around online, since I had to go to bed relatively early to prepare for my appointment. I did read a little, I think.

Thursday, November 29th–I dreamt I went back to the Hotel Esmeralda in Paris, and it looked quite a bit better than it did for the few anxious hours I was a guest there in 2006. I went to help a young female friend who wanted to stay there. The place was larger, brighter, and cleaner than it is in real life, and actually looked like a film set.

I found an office on the second floor, with staffers who spoke excellent English, and told them about my bad experience the last time I was there. We agreed I should’ve tried a room with a private bath, and they pretty much convinced me to stay there the next time I came to Paris.

………………..

I got up a little after noon, and quickly got ready. After my first bus, I had a lay-over of about thirty minutes, so I got a Slurpee, using the Pay Pal card HEB had turned down, and stood by the bus stop drinking it, while looking down at the beautiful, perfect corpses of two bird who lay dead on the ground, side by side. I guess they’d been electrocuted on all the power line knobby-thingies overhead.

I got to the therapist’s offices thirty minutes early, and looked at files and listened to music. I noticed for the first time that there are no doorknobs to the doors of the two inner offices–only keyholes. When my therapist appeared, I discovered/noticed that there are actually two doors separating the waiting room from the inner office, with the doorknobs on her side. She explained that the wall between the rooms also goes up higher than normal, for sound-proofing purposes.

I started out by making three statements:

1) When I worked at home, under almost ideal conditions,. from late 2007 to Summer 2010, I had no panic attacks.

2) The last time I met with my DARS Case Worker, she was concerned that my social anxiety might be so far along that it might not be quickly fixed, and so I might remain unemployable for a long time, in which case, they’d have to drop me from DARS. I explained that DARS is pretty much my last hope of salvaging my life and getting a decent career started, so I really need to prevent them from kicking me out.

3) I went over my panic attacks of the 21st and 27th.

My therapist thought these all excellent points, and rich material for numerous sessions, albeit sessions we don’t have at our disposal, since this was the third of five that DARS is paying for.

I rattled off some careers and career fields that interested me in varying degrees, though most of them required additional education. She said DARS can pay for some of that.

She gets me. She understands that throwing me back into a situation where I’ll have to return to doing mindless, low-wage, dead-end jobs, would be the wrong thing for me. She agrees I need something mentally challenging and stimulating.

(I started tearing up while telling her about how moved I was by that other therapist saying that based on the way I answered the questions on that intelligence test a few months ago, I ought to be doing a “high executive-level job,” and how wonderful it was that at least one other person in the world believed in me.)

So the next two sessions we’ll be discussing jobs in more detail, and she’ll decide on what she’s going to tell my Case Worker about what should be done with me.

Later, while I was standing at a bus stop on Burnet Road, waiting for my last bus, an old homeless black man kept staring at me as I paced back and forth. I wondered if he was the same old homeless black man who asked me to take his picture downtown last year, but it wasn’t.

He finally stood up, walked over to me, and started asking me questions. There were at least five other people at the bus stop, but he asked me, and oddly enough, I was the guy who could actually answer his questions. I turned off my I-Pod and tried to sort out his problem.

He is homeless, and getting treated for mental illness by MHMR. A week ago, he met with his new MHMR doctor for the first time, and the doctor prescribed him three medications for heart trouble–two types of pills and a nasal spray–but he initially gave him only one type of pill, and held off on the spray. The man doesn’t want the spray, and as far as I could tell, the man’s pharmacist said it would be dangerous for a heart patient to use this spray. The man was also under the impression that he didn’t have any rights, seeing as he was homeless.

I tried to set him as straight as I could, based on what I could understand of his problem and the fact I’m neither a doctor nor a pharmacist. I explained that he does indeed have rights, and that he cannot be forced to take any medication he doesn’t want to take, and that there are legal protections for him. I encouraged him to put his foot down if he felt he was being ill-treated, to ask for a second opinion, if he wanted one, and to make sure the doctor explained everything to his satisfaction. I also suggested he bring his Case Worker into the matter if need be, and possibly a nurse, and I suggested a male nurse on the staff at MHMR who is especially kind and understanding.

The man asked me why the doctor had withheld some of the medications, and my guess was that the doctor wanted to start out with weak doses and gradually build up their strength.

The man rode with me on the bus a couple miles. I imagine I talked with him fifteen or twenty minutes. The thing that amazed me is that I actually have direct knowledge of and experience with MHMR, so that I was able to be of use and answer his specific questions.
I got back to my neighborhood and bought some food with my Food Stamp card, and saw some DVDs on sale, marked down to an amazing $5.99. God, I hope that format doesn’t disappear soon.

I stayed up all night, just farting around online, doing no work. I read a little, then retired around 11am, after having been up for 23 straight hours.

Friday, November 30th–As I recall, I woke around 8:46pm.
To my surprise, I had a wonderful message from a friend I’d not heard from in ages.

DECEMBER

Saturday, December 1st–Friday moved quietly into Saturday. I did some tutorials and puttered, read in Bukowski, and retired around 3pm.

Sunday, December 2nd–I woke at 12:15am. I did the usual stuff, then farted around online. I watched “Funny Face,” (the film and the DVD extras) and found it delightful, gorgeous, wonderful, and astonishingly elegant. Director Stanley Donen makes Paris look absolutely edible.

But while I was trying to watch the film James kept interrupting by Instant Messaging me, asking a bunch of questions, babbling, sending me links, even though I’ve told him a hundred times not to send them to me.

Finally, he sent me one dated 2009, saying that Congress had passed a law banning the sale of children’s books and toys made before 1985. Apparently the toys were all in danger of being painted with a toxic lead-based paint, and the books were in danger of being printed with a toxic lead-based ink. Sellers are required to test each of these items individually for these toxic substances, but the tests are pricey, and apparently some dealers and libraries are just throwing boxes of the books into dumpsters. The only exceptions to the law are adult collectors, since in those cases the items would not be going to children.

I looked up confirmation of this story, and found enough to convince myself it was genuine. I quickly got very anxious and upset, and sent James a message, sarcastically thanking him for ruining my movie for me and giving me yet another thing to panic and stress out about. He rather disingenuously replied that he was sure I already knew about it and that he was the one out of the loop.

He tried to calm me down, saying it he didn’t entirely believe the horror stories I’d read about book-tossing, and said he could see Good Will doing that, but not Half-Price Books. I said I could easily see Half-Price Books doing it, reminded him of how fucked up the mindset of corporate types usually is, and said I could easily imagine the memo they’d send out, and the dutiful drones who would obey it. (I hope the true bibliophiles in this country just took the books to their own homes, instead of trashing them.)

I said it’s bad enough being broke for over two straight years, unable to buy anything, and wanting all these things that are hard enough to track down under the best of circumstances, but now the fucking government is trying to make these books and toys that I want even harder to find and buy. It took an hour or so before my heart stopped pounding.

Later, I went to bed, read in Bukowski, and retired around 4pm.

Monday, December 3rd–
I woke around 1:13am. I spent most of my time on Tumbler, reblogging stuff, deciding which of my hundreds of followers I should follow back or ignore, and listening to 80s music.

The food I had for my various meals was awful and bitter-tasting. I just cannot cook worth a damn. I often dread my meals because of how unpleasant or boring they taste. And this time of month–in the last week or so before I get my Food Stamp benefits–I’m always low on interesting foods and out of tasty, nibbly stuff.

It was announced today that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant.
Around mid-morning, a particularly nasty virus hit Tumbler, and though spam spewed forth from several of my followers, the Tumbler technicians ran the problem to ground fairly quickly. Afterwards, just to be safe, I ran a full-length, two-and-a-half-hour bug scan.

I went to bed and read in Bukowski, and went to sleep around 4:30 or so.

Tuesday, December 4th–I dreamt I was living in an improved version of Austin with my (maternal?) grandfather. We had to go somewhere, but were hampered by an unpleasant, quarrelsome old Asian man who lived in the apartment complex, who had health problems, possibly with his heart, and who, for some reason, we were supposed to watch over. Neither of us liked the old bastard, and I don’t know how we got stuck looking after him.

Anyway, my grandfather and I got into the car, and the old Asian man (I say old–he may’ve just been in his sixties) ran up to the car and yapped some complaints and curses at us, then just as swiftly ran off. Suddenly his body became all flexible like a “Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube-Man,” and he fell to the ground, his glasses flying off onto the pavement some distance away from him. My grandfather was planning to drive off all the same, but I got him to stop, we got out of the car again, and we flagged down a middle-aged woman who also lived in the complex and got her to take over the care of the old man, to call an ambulance, and see that he got to a hospital. Then my grandfather and I drove off.

During this drive my grandfather turned into my friend M___. He worked at a hot-shot, big-time dot-com (as he does in real life) and needed to go in for a staff meeting. (I was kinda, sorta hinting around that he ought to get me on-board his company, also as I’ve been doing in real life.)

We got to the offices, and he led me to an office with a glass wall overlooking a large meeting room. I saw some maps on the wall, and announced that I wanted a map. He took down a large, laminated map of Austin from the wall and handed it to me, then picked up another, intending to hang it up.

But I noticed my map was old, frayed, full of holes, and the lamination sheets were coming undone at the edges and looking tacky. So I said I wanted another map. He gave me the one he was holding, but it wasn’t much better. It had big holes in the creases where the map had been folded. I wanted a clean, new, perfect map, but I was sure he’d not get me one, since he seemed to be treating me like a fussy little child.

He went into the meeting. Most of his co-workers were young and casually-dressed. I thought they dressed and looked just like me. (My wardrobe in the dream switched back and forth between casual wear and pajamas.)

The meeting was efficiently planned and conducted, and over in probably less than five minutes. Everything that needed to be said was said, and everyone left the room knowing what they needed to do. I was hugely impressed. It was so unlike most company staff meetings, which are long, drawn-out ordeals, filled with pointless blather.

Since I realized I’d probably be abandoned in that office awhile longer, I climbed atop a long table, pulled my blanket around myself, and tried to sleep. Some young women came into the office, and completely ignoring me, started talking about M___, whom they could see through a window, and who was talking to some of the top executives of the company in the lobby. They carried on, in loud whispers, about how they found him attractive, husband-material, bound for great things, and one added, …”And he’s even Catholic!”

Eventually M___ came and got me and we went out through the front door into what I guess you’d call the office park, though it looked a bit like an abandoned Los Angeles apartment court, with mud and grass growing up in the center courtyard. We got to the car and headed on.

We were supposedly in the western part of Austin, heading north, possibly around Clarksville, but nothing looked as it really does. We marveled how so many old landmarks were being torn down and replaced by generic, ugly crap. (Something else that’s happening in the real Austin.)

Eventually, we pulled off the road and I found myself walking down a dirt path across a barren stretch of ground. Close to me, ahead and behind, were some rather thuggish and trashy young men that I didn’t know. I forget if M___ was still with me or not by this point. I felt I was in danger, and I was also exuding the contempt I always feel for white trash.

Some insults were exchanged, and the smart-ass behind me said something and spat slightly onto the back of my neck. I bristled, and the guys gathered around me, as if they were about to hurt me.

But then I turned the tables and pulled out a knife, and using the movements of a samurai engaged in seppuku, I cut the guy in front of me to the right with a long, slow, powerful, pulling cut across his belly, and then up, hard, as he and the rest of the gang looked at me in dumb disbelief. I then went on to disembowel and flay a few others in rapid, yet suspended time, before they figured what was going on, and fled.

In the next dream….

…………………..

I woke around 3:38am. The virus scan thankfully turned up no bugs.
I cleaned the top of the stove and also tossed two large trash bags, which contained, among other things, Belle’s pee pads, which I had also just changed.

Later in the morning I mailed a letter at the UPS Store and got some munchies at the dollar store.

I called the Lone Star Circle of Care to see what happened with my application to get therapy there. That seems like it’ll be a dead-end. They have clinics in Round Rock and Pfugerville, which are, in a sense, closer to me than the other clinic down south, but inaccessible by bus.

The clinic down south off of Ben White–way the fuck out of my way–requires that I make a doctor down there my primary physician first, and that he recommend me for therapy. That’d be a lot of trouble just for nothing. The medical clinic I go to now is fairly close, but it’s still a goddamn ordeal to get to and from there; I’m certainly not going to make my situation worse. Anyway, I’m not especially interested in getting any more therapy after I finish with this Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, at least not in this current set-up.

I put off looking at career titles and job descriptions all day. When I finally got around to it I got very depressed very quickly, and decided to go to bed.

Wednesday, December 5th–I got up at 7:28am.

I finished Charles Bukowski’s “Bone Palace Ballet: New Poems.”

I learned that Dave Brubeck had died.

I think this was the day I finally finished the last of that soup.

Didn’t I retire around 11pm or so?

Thursday, December 6th–I dreamt that my (adoptive) father took me back to Katy, Texas, to Sanford Street, where I’d lived with my mother and biological father from about 1966 to 1969. I knew that since I’d lived there an extra house had been built closer to the corner of Sanders and 10th, in what had been part of our yard, but I was having trouble telling which house was ours. The houses looked different. There was also a run-down apartment building to the northwest. Was that there in the Sixties?

My father also referred to Katy as a city, but it had been little more than a village in the Sixties. He seemed very impersonal about the place, as if he’d never been there before, when in fact he’d lived there from 1963 to 1973, and it was where we met.

……………………..

I woke at 7:46am. I got ready, ate two meals, then went by the bank, took a bus to Koenig, got some M&Ms and a Slurpee, caught a second bus, and headed to my therapist’s office.

In the parking lot an older woman with a blonde version of Anna Wintour’s bobbed hair-style was having serious trouble parking her car. She’d pull into the parking space, decided she didn’t like it, grit her teeth, shake her head violently, flail her arms and hands, mouth curses, then pull out and try again. This happened several times, and she was directly in my way. I veered far around to the left, over by the front of the office building, only to find there was no sidewalk in front and the fronts of the cars almost butted into the building.

So back into the parking lot I went, as she finally gave up on that space and moved on to another close to one of the front entrances. Again, I gave her a wide berth, as she couldn’t quite get the car in straight enough to suit her, and I was afraid she’d suddenly back out and run over me. I assumed she was obsessive-compulsive and prone to violent tantrums, and, like me, was there to see her therapist.

I went inside, went into a tiny men’s room, and attempted to move my bowels, but a man came in with his little son, and though I didn’t take my earphones off, I gathered they were there to use the toilet as well. They saw the stall was occupied, the boy asked questions in a whiny voice, and father and son left.

(The restroom was probably smaller than the bathroom in my apartment, and was claustrophic with one person in it, much less three.) I hadn’t been interested enough to suggest that these two try the other three men’s rooms in the building, but I knew in my heart of hearts they were standing just outside the restroom door waiting for me. This constricted my bowels and left me unable to do my business, so I stood up, flushed, took my sweet time about washing my face and hands and drying them, and just as I grabbed the door handle the son and father burst in, but due to the confined space they had to step back into the hallway in order to let me out.

As I walked down the hall I noticed the crazy blonde woman again–sticking a key into the door of the private office for her therapy practice.

The session with my therapist went well, and of course all too quickly. We mostly discussed work matters, including my concerns over areas in my job-hunting skills with which I feel I need help. I said if it comes down to DARS wanting to drop me on account of my social anxiety, maybe we can just pretend I don’t have social anxiety or put it on the back-burner, and get me a good job that offers insurance, and then I can afford to seek treatment that way.

I explained that I’m running out of agencies that can help me, and I feel I need to get specific help career-wise if I’m ever going to get anywhere. I don’t feel I have that much time left to save myself. If I don’t fix things soon it might be too late, and I’ll be stuck in either shitty jobs or unemployment and madness the rest of my life.

I made a joking observation that the ideal job for me would be a “Royal Watcher,” one of those experts who are trotted out at Royal weddings and funerals to explain to the mouth-breathing American public who is who and what is what, the rituals, the genealogies, the laws and traditions. I explained that I could do that sort of thing in my sleep.

The bus trips home were uneventful.

Friday, December 7th–I woke around 7am or so, got ready, ate, fortified myself with coffee, then took two buses to the North Lamar HEB. As I walked across the parking lot, I passed through a section that was thick with bird shit, probably from grackles, and the dust from it got into my lungs and fucked up my breathing and caused me to cough for hours afterwards.

I went to the pharmacy, and got into a pleasant chat with a woman who was due to have a baby any day now. I asked if she knew the sex and had picked out a name, and she said it would be a boy and she was planning to name him “Solomon Louis Hunt.”

After filling three prescriptions I caught another bus to UT. Then I had to make the long, exhausting, annoying walk from Guadalupe Street to the Law School, a walk made more tortuous by all the detours I had to take, partially due to UT’s perpetual construction projects. When I finally climbed up the hill atop which the Texas Memorial Museum perches, I was panting and wheezing bird shit dust and was getting over-heated, since I had worn a hoodie, but the weather was beginning to warm up.

I’d not been to the Law School in many years. I remembered the Library had a lot of art works and antique furniture, and the Law School Building itself had a lot of artworks, especially posters from the World War I era. I had read that after a recent renovation of the Law School complex, there was no longer room for all the art, and much of it was auctioned off a few months ago. So I wanted to take some pictures while I had the chance.

The Law School complex was sprawling and labyrinthine, and I didn’t take many photos. Even the few I did take weren’t very good, because the glass over the pictures and the positioning of the overhead lights created glare that even my glare-reduction filter couldn’t overcome.

On my way out of the building I saw a famous-looking and expensively-dressed, silver-haired gentleman sitting in the lobby, talking to two slovenly students. I could tell he was someone important, and even got goosebumps and raised neck-hair, but I’m not sure who he was. I thought he was famed attorney and UT benefactor Joe Jamail, whose name is all over the Law School and the UT campus, but now that I’ve done a Google Image search, I’m pretty sure that was not him.

I went over to the Fine Arts Library to look up some books. I found one I wanted, examined it, and decided that yes, I shall order my own copy once I get money again. Then I went over to the Visual Arts Center to see some student and faculty art works.

By this point I was hot and tired. Before I even had left the house I had decided against going to the Perry-Castaneda Library today. I’m thinking of going to the Blanton next Thursday–maybe I’ll hit the PCL then. I caught a “40 Acres Shuttle” bus, to spare my feet the long hike across campus, then decided I was also too tired to do the Harry Ransom Center and the Architecture Library justice, so I just hopped off on Guadalupe and took another city bus up to the Chinatown Center to shop at the MT Market.

I spent about $48, got to the bus stop with just a few minutes to spare (the bus I needed comes by only once an hour), got back to my neighborhood, and, hot, tired, and in pain, shuffled home with my heavy bags of groceries. (I had also packed too much other stuff in my backpack this morning–a book and papers I never got around to looking at.)

Belle had a fit, but I eventually calmed her down.

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