Journal Entries (December 8th–14th, 2012).

Saturday, December 8th–I woke at 10:50am. I had thought last night about putting off today’s outing, but this morning decided to go ahead with it.

I went first to Petsmart to buy Belle some chews, since she’s been rather rambunctious lately, and seems at loose ends. Normally there are two rows of shopping carts just inside the door there to the right, but today they’d been moved outside to make way for a camera and a “Christmasy” cardboard backdrop–a set-up for pets to be photographed with Santa.

Now while I might ordinarily have enjoyed getting a formal portrait of Belle, I thought the guy playing Santa looked rather unsavory–rather like a wino or a sex offender. He didn’t have a Santa beard, but rather closely-cropped white whiskers of his own, something only a few notches above five o’clock shadow. and he was wearing brown shoes, rather than black boots. And there were blue jeans poking out from under his Santa pants. No, even if I did have the money, I would skip this.

I trudged the mile or so to Sprouts, and as usual spent much, much more than I wanted to ($60), on coffee, trail mix, and packets of heat-and-serve Indian dishes which I serve over a bed of rice. I then went over to the Gateway Theatre to see the latest Bond film, “Skyfall,” which was wonderful.

Before the film, though, I feared I was about to be hit with a bad case of diarrhea. I had a long session on the toilet in the theatre beforehand, and even after that wasn’t one-hundred-percent sure I’d rid myself of the problem. I really didn’t want to have to get up and miss any of the movie, and it was over two-and-a-half hours long. But I had no problems.

About half-way or maybe two-thirds of the way through the film, they really cranked up the air conditioner, to the extent that I was shaking pretty violently.

During the end credits I discovered I’d dropped most of the index cards out of my right shorts pocket onto the floor, so I had to grope around the dirty floor in semi-darkness, trying to retrieve them. The floor was a little sticky, but not as bad as I feared it would be. When they finally turned on the overhead lights, they only did so to a slight degree. I never was completely satisfied that I’d gotten all the cards, though I checked at least half-a-dozen times. My eyes for some reason could not satisfy my brain.

I then helped an older woman who thought she’d lost her glasses in a similar manner. She couldn’t decide whether the glasses (which had cost a dollar) had fallen under her seat or if she’d put them in her purse. Yet for some reason she didn’t look into her purse to make sure.

She was eventually rejoined by her husband, who’d left well ahead of her (perhaps to run to the restroom). He was tall and skinny and pale, rather like a plucked chicken. I chatted pleasantly with them about eye-glasses all the way out of the auditorium and down the corridor, only parting ways to duck into the restroom.

I then went to Whole Foods to get some of the freebie magazines they give away up by one of the exits, then headed over to Barnes and Noble to look at more magazines. My back was really killing me by this point, due to the heaviness of my backpack. Still, I went on to HEB and bought some more groceries, and lugged them home.

In the mail was a nice Christmas card from “Momma C,” along with a photo of her latest Basset, “General Beauregard,” and $10 treat money for Miss Belle.

(Someone should market a line of adult diapers, not for the elderly, but for movie-goers.

It seems that a lot of the films I see are really long, and I don’t like to miss one second of them. But at the same time, I hate to squirm in my seat and suffer when I really need to go. There have been so many times where I’ve wished I had a diaper on or a catheter or something to relieve the pain.

There was one long movie where I actually wondered for a few seconds if I could arrange myself in such a way that I could piss out of one leg opening of my shorts without making too much noise. But then I figured that after the movie the ushers would turn up the lights, see the trail of piss, trace it up to my seat, remember what I looked like, and put up some sort of notice to look out for me the next time I came to the theatre.)

I forget when I retired, but I think it was around 4am.

Sunday, December 9th–I woke after 2pm. I forget what I did during the afternoon, but it took the better part of three hours for me to get through ten boring tutorials tonight. Then I did a good deal of reading in Gardner, and started Bryan Connan’s “Beverley Nichols: A Life.” The first of a series of cold fronts blew in this evening.

Monday, December 10th–I woke in the afternoon. It was really cold tonight.

I read more in Gardner, then watched “Law of Desire.”

The first and only other time I watched it was around 1990. I had only been in Austin about a year at that point, and was reveling in what for me was “big city” life. I finally had a chance to watch classic, foreign, and art films, and I did so as often as I could afford it. “Law of Desire” was my introduction to the colorful, unique world of Pedro Almodovar, a world so much different from boring small town/suburban Texas.

I think fondly of that period in my life, and of all the films I watched back then. I was surprised tonight by how little of “Law of Desire” I actually remembered.

Later I read more in Connan, and retired about 7:30am.

Tuesday, December 11th–I dreamt about a fictional East Texas town I’ve visited before in dreams. It’s very much north of Huntsville, but out of the Pine Belt. I don’t know if it’s on Interstate 45 or not, but the Main Street runs north and south.

In the southern part of town, on the west side of Main Street, is a diner/cafe/restaurant that serves American-style comfort food and is hugely popular with locals and visitors alike. The central part of town is densely packed with interesting shops and boutiques. North of downtown, also west of Main Street, is a college, with Beaux Arts architecture and a very good library.

I don’t know if a town that small would keep me interested for a great deal of time, to the extent that I’d ever consider moving there, but in the dream I arranged to go there on a brief vacation of two nights, two full days, and two half-days.

Another dream took place at our old property in Conroe, Texas. All I remember about it was we owned quite a few dogs, and I was trying to find out from my father if the two that were then staying in town were in any danger or not.

There were also two sexy dreams which I’ll keep to myself.

……………….

I woke around 3:05pm.

During my first walk with Belle, I saw a school bus pull into the parking lot, and idle in front of an apartment building. For a time, no one got on or off. Finally, a grown man, wearing shorts despite the cold, came outside and stood before the bus doors. Then the doors opened and he was handed a backpack. He then turned his back to the doors, and a child of undetermined age, who was either handicapped or half-asleep, hooked onto his back like a crab, and the man carried him inside.

Belle and I went back inside and ate, then Belle wanted another walk. This time we saw a couple of Mormon missionaries climbing onto their bicycles and riding away. I do wish the apartment management would do something about all the unwelcome solicitors we get here. I am openly bigoted against Mormons and other cultists, and I don’t like being disturbed on the grounds or having anyone knock on my door or ring my door bell.

As Belle and I headed back, I noticed one of the doors to one of the exterior utility closets on my building was wide open. The closet contains all sorts of wires, fuse boxes, and such, and had a thick layer of leaves in the bottom. I was worried that this was a fire hazard, so when I got inside I called the front office. I did later hear some doors slamming, but I doubt the maintenance men did anything more than a half-assed job of rectifying the problem.

I finished Erle Stanley Gardner’s “The Case Of The Restless Redhead,” reading something like seventy pages, and then read fifty pages in Connon, and a few more later in bed. I retired around 7:30am or so.

Wednesday, December 12th–I dreamt that I learned from an old man with a map that a friend of mine was in danger. I tried to contact him online, but he wouldn’t listen to anybody.

………………….

I got up at 4:24pm. I noticed that I have over three weeks to go before I get my next Food Stamp payment, and not a great deal of food left to prepare. I have about $54 left in my Food Stamp account, so I’d better make the rest of those purchases count. I’m not going to hold my breath and expect to get any Christmas money this year.

The Tumbler site was down for hours.

I watched John Cleese’s “Wine for the Confused,” along with the DVD extras, then read all night in Connon.

Thursday, December 13th–I dreamt I was out walking Belle, when some dangerous, criminally unbalanced frat boy driving a big truck or elaborately kitted-out Jeep sped into the apartment complex (which looked nothing like the one where I live in my waking life), and rammed his way through the front windows of an apartment and drove into the living room. This didn’t slow him down, though, as he backed out and looked to be preparing to ram other apartments.

I was scared, and was trying to decide if Belle and I should try to hide behind a big tree or if that wouldn’t protect us, and we should try to make a run for our apartment. Would he be able to get across our narrow bridge and into our apartment?

…………………..

I got up around 6:46pm.

About an hour later I heard someone knocking on a door and talking to neighbors. I feared it was either solicitors coming around bothering us or maybe the cops. The guy had on some sort of black jacket, like a wind-breaker, and what I thought was a badge. He was asking about the old woman who lives directly next-door to me.

The people one apartment over didn’t know where she was, nor did a resident from another floor who sounded to be on the stairs. The man started to knock again. Against my better judgement, I opened the door to see what was up.

I asked if I could help. The man turned to face me. He was not a cop. He was a black man, apparently in his fifties. He gave his name, which I forgot before the sound waves of his voice even had a time to dissipate. He extended his hand, which was dry and powdery. It was the hand of a workman, though I noticed a Blackberry bud in his left ear.

He was looking for the women who lived in the apartment. I think he said the older woman was named Lynda. No one had been able to get ahold of her for several days, and he noticed her car was parked out front. I didn’t ask if he was a co-worker, a member of her church, or what.

(I know the main occupant is an older woman who has lived there for over three years and always has a sour expression and looks tired. She walks in an uneven side-to-side wobble, as if she’s trying to recover from surgery to her reproductive organs. She looks to be in her sixties.

She has a fat daughter, who is probably in her thirties, and always wears flip-flops. The sound of a fat woman walking in flip-flops is very distinctive.

I don’t know if the daughter lives there or just visits often. I know that often on the weekends children visit–at least two or three of them. There’s a boy who is either black or bi-racial, who is about 13, and one, two, or more smaller kids, who I think are all girls and all white.)

The guy asked if there was a maintenance man on duty. I said I vaguely remembered hearing a few years ago that one maintenance man lived in the complex, but I don’t know if it’s true, if he still lives there, or how to reach him. I said the best bet would be to call the after-hours answering service.

I said that the older woman seems to often be away for several days at a time. I gathered it was part of her job. She often gets packages left at her door. There was a book-sized package left there on Tuesday or Wednesday which has since been picked up.

I also said the woman has Christmas lights strung out along her balcony on the back side of the building. If she’s home she turns them on.

He seemed a little encouraged by this, and I gathered he was about to go check around the back of the building. After I shut the door I worried that I had volunteered too much information and that he might be a burglar.

I also thought how frightened I’d get if it turns out the women were in there murdered. I’d certainly no longer feel safe in this apartment. But if anyone got murdered I’d have heard it, since the walls are so thin.

I often hear that older couple who both work at Taco Bell arguing downstairs. I heard my upstairs neighbor pissing this evening–even the last little shake of piss five or ten seconds after the end of the regular stream. And last night while walking Belle I heard one of the lesbians in the next building over moaning in sexual ecstasy–and I was outside!

Around 2:30am I took Belle for a walk. We went by the back of the building. The Christmas lights weren’t on, but I noticed there was a light on inside, in either the hall or kitchen, and the Christmas tree was lit.

Strange….

I spent most of the wee hours reading in Connon.

Around 8am, though, I heard somebody out front opening a car door, and I looked out the window and saw it was the old woman. I went out onto the balcony in my T-shirt and underwear and got her attention, and tried to discuss the incident in a stage whisper, so as not to disturb any sleeping neighbors.

She was annoyed at the guy for looking for her. Either he or someone else climbed up onto her balcony from the back of the building. The black guy had been sent by someone else who was worried about her. She had her cell phone off and I gather just didn’t wish to be disturbed.

I explained that it was probably my fault that the guy climbed onto the balcony because I told him she had Christmas lights. Anyway, I said the whole fuss seemed to be due to several people thinking she was dead. She apologized if I’d been disturbed, but she was mostly annoyed that those people had bothered her, which is something I can totally identify with.

At least my sleep today won’t be disturbed by cops coming around beating on my door, asking if I heard or saw anything odd.

Friday, December 14th–The main story today was a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. A few teachers were killed, but most of the victims were children.

Generally I am not much affected by tragedies happening to other people. Mass shootings seldom register with me. And my feelings about children tend to veer between indifference and annoyance. But this story bothered me, and I found myself crying a great deal while reading the details and looking at the pictures.

I spent much of the night reading more in Connon.

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