Tuesday, January 8th–It rained all day and night in various intensities.
I woke up in mid-afternoon.
My DARS Case Worker suggested a meeting next Monday afternoon, and I agreed on it.
Not long after I’d eaten, I noticed J___ had left me a message that he was in town and wanted to get together. I got ready, then J___, N___, and I tried our best to avoid the traffic by driving through the really nice residential neighborhoods that are between Mo-Pac and Lamar.
We went to the downtown Library, where I tried to get my materials as quickly as possible. J___ also added two photography books to my pile, but I really don’t know if I’ll have the time to read them, what with all the other books I’ve got checked out.
Our next stop was Fiesta Mart, where I spent $123, leaving me with only $38 to last through the next four weeks. But once I get some frozen vegetables for my Big Ass Soup, I should be okay. (I did most of my shopping in the International and Produce sections, the latter being made more picturesque by birds swooping down from the ceiling to examine the food and the people; the customers were totally unfazed by this.)
We dropped N___ off at Central Market, ate at EZ’s, went to Zinger’s Hardware, where J___ bought a great deal of cookie cutters for N___ to use for her ceramic projects, prowled the Central Park Center, then wound up in Central Market, spending most of our time in the beer section, marveling at the breadth and diversity of their stock. J___ bought me a four-pack of a brand of beer he likes.
I think it was about 8:30pm or so when I got home. I had avoided all stress and panic attacks during my outing–that is, until Belle started barking incessantly. It took a long time to calm her down.
I had big plans for the evening, but didn’t get around to doing anything.
Wednesday, January 9th–I dreamt I went somewhere to observe some happening in the company of a lot of people. I think it was in some small town. I don’t even remember what I went there to see, only that it seemed to stretch out over several days and take place in a large barn.
Along with a lot of other people, I sat and slept on a big shelf that was several feet off the level of the floor, ran across the entire back end of the barn, and was three or four feet deep. There were other seating shelves elsewhere in the barn.
I made friends with a young hipster who was sitting on the shelf nearby. He was a film-maker and had come to record this event. He waved to his female camera operator, and indicated she should film me. Because I was shabbily-dressed and was embarrassed of this, I covered my lower half with a blanket.
There was some older bearded man standing by the door to my right. I forget what annoyed me about him, but I yelled out some insult at him, he looked offended and a little angry, then stalked off, crossing to the left, then down the length of the barn, and exiting. Through a window I then saw him cross past the opposite end of the barn and across the lawn. He eventually showed up back by the door, gave me a dirty look, drew himself up, but knew better than to say anything. I was thrilled at having gotten away with being a complete asshole to him.
It became obvious that this big event was winding down. Then, Michael Landon/Little Joe Cartwright, acting as a pseudo-parent, came into the barn by the door to the right. I climbed down from the shelf and tried to put my shoes on, but I discovered they were made of very thin vellum-like material, and there were rocks in the toes of each one. I shook the shoes and Michael/Joe began ordering me around.
He said he was taking me home, and that, among other things, I’d have to start regularly attending the Baptist Church. I was embarrassed that he was treating me like a child in front of all these people, especially my new friend, whose name I’d not even asked yet.
I said, “Michael, with all due respect, I’m not going to go to the fucking Baptist Church. I’m a Catholic. You of all people should be sensitive to that. [In real life, Landon was raised by a Jewish father and Catholic mother, who were always squabbling about religion.] And I’m also a middle-aged adult, so I don’t take orders from you.”
I don’t know what happened next.
I got up around 4:45pm, did my usual, took Belle on several walks around the soggy grounds, and ate. I got two excellent and moving pieces of good news online, and they quickly lifted me out of a depression that had descended upon me as soon as I’d awakened.
I showered, had coffee, and had one of those strong beers while watching the film and DVD extras for “Religulous.”
Thursday, January 10th–I dreamt I was living in a combination dormitory/classroom building, somewhat like my old dorm of Kirkley Hall, but substantially larger. The school was entering into a program of improvements and renovations, and apparently my room was to be painted, so I had to move a great many of my belongings out into a hallway. These included hundreds, and possibly thousands of books.
Some sinister female teacher had it in for me. (Gee, I wonder who that could’ve been?) She was determined to separate me from my books, and decided that since these books were not located in my room, and I had no invoices or paperwork proving ownership, then they didn’t belong to me, and she was having them seized and possibly destroyed. I did have a small collection of really old books with faded spines and bindings still in the room.
I went into a panic, considered acts of violence, and decided to steal back my possessions. But there were too many books for me to move on my own, and besides, I needed places to hide them. And time was of the essence, because the school authorities were coming to get the books soon. I looked up my friends, most of whom were lounging around in the TV rooms, but they were in no hurry to help me, couldn’t be prevailed upon to get up off their lazy asses, or had elaborate excuses for not helping me.
I slept until late afternoon. I got up and did the usual, puttered around online, then read in the Cavafy and Douglas books. I was in a pretty decent mood.
In the wee hours of the morning, I took Belle out for a walk. I saw some short, chunky guy waddling out from the other end of my building, and get into a truck. He looked like a redneck or maybe a frat boy, but he was wearing one of those heavy, rough, grey, Latin American sweaters so popular among stoners and neo-hippies.
I walked Belle around the southern parking lot, then returned to our own in time to see a truck driving around erratically, and at a dangerous speed. It tore around the central area of our parking lot (which consists of two grassy medians with trees, and several parking spaces), then, as it got closer to us, left the pavement, hopped over a curb, and drove through one of the grassy medians, barely missing a large Live Oak, before turning and attempting the circuit again.
I got scared for Belle’s safety and my own, so I led her behind a rank of parked cars, and moved her quickly over to our bridge as fast as I could. I figured the driver was at least drunk and might possibly be violent and armed. We had just reached our door when the driver got out–it was the squat asshole I’d seen earlier–presumably on his way back from a beer run.
I retired close to 9am on Friday.
Friday, January 11th–Belle tried to wake me after I’d had only about six hours of sleep, but I wasn’t going for that. I was getting over-heated also because the blanket and heater were too warm. I went back to sleep, then Belle tried again–this time successfully–after 7pm.
It was considerably warmer outdoors. It drizzled all night. I read in the Cavafy book, started Ram Dass’s “Be Here Now,” piddled around online, and thought about watching a movie, but never got around to it. There seemed to be something I was forgetting….
Saturday, January 12th–There were several dreams, but the only one I remember right now was where I stood with a number of people at an open high gate made of chain-link fencing, looking off to the right where some event was supposed to be unfolding.
I was the only one who noticed that behind me, to the left, Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry were coming through the gate. They had no security detail or entourage, and the press was taking no notice of them. I knew that Prince William was to have attempted to swim the English Channel at that time, so I asked him if he had succeeded, but he shook his head and said he hadn’t, he’d had to abandon the attempt early.
And then, in a most corny manner, I came up behind his left shoulder and said, “Sir, be strong.” The three continued on, then circled to the left, and I approached Prince Harry and said the same basic thing. I guess I was advising the princes to behave as role models for the British people.
It was around 10:40pm when I got up. It was cold outside again.
J____ invited me to come with him, N____, and his in-laws when they go to Europe in April or May. At first I thought they were going to Paris, but no, they’ll be going to the Cinque Terre in Italy. He said he’s willing to pay my way if I would actually go, but I’m not sure about it. I certainly couldn’t stay the entire month they’re planning to be there, and I’d need to have Belle boarded and get some decent clothes. Nevertheless, I started reading up on the area and the major cities that are a reasonable train ride away.
Sunday, January 13th–Saturday flowed into Sunday. I read in the Cavafy book, and developed either a cold or allergy trouble.
Monday, January 14th–I got up around 10:40am, fifty minutes before my alarm was to ring. The extra sleep I’d gotten helped a good deal. It was so cold outside I put on thermal underwear.
I called MAP to set an appointment to renew my card. They didn’t have an opening until the 25th. To complicate matters they want my mom to write a letter explaining that she pays my rent and utilities, they want Belle’s former owner to write a letter saying she sends me money every month for Belle’s food, and they’re sending me to a new office, way the fuck out in southeast Austin next to Ben White Boulevard! I don’t know why these fucking agencies can’t have centralized offices downtown, why they keep relocating again and again, to ever more remote offices in ugly office parks out in the middle of fucking nowhere.
I got to the bus stop at 1:15pm, intent on catching the #3 bus at 1:32pm. It never showed up. I was getting very upset, and wondered if I’d miss my appointment, and have to call my Case Worker when I got back home and try to explain things.
Around 1:40 I finally had to catch a ride on the #392 to the end of the line at Target. I got out, waited about ten minutes, (the #3 was supposed to reach that stop at 1:43 and leave at 1:51), and when the #3 still didn’t show up, I re-boarded the #392.
I tried to get off at the stop at the corner of Braker and Burnet around 1:52 or 1:53, but the goddamn thing didn’t stop there. I had to get off a little further north up Burnet, then walk about one-hundred to two-hundred yards south to my next stop, where I was to catch the #240 at 2:05. Around 2:05, I finally saw #3 dragging ass by. The #240 finally showed up around 2:10–though it was supposed to deposit me at my last stop at 2:11, which it didn’t do until 2:20pm.
My appointment was for 2:30pm. I signed in with the prissy receptionist, went to piss, then took my seat. He said my Case Worker was in a meeting and according to his records, my appointment wasn’t until 3:30, but he said he’d let her know I was there.
I waited maybe fifteen minutes and then my Case Worker decided to see me. (When I got home I re-checked my e-mail exchange with her and the appointment had indeed been for 2:30pm.)
My Case Worker claimed that the last therapist had only filled out a questionnaire in a cursory fashion and hadn’t provided many details. (She’d said something similar about the guy who tested my intelligence. I have to wonder if these evaluators are all doing a half-assed job, if my Case Worker isn’t bothering to read their findings, or if this is some technique of hers to get her my interpretation of events.)
At any rate, she wasn’t much help. I expressed my fears about getting kicked out of the DARS program, and she suggested I meet with a career counselor and possibly go to some meetings of the DARS “Job Club,” which sounds awful.
After riding in buses full of nasty, coughing people with poor hygiene, I got to my neighborhood, bought groceries at HEB (and now have about $10 in Food Stamp money left until February 7th), then had a great deal of trouble lugging that shit home. The weight and the bulkiness of the bags, combined with my loose warm-ups and even more loose thermal underwear, kept pushing my pants down, so every few feet I’d have to stop, sometimes even put all the bags down, and hoist my pants up again so I’d not expose myself in public. I am getting really fucking tired of having to lug groceries in that manner.
I got home. Belle was loud and excited, as usual, and I was nervous and stressed-out, as usual.
I forget what I did this evening.
I retired around 11pm.