Tuesday, January 29th–It was one of those nights where I slept, but felt as if I were awake all night. I tossed and turned, choked, got headaches, got nauseated from lack of food, got parched from dehydration, and was tormented by an endless, channel-surfing-like array of dream fragments. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to make sense out of all this and put it into an ordered arrangement. And about these only thing I remember from the dreams were the Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna.
I got up after 9am. I walked and fed Belle and made myself some oatmeal. I renewed some library books online, took some flu medicine that had expired last summer, and went back to bed. I seemed to have developed a bit of a cough.
I slept until about 4:30pm or so, got up, still feeling lousy, but better than I did last night, walked Belle, and decided to chance taking a trip downtown so I could return some library materials that were due. I didn’t want to have to rack up a fine.
I waited at least fifteen minutes for an express bus that was painfully cold, and made me feel sicker. I went to the library and got five DVDs (including two I’d been wanting to see for a long time), and about thirteen books, mostly on Italy.
When I got back outside it was a little colder out and everything was dripping with the after-effects of a rain-storm. Capital Metro, in its colossal stupidity, has removed all the bus schedules at bus stops, replacing them with squares people can scan with their Smart Phones for the information. I guess that works out fine if you can actually afford a Smart Phone, but I can’t.
The ride home was uneventful. The driver turned off the interior lights and I had to turn on a private one in order to read.
Belle was of course excited to see me. I walked her, then took a shower.
While in the shower I heard a noise. When I got out I saw Belle had torn open the trash bag I keep hanging on a door knob behind my desk, and had strewn the contents all over the living room, looking for something to eat.
I went to get a trash bag, stepped in a pile of dog shit, took that sock off, put on a new one, sacked up all the stuff she’d strewn around, then noticed I had stepped in dog shit while wearing this new sock.
Dinner was tostadas in a bowl.
Wednesday, January 30th–I dreamt I moved back into a dorm room in Kirkley Hall–my recurring dream–although in this case I knew the dorm was soon to be demolished, and I was getting one last chance to live there. And I was to share the room with a former room-mate–E____–a married man who was about eight or nine years my elder.
He usually went home to his wife every weekend. During the week he wrote her love letters and slept on silk sheets. There were at least two occasions when I got in early from class and caught him naked or partially naked, clearly about to masturbate, though he pretended he was getting ready for a shower. Thereafter, I made a lot of noise whenever I came home, and would harumph and clear my throat in the hallway, rattle my keys and jiggle the doorknob, so he would have time to cover himself.
He had received his B.A. years earlier, gone into a career, married, decided he hated the field, then went back to school to study something completely different. And he decided that for the final semester of his second go-round at school he needed to live in a dorm in order to focus and concentrate. I guess it worked out okay for him.
He was one of the few of the twenty some-odd room-mates I had from 1982 to 1992 that I didn’t regard as a complete asshole or annoyance. And he was the only person at SHSU whose graduation I attended, though I slept late that day, and arrived just in time to take a seat before the ceremony started, and he never knew I was there.
But now I forget what the dream today was about….
In another dream I was riding in a car through a countryside just in time to witness the discovery of a grisly crime. There had been some young white trash guy, skinny, with heavy-lidded eyes, a goatee, wispy moustache, greasy hair, probably tattoos, who was a drug dealer, an animal abuser, and possibly a rapist and child molester.
He had either been abducted from a Dairy Queen or had been abducted, beaten a bit, and then taken by a Dairy Queen, because the last-known photo of him was a grainy, black-and-white image where he was sitting in the back seat of a car, looking tired, a sort of matting of dried blood and dirt all over his throat, and holding up the bottom part of a Dairy Queen ice cream cone.
The abductor then took this guy out into the country, tied him in a seated position to the upright metal post of a cattle guard, and as the guy’s body slumped forward, cut the body from his secured head, then dumped the head and body into a car trunk, and abandoned the car somewhere in the country.
Eventually someone happened by the car and noticed a horrible stench. I was in a slowly passing car as authorities approached the parked car and then, for some reason not covering their faces with masks or even cloths, they pried open the trunk. Thousands and possibly millions of flies flew out of the trunk up against those men in a movement that resembled a wave crashing against a jetty, and all of the men standing around that car soon had flies and maggots and gelatinous goo dripping off their arms and bodies and faces in blanket-like layers.
It reminded me of those horrific images of when bees swarm entirely over human faces and bodies. And yet, look as I did, I’m not sure I saw any of those men vomiting, which would of course be the only natural reaction.
And why was I having such a gory, disgusting dream?
I got up for a little while at some point during the day, but felt so bad I soon went back to bed.
My temperature has gone down to 95.4 and I seem a wee bit less congested, but I still have terrible headaches from sleeping too much, my cough is getting worse.
J___ D. called during the day just to jabber and bother me. Normally I’d have had the answering machine turned off, but for some reason I didn’t, and I heard his rumbling, unintelligible murmur coming from the other room. When I called him back later, he didn’t have much to say.
I thought today was the anniversary of Belle’s “Gotcha Day,” but that was actually the 28th. Still, I gave her her usual special dinner and treats, but it was so bitterly cold outside I couldn’t bear to walk her for very long, as the cold made my chest burn.
I got checks from my mom, with a warning note, I paid the rent, and, being in too much pain to read, I watched the first six episodes of “Brian Sewell’s Grand Tour of Italy.” Parts of it were so funny my laughter turned into coughing fits.
Thursday, January 31st–I had a dream where I was in a car with my buddy T___ and at least two other people, riding around a much-improved version of Austin, an area that vaguely resembled North and West Campus. I thought that maybe I’ve been too hard on Austin, that it’s actually a cool city when I take the time to really explore it. This remark was inspired by my discovery of some cool foreign restaurants around 29th Street–restaurants which don’t exist in real life, because the cities I dream about are always larger, grander, and more interesting than the real ones upon which they are based.
It was night-time, but rapidly turning to day. As we drove around West Campus, we saw enormous trucks–possibly trash trucks, but at any rate grossly over-sized for the city streets, trucks designed for a race of inhuman giants–rolling up and down the cross-streets. What was going on here? A movie shoot, perhaps? A sinister invasion?
At any rate, we found ourselves not far from campus, in some office for students–possibly for co-operative housing. Two of the people who’d been with us had disappeared, and T__ and I were left sitting in a lobby. At least three dirty, tattooed, and completely naked neo-hippies were in the lobby, some sitting, others consulting with someone behind a desk.
I turned to T__, and in a stage whisper asked, “So is that what campus life has come to now? You have dirty, naked, tattooed, ugly hippies in class with you? I’m sure the professors love having to put up with that.”
I’m sure the hippies heard, because they all got up and left. I forget if any turned to shoot me dirty looks.
Why were we there? Was I wanting to rent a room somewhere?
I got up about 6pm, did the usual, walked Belle and gave her the rest of her special “Gotcha Day” food, ate, showered, and had my first cup of coffee in almost a week, which did wonders towards fixing my headache.
Friday, February 1st–Thursday flowed into Friday. I made my weekly blog post, did some tutorials, and watched two episodes of “Brian Sewell’s Grand Tour.” I retired in the late afternoon.
Saturday, February 2nd–I got up around midnight. I had a couple messages from J___. He’s with a new company now and wants to talk to me about some possible writing work. He’s to call me late Monday morning to talk.
I talked with J___ D. on IM a bit, and he sent me another piece to edit, and said he’d gotten Pay-Pal so he can pay me instantly now, but he’s about three or four pieces behind.
I took a shower, had some coffee, edited the piece, and watched the last two delightful episodes of “Brian Sewell’s Grand Tour.”
Around mid-day, I went to run errands and quickly got over-heated and stressed-out. I bought two bags of dog food, a bag of chews, and a big chew bone at Petsmart, and as sometimes happens, all the collective noise in there, especially the piped-in music, made me a nervous wreck in just about five minutes or less.
I went over to the Schlotzsky’s, because I’m just so goddamn sick of eating the same old stuff at home. I used to like this Schlotzsky’s, but the last few visits have been disappointing, and as with most restaurants nowadays I felt my money was wasted. They’ve changed their Satellite Radio station from 80’s hits, which I enjoyed, over to really shitty, loud, tendentious, 1970’s Album-Oriented Rock.
It wasn’t even the good kind of A.O.R. Everything sucked, and the songs all went on for about seven minutes or more apiece. One really shitty song lasted almost the entire time it took me to eat an eight-inch pizza, a bag of chips, three cookies, and a good-sized drink. And I couldn’t even figure out what band was performing!
Two tables over, two very unattractive women in uniform were talking. I think they worked there, and it was a case of the manager giving employee evaluations. I have bad memories of those ordeals, so all that made my meal even more unpleasant.
I then went to Dollar Tree, and bought a ton of stuff. I was waited on by a male cashier of indeterminate age–he could’ve been anywhere from twenty to fifty–with a thinning hairline and a shitty ponytail in back. He tried to interest me in buying some batteries, but I was too polite to tell him that the one time I bought batteries there the goddamn things didn’t even work, as is the case with a good deal of their merchandise.
Whereas most grocery stores nowadays tend to give you too many shopping bags to carry home, putting one or at most three small items into one bag, then opening another, I think Dollar Tree has an official policy to use as few bags as possible. Today I had several rather large and bulky items, including five four-roll packages of toilet paper, three three-liter bottles of cola, and three plastic tubs, and this fucking nitwit kept trying to squeeze one more item and then another into bags that were already full and tightly stretched-out.
A couple times I had to gently suggest he put something in a new bag–something that clearly hadn’t occurred to him at all. He didn’t have any of the extra-large bags they sometimes use on bulky purchases.
All this left me in a sour humor, especially because I knew it would make my walk home more difficult. Add to that the fact that the woman behind me had a little son who was bouncing off the goddamn walls and she was doing little, if anything, to keep him in line.
It took me about three trips to carry all my bags of purchases over to the wall next to which I’d placed my back-pack when I walked in. I needed to re-arrange everything, and put them in mesh grocery bags for easier hauling. But by this point the little boy was bouncing all around the end of the check-out counter, and was directly in my way and underfoot.
In a very sharp and severe voice I said to the kid, “EXCUSE ME, COULD YOU PLEASE MOVE OUT OF THE WAY?” I said this several times, and in a nastier tone than the situation required. The mother told the boy to get out of the man’s way until he was finished moving his groceries, but the child just dropped his head back onto his shoulders, and looked up at me with half-closed, uncomprehending, dead eyes. I couldn’t tell if he was retarded or just rude.
When I got home I gave Belle the big chew bone. She set herself upon that as if she’d not eaten in weeks. She chewed on that for about two straight hours until I finally picked it up and put it away, not wanting her to make herself sick.
I had to take another shower.
Sunday, February 3rd–I wasn’t awake long. I spent the few hours I was awake trying to stay tired and relaxed, so I could go back to sleep easily.
Monday, February 4th–I got up early–earlier than the alarm I had set–and prepared for a mid-day call from J___….
Later on in the afternoon he and N___ came by, paid me $110 for the editing work I’ve done for them, and we went running around. I dropped off a letter at the UPS Store, we had a very nice meal at Pei-Wei, then we went to Wal-Mart where I FINALLY got some new underwear (twelve pair), a damaged copy of “Dwell” magazine I’ll have to replace, and two DVDs containing quite a few animal movies.
We made a quick run to the North Austin location of Topp’s used office furniture store to look at desk chairs for me. I had really disliked that place when we went there last year, and I was very anxious and in a hurry to get out of there this time. I thought the selection was ghastly. J___ took a photo of me looking fat and bloated while seated in a 1970s African-themed chair, with carved lion head ornamentation, which wouldn’t have looked at all out of place in one of the palaces of Idi Amin.
From there they went to Fry’s, and I went to Half-Price Books, and though this particular store usually doesn’t have very good offerings, I made a killing.
We made a quick HEB run, I think, and then they took me home. I forget what I did after that.