Tuesday, February 12th–I got up in late afternoon, walked and fed Belle and myself, and went to the dollar store for groceries. It was a stressful experience and a pain in the ass to lug all that stuff home.
Once I did get home I hoped that the worst of my day was over, but I was wrong. […]
I finished the Cavafy book, took a shower and fixed some coffee, and J___ and I tried to work out [that potential writing assignment], but it was still a big, confusing, stressful mess. I am especially held back by my depression, which is robbing me of the ability to come up with any ideas or maintain any motivation. I can’t think of what to suggest or what to write. I really just feel like not doing anything.
I watched three more installments of Brian Sewell before bed.
As I said, I finished Robert Liddell’s “Cavafy: A Biography,” which I believe was the first full-length biography of the poet in English. The author did a good, workmanlike job of analyzing Cavafy’s poems and his life (which included decades of shabby gentility, hobnobbing with the Greek literati and socialites in Alexandria, Egypt, occasional travel, a boring government job, and a secret gay life on the seedy side of town), but as much as anything it seemed that Liddell wrote the book to refute an earlier Cavafy biography, which, if Liddell is to be believed, was full of outrageous errors, wrong-headed conclusions, and silly interpretations.
Wednesday, February 13th–I got up and did the usual things. J____ and N____ were going to take me out, but they had lots of errands to attend to and ran into heavy traffic. We were all starved by the time they arrived.
We went first to Sprouts, so I could buy some coffee and some Indian heat-and-serve food, because I was convinced the store closed early. We then had a nice dinner at Threadgill’s, and ran by HEB, so I could pick up a ton of groceries.
I watched two more installments of Brian Sewell.
Thursday, February 14th–I watched the last two installments of Brian Sewell.
Was today the day I started Glenn Shirley’s “Temple Houston”?
Friday, February 15th–I slept late.
The day was almost completely without activity. I mostly just farted around online. I learned I have my next DARS appointment on the 27th, and naturally, I’m dreading that.
I got into a long Instant Messaging conversation with J___ over the trip. He’s wanting me to come out to his ranch for several hours of dinner and “visiting,” and I’m fighting it tooth and nail. Finally, he told me to sleep on it, but I know my resolve will only get stronger.
I retired in the early afternoon of Saturday.
Saturday, February 16th–I got up around 9pm. After the usual routines, J____ contacted me on Instant Messaging and I set forth my case in great detail, explaining why I don’t want to come to dinner at his ranch tomorrow night and I don’t want to spend the night there at all. I also explained all my thinking regarding the trip and everything leading up to it. He seemed to think my explanation reasonable and well-thought-out.
Within thirty to sixty minutes, though, he flipped out, tossed aside all my objections, and started acting like an authoritarian bully, and insisting on a number of arbitrary rules and conditions which he said I must meet in order to go on the trip. I was surprised that he tried that, that he didn’t realize by now that I would totally balk at and oppose this measures. He got very mysterious, tried to get me to commit to things I wasn’t ready to commit to, and act on incomplete information.
Finally, he told me to call him. I did so, and he explained what he was being so goddamned mysterious about. What it all boiled down to was he thought there was a very real possibility of my having a serious personality conflict with one of the other people going along on the trip, a conflict that would cause a meltdown and other negative consequences on my part. After he finally came clean, I said I agreed, that such a possibility for trouble was very likely, and that as a result, I was pulling out of the trip.
This upset him greatly, because he really wanted me to come along on the trip. Part of the reason he’d made no plans for the trip was because he wanted to use me as tour guide. So he said he would reluctantly go on this trip, but that he and N___ and I would go on another ourselves, probably in the Fall.
I was actually relieved by this change. It gives me more time to read, study, prepare, and possibly make a little spending money. And planning for the trip had caused me a great deal of stress from Day One.
Sunday, February 17th–Saturday flowed into Sunday. I puttered around online. I put off doing my tutorials for hours, and when I finally got around to them, I found I couldn’t log in. (I think you have to log in at least once a week.) So I sent them a message to fix that.
Monday, February 18th–What did I do besides reading and scanning? I put off the errands I’d planned to do today for tomorrow, so I can get all the crap done at once.
Tuesday, February 19th–Belle woke me up earlier than I wanted to get up, so I remained tired and cranky all day. But I did need to get up relatively early in order to run my errands.
I got ready, mailed off some bills at the UPS Store, then took an express bus downtown to the library. As I was checking out, I had a book that wouldn’t scan, which made for problems with the self-scanning machine. This got me very upset. I handed the book to a clerk, who asked if I wanted to check it out with him, but I declined.
The bus I needed left just seconds before I reached the stop, but fortunately, I didn’t have a long wait for the next one.
I got back to my neighborhood, noticed how sore my feet and ankles were, went to Petsmart, bought dog food, chew treats, and a big chew bone, and as I usually do when there, got stressed out by the noise. Then I went to Dollar Tree and got annoyed with the cashier pestering me to see if I’d brought recycle-able bags with me. (An anti-plastic bag ordinance goes into effect in Austin in March.)
I got home, tired and stressed out, walked Belle and gave her the big chew bone, but then some asshole knocked on my door, trying to sell some bullshit automotive services. I think Belle picked up on my stress and annoyance, and she began barking incessantly.
J____ continues to act like a pouting little girl.
I started Edith Wharton’s “Italian Villas and Their Gardens.”
I farted around online, exhausted, before finally retiring at 11pm.
Wednesday, February 20th–I woke up some time after 4am, really annoyed that I’d not slept longer.
I went through the usual routines. Eventually, I decided I could not waste the day by being awake during the daytime. Despite the fact that some fucking construction workers started doing God knows what and making a terrible racket at 8:30am, I went back to bed, and read in Wharton and Bukowski until I fell back to sleep. I slept until late afternoon.
I was in a pretty nasty depression, which suddenly got worse, then improved a bit, and then finally lifted after I had some coffee.
Thursday, February 21st–Again, I woke too early, puttered a little while, went back to bed, read, then went back to sleep until the evening. I dealt with my depression with coffee, farted around online, watched the delightful film “Hugo,” read, and retired in mid- to late-morning.
Friday, February 22nd–Belle woke me in early afternoon. I tried to get back to sleep, with no success. I read a little and puttered, but really did nothing today.
J____ indicated via Instant Messaging that he would be in my area tomorrow and wanted to get together, but he didn’t give me a time-frame, and vanished from IM in the middle of the conversation.
Saturday, February 23rd–I had a dream that I’d had a huge birthday party in the southeast part of downtown Austin, along Congress and a little bit to the east. Hundreds of people were there, clogging the streets. A news wire service called ITP covered the event, saying it was a testament to my power and influence. My friend M___ was there too, telling everyone who would listen what a great mover-and-shaker I am.
The thing is, I didn’t believe any of this. Yes, the crowd was big and all the surrounding hoopla was impressive, but I know I’m not famous or influential.
I found myself, late at night, while the party was still going on, off to the side, surrounded by some people who were supposedly friends and associates, standing on a strange sort of moving sidewalk. It was white and had a shallow bit of water running over its surface. The sidewalk scrolled down, from top to bottom, and displayed on it all the latest news, rather like an old news ticker machine. But I was still able to stand on it without damaging the device or losing my balance.
Eventually, I was on my hands and knees with a brush and soap, scrubbing down this and other sections of sidewalk. I was entertaining everybody by singing “Suspicious Minds” in imitation of Elvis. I told the people around me that this, if anything, should be proof that I was important or influential, because here I was scrubbing the sidewalks at my own birthday party.
I again woke much too early, around mid-day, and walked and fed Belle and myself. J___ had not sent me a message online or on my answering machine. I called his number, it rang and rang and rang, and I left a message. He didn’t call back. So, that’s the second time this week he stood me up.
I got tired and went back to bed around 2pm, and slept until a little after 11pm.
I dreamt I was showing a friend around Paris.
Belle woke me up.
I had six messages from J___, trying to get ahold of me during the afternoon and evening. Perhaps had he displayed the simple fucking consideration of giving me a time to expect him, we could’ve actually gotten together.
Sunday, February 24th–Saturday drifted into Sunday.
I puttered and was depressed. I finished Charles Bukowski’s “The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems, 1946-1966, which I’d begun some time earlier in the month.
I retired around 5pm or so.
Monday, February 25th–I woke at 12:48am. I got up and did the usual, and [got into an e-mail squabble about my financial and mental states.] I explained my situation, that I have a serious mental illness which is making me currently unemployable, and […] said if I’m that bad off I should be institutionalized…. Naturally, I had a major panic attack for hours thereafter.
I later got into a discussion with J___ about this, but he got off on a tangent and started obsessing over me and SSDI, rather than [the issue at hand].
The other day I discovered that asshole that lives upstairs–not the loud guy who lives directly over my apartment, but the one with the two dogs who used to chew me out and glare at me–moved out at some point, and has been replaced by a creepy-acting older guy.
The afternoon, evening, and night was incredibly windy. During an afternoon walk with Belle, I found a number of limbs, twigs, and branches down, and because of the force of the wind I was actually worried something might fall down onto us.
I accomplished nothing today. I barely started H.P. Lovecraft’s “Lord of a Visible World: An Autobiography in Letters” (Edited by S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz), and retired shortly after dark.