Tuesday, April 30th–Instead of dog-shaming photos, I’d rather see photos of Republican and Tea Bagger leaders, opinion-makers, financial backers, and lobbyists dragged from their beds in the middle of the night, forced to dig their own graves, and then lined up and shot. Those are some memes I could get behind.
I’ve never known a Ron Paul supporter who didn’t have a grossly inflated and unrealistic view of his own intelligence.
Wednesday, May 1st–I got up around 12:58am.
Some girl on the […] posted this:
1. Run away to Brooklyn. Rent an apartment with a claw footed bathtub. Commute to Manhattan during the week and put in hours at a menial publishing job. Drive home to New Jersey on weekends to swim in the pool and cry to your mother. Smoke Gauloises on the fire escape. Let yellowing issues of Rolling Stone and Vogue pile into a protective fortress around your bed. Listen to Cat Power. Fall asleep mostly naked beneath the duvet watching Sportscenter and drinking earl grey. Date a Yankees fan and kiss his hands on the 4 Train into the Bronx.
2. Run away to Barcelona. Eat milk chocolate magnum bars and drink cheap champagne. Burst into charming fits of laughter whenever you get embarrassed about butchering the Catalan language. Wear denim cutoffs, Dr. Pepper chapstick, and very little else. Go dancing at 3 a.m. Whiten your teeth. Tan your shoulders. Braid feathers into your hair. Perpetually wake up with sand caught in the thin cotton sheets of your tiny bed. Listen to the Rolling Stones and kiss all the longhaired boys you can get your hands on without ever having to apologize.
3. Run away to Los Angeles. Sublet a studio in Venice three blocks from the beach. Listen to top 40 radio. Go to Chateau Marmont and charge drinks you can’t afford to a long-dormant credit card. Sleep with a television actor who lives in the valley. Sleep with a musician who lives in Bel Air. Break things off with both of them when gas prices begin to rise. Find Gilda Radner’s star on the Walk Of Fame and swallow a sob when you see the filthy cement around her name is cracked. Walk through the Venice Canals until the sun sets and you forget your own name. Call your mother crying from the parking lot of a 24-hour Ralph’s supermarket. Tell her you want to come home.
4. Run away to Paris. Gaze at the pink and pistachio glow of macarons in the window on Boulevard Saint-Germain. Listen to Joni Mitchell. Meet an Argentinean man in the Latin Quarter for drinks. Melt into his accent and kiss him goodnight, but return to your apartment alone because his face doesn’t look enough like the man’s you are trying to forget. Get lost in the Richelieu Wing of the Louvre, admiring Napoleon’s fine red damask. Walk alone along the Seine in an old dress, ten-dollar shoes, and an Hermes scarf. Fumble with the locks on the fence overlooking the river. They all have lovers’ names etched into them and the girl who left the red heart-shaped lock has the same name as you.
5. Run away to Martha’s Vineyard. Write heartbroken stories during the day in front of a large fan that blows curls of humid hair across your tired face. Take a waitress job at The Black Dog at night and try hard not to drop too many trays. Learn to ride a moped. Pretend you’re a Kennedy. Listen to Carly Simon. Eat hand-churned ice cream out of waffle cones. Visit the flying horses and consider how many girls just like you have sat on the same horse clutching for the same brass ring. Get stoned and dance barefoot down the length of the eroded Jaws beach. Date a Red Sox fan. Yell at each other during baseball games, and then kiss and make up between tangled sheets.
— 5 Exit Strategies
^^ yes! I’m going to have to write some of my own^^
Run away to Austin. Live in a series of tiny rooms. Almost starve. Sell plasma and steal your neighbor’s food to survive. Contemplate suicide. Do a series of low-wage jobs. Finally get your degree and discover it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. Leave town due to a family emergency. Get stuck in a conservative redneck town for four friendless years. Contemplate suicide. Develop IBS from stress caused by a job you hate. Place all your chips on getting back to Austin. Move back after a relative dies and leaves you money. Find out all your old hang-outs are gone and all your old friends are married, boring suburbanites with controlling spouses and screaming children. Find out the two decent part-time jobs you landed aren’t very good. Land the one good job of your life. Get laid off when the dot-com bubble bursts. Go into a physical and mental downward spiral. Contemplate suicide. Watch your remaining family and friends turn on you. Get diagnosed with depression, Bi-Polar, social anxiety, Hashimoto’s disease, and much else besides. Spend the better part of a decade unemployed or looking for bad jobs you don’t really want. Contemplate suicide. Sit back as “loved ones” turn you into a nervous wreck and call you lazy. Watch your apartment complex burn down. Listen to your “friends” make jokes about it. Contemplate suicide. Watch your dog die. Listen to your friends and family trivialize it. Contemplate suicide. Have a nervous breakdown. Listen to your family deny it. Contemplate suicide. Go from bad job to bad job. Go to the City and County for health care. Watch them achieve nothing. Spend three years in therapy. Watch your life stay the same. Contemplate suicide. Get another shot at a good job. Work in a feast-or-famine cycle for 2 1/2 years until the work comes to a complete stop. Go over two years without work. Contemplate suicide. Apply for Food Stamps.Take computer classes. Go to an agency that finds jobs for the disabled. Have them declare you unemployable. Have your family say you’re faking it because you’re lazy and don’t want to work. Contemplate suicide. Have your family threaten to evict you from your apartment and move you into a homeless shelter or ghetto shit-hole. Contemplate suicide.
I left my Case Worker a voice-mail, asking that if she has any forms she needs me to sign, to please mail them to me.
I spent quite awhile digging around in my index card boxes, looking for the index card that listed all of the depression medications I’ve taken. (I started looking for this card yesterday.)
A little after 9am, I called DARS, to try to get ahold of my Case Worker, and was told she’d not be in until after lunch.
[There were more domestic and DARS complications.]….
I left my apartment, and by the time I’d crossed the street I sensed that I shouldn’t have left home; the day was too humid and muggy to be outdoors. I soon got stressed out at the idea of being out in public.
At the bus stop I saw that some asshole had stretched two long, filthy lengths of Scotch tape between two of the crepe myrtles, in order to hold up a now-gone sign. With a stick, and eventually, my cringing fingers, I tore the filthy tape down. I hate to see trees desecrated.
The express bus arrived. At least twice I told the driver I wanted a day pass. He charged me for a one-way ticket, then didn’t understand why I remained standing in front of him. “I said I wanted a day pass.” He told me how much extra I needed to pay, and pushed some buttons. I think I wound up paying ten to twenty-five cents extra because of his inattentiveness.
I got downtown, de-boarded at the Court House, or rather tried to–an old couple sprang to their feet and jumped into my way just as I got to their seat as I was stumbling down the narrow aisle.
I walked several blocks to Thai Passion, a restaurant I’d given a good review in 2000 or 2001, and where I often ate lunch during my Food Critic days. I was shown to my table, but hurried back to the men’s room to wildly piss before sitting down. I had to take my heavy bag with tripod and camera with me, because I didn’t want to risk having it stolen.
Lunch was pleasant and quick: a small salad, spring rolls, tofu fried rice, and a Dr. Pepper. Then I walked around the corner to wait for about fifteen minutes or more for my bus at the corner of Congress and Sixth.
The crowd was a disgusting mass. A morbidly obese homeless guy on a bench, with a shiny, chinless, amorphous blob of a face, was, with silent mouthings and flapping hands, trying to get the attention of a companion of his–a gaunt junky cowering in the window indention of a Starbucks.
A skinny, dirty man in his fifties, wearing a cowboy hat, Stars and Stripes bunting long-sleeved shirt, eye-popping Seventies-style striped pants, and grey running shoes, was pacing around, yelling with an ignorant, keening voice into a large, very old portable phone.
A young, slim man walked by on his way to what was surely either his first professional job or possibly a job interview. His hair was plastered straight back. He wore a black suit, but his shoes were the black informal kind a restaurant employee would wear.
I looked at the pigeons as they gathered and jittered around, thinking how I would gladly have every human being in sight killed to spare the life of one of those birds.
A bus pulled up. An Hispanic man with a metal cane approached the birds and twice hissed and rapped the cane with a twang upon the pavement. I froze and gave him a murderous stare, but he never looked my way. I think the Capital Metro security officer, lounging nearby in his car, probably saw me mutter and call the guy an “old cocksucker.”
Eventually, my bus showed up. I got to see some of the new developments along Barton Springs Road, which include a lot of ugly, identical, over-priced apartments. The Capital Metro online “Trip Finder” feature had suggested which stop I should get off at to get to the Zilker Botanical Garden; I got off at the one beyond it–right at the front gate, arriving around about noon.
I have lived in Austin twenty of the last twenty-four years, but I’d never before been to the Botanical Garden. I paid a $2.00 entrance fee, walked down to the gift shop, went in, pissed, grabbed some copies of the map and some flyers, signed the guest book, leaving the comments line blank, then went outside and attached my camera to my tripod.
My first stop was the Cactus and Succulent Garden, which was naturally quite a bit smaller than the one at the Huntington in Pasadena, and my attempts to gain a serene mood were hampered by the noise and sight of all the cars rushing by just beyond the nearby fence.
The xeroxed map was rather muddy-looking. I hoped to head next to the Green Garden, but instead wound up on an unmarked path that led to what is generally considered the highlight of the place–the Taniguchi Oriental Garden. This was a very nice place, but I was still having trouble calming down. A young woman came around snapping pictures–that disturbed my tranquility as well–and it was quite hot out there.
I got a few decent shots of lotuses, and unimpressive pictures of the water courses, ponds, and waterfalls. I don’t know if my composition skills were off or if the arrangement of the gardens there prevented good composition. It’s hard to say.
I kept noticing examples of a delightful tree that had reddish-orange flowers. Just as I stopped to really take notice of these trees a passing bird or squirrel or breeze nudged the branches, sending down a shower of these lovely blossoms to greet me, as if to say, “Stop, please. Look at me.” I was indeed enchanted. I picked out some wonderful scents, either from those blossoms or something else, which is always nice for me, since allergies usually keep me from breathing through my nose.
I went a little further along and saw two young men in sports jerseys. They looked to be in their late high school years, and I wondered if they were going to try to mug me. No. No trouble at all, apart from the fact that one of them was wearing gallons of cheap, stinky cologne.
I made my circuitous way to the tea house, which was a pavilion of wood, stone, and bamboo, with views over the treetops to the downtown and UT skylines, and which contained a shiny, unphotographable plaque telling the story of garden-builder Isamu Taniguchi and his philosophy of Nature and gardens, a philosophy that pretty much mirrored my own. (I am a Catholic, but I have strong animist tendencies and always have.)
I went up to the back side of the gift shop, which was a pretty good-sized building, and came across a gardener driving some sort of vehicle. I asked her about those blossoming trees and she identified them as non-fruit-bearing pomegranate trees.
I greeted an old couple genially, then passed under a fragrant honeysuckle arbor and on along the Trail of Passages. Before encountering a pair of young Hispanic women and their children, I took a look at a large architectural fragment, a keyhole-shaped arch left over from a now-demolished Victorian house (I think the one that fell to make room for that ugly parking garage northeast of the Court House), and planned to go to the Rose Garden, but got distracted when I realized there was a whole section of the Oriental Garden which I’d missed.
I took “Lauren’s Trail,” which was dedicated to a now-deceased nature-lover, and was just beginning to calm down when I opened up my tripod to prepare for another shot, and badly pinched the webbing between the thumb and fore-finger of my right hand. I tried to take shots that would not include the young woman who sat at a bench examining what appeared to be a sketch book or notebook.
I went around the last big pond, photographing large koi, including one who kept sticking his head out of the water to sniff the air or the lotuses, and who was eventually joined by a smaller companion, and one, and then another, of what I took to be his offspring.
Next up was the Rose Garden, which was reached by means of a metal bridge that had once kept pedestrians on Congress Avenue from having to walk in sewage. I walked around an old schoolhouse cupola, which is now used as a gazebo. I was delighted to see an example of the “Julia Child” rose, which I’d first seen at the Huntington in 2010. There were some lovely examples of roses in the rather labyrinthine beds, but the majority had not yet bloomed.
After photographing the few flowers now in bloom in the Iris Garden, I went down a hill, past the elaborate, old-fashioned Rose Gate, to the rather impressive Hartman Prehistoric Garden, which has at its entrance a massive wall of boulders cut, fitted, and arranged in the style of a zoo of a century ago. I was delighted that the first plant upon which I focused was a ginkgo biloba tree, the same tree about which I had just been reading in a passage on prehistoric trees in Beverley Nichols’s “Garden Open Tomorrow” the other day.
This garden was designed to show glimpses through the foliage of a small dinosaur (a former resident?), apparently made of bronze, who was poised, alert, on the edge of a pond, listening and looking for predators. The pond was watered by an impressive waterfall.
Next up was the Butterfly Trail and Garden, which looked for the most part to me like any wooded trail in the park near my home. I was hot and tired now, and decided not to attempt to see any more of the Garden on this visit.
Two young teachers with a small group of students were watching two young hipster men give a demonstration in a blacksmith shop. I wandered past that and the Compost Demo area, walked uphill to the Pioneer Settlement, glanced through a cloudy Plexiglass window into an old schoolhouse made of logs, then photographed, again through cloudy Plexiglass, the interior of an old Swedish settler’s cabin.
It was now around 2pm and I had about all I could take. I was hot, tired, over-heated, and weighted down with my bag. I headed back to the gift shop, drank a lot of water, wrote my comments in the guest book, glanced around the building, exited, packed up my equipment, went over to the gate of the “Green Garden” with the intention of quickly exploring it, changed my mind, and headed out the main gate, just in time to watch my bus zip by.
I crossed the busy street to the bus stop, where of course there was no bench, then clambered down a slope to rest under a large, gnarled live oak. Presently, the south-bound bus came by, and about seven minutes after that, a white trash pair came out of the gardens and ran over to the bus stop.
I couldn’t tell if they were a mother and grown son or boyfriend and girlfriend, as some white trash women are hard to peg age-wise–a 25-year-old might look 45, and vice-versa. I did notice, though, that as soon as they got over to my side of the street, she saw something in the dirt by the roadside–a fully-intact, unsmoked cigarette–and she examined it, and put it carefully into her coin purse.
The guy was stocky, in a “wife-beater” T-shirt, and covered in ugly tattoos.
Capital Metro has replaced bus schedules at bus stops with those squiggly boxes you can scan with Smart Phones. He scanned the box, I asked him what it said, and he told me the next bus wasn’t coming for another twenty minutes.
So be it.
The bus finally arrived and took me downtown. I wanted to snag a stack of bus maps so I could spread them on the floor at home for Belle to piss on, but some lanky asshole with a cane kept getting up every so often, asking the driver about stops, and finally parked himself directly in front of the maps.
When I pulled the cord to get off at Sixth Street, the driver told me she didn’t stop at Sixth or Seventh, but only at Eighth. Yeah, God-for-fucking-bid the bus do anything convenient.
I got to my next stop with no trouble and had almost no wait.
Normally when I ride the bus in Austin I play a little game where I look to see if there’s anyone on the bus, in nearby cars, or on the street that I would spare, whose life I would make any effort to save if I could push a button and destroy the world. Today I did something different. I looked to see if there were any buildings that I didn’t regard as eyesores, that I wouldn’t demolish if I had the chance, and lemme tell ya, the buildings would fare just as badly as the people.
I soon got home, and was greeted by Belle barking her head off, which naturally upset me. I took her for a walk, showered, and tried to calm down. There were, not surprisingly, no phone or e-mail messages from my Case Worker.
After I stepped out of the shower, I looked in the mirror, and said, “Oh my God! What the fuck happened to my face?!” Then I realized I actually got some sun today. Well, I better not let that happen again.
When I was downtown I passed by that incorrect historical plaque I spotted on Congress Avenue a few years ago. I noticed it’s been up since 1978, and still its error hasn’t been corrected. (Long-forgotten former Texas Governor Joseph Draper Sayers is listed as “James Draper Sayers.”) So when I got home today I called the Library Reference Desk to ask which City department was in charge of historical markers, and was given the manifestly incorrect number of the Texas Historical Commission. (This was a City plaque I saw–not a State one.) But anyway, I went to the THC’s website and sent an e-mail to the guy in charge of plaques.
I read a bit in Bukowski and retired a little before 10pm.
Thursday, May 2nd–I think last night was the one where I dreamt I was walking across a college campus that looked somewhat like that of UT, and came across an open-air book sale. Numerous professors were clearing out their libraries, and spread out over many tables were all sorts of wonderful scientific books and encyclopedias, many from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Many had brown covers and seemed dusty and forgotten. I wanted to load up on these wonderful books, but didn’t have enough money.
I got up around 7am. The cold front was blowing in. I sure could’ve used it yesterday at Zilker.
Later in the morning I heard from the guy I e-mailed yesterday at the Texas Historical Commission, asking for more details of the building and plaque I mentioned.
I talked a bit to J_____ D. online. He went to an upscale food shop in Florence and practically caused an international incident by asking for Cheddar cheese. It turns out he and N___ brought along the ingredients so they can make Cincinnati chili while in Florence. I think a part of me died when he told me that.
I left the house about 12:50pm. I went to the bank to cash a check, and goddamned if the cashier didn’t embarrass me yet again about the fact I don’t have enough in my account to maintain a minimum balance. And she also tried to pitch me different arrangements that I neither want nor can afford. Having to put up with this shit every time I go to the bank is really annoying.
My # 392 bus was to arrive at 1:31, but when a # 3 came by around 1:27, I began to worry that maybe the # 392 bus had come early so the driver could get a long lay-over. That’s not at all uncommon.
The fucking driver of the # 3 whooshed right past me as I was standing at the stop, and raised his arms in a grand “What am I supposed to do” gesture, but fortunately he stopped for me.
I got off at Target and had to wait in the cold for about ten minutes. I boarded the # 392, and a relief driver showed up late. This guy was the youngest bus driver I’ve ever seen. I was the only passenger and he was behind schedule. He gunned it all the way to the other side of Lamar on Braker.
I got out and walked as quickly as I could along the broken pavements and billy goat trails next to Lamar over to the Chinatown Center, to try lunch at the TC Noodle House. A chubby lad who looked like Dylan Thomas, and who gave off the vibe of being a regular, looked up from his bowl of noodles as I entered.
I was waited on by an older gentleman, who appeared to be the owner. I ordered a Dr. Pepper, then made a quick and desperate run to the bathroom. The drink was on my table by the time I returned.
I selected fried bread sticks as an appetizer, since they didn’t have spring rolls. The owner explained there was no meat in them, but I said that was fine, since I’m a vegetarian. For my main course I selected the tofu with black mushroom, adding that I “liked the picture” of it on the menu.
It took awhile for the food to arrive. The owner got into a long, involved, and confusing discussing with an old couple, whom I decided were Germans, over their order.
The appetizer and main dish arrived at the same time. The waiter that brought them smelled so strongly of recently-smoked cigarettes that for a few long seconds I couldn’t even smell my food.
The main dish was so large I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to finish it in time, and feared I’d have to get a doggie bag and that it would leak onto the things in my backpack. But finish it I did. I also didn’t think the little ball of rice would be enough for me, but it did the trick.
My main complaints were that the tofu wasn’t quite as hard and crispy as I like it, and they only gave me one napkin, and the fried bread made my hands quite greasy. The total for lunch, including a $3.00 tip, was $15.67.
When I left I had about sixteen or seventeen minutes to make it the three-quarters of a mile or possibly one mile over to the clinic. This involved walking very fast, mostly uphill, into the wind, and crossing three busy streets, one of which was jammed with cars of people coming to pick their kids up at a school.
I arrived at the clinic just in time, very winded, went to take a piss, then went to the Internal Medicine waiting room. While I was being processed, I looked at the notices on the windows that separated me from the receptionists. Whenever I’m in public health facilities I try to re-assert my superiority by proofreading the in-house signs. The sign here did not disappoint.
There were four signs, each with the same text in English and Spanish, printed on papers of four different colors. But at the bottom of the Spanish text, instead of “Gracias,” someone had written “Garcias.” I pointed this out to the young woman who was waiting on me (all three receptionists were Hispanic women) and she burst out laughing, saying she had typed up the sign, and she’d been thinking of a restaurant named “Garcia’s” while she was doing so. All four of us shared a big laugh, and I threw in, “Well, tell the Garcias thanks for me!”
At 3:07pm, seven minutes after my appointment was to start, I saw the therapist I was to meet with coming down the hall and turn into Internal Medicine. This was the same guy I met with last year, who refused to send me to their psychiatrist because I didn’t want to be on medications, and who said he thought people were too quick to label conditions. My heart sank.
I was ushered into the back. Again he denied me access to the one psychiatrist they use, chiefly because I don’t want to be put on medications. He also said that Central Health doesn’t do psychiatric testing (the whole reason I wanted to meet with the psychiatrist), that he’s known very few people who have been awarded SSDI benefits on their first try, and he’s never heard of an adult with a diagnosis of opposition defiant disorder.
He further said that Central Health offers counseling, but only in thirty-minute sessions every couple of weeks, which sounds inadequate to my needs. He gave me the name of two therapists to check with about tests, and the name of a lawyer. I paid, pissed, and headed outside into the cold.
As I rounded the corner of the building I saw my bus–a bus that only comes by once an hour–sitting at the stop with the doors open. As I began to run towards it and yell and frantically wave my arms, the doors closed and the bus pulled away. I kept running, waving, and yelling, and the bus went about fifteen or twenty feet and finally stopped. The driver said she hadn’t seen me in her main mirror, but did see me in another one (the upper or the lower?) almost too late. And the car behind her had flashed its lights, which got her attention.
I was very much out of it on the bus. I wondered if the large gal in the seat near me was someone I knew from the New Guild Co-op days, but didn’t bother to ask. I got off in my neighborhood, went into Randall’s to try to decompress, idly looked at DVDs and magazines, then drifted out.
I stumbled along the path beside the access road, and at one point stopped to lean against an electrical pole to tie my shoe. Just as I finished I was startled by an old wino popping out from behind the building to my left. I picked up my pace, but he followed me to the Dollar Tree.
I got some snacks and went to check out, but found myself behind an inept young mother with two small, out-of-control children, who were running around, piling up crap here, messing up stuff there, and leaving articles of their clothing in their wake, but I was numb with exhaustion and depression and had my I-Pod on, so I was somehow able not to blow up. It took her for-fucking-ever to check out and leave. After I checked out, I went next door to the liquor store and bought a six pack.
I got home and walked Belle and gave her a big chew treat. I showered, had a beer, and tried to unwind, with no success.
Around 9:16pm I saw something upsetting online. I growled and started to dig my fingernails into the flesh of my cheek and left ear.
And I posted on my Tumbler blog the following:
And now the world is even uglier than it was.
I feel as if my back has exploded open and I am plunging through deep space.
I’d really like to smash my apartment into pieces right now, but I don’t want to scare my dog, destroy my stuff, or have my white trash neighbors call the cops on my ass.
I have a very strong urge right now to stab myself repeatedly with a kitchen knife, but it would be messy, painful, and would not achieve all of my objectives.
And I’m too tired to get drunk, and don’t wish to bother with a headache.
I forget when I retired, but I believe I read some in Bukowski before I did.
Friday, May 3rd–I had a dream about moving into a college dorm room. This room had lots of interesting storage arrangements.
The room was fairly long with a door in the center of one of the short ends and a band of windows on the wall opposite. On the door wall to the right of the door I think there were some closets or wardrobes. Along the right wall were two beds, at ninety-degree angles from the wall, with low shelves and cabinets next to and above the heads of the beds.
Along the left wall were two built-in desks with shelves above, possibly a kitchenette, and jutting out into the upper left-hand corner was the bathroom. I think there might have been a chest of drawers between the bathroom corner and the bathroom door, and maybe another chest between the bathroom door and the windows.
Getting in the way, right in front of the bathroom corner and the bathroom door, was an old-fashioned deep freeze, a little smaller than normal at slightly less than six feet long, which was painted brown and appeared to have been made in the 1950s or 1960s. I think having it in the room was my room-mate’s idea.
I opened up the heavy lid and looked in. I thought the time might come when I could kill myself by climbing in there and closing the lid. The main interior section was about four feet long and about three feet deep. At the right end was a section about two feet long and two feet deep. I think the motor was under that.
In the smaller section were cheap drawers. The top two or three were metal and were really just metal sheets–they had no depth to them and so weren’t, strictly-speaking, drawers. Below them were drawers made of particle board, which had some sawdust or wadded-up paper toweling in them. It seemed a rather half-assed way to store food.
I turned my attention from the freezer to unpacking my books. Naturally, I hadn’t been able to bring my entire library, but I was fascinated by the problem if living with am abbreviated library. I forget what I brought, except for a copy of Henry Miller’s “The Books In My Life.”
I got up around 10:30am or so. I wanted to sleep longer, but Belle noticed me stirring.
I sent an e-mail to one of the therapist’s that guy yesterday recommended.
A Tumbler post:
I’m doing an excellent job of suppressing my rage this evening.
And I know it’ll just take one little thing to make me completely lose it.
Whenever I hear of my more hen-pecked married male friends telling me how their wives gave them a “honey-do” list I get angry. If someone gave me a “honey-do” list I’d respond with a “honey-go-fuck-yourself” list.
(I don’t take orders well.)
One of my white trash neighbors is acting very suspiciously.
What the fuck was he doing down in the woods behind the building?
When I turned around and looked squarely at him after he came back he definitely had the look of someone who knew he’d been caught doing something he shouldn’t. But what was he doing down there?
It’s been two years since I’ve written a book.
Granted, it was 920 pages long, so I guess I earned myself a vacation.
I don’t really know what to write next. I’m really too absorbed in my own problems right now to get into a work of art.
I’m too wrapped up in suicidal despair and homicidal rage to come up with anything readable.
And besides, I mainly just write about myself, and I’m getting rather bored with my whole bullshit life anyway….
And a final one:
Jesus fucking Christ–I’m almost as tired of John and Hank Green all over my fucking Tumbler dashboard all day every day as I am about hearing pretentious ivory tower college students whining about “privilege.”
Shortly after midnight–technically on Saturday morning–I finished Charles Bukowski’s “The Night Torn Mad With Footsteps: New Poems” and retired around 12:20am.
Saturday, May 4th–I got up some time after 10am….
I posted on Tumbler:
I ought to get out of the house, but I’m so fucking angry right now that if I encountered someone I’d probably get into a fight and the cops would get called.
Are you fucking kidding me? The “Austin American-Statesman” is actually setting up a pay wall for much of its content?
Jesus Christ, that so-called “newspaper” isn’t worth putting down on the floor for my dog to shit on, much less consult as a news source.
And I’ll be surprised if the “Austin Chronicle” doesn’t try the same thing.
Another Tumbler post:
I need to become more pro-active in bringing about my own destruction, but sadly, I lack even the financial means needed to become am alcoholic.
I’ve never been much of a drinker anyway. I don’t like hangovers and headaches. But I need something to fast-forward through these miserable days and nights and hasten my death. I just can’t fucking stand this situation.
I’ve told this story before.
I used to work in a used bookstore. It was remodeled to make it ADA-compliant, with a huge ramp through the center of it to connect the lower level to the upper. We employees used it as a stage when we were idle and feeling playful.
One morning I worked the register. I put “The Silence of the Lambs” soundtrack on the store’s stereo system. After a few hours, another employee relieved me so I could go have lunch. He got bored and just replayed the soundtrack.
When my lunch was over I was supposed to resume work at the register. I heard the creepy title music swelling, so I had another employee strap me onto a dolly, like Hannibal Lecter, and roll me through the store and down to the front.
It was a spectacular entrance.
I took a shower, which calmed me down somewhat.
My next project:
Belle often kow-tows when she enters my Presence and walks out backwards when she leaves it.
I need to work on getting everybody else to do that.
And–goddammit–I’m enraged again.
Referring to […] and my noisy, white trash downstairs neighbor, who, around 3 or 4am, was playing repetitive, annoying death metal, loudly, I posted this:
The world is being taken over by the loud and the ignorant.
I read more in Bogarde and retired at some point.
Sunday, May 5th--I dreamt I was driving one of those tiny cars around downtown Austin. Belle was with me, speaking English in a deep voice. (While both of these happenings were remarkable, I think it more likely that Belle will start speaking than for me to ever drive again.)
I parked in front of the Paramount Theatre. Belle was standing in front of the car, speaking to me in a matter-of-fact manner. I realized she wasn’t wearing a leash, and was afraid she’d suddenly, irrationally, run out into the street and get run over. But fortunately, she stood still until I slipped the harness over her.
When did I get up? Late morning? Early afternoon?
I made a post that proved to be ridiculously wrong:
It looks like it’s going to be a very quiet Cinco de Mayo in B_____.
During my first walk with Belle I noticed my jailbird neighbor standing around out front with his ever-present friend:
I think they could get enough material for several episodes of “Cops” thanks to all the trash the apartment management has been allowing to move in here the last few years.
Right now one of my downstairs neighbors (hulking lummox, chain-smoking, wife-beater T-shirt, ugly tattoos [a redundancy], hunched over, barely able to keep his massive bald head raised under the weight of the ignorance with which it’s filled) is out front with the skinhead prison fuck-boy he always hangs out with, discussing the criminal records of their friends. Such filth doesn’t even deserve to breathe air.
This inspired a conversation between a French follower and myself:
French follower: move!
ME: That’s the problem. I live in a nice part of town. The rent is high and getting worse in a few months, but there’s almost nothing cheaper in town. […] is grudgingly paying my rent and utilities, and wants to stop or at least move me into a homeless shelter, halfway house, or ghetto shit-hole apartment. I said I’d kill myself before I do that. I’ve been out of work for years, was recently declared unemployable, and am about to apply for disability.
FF: why not going to another town?
ME: I have zero income. Not a low income–no income. I’ve not worked in 2 years. A state agency that deals with finding disabled people work tested me for 6 mos and said I was unemployable in my current condition. I hate living in Texas, but I’m dependent on other people for occasional help, to drive me around, etc., since I don’t drive. I have to live in a city with good public transportation, and I can’t afford to live in any of the places I’d like to live. And I have a big dog and 10,000 books.
FF: I’m sure you could work from home, write reviews or articles.
ME: I did it before, a few years ago, but at my best it was a feast-or-famine existence. It’s not dependable. And now I don’t even have that. I’m very bad at job-hunting, selling my wares, or any kind of self-promotion, especially due to severe social anxiety.
FF: But isn’t some money better than nothing? and you could send out your articles ,you wouldn’t have to get out and actually meet people. At least at first. And what about your book? It’s such a waste that someone like you is feeling so low!
ME: I’ve explained already. There is no “some money.” ALL of my money sources have dried up. I have already spent over a decade looking for ways to make a living writing from home and nothing has worked. I’ve also tried to sell my books and no one is interested. Trust me, I’ve already looked down all of these avenues several times already.
FF: Are you still going to Italy? And also, i know you have social anxiety but you still have friends…Can’t they help you find a job?
ME: I know you mean well, but this line of questioning is really getting on my nerves, since I’ve already got several other crises I’m worrying about right now. The couple is in Italy. the fall trip may happen, but I may ask them instead to give me the money so I don’t lose my apartment. We’ll see. I am not in any condition to work or do much of anything right now. I just want silence and to be left alone and for certain crises to end ASAP. I couldn’t hold a job if I wanted one.
FF: okay, i leave you alone then. Take care. Hugs from France.
ME: I hope I don’t seem rude, but I’m in a very bad way right now and not up to a lot of questioning. Thanks for your concern.
FF: You don’t seem rude at all for once. I hope some day i’ll be able to help.
ME: Well, I’ve wanted to live in France for years, but can’t afford to do so. Even if I get my head straightened out, I don’t know how I could make a living. Unless I could get a job as a Balzac impersonator. We do look alike.
FF: Do you speak french?
ME: Sadly, I don’t.
FF: french language cures everything. Give it a try.
In my IM discussion with J___ D., I confessed my experiment with self-harming:
ME– I was trying to hurt myself the other night.
ME– Digging my fingernails into my face and arm.
JD– Roddy Mc Dowell as a hobo on skid row.
ME– Looks like a cat scratched my arm.
JD– I’m sure that is what here image is like. 8)
Don’t do that.
ME– Well, I wasn’t emo enough to do actual cutting.
JD– It starts with biting, scratching, pinching….then will escalate.
Next will come poking…like with pens.
ME– Well, I had wanted to stab myself repeatedly with my kitchen knife, so….
JD– Then you will be a scarred hobo on skid row.
ME– I’ve considered poking myself with letter opener, tweezers….
JD– If you are gonna do it…go full on …”A Man Called Horse” style.
ME– Yes, but that’s a Mandan religious ritual as I recall.
JD– At least you can experience full on ecstaticness.
Yes…the pain is so intense you can have visions.
ME– My titties couldn’t support my weight.
It would be like a warm knife through butter.
JD– Dolly’s tits couldn’t support your weight.
ME– Yuk yuk yuk yuk.
JD– Go full on …or go home.
No escalating like an emo kid.
ME– Just very angry.
If someone could invent a sort of Rosetta Stone for reading between the lines of very cryptic blog posts he would become a rich man indeed.
There are some blog posts that are both fascinating and frustrating because they are so damned vague.
Some people think I’m very perceptive about human nature, but I would disagree. I merely am good at recognizing certain behavior patterns.
Put a person, even a very intelligent one, into a given situation, and depending on other contributing factors, you can pretty easily tell how he’ll behave. Human behavior is so predictable as to almost render the concept of free will meaningless. I don’t know whether it’s due to peer- or -societal-pressure or cultural conditioning or whatever else, but most people aren’t daring, creative, inventive, or brave enough to break out of these patterns.
This person will be doomed to a miserable marriage. That one will die of a drug overdose. Another will seek fulfillment in abusive relationships or meaningless hook-ups. Another will hope in vain that being a martyr to others will lead to lasting love or appreciation. Still another will go through a rough patch, then fall prey to some wacko religion or political movement.
It’s one of the worst feelings of all when you see loved ones locking in to one of these bad patterns and knowing that there’s almost nothing you can do to save them or divert them to safety.
I posted this:
Social media has become a torture device I hook myself up to for about 12 hours every day. And I keep seeing things that rip my heart into shreds and make me want to cut my flesh off in chunks.
And now, not content with disturbing me all last night, that white trash filth downstairs is blaring the fucking tendentious death-metal again!
I think I may be having another nervous breakdown–the first major one since 2006-2007.
God, this is just a never-ending nightmare.
Overcome with misery, I retired to my bedroom, to go over my note cards and read.
I finally finished Dirk Bogarde’s “A Postillion Struck By Lightning.” It’s the first of the actor’s eight volumes of memoirs, and I’m always interested in people who have multi-volume autobiographies, because I wonder how on earth they have so much to say about their lives.
This was not one of those typical “And-then-I-slept-with,” dictated-to-a-ghost-writer, celebrity autobiographies. Indeed, it’s more properly a memoir, rather than an autobiography, because though it covers Bogarde’s life from about 1932 to 1960, it doesn’t mention every single thing that happened to him in that period. Instead, it offers up fascinating episodes: his idyllic childhood summers in rural England, his Dickensian school days in Scotland, his first two years in the theatre, the advent of World War II, and finally, skipping ahead twenty years, his unpleasant initial experiences in Hollywood.
Had Bogarde not been a gifted actor, I think he could easily have supported himself as a novelist. This book reads like a delicately-crafted novel, and the pictures he creates for the reader are so clear, so well-observed, that I think Bogarde must either have had a superb memory, a great talent for imagination, or a combination of both.
I look forward to reading his other works–memoirs, novels, essays, and letters–in the future.
I read in Nichols before bed. When did I retire? Around 2am or so?
Monday, May 6th–Belle woke me around 10am rattling around on her newspapers. I didn’t get up until around 10:21am. I gave her a fairly long initial walk.
Depression soon descended upon me as I thought about […]….
God, has everyone lost their fucking minds?
I made a post:
It’s a terrible thing to wake up, and as soon as you become conscious, feel the black iron sheet descend in front of your brain and eyes, bringing with it the all-consuming thought, “God, I wish I were dead.”
A follower responded:
I know you have been posting this kind of stuff, but I have to ask, do you have a plan for Belle if something would happen to you?
I explained that I was filling out a will and a Power of Attorney document.
She wrote back:
I was just worried about Belle as you said how close she is with you, and I was hoping you would have made provisions for her. The way you have described your family, I was worried they would drop her at the pound. And she is too much of a sweet, refined, lady for that. I’m sure she would be happiest with you sticking around though…
I wrote back:
Yes, she has done time in a pound before and even led a jail break, and was found wandering down the yellow line of a street in Ohio, oblivious to the traffic. I would not let […] get her hands on her, because she would surely dump Belle in a pound, out of spite if nothing else. Belle is really the only reason I bother getting out of bed anymore.
She wrote back:
This really hits a nerve with me because I haven’t been feeling well lately either and there are times my 3 dogs are the only things keeping me here. Anyway, I hope you hang around, for whatever the opinion of a random internet stranger matters. Hope you have a good, or even just an ok day 🙂
And I responded at length:
Thanks. And I hope you get to feeling better as well.
….So I’m going to apply for SSDI.
But that’s hard to get, and doesn’t pay much. I fear of being stuck on that the rest of my life. The main idea is to get on that so I can get onto Medicaid and a better level of treatment than what the city and county offer. I already have a diagnosis of Bi-Polar Level II, and am seeking to get diagnoses for social anxiety and possibly Asperger’s before I apply for SSDI.
I’ve been on about 14 different depression meds, but they didn’t help and usually caused bad side-effects. It’s been suggested I might benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
And every now and then, when […]’s not threatening to cut off my checks and render me homeless, […] is suggesting making me leave my apartment and move into a halfway house, homeless shelter, or crappy ghetto apartment. I flatly told her that I’ll kill myself before I move somewhere I’d feel unsafe, but she thinks I’m bluffing. Just to cover my ass, though, I had my doctor wrte a formal letter and declare Belle as my “Emotional Support Animal.”
I don’t have high hopes for therapy, even if I get on it. I was in therapy for over three years with no results. And even if they get me more or less cured, I won’t have very good employment prospects, and I couldn’t bear to go back to more dead-end jobs. (I’ve had something like 38 jobs since 1980–most all of them wretched and depressing.)
Add to that some other matters I don’t feel like discussing and am powerless to change, and you’ll see why I’ve been in this frame of mind lately.
My rants continued:
I haven’t been this miserable in 7 years.
And now I’ve started throwing shit across the room in a rage.
That filth downstairs is really trying my patience.
After thumping his shitty music from his apartment all weekend, just now he pulled up in his car, flashed his lights through my front window, and sat for ten goddamn minutes playing his shitty music on his car stereo. I really hope the cops catch him selling crack or something and haul him and his Jabba the Hutt mother out of here.
I started Rainer Maria Rilke’s “The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge” before bed.