Monday, July 31, 2006

My life as a Shipwreck and Childhood Monsters

I look back upon my past life as if it were some battered shipwreck washed upon the rocks of stormy Cape Horn, South America. It is going to take a lot of work to get this shattered hull afloat again and to set sail for new horizons; heh, horizons, what a quaint little word to describe my future life.

I realize I am scared. I feel as if I am a small child again looking at the crack in an almost open closet door in my darkened childhood bedroom wondering if any monsters will emerge. Strange shadows stretch across the carpet cast from the street lamp outside my bedroom window. They seem to move in creepy crawly fashion; tendrils reaching out to snatch me from my bed.

I turn on the bedside lamp and the shadows immediately disappear. The shadows of my past are gone in an instant. Now a distant memory until I turn off the lamp and they reemerge from their hiding places; once again to torment me.

This is how I feel about the journey upon which I am soon to embark. My failed marriage; my homelessness; the mental illness; the alcoholism; all monsters in my closet keeping me scared and mired in the past. Six months of my life will be gone, but will it rebuild the hull of this battered shipwreck. I don’t know. The uncertainty is overbearing. Those are six months I will never get back. If only this ship can set sail again. I hear there are distant lands to be discovered over the vast oceans distances that will be my recovery. I want to set sail and leave this rocky Horn. Undiscovered countries await. I just hope I don’t encounter hostile natives once I arrive.

Randall's Birthday...

Charlie’s son’s birthday went very well today. He turned 35 today. He is one year older than me. I ended up eating three hamburgers, a huge helping of baked beans, and a very large portion of French fries. I was stuffed and had indigestion for the rest of the afternoon.

Charlie grills the best hamburgers I have ever tasted. His secret is that he marinates the ground chuck and ground sirloin mixture in Lea and Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce overnight. He cooked 53 hamburger patties and had three different grills going. He cooks them hot and fast to sear in the flavor.

Charlie’s son is autistic and his current obsessions are bowling, Dora the Explorer dolls, and collecting shaving cream cans. He received over twenty cans of shaving cream yesterday for his birthday to add to his collection, four Dora the Explorer dolls, and two plastic bowling sets. You should see his room. It is wall to wall shelves containing hundreds upon hundreds of cans of shaving cream of varying brands.

Sleepless in A-Ville

I lay in the bed for the longest time tonight tossing and turning and looking at the clock as the hours ticked by. I tried numerous things to put me to sleep. One was a religious program on the radio playing old hymnal tunes. I was sure that would put me to sleep, but no. I then donned my mp3 player and listened to some melancholy soundtrack selections I uploaded. Next I tried a warm glass of milk heated in the microwave accompanied by three Tylenol PMs. Nothing worked. “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” I said aloud regarding the denizens of the night.

I decided to call Carolyn down at Fat Albert’s convenience store as she works third shift most days and have a little fun at her expense. The phone rang…

“Fat Albert’s, can I help you?” Carolyn said picking up the phone.

“Uh, I want to know today’s winning lottery numbers,” I said as I masked my voice by making it deeper.

“Which lottery?” Carolyn asked.

“All of them,” I replied.

“Sir, there are far too many numbers for me to name them all on the phone,” She replied curtly.

“Well, could you tell me the Cash3 numbers for yesterday at least?” I said trying to stifle back a laugh.

Carolyn was growing frustrated with this call.

“Hold on a second,” she said with a huff and in few minutes later picked the phone back up and replied, “514”

“Thank you ma’am,” I said. “How much is a cup of coffee? I think I might come down and get a cup. You sound kind of cute.”

“Who is this?” Carolyn asked laughing.

“It’s me,” I said in my real voice.

“YOU SHITHEAD!” She exclaimed laughing. “I am gonna kill you when I see you. I thought you were one of those weirdos we get all the time obsessing over the lottery.”

“Ya’ll busy tonight?” I asked.

“It has been completely dead tonight,” She said. “We haven’t had a soul come in for the last hour.”

“Well, at least that makes your job easy,” I replied.

“It makes my job damn boring and the nights go by long,” She said.

“Listen, in the next day or two we need to talk,” I replied.

“What’s wrong?” She asked with a tone of concern in her voice.

“Oh, nothing major. I just want to tell you in person though,” I said. “Well listen, you have a good night and I will let you get off the phone.”

“Now you have me worried,” She replied.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “It has nothing to do with you personally.”

We both said goodnight and hung up the phone.

Now, I must find something to do for the rest of the night. I doubt I will get any sleep. I might play some games and am gonna pop some popcorn. Nobody updates their blogs at 1 AM in the morning so reading blogs is out of the question. Well, let me go find something to pass these idle late night hours. Luckily, I can sleep all day tomorrow.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Too Early Phone Calls and Fried Ham and Eggs

I awoke and stumbled into the kitchen. I filled my percolator with water and measured out the correct amount of coffee. I set the stove on high and then came into the den to awaken my sleeping blogging computer to check my email and the weather radar. Maggie sat at the back door whining to go out. The sound of softly falling rain could be heard outside my windows.

“Come on girl. Head out and do your business,” I said as I opened the back door to let her out. She was greeted by big drops of rain falling heavily from the eaves of my house.

“I’m not going out into that,” She seemed to say as she looked up at me, whined, and wagged her tail at the threshold of my backdoor.

I finally had the bright idea to take her under the basement. A portion of it has a dirt floor. I coaxed her into going to the bathroom. She really had to go bad and it took several minutes. Once the deed was done, we both sleepily walked back into my den. Maggie proceeded to carry around one of my socks. She placed it at my feet. “Here, this is for you. Put it on,” She seemed to say. I smiled and petted her vigorously. She wiggled with glee.

Just about the time my coffee began to percolate vigorously, the phone rang loudly startling me.

“Who in the hell could be calling this early in the morning,” I thought as it was just after 7 AM.

I answered the phone and was greeted by a big, “WHAZZUP!” on the other end.

I laughed and smiled. It was George.

“Momma wants to know if you want to come and eat breakfast with us,” Sherman replied. “She is cooking fried ham and eggs, grits, biscuits and gravy.”

“Oh man, that sounds so good, but I haven’t had a shower yet and look like the dregs of society this morning,” I replied. “And the weather is just horrible.”

“Screw dat shit and get your white ass over here,” George replied.

“Okay man, let me take a shower and drink a quick cup of coffee and I will be right over,” I said.

“Screw the coffee and the shower and come on over,” George said. “Momma is about to have it ready. We ain’t gonna judge how yo ass looks.”

I turned off my coffee pot, threw on some clothes, put on my ugly glasses as Maggie has chewed up my good pair, and ran out to the car to start the 5 minute drive to George’s house.

I arrived and knocked on the door and George let me in. The house smelled wonderfully of frying ham and baking biscuits. You can hear black gospel music playing on the radio in the kitchen.

“Good morning, honey,” The elderly Mrs. Jones said as I walked into the kitchen followed by Sherman.

“Good morning, ma’am,” I replied. “I appreciate you all inviting me.”

“Momma, dat be some good smellin’ shit,” Sherman said.

“Now don’t you be talkin’ like dat on the Lord’s Day,” Mrs. Jones replied as she scowled at Sherman.

I couldn’t help but smile at this little exchange.

We all sat down at the kitchen table and began to eat. The fried ham was the kind of thinly sliced salty breakfast ham they sell in the south. It was delicious in a biscuit with a little mustard slathered on. It had been awhile since I had had fried eggs as well and they were delicious. This grits were also just perfectly cooked; not too runny and not too thick with the right amount of seasoning and butter. George’s mother is wonderful old southern style cook.

“Mrs. Jones,” I said. “This is delicious.”

“Thank you honey,” She replied. “At least someone appreciates my hard work.” She said as she gave a hard look at Sherman.

George ignored her and continued to greedily wolf down his food.

After eating, I got in the kitchen and tried to help cleanup, but Mrs. Jones wouldn’t hear of it.

“You two go on in the den and drink some coffee and watch a little TV,” She said. “I will do the cleaning up.”

George tuned the TV to channel ten and it was Edgewood Baptist Church’s morning service.

“Do you really like to watch this?” I asked.

“I like the music,” George replied.

“Well man, it seems I am going to be sent off for six months,” I replied starting up a conversation.

“So, you are gonna let yo pops incarcerate you,” George said.

“Commit me,” I replied correcting him for the umpteenth time over this matter. “It is just going to be a treatment center and not a psych ward. Dad is going to pay off my mortgage in full if I agree to go.”

“How much is left on yo mortgage if you don’t mind me asking,” George said. “I know it be none of my business.”

“No, I don’t mind telling you,” I said. “$33,000 dollars.”

“Holy son of a bitch,” George said.

You could hear George’s mother holler out not to cuss at Sherman on the Lord’s Day in the kitchen.

“Sorry momma,” George said loudly. “Well, I would go to jail for six months for that kind of money.”

“It is not going to be like jail,” I replied. “It will be a lot of therapy and twelve step meetings.”

“Well, that is good to hear,” George said. “I am going to miss you man. Can I come and visit?”

“I think you can visit on Sundays every week,” I replied.

George changed the channel on the TV to another station that was playing gospel music.

“Well man, I need to run on home and get cleaned up,” I replied. “Dad’s best friend’s son’s birthday is today and he is cooking hamburgers. I promised I would go even though I don’t want to.”

“Me and you will have one last drunk before you leave,” George replied quietly so his mother in the next room couldn’t hear.

“Sounds like a plan,” I replied. “We will get a couple of cases of Milwaukee’s Best Ice beer like old times.”

I told George’s mother, “Thank you so much for breakfast. It was delicious. Sherman is lucky to have you cook for him.”

She said thank you and did a black woman’s version of blushing. It had begun to rain much harder by now and I quickly ran out to the car trying to avoid getting wet as much as possible and drove on home. It was a wonderful breakfast and a grand time this morning. I am going to miss Sherman and his antics and his wonderful mother as well. It is going to be a long six months away it seems. I am going to miss experiences like these.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dumpster Diving Wars

I saw Dumpster Diving Dan this morning on my walk. He was parked behind the shopping center just down from my house pondering what to do. He started to tell me about being harassed by the police this morning for diving in the dumpsters behind the shopping center.

“I don’t bother any body,” He said. “I mind my own business and never do any harm. They just throw this crap away and it will go to waste if someone doesn’t use it.”

“What did the police say to you?” I asked.

“They said there had been complaints from someone and for me to ‘cease and desist’ diving in the dumpsters,” Dan replied. “That said I fit the description from the complaint.”

“Man that is a shame. They throw away perfectly good food daily and you keep it from going to waste,” I told him.

“It was that damn hog man that complained,” Dan replied with an air of paranoia surrounding him. “That bastard is trying to encroach upon my territory. He needs to find his own dumpsters to dive in.”

The past few weeks have been a furious tussle between the “hog man” and Dan over dumpster diving rights. They have both been hitting the dumpsters earlier and earlier trying to beat each other out for the goods.

“Keep a watch out and see if he still scavenges in the dumpsters,” I replied. “And then you will know.”

“He feeds hogs with this perfectly good food!” Dan exclaimed. “I am trying to feed myself.”

“Well Dan, don’t you have an income and isn’t it enough to feed you?” I asked.

“Yeah, it is enough to live on, but dumpster diving saves me a lot of money on food,” He said. “I am a cheap bastard and just like to do it. It is a hobby of mine.”

I laughed at the thought of dumpster diving being a hobby.

“Ah, I see,” I replied. “I tried it once, but it just wasn’t to my liking.”

“Don’t you start stealing my food as well,” Dan said good heartedly as he smiled.

“Oh, don’t worry,” I replied. “I just don’t have the heart to dumpster dive. And don’t worry about the police. They were probably just bored and won’t bother you again.”

“Well, I hope not,” Dan replied.

“See ya later bud,” I said and then walked on around to the front of the shopping center to see if any of the gang was around.

Big S was sitting in front the grocery store on a brand new bench that still smelled of fresh paint that had just dried.

“Big S, Dan was telling me about the police harassing him this morning,” I said.

“They asked me to stop loitering this morning too,” Big S replied as he wiped the sweat from his brow. “I walked over to Sarah Jay’s to eat breakfast and then came back after they left. It is all just a show of force. The police are full of shit.”

“Man, let me borrow two bucks,” I then asked Big S. “I have let you borrow a dollar and cigarettes many times.”

Big S pulled out his wallet and gave me a $5 dollar bill.

“Don’t expect me to do this all the time,” Big S replied with a scowl.

Oh, how the tables have turned that I was having to borrow money from Big S. Usually, it is the other way around. It was downright embarrassing.

“I will be sure to return the favor soon when you need a few,” I said.

I walked on inside the grocery store and bought my morning Gatorade and a couple of bananas. Breakfast was served. I then walked on home as I drank my Gatorade and munched on an almost too green banana. Just like I like them. I can’t stand too ripe bananas.

Bribery if By No Other Name…

Well, I decided to restart the blog from scratch and just post tales about the gang or at least try from now on to make my father feel better about my postings. I will try to keep the more personal aspects of my family’s life private, but I digress on this post. I will slowly rebuild my archives over the next few days. It is a rather time consuming process, but luckily I have every old post saved in Microsoft word format.

I had rather long conversation with my father last night. I grew rather belligerent with him at first initially.

“I want to work and support myself and be a man,” I replied.

“You tried working for years and couldn’t handle the stress,” My father said. “It made you even more ill. You will get yourself in a mess again.”

“Well, I just get tired of not having control of my finances,” I replied. “Today, I wanted so bad to just drive down to Fat Albert’s and buy a few hotdogs and a soda and couldn’t as I have no money. Would you want to not have control over such things in your life?”

My father gave in and said, “No, I can understand your frustration. It would drive me crazy as well.”

“That’s why I can get so frustrated with our current arrangement,” I replied. “It feels so undignified and aggravating and that is why I get mad and rebel against you.”

My mother couldn’t take us arguing and she retired to bed without saying good night.

“I’ll tell you what I will do,” Dad said. “I am going to pay off your mortgage in full if you will go for that six months treatment program and straighten yourself out. Keep in mind that is over $28,000 dollars. Consider it part of your inheritance from your grandmother when we sell the house you’re living in, in a few months. Does that sound like a deal?”

“Dad, that is akin to bribery,” I replied.

“Well, I just want to see you okay,” He said. “And just think. Most people would die to have their mortgage paid off at such an early age. You will never have another house payment and will always have a place to live even after I am gone. Just think about it for me, okay?”

“Yeah, you’re right. That is too good of a deal to pass up. I will go if you just promise me you and mom will come see me on visitation days,’ I replied. “I don’t want to be stuck in some treatment center all alone for six months with no friends and family.”

“You’re my family and I will be there,” Dad then said.
“And when I get out, also promise me you are going to let me have more control over my finances and affairs.” I asked him.

“I promise,” Dad said. “It’s a deal.”

I hugged him goodnight and somberly walked on home with a lot on my mine. The prospect of my mortgage being paid off is so exciting. I will be able to live quite a comfortable life and my new house is really going to be nice.

I know that speaks badly of me and is sad, but the thing I am going to miss most while I am in for that six months is not being able to keep up with Sherman, the gang, my online friends, and writing in my journal. I have worked so hard to build up a readership and six months absence of writing will just kill my readership. Maybe, one of you good friends would allow me to write you about what I am experiencing and you could update my journal for me while I am gone. I know that is a lot to ask of strangers so don’t worry about it. I am also going to miss my Christmas trip to San Diego to see my brother and his wife. It is going to be a hard six months, but I think a small price to pay for such long term security.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I Have a Lot on my Mind Tonight

I have been thinking about what to do over the situation with my father. I really would like to find a job and pay my own mortgage. I see that as the best solution. I need to suck it up and be a man. I want to be independent. I want my dignity back. I don’t want to have to beg someone for a few dollars just to get something to eat or some cigarettes. I don’t want to feel guilty for mooching off of my parents by living in this home any longer. The only problem is that my medications run $1300 dollars a month and I don’t think I can afford to lose Medicare part D which pays for my medications except for a small $35 dollar co-pay. I can work for up to nine months and still receive my benefits and my medical coverage through the ticket to work program. I will continue to mull over this the next few days and look around some for possible jobs and to see what I can get. I will also discuss this with dad and my sister and see what they think.

Update: I just found out my Medicare coverage will continue for 8 ½ years if I return to work. That is very good to know.

Just What I Needed: A Laugh

Ferret came by the house this afternoon on the search for cans for his money for recycling effort. I do drink a lot of sodas and told him to check the trash can. I walked inside and got him a trash bag to put them in. George was right about Ferret being on the great aluminum can hunt.

“I never thought I would be caught digging in your trash,” He said with the funniest look on his face when I walked back out.

I couldn’t help but bust out laughing loudly and then patted him on his shoulder.

“Are you still drinking that mouthwash?” I asked.

“Man, that shit is all I can afford,” He replied. “I can’t afford the good stuff.”

The good stuff for Ferret is Natural Ice beer. I had let Maggie out and she went off chasing one of those gigantically large black Texas grasshoppers that have showed up in my yard this summer.

“Yo dog gonna eat that damn thing?” Ferret asked.

“If she does then it will be one hell of a bitter taste in her mouth,” I said as Maggie carried the grasshopper over to me and sat it down at my feet. She looked up at me like, “Ya hungry? Lunch is served.” The grasshopper once again struggled to get away making a hissing noise as Maggie pawed it. Those things are fucking huge and clumsy.

Ferret managed to gather a grand total of fourteen aluminum cans out from my trashcan.

“How much money will that get you?” I asked curiously.

“Oh, about a goddamn quarter I think,” He replied. “I need to find enough for seventy five more cents.”

A bottle of mouthwash at Fred’s costs a $1.09 with tax for 2 liters.

“Man, if I had the money, I would give you enough to buy some beer,” I said. “But I am under the ‘John no drinking plan.’ Dad won’t even give me a dime. I hate to see you drinking that mouthwash.”

“Well, I am going to hit the dumpsters behind the shopping center,” Ferret said. “Sometimes, you get thirty or more cans out of them.”

I told Ferret goodbye and then he strolled on down the street in his quest for that elusive $1.09 to get trashed tonight.

Cold Malt Liquor and Hot Summer Days

I and George are sitting outside in my backyard upon my wrought iron chairs (no, I was not drinking). It is a very hot and muggy day and soon we will have to escape back inside. We are talking of the recent events I have undergone in my life lately.

“Dat be some fucked up shit,” George replied. “I would tell your father to kiss my ass. You don’t need to be incarcerated.”

“Committed,” I replied correcting George.

I certainly hope I am not incarcerated any time soon.

“Well, it be the same damn thing,” George replied.

“Yeah, you are pretty much right,” I replied.

“We need to get your ass a job and an apartment so you can say fuck all dat crazy ass shit,” George said.

“I will lose my SSDI though,” I replied.

“Hell, you are smart. You could work anywhere I think,” George said. “And hell, if you lose your job then just go find another.”

“I will think about it,” I replied. “I just worry that I will have another episode with my mental illness and can’t work. It is scary to think of.”

We sat for awhile longer as George sipped on a cold Colt 45.

“It sure is hot today,” I replied changing the subject. “Have you seen Ferret lately?”

George laughed.

“I am glad you asked about dat crazy ass nigga,” George said as he smiled. “He has been picking up aluminum cans to get them recycled for a few dollars to get a drink. Dat nigga has been busy. I see him all over town.”

I smiled at the thought of Ferret busily running around town picking up cans.

“Ferret could work a job with the amount of work he will have to put in to get up enough money recycling cans,” I replied.

“I know. Ain’t dat some crazy shit?” George replied as he laughed again. “I told ya dat nigga was crazy and to stay away from him.”

I sat and thought of my own bouts with schizophrenia. Mental Illness is just some fucked up shit as Sherman would say. George had finally finished that cold Colt 45 and got up to leave.

“Hang in there, my man,” George said. “And don’t let yo pops incarcerate you.”

“Committed,” I replied once more correcting Sherman.

“Same difference,” George said as walked towards his car. “Hey, the food would probably be better in prison. You could always rob a convenience store and get on the inside.”

“Now that is some crazy shit,” I replied as I scoffed. “We will not go there.”

George drove off to go do what George does on a daily basis. It was very good to see him today. George has a “street wisdom” that escapes most of the people in my family and in middle class suburbia.

Waking Dreams and Ghosting

I know I never talk much about my mental illness on this blog. Quite frankly, it embarrasses me and there is so much stigma surrounding schizophrenia. For most people, axe murderers come to mind and violent and dangerous individuals. My father has remarked that he had seen a movie about a mentally ill women and she killed her whole family. He thought I would do the same to my family during a bad spell. That is a terrible burden to bear when you think someone you love so dearly would think such things of you. I have never been violent and my episodes are benign for the most part. I wanted to write today to give a clearer picture of why my father wants me committed.

I experience what I call “waking dreams” and “ghosting.” The ghosting is where I see almost fluorescent looking animals (mainly cats) laying about the house. It looks like the glow of a television after the channel has quit broadcasting for the day. Do you remember what Princess Leia looked like in Star Wars when that holographic picture of her was played by R2D2 and she said, “Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you are our only hope?” That is what these cats look like. This happens more often if I am under a lot of stress as of lately. The animals are always peaceful and just lazily lying around the house. It used to really disturb me, but I have grown used to it. It is much better these days with my new dosage of Risperdal.

I also experience what I term “waking dreams.” I had an especially vivid encounter with this last night. As I was sitting here at the computer, I drifted off into this dream state. It is increadably vivid and real. I can remember all the sights, smells, and sounds from these waking dreams to the point that I honestly felt I experienced them. They are much more vivid and real than your average dream. I can remember every detail of the experience.

Last night’s was a rather long waking dream. I was living in a homeless shelter in Palm Coast Florida and trying to persuade everyone that I was actually homeless to give you the short of it. The dream then shifted to me and my family being at a Tulane vs. Mississippi State football game. I and my father had a huge argument on the sidelines. I told him I wanted to be treated as an adult and to be left alone. The dream ended with my mother driving us home after a short auction of game memorabilia in which my father bought some things. I came to and almost two hours had passed.

For the longest time, I also experienced extreme paranoia over talking on the phone. I also thought my neighbors were watching my every move through their windows. Those are the most hurtful and aggravating of symptoms as the fear is so palpable. I am glad those symptoms have passed much lately.

Well, that is the long and short of it. Maybe that will give you an idea of what I experience with this illness and see why my father is so concerned for my well being. One of the main reasons I like to drink is that it calms these symptoms and they are lessened. I guess you could say I am self medicating.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Coming to Terms with the Demon’s of my Past

I had a long talk with my father tonight as I walked over to get another Librium. He has given me two today so that is very generous for him. We managed to both stay civil. I sat in the den as I noticed three Xanax lying on the coffee table. My addictive personality thought of slipping those three pill’s into my pocket.

“Dad, you left mom’s Xanax out on the table tonight,” I replied. “You need to get them before I will take them.”

Dad thanked me for my candor in this matter and put them in his pocket.

“Did you delete your journal?” Dad asked.

“I am going to tomorrow,” I replied. “I wrote a goodbye post for all the caring readers that have been reading for months now.”

“You can be so naïve,” Dad said. “That is so dangerous for you to write about such personal things and to put pictures up on that journal. Your sister’s husband would not even let her come down here knowing that picture of her was up on the internet. She could be abducted by some stranger on the internet. Also, my job is very dangerous and someone with addictions my come and rob my pharmacy. Your cousin Marilyn was right when she was concerned about you writing that other journal using your real name.”

“It took the pictures down and do not ever use real names on my journal,” I replied exasperated at my father’s seeming paranoia over this issue. I encounter strangers everyday and do not get robbed and abducted and have been writing online journals since my homeless days.

“You are a danger to your family and others,” He then said about my blogging. “But keep it up if you continue to remain anonymous. I will be reading though and NO MORE pictures of the family posted, okay?”

We then talked a long time about me going into some sort of assisted living.

“Your sister is coming down this weekend and we are going to look at the options,” Dad replied. “You are danger to yourself and others when you drink like that. Your sister said drinking that mouthwash was going to give you pancreatitis and will kill you pretty quickly. Do you want to die?”

“No!” I exclaimed demurely. “Who would want to die?”

“Well, I made an appointment with your psychiatrist for Wednesday,” Dad said. “I am going to tell her you are suicidal and then she will have to take more drastic measures in getting you some help. She will be legally obligated to do something then. I want you to be committed to an asylum.”

I am just going to hang back, keep my mouth shut, and see what happens. I have a great fear of being committed to such an institution for crazy people. I can picture living out the rest of days surrounded by crazy blathering idiots and eating bland institutional food. Well, on the good side of the coin, I would have plenty of time to read my beloved books. That and someone would cook me three squares a day.

I walked outside with my little flashlight in hand to find Maggie sitting at my parent’s backdoor. She seems to have an uncanny knack for getting out of the fence these days. I have been trying to honor my father’s wishes in that she “not become a house dog” to use his words. I sneak her back in at nighttime so she can sleep with me after I know dad has long been asleep. :^)

Selfishness

It seems I am getting a little dose of reality today. I can sometimes live in my own little microcosm. Yes, I am being very selfish about wanting to become homeless again. I should do what is best for my family and care about them instead. I am going to suck it up and quit romanticizing about becoming homeless again. I sometimes forget those bitter cold days where I had a hard time just keeping warm. I am also going to continue to stay involved with AA and try my best to not drink. Thank you Fury and the anonymous commenter for the dose of reality. Reading Fury’s comment made me realize just how lucky I am to have what I have today.

Car Living: Homeless Style

There is invaluable advice on living homeless comfortably at The Survival Guide to Homelessness and Hobopoet. Alan of Hobopoet fame lived in his car for around a year as an experiment. Mobile Homemaker of The Survival Guide to Homelessness was also homeless for a time and wrote invaluable tips on surviving homelessness and making it much more comfortable. The homelessness as experienced by such people as The Homeless Guy is for the birds and not very smart people. The homeless guy has become institutionalized by the very charities that feed, clothe, and give him a place to sleep at night. He also has to subjugate himself to the very entities that “keep him up” so to speak such as listening to hell bent sermons every night and scheduling his life around the shelter’s time. Just about every homeless blog I have ever read wrote that The Homeless Guy was full of shit. Mobile Homemaker wrote on his blog…

This is another reason that charity is so unsavory. It comes from a position of superiority. The charitable feel they have a right to determine the goals, purposes, and uses of their charity. It lacks dignity. I don't mean for the recipient. I mean it is not dignified to try to direct the lives of others, to be so involved in the details of other lives. It's a failure to understand boundaries.

I have no desire to get caught up in that vicious cycle that most homeless people experience. Actually, I am sort of experiencing that with my father at the moment. The only difference is that I have a roof over my head.

Here is my checklist for my next venue of homelessness. Well, I will be living in my car so technically you could say I will have a home.

  1. Gym Membership for showers. The truck stop is just too expensive to use on a regular basis.
  2. Sex lube for shaving
  3. I also have an OLD laptop with windows98 on it that I will use for internet access. The local Krystal’s restaurant was free wifi and I know the supervisor very well. The battery has long died on the laptop, but it still runs if I plug it in.
  4. Luckily, I live near the country and there are plenty of seldom traveled back dirt roads for when I get ready sleep. Hell, I might just go park my car at the parking across from where Ferret camps and pitch my tent.
  5. Cooler for ice and cold drinks from my car.
  6. I still have all my camping gear as well such as my tent, backpacks, and sleeping bags.
  7. Marine battery and fan to blow the hot air out of my car at night. I will need to wire this to my battery so it will charge as I drive.
  8. I need to sell my three computers I currently have. One is mediocre, another is mid-range, and my gaming computer is VERY nice. Hopefully, I will get a few thousand dollars from this before I can find a job. I will have to live on that money for a few months.

I will add more to this list as the day progresses and I think of other things. If you have a tip then drop them in my comments. I would appreciate the advice.

Half Way House

Well, my father wants to put me in a half way house for drunks. I am unsure of what to do in this matter. At least he doesn’t have power of attorney over me. He said the police have been calling about me, but frankly I think that is bullshit. Why would they not just call me if the matter pertains to me? I am a grown man after all. I didn’t even leave the house much during my drinking spree. I walked down to Fred’s to buy the mouthwash.

Dad also came over last night and took all my money away and the remaining mouthwash I still had. He also took away my 9mm pistol as he was afraid I was going to kill myself. This coddling he seems to do grows so tiresome and aggravating. I am at my wit’s end at what to do over this matter. I know he means well, but I am a grown man and even if I do drink mouthwash then it should be a decision for me to make.

Dad then asked me what I do with my days and I said, “I write.” He forcefully read the whole of my journal last night and said that “I am a danger to my family” by writing about my life and the gang. He is going to terminate my internet access as it is in his deceased mother’s name. Unfortunately, due to my mental illness, he is my representative payee for my monthly SSDI money and I have no control over it. I can choose a new representative payee at any time, but I don’t know who would be willing to act in this capacity. I do believe the county adult services will act in this capacity for me.

I called Dad this morning and asked about the police matter. He vaguely said that I have been acting in a weird capacity and that they were worried about me. I then asked him for some money and he said no. He is going to come over and give me some Librium before work to calm me down. I do think it is time for me to start living homeless again and to change the person that acts as my representative payee. It is just going to be a pain in the ass to accomplish all this though. It will involve countless phone calls (which I hate) and possible much paperwork.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Self Destruction

I have drank two 18 packs of Miller high life and three bottles of Fred’s dollar store mouthwash over the past few days. I don’t know what to do. I guess I am on a path to self destruction. The past few days have been a drunken blur. I guess I am just a sorry son of a bitch and deserve no less.

Mom and Dad have both came over to try and shake me out of this malaise. It is times such as these that I want to be left alone. I know they mean well, but it gets fucking tiresome to be harangued all the time. I wish they would mind their own business.

I had a frightful encounter this morning. I thought I had lost a contact and those things are so damn expensive. I examined my eye in my bathroom mirror and found it. I was so relieved. I couldn’t afford to purchase another. I guess lady luck is looking after this drunk today.

The Doldrums

I have completely fallen under a malaise of the doldrums. My life has felt so lackluster lately. Hopefully, I will bring myself out of this malaise soon.

I completely freaked out this morning. I thought I had lost a contact and those things are so damned expensive. Upon careful examination, I found it in the corner of my eye. I could not have afforded to purchase another. I breathed a definite sigh of relief.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A dollar a day keeps the doldrums away…

Momma called me tonight wondering why I haven’t been coming over to get my dollar for my AA meeting. To be frank, I have been lazy. A trip to my parent’s house often means dressing up and putting on airs.

“I have been worried about you,” Mom said.

“Oh, I have been fine,” I replied. “Don’t worry.”

I need to make a habit out of going over there and getting that dollar just to assuage mom’s worries. She is such a kind soul for doing that for me.

I was kind of taken aback at the comments I got on my last post about Carolyn. I didn’t think three words could carry such weight. I mainly said last night’s “I love you,” out of obligations. I do love her though. She has become a special soul in my life. I think about her often throughout the day. If it were up to me, she would be around constantly and not have to work that menial job at Fat Albert’s.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Super Self Service

I went to my volunteer job for a few hours this afternoon. I am overjoyed that I have a computer and internet access. It really helps to pass the time and me not being paid allows me to not feel guilty for browsing occasionally. My job is rather simple. Our clients come to see the psychiatrist and then come back the next day to pick up their medications. My job is to schedule the next appointment with the doctor and to pass out the medications that have already been filled as the clients come back to pick them up. They have to sign a release form and pay a base rate of $5 dollars a bottle for their medications. It was $2 dollars a bottle when I utilized this service when I was homeless so the cost has gone up quite a bit.

Not long after I arrived home from work, mom came pulling up into my driveway.

“Will you drive me down to fill up my car?” Mom asked. “I don’t want to drive on highway 31.”

My mother is a terrible driver and she knows this.

“Sure,” I replied. “Let me put my shirt back on.”

Being a small town, we still have a family owned gas station with full service. My father’s pharmacy has an account with them so we can just charge the gas (petrol) we get. I drove mom down to that station and rolled down my window. An attendant walked out.

“What grade?” He asked.

“Regular unleaded and fill her up,” I replied as I sat in the car.

The attendant started to pump our gas, check the oil, and wash off the windshield.

“This is really nice,” I thought as I sat in the cool confines of the car on a hot July day.

“That will be $30.18,” The attendant said as he walked back up to my window.

“Charge this to Fairfax Pharmacy,” I replied.

“Sure will. Ya’ll have a nice day,” He said.

I then drove me and mom down to my father’s pharmacy which is just a few hundred yards from the gas station. Mom wanted to get a diet coke and I needed some batteries for my MP3 player. My father was not there and his stand in pharmacist was on duty. We got what we needed and then headed back up through the valley. Mom then handed me a dollar as I was driving.

“What’s this for?” I asked.

“I am going to give you a dollar a day to put in the AA donation basket,” Mom said. “You seem to be doing so well lately and I want to help out with the cause.”

“Mom, you don’t have to do that,” I replied.

“I insist,” She said. “I ran by the bank today and changed two twenties and got $40 dollars in ones just for your meetings.”

“Well, the group will really appreciate the extra money,” I replied.

“As long as you will go, I will give you the money,” Mom replied.

I drove us on home and parked mom’s car in the garage and walked back to my house. My parent’s maid is cooking supper tonight and mom is supposed to call me when it is ready. It should be around 6 PM. Fanny is cooking fried cubed steak, rice, steamed broccoli, and dinner rolls. I am going to eat real quick and then head to my 7 PM Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Two is Company; Three is a Crowd

I awoke this morning to a crowded bed. It reminded me of a scene from Erskine Caldwell’s book Tobacco Road were all the poor country bumpkins slept together in one bed. Carolyn was snuggled up against the wall and Maggie was between us. Two is company; three is a crowd as they say. Maggie looked at me with her head poked out from under the covers like, “Time to go take a wee yet?” I crawled out of bed slipping on my bedroom slippers and my robe and went to go let her out. Carolyn whimpered, rolled over, wrapped herself up tightly in my covers and went back to sleep.

I vaguely remember Carolyn coming in last night. I had only gotten two hours of sleep the night before and was dead to the world. No, we were both too tired to do anything if that is what you are wondering. The only thing sexual that happened last night is that she pulled my arm around her and placed my hand upon her breast as I held her. That was the last thing I remembered before falling fast asleep again.

I am going to let Carolyn sleep as I go take Maggie out to the veterinarians to get her sutures out this morning. That might take a few hours depending on how busy Dr. Thomas is today. Then I will come home and fix us a grand brunch of Clark Brother’s sausage and ham and cheddar cheese omelets. Hopefully, by then, Carolyn will be up and about. Well, let me go get dressed and get Maggie loaded up into the car. I fear she already associates riding in the car with going to the dreaded veterinarian. I need to start taking her on daily rides to de-condition her of this assumption. Good day.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Weary and Bleary Eyed

What a long fucking day. It seemed it would never end. I went to eat with my mother tonight and she wasn’t feeling well. She was so quiet and it worried me. We really shouldn’t have gone out to eat, but she insisted. I took her on home and made sure she got in the bed. I turned on the air conditioner, locked the back door, and drove on home.

Tonight, at my AA meeting, I decided to speak which I rarely do.

“Hi, my name is Andrew and I am an alcoholic,” I said and then began my spiel.

I should have said, “Hi, my name is Andrew and I am a fuckin’ idiot” because that was about how it sounded as I rambled. One of the other members had talked about how he had hurt his ex-wife with his drinking. It touched a chord in me and I just had to blurt out what was on my mind. I talked about what I put Rachel through with my drinking as well. I should have stayed quiet because I felt like a fool after I had spoken. When the meeting was over, I quietly slipped out to my car and drove on home avoiding everyone. It was definitely one of those too embarrassed to face anyone moments. I need to just keep my big mouth shut and listen since I am so new to the program. I don’t know what the hell I am talking about.

I have established a bad habit with Maggie today. She was begging to go out. I thought she needed to use the bathroom. It was a cool afternoon after a nice rain so I had all my windows open. I opened the backdoor so Maggie could come and go. I went out to call her and she was way up in my next door neighbor’s yard. Now, she sits at the back door constantly whining to go out. I guess she got a taste of freedom and now can’t get enough.

For supper, I made mushroom chicken and rice. It is oh so fattening, but oh so delicious. I ate until I could eat no more. I have had a totally shitty and crappy day and needed some comfort food. It sucks cooking for one person though. I have enough left over to feed an army. I need to halve the recipe.

Carolyn called me tonight and asked if she could come over when she gets off at 3 AM. I told her I would leave the backdoor unlocked and for her just to come on in. It is not like I lock it anyway. She said she didn’t want to be alone tonight and wanted to sleep with me. I look forward to her crawling into the bed and me wrapping my arms around her. I told her I would fix us a good breakfast in the morning when we both got up and going. I am defrosting some of the sausage I had in my freezer from Clark Brother’s Meats. That is some of the best sausage you will ever eat. I am also going to cook us some ham and cheese omelets in the morning.

Well, let me go take a shower, take out my contacts, and crawl into the bed. I will be glad to call it a day. Good night.

The Not So Spoils of War

I made my way down to Big John’s package store around 6:45. It was so cool and pleasant this morning belying the heat that would soon build as the day progressed. I saw Dumpster Diving Dan standing in the side parking lot with the seagulls already flocking around him in one great squawking mass.

“Good morning,” I said loudly over the noise.

Dan shook my hand as I gave him the loaf of stale wheat bread I had brought.

“These are my babies,” He said with a grin.

“You do take good care of them,” I replied smiling back.

The fishy smell of the river nearby hung heavily in the air. I left Dan to feed the seagulls and walked over to the river. They were generating electricity up at the dam this morning and the waterline was very high upon the bank. The green water was swirling in furious eddies. I longed for a fishing rod and some bait. It would have been nice to cast a line out. I walked back over to Dan who had just finished the gull’s feeding session. I had ridden my bike down there and Dan asked me if I wanted a ride home. I told him that would be great. We loaded up my bike into the back of Dan’s old Toyota pickup and began our way home. Dan started up a surprising conversation.

“You know I was in Vietnam,” Dan said.

Dan pulled up his shirt showing a scar on the side of chest.

“Shrapnel,” He said pointing to it. “Tet offensive 1968.”

“Did you see a lot of combat?” I asked.

“No, not too much, but I did kill a man I think,” Dan said.

“What happened?” I asked. “If you don’t mind me asking.”

My curiosity was piqued.

“We were in a convoy on a road,” Dan said. “Some gook was standing in the road blocking our way. It was a prime ambush setup. I got out of the jeep and we got one of the South Vietnamese soldiers to ask him to move. He refused. I took the butt of my M16 and bashed him in the skull and he fell into the ditch dead on the side of the road. At least I think he was dead. We didn’t go back to check. We had to keep moving. I didn’t mean to kill him, but we had to get him out of the way. I just knew the gooks were going to ambush us sitting there like that. We were sitting ducks.”


“War is hell,” I replied. “Vietnam was fucked up. I have read a lot about it and did a paper on the Tet offensive in college.”

“I still have nightmares about it,” Dan said. “I see that man’s face in my dreams. He haunts me.”

“That is some serious stuff Dan,” I replied. “I never knew you were a veteran.”

“I don’t talk about it much,” He said. “I don’t like to think about it. I was just a scared kid then and got drafted. I didn’t know my ass from a hole in the wall let alone how to fight a war. You learn quick when the shit hits the fan like it did over there though.”

I told Dan to drop me off by the newspaper office just down from my house. He told me goodbye and that he was going to go check the dumpsters behind the shopping center. He has been trying to beat the “hog man” to the spoils. I rode the rest of the way home with a new found respect for Dan. I am 34 and can’t imagine going to war. Just think of being so young and right out of high school, and being thrust into such a quagmire. It is almost unthinkable.

The Drought is Almost Broken

We have had storms all around us the past few weeks, but cannot get any rain. My lawn is dying and my trees and shrubs in the yard are thirsty. Last night, I was sitting at this computer writing some emails when I thought I saw a flash of lightning which was strange it being so late in the evening. Almost instantly my phone rang.

“Hello?” I asked wondering who would call so late. It was almost midnight.

“Did you just see lightning?” My father asked.

We are both weather obsessed. My father has an automatic underground sprinkler system for his lawn and has run it for weeks. He fears an astronomically high water bill this month. I think the whole town is praying for rain.

Suddenly, another flash lightened up my darkened den.

“Yeap, that was lightning,” I replied.

“It is weird this happening so late after sunset,” Dad said. “We have lost the heating of the day.”

“Pulse thunderstorms,” I replied.

“Meet me in the backyard,” Dad said.

We both hung up the phone. I got my little mag-light flashlight and walked down into my parent’s backyard. Dad was standing next to the huge old pecan tree behind his house. The lightening flashed another time. This time it was closer. Maggie ran fast circles around us she was so glad to be set free and out of the confines of my home.

“Dammit girl, you go!” My father said to Maggie as we both laughed and watched her run her little heart out.

“She is wound up tonight,” I replied. “I will never get her to sleep.”

The lightning flashed even brighter this time. I started to count…

“One Mississippi, two Mississippi…”

The thunder rumbled loudly in the distance ending my count.

“Two miles away and it seems to be getting closer,” I said.

I and Dad both walked over to some chairs and sat down. The wind began to pick up. It was a cool outflow from that storm and felt wonderful on this hot July night.

“Your granddaddy would sit out on the porch on a hot summer’s night like tonight and watch the heat thunderstorms in the distance as he smoked one cigarette after another,” Dad said. “I and your grandmother would worry he would get struck by lightning. He would wait until the last minute to come in.”

“I wish I could have gotten to know him,” I replied.

“He would have loved you,” Dad said. “You both are a lot alike. He would have taken you fishing and quail hunting all the time. He always kept hunting dogs when I was a boy.”

This time the lightning flashed perilously close. The thunder was almost instantaneous and deafening.

“Goddamn!” My father exclaimed as we both were startled.

Some of the biggest rain drops I have ever been witness to started to fall.

“Let’s get inside before we both get struck,” Dad said. “Thank god for the rain though.”

“Night dad, I love you,” I replied.

“I love you too son,” He said. “I will see you tomorrow.”

The storm faded almost as quickly as it had blown up much to mine and dad’s disappointment. We only got a brief few minutes of heavy rain; just enough to wet the surface of everything. Soon, the thunder stopped and the katydids went back to calling. Far off, down in the backyard I could hear a few tree frogs peeping. It was a beautiful southern summer’s night in late July. The smell of rain hung heavy in the air. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else or trade such experiences for anything in the world.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Close Calls

I just walked the ten minutes down to the shopping center to buy my morning Gatorade. It is a ritual of mine that I rarely forego. The scuttlebutt down there was that George had a very close call with the police last night.

“George got pulled over,” Big S said excitedly.

Big S loves gossip and spreading it around.

“What happened?” I asked very inquisitively and also concerned.

“They just told him he had a brake light out and let him go,” Big S said. “They didn’t even check for warrants.”

“That lucky son of a bitch,” I replied. “Good thing they didn’t smell his breath. You must have seen Sherman this morning.”

“Yeah, he brought his mother up here to buy her groceries,” Big S replied.

“Well, have you seen Ferret lately?” I then asked.

“He hung out down here all day yesterday,” Big S said. “He kept asking me for a dollar, but I wouldn’t give him one. I work for my money and he should too.”

“If you can call panhandling working,” I thought as I scoffed.

“He wants that damn mouthwash,” I replied. “He is going to pickle his insides.”

“He said one of the cashiers asked him why he was buying so much mouthwash and dat fuckin’ idiot told her,” Big S said.

I laughed. I know I shouldn’t be laughing about the dire circumstance of an alcoholic drinking that crap, but it made me wonder what the cashier thought when Ferret told her that. Most people would never think you can get shit faced off of mouthwash without killing yourself. If they did, then big brother would probably outlaw mouthwash or place some kind of restriction on buying it.

About this time Droopy can walking up. Droopy always looks so sad as if someone dear to him had just died.

“What up nigga?” Big S asked him.

“Ah, not much dawg,” Droopy replied.

“Hey, you ain’t got a dolla I could borrow?” Big S asked Droopy.

“Shit, nigga, you be havin’ mo money than me,” Droopy said.

I excused myself from the company of Big S, Droopy, and their banal conversation. I walked on down behind the shopping center to find Dumpster Diving Dan once again knee deep in the trash in the dumpster behind the grocery store. He saw me and waved for me to come over.

“Look at this!” He said excitedly holding up a completely unblemished apple.

“Now that is a prime find,” I said as I smiled. “You are a lucky man. That one must have escaped Richard (my old boss and head of the produce dept.). He would have never thrown out an apple that nice.”

“Hey, I ain’t seen you around much lately. You been okay?” Dan asked.

“Oh, yeah,” I replied. “I have just been staying at the house most days lately doing a lot of reading and browsing the internet.”

“Come on down tomorrow and help me feed the seagulls,” Dan said.

“I will see you in the morning and will bring some bread,” I replied. “I have a loaf that is almost too stale to eat.”

“I will be over by Big Jim’s package store at seven,” Dan said.

I told Dan goodbye and walked on up the street to home. It seems that in my absence from hanging out with the gang that things are still going along as usual and as they have done for years. Those guys are like clockwork.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Breakfast at Sarah Jay’s

I awoke too early this morning. This is growing tiresome. When I was in college, I used to could have slept until noon. These days, I am up with the crows as my grandmother used to say. I could not go back to sleep.

I got in the car and made my way down to Sarah Jay’s eatery for breakfast. They start serving at seven. I walked inside, sat down, and the waitress came up to greet me.

“What can I get you honey?” She asked.

“I’ll have the fiesta omelet with extra jalapenos and an order of bacon,” I replied.

“I’ll have it out in a minute,” She said as she smiled and then walked towards the kitchen.

As I was sitting there drinking my glass of orange juice, I saw Ferret emerge from the woods across from the railroad tracks. “I wonder where he is going,” I thought. I have kind of been avoiding Ferret these days. I have grown tired of hanging around fuck-ups and drunkards.

Soon, the waitress came walking out with my order in hand.

“Here ya go honey,” She said. “Enjoy.”

The omelet looked and tasted delicious. I sat quietly eating my meal as I people watched. There were definitely some interesting looking people in Sarah Jay’s this morning.

I finished my breakfast, placed a tip on the table, and walked over to the cashier to pay.

“Was everything okay?” She asked.

“Yes ma’am,” I replied. “It was delicious.”

“You have a nice day,” She said as she smiled.

I then drove on over to the shopping center where the gang hangs out. I needed to run by Fred’s dollar store to buy some shampoo and conditioner. I am almost out. I grabbed what I needed and walked over to check out. As usual, the line was long and they only had one cashier open out of five lanes. The man in front of me finally got tired of waiting and sat his purchase on the counter next to us and walked out in a huff. I remained patient and before long the line started to move briskly. My turn to pay finally arrived.

“Your John’s son, aren’t you?” The cashier asked.

“Everyone knows my father,” I thought.

“Yes ma’am. That is my dad,” I replied.

“He’s a good man. I have been trading with him for years”

“Thank you. He is a good father,” I said.

I walked out of the store and looked up towards the grocery store. Big S was already in his spot panhandling. It was going to be one of the hottest days of the summer so far and Big S was going to sit out in this heat all day and beg people for money. You have to give him credit for tenacity.

I don’t know what I am going to do with the rest of my day. My house is clean. My car is washed and all my laundry is done. I do have a weird craving for two of those $1 double cheeseburgers from McDonald’s and I never eat fast food. I think I will drive down in a minute and buy some along with a chocolate shake; sounds good to me. Good day.

A Baby on the Way…

My family found out this morning that my sister is pregnant with her first child. She has taken three pregnancy tests and they have all came back positive. This shocked the whole family and we are all ecstatic. Mom’s words were, “Isn’t this exciting?” If you knew my sister and how career oriented she is then this would shock you too. We all thought she would wait until she got settled down in her own private practice.

I had a lot of questions about Carolyn last night and don’t even know where to begin. She is 45 and no, I am not in love with her per se. The only thing Carolyn wants from me is a “fuck buddy” and we feel comfortable around each other. We are just two lonely souls seeking out each other’s company. My family would completely disapprove of our relationship due to the age difference. I think I am going to wash my hands of the whole affair and try to stay away from her. I know this relationship will not go anywhere except the bed. I just get lonely and it is flattering that someone wants to be with me in that way. I am proud to say I resisted her advances last night and we didn’t end up in the bed. It just feels wrong for some reason.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Morning Musings

I awoke this morning to something licking my hand. I opened my eyes and Maggie was atop of me in the bed. I couldn’t help but smile. She was trying to let me know it was time to head out to fertilize the lawn. I sleepily put on my shorts and a t-shirt and slipped on my sandals. I opened the backdoor and walked out into the backyard as Maggie followed me. I sleepily sat down in the wrought iron chair just outside as I kept an eye out on Maggie as she did her business. My eyelids felt like lead weights they were so heavy I was still so sleepy. I think I dozed off for a moment and abruptly awoke again to find Maggie lying under my chair ready to come back in. She was looking up at me like, “You ready to go back inside? It is hot as hell out here.”

We both made our way back inside the house. I walked into the kitchen and stood at my open refrigerator door trying to decide what to have for breakfast. I looked at my carton of eggs and they were one day past their due date. I decided on a turkey and Muenster cheese sandwich. I know that is an unorthodox breakfast, but I just didn’t feel like cooking and I needed to eat something before taking my vitamins and medications.

I don’t have much planned for today. I think I will spend most of the day curled up in my lazy boy recliner reading a few books I am working on. Monday’s are also my shopping day and tonight I will go buy my groceries and cigarettes for this week. I have already started to make a list of things I need to buy such as coffee, sugar, eggs, cheese, milk, etc. Well, let me go continue the adventure of a book I am working on. I am reading the Grapes of Wrath for a second time. I has been years since I read it so I feel as if I am reading it again for the first time. I shall put on a pot of coffee and enjoy a relaxing day of reading.

Light Show and Dreams on the Horizon

Just a moment ago, I stepped outside to smoke my pipe before retiring to bed and to let Maggie have one more go at fertilizing my grass. On the distant horizon, towards Atlanta, several thunderstorms were putting on quite a light show. Nothing thrills my soul more than seeing such spectacles of nature. They were far enough away that the lightning flashed a dim orange in the humid haze of the distance. If only they would meander this way. I sleep best curled up in my bed to the sounds of a soft summer’s rain and the occasional muted rumble of thunder.

Nights like tonight make me wish I had someone to share such moments with. I thought of calling Carolyn down at Fat Albert’s as she is working third shift tonight, but decided maybe it is best that I leave sleeping dogs to lie. Just anyone is not a good substitute for no one. Carolyn is not good for me to be honest. All she wants from me is a fuck buddy. I guess most guys would jump at that, but not me. I want something more involved and intimate than the occasional one night stand.

I gets hard sometimes being without the company of a woman who cares about you. I miss holding hands. I miss that first kiss as your companion walks through the door after arriving home from work. I miss lying in the bed and watching her as she sleeps. Or making love on a quilt by our pond out in the country on a warm spring night under starry skies. Then we would roll over and lie on our backs and look up into that sky at all those twinkling diamond like jewels hung on a pitch black background. There is no grander spectacle than a luminous Milky Way on a dark country night. Oh, how I wish I had someone to share such moments with. Well, enough of my wistful thoughts on thunderstorms, starry skies and making love tonight. I really need to go to bed. Maybe, just maybe, my dreams will be of such things tonight. I can only hope or should I say that is my only hope. Good night.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Dog Days

The Dog Days of summer have begun. They are so-named because Sirius (the “Dog Star”) rises around the same time as the sun. The Dog Days usually mean blisteringly hot and humid weather in the south and it seems to be afflicting the whole country this year. These southern summer days are filled with the staccato cadences of cicadas and the shrill call of locusts. I often find myself sitting on the porch as I smoke my pipe taking in the ambience of these summer days. This is definitely my favorite time of the year despite the heat and humidity. I would have been well suited to have been born in the previous century without air conditioning.

My AA meeting went well tonight. We had a professor from Auburn University come and give his story about his drinking and how he got sober. You find people from all walks of life in those meeting halls; from blue collar workers, to little old ladies, to doctors and professors.

After the meeting, I was sitting in my car getting ready to crank up and drive off. I was in the process of putting on my seat belt when one of the members walked up to my car.

“Good to see you coming back,” He said as he shook my hand through my open window. “It has been a long time.”

“Yeah, I kinda fell off the wagon for a few years there,” I replied.

“Get you a sponsor and work those steps,” He replied. “If I can get sober and stay sober then anybody can.”

I have a phobia about talking on the phone with people I don’t know very well, but didn’t share this with the fellow.

“Have you got a pen and piece of paper?” He asked.

“Sure,” I replied as I reached into my glove box to pull them out.

He gave me his phone number and told me to keep coming back and to call him any time I needed a friend.

“Ninety meetings in ninety days,” He said and then walked off.

I drove on home and let Maggie out for a wee. I then walked over to my parent’s house just to socialize with them for awhile. Dad was in kitchen washing dishes after supper.

“What did you all have to eat?” I asked curious and I was also hungry.

“Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches,” Dad replied. “You hungry?”

“You read my mind,” I replied.

Dad fixed me two tomato sandwiches with ample amounts of Blue Plate mayonnaise. Just like I like it. He accompanied it with some potato chips and sliced banana peppers. I love a tomato sandwich and they were delicious. Food just seems to taste better when someone else fixes it.

“You know dad. There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich fixed with home garden grown tomatoes,” I said.

“I love them too,” He replied. “You can’t beat them this time of year. Would you like some dessert?”

I never pass up a good dessert. Dad cut me a thick slice of pound cake and topped it with fresh sliced peaches in sugar syrup and fresh whipped cream.

“Now that is just freakin’ delicious,” I replied as I hungrily downed the dessert.

It was absolutely one of the best deserts I have eaten in years.

Afterwards, we all sat in the den and talked for the longest time until it was time for dad to leave for his pharmacy. He works from 9:00 PM to 12:00 PM on Sunday nights doing the books and running statements for his customers with credit. I walked on home to a chorus of katydids and a waning moon rising on the horizon. It was a beautiful sight. Good night.

New Horizons

I think I am going to take the blog and my life in a new direction. Abbagirl’s comment yesterday made me realize how dangerous the situation I placed myself in yesterday was. Sometimes, I can be naïve and foolhardy. I think I am invincible. I purposely put myself in those encounters yesterday just to get up something interesting to write yesterday for my blog. The lady that I gave that ride to yesterday was clearly an addict and yes, she could have been so desperate for a fix as to have pulled a gun on me for some money. I guess I shouldn’t take pride in the fact that I consider myself “street smart” after my interactions with the gang over the years and my homelessness.

From now on, I am no longer going to place myself in those situations that are unhealthy and unwise. This may mean the end of The Fourth Avenue Blues as you know it. I am going to concentrate on stories of my interactions with my family and my healthy friends. I will still write about Sherman occasionally as he seems to be an inescapable part of my life these days, but I will no longer seek him out. I think that shall be best for my sobriety. I had over 1300 visits yesterday and very few comments so maybe these stories about the gang and my interactions with them are not as interesting or popular as I thought. I will just have to write about more mundane aspects of my life in a creative and interesting way.

I will leave you all from a story yesterday about a little interaction with my mother from yesterday afternoon:

___________________________


Flea Treatment with the Obsessive Compulsive Applicator

I had to wait several days after Maggie’s latest flea bath before applying her monthly frontline flea treatment (Yes, I broke down and bought the excessively expensive stuff). My mother wanted to come over and make sure I applied it right. I had a little “puppy starter kit” that had the first month’s heartworm and flea treatment. Mom had applied this frontline stuff many times on our former dog, Mick. My parents had Mick for over 14 years until my mother shut the garage door on him and killed him. My mother has often accidentally been the early demise of many of our pets from garage door deaths to accidental run-overs with the car. My father sometimes morbidly calls her the “Pet Black Plaque.”

Mom came driving up in the driveway and knocked on the door. I let her in. She insisted on applying the flea treatment the first time. She struggled with the package for what seemed like 30 minutes before finally getting it open and ready for application. I patiently waited to the side and watched as this unfolded. I knew this would prove interesting.

“I can’t bend over so get in a chair and put Maggie in your lap so I can put this on,” Mom said.

Well, I sat down and got Maggie in my lap. Maggie thought this was the best thing in the world and was awesome attention. She started to wiggle vigorously and was exuberantly licking my face. I couldn’t help but get tickled and started to laugh.

“Andrew, be serious and hold her still so we can put this on,” Mom replied.

“I can’t help it!” I protested as I laughed so hard my belly hurt.

Maggie continued to wiggle vigorously and licked my face and neck. My mother, who is very serious and has a one track mind, was getting very outdone with us. I finally got Maggie to sit relatively still. My mother held her neck and with shaky hands, applied the flea treatment.

“Did I get it all?” She asked me as she held the little applicator up into the light.

“I can’t tell.” She said handing it to me.

I looked at it and said, “Mom, there is none left.” So I went and threw it in the trash.

You have to understand that my mother is very obsessive compulsive along with being schizophrenic. Things then grew even more complicated. Mom got in her car to go home and I watched as she pulled out of the driveway. I thought all was said and done. I went back to fiddling with my computer as Maggie went back to playing with her little stuffed hedgehog I had given her the other day. Soon, there was a knock on the door again. I got up and opened it.

“What’s wrong mom?” I asked.

“I don’t think we applied it all,” Mom said with a worried look on her face.

“Mom, there was none left in the package,” I protested knowing this was going to get out of hand quickly. “You go on home.”

“Get the applicator out of the trash,” She said as if she wasn’t going to leave me alone until I complied.

I dug around in the trash almost fruitlessly trying to find that little blue applicator. After dirty hands covered with yesterday’s leftover meatballs and spaghetti, I found it. Mom held it up to the light in my kitchen.

“Well, I think we got it all,” She said. “You look at it.”

I held it up to the light once more just to placate her and said, “Yes, mother, we got it all. You can head on home.”

Mom left to go home and within minutes my phone rang.

“Jesus Christ!” I muttered as I walked to the phone to answer it. “Hello?”

“You sure we got it all on?” Mom asked.

“Jesus mom, YES!” I emphatically exclaimed. “You are driving me crazy.”

“Well, I just want to make sure so she doesn’t have fleas,” She replied.

I told mom good bye and then hung up the phone. Sure enough, this was not the end of this whole ordeal. Mom once again drove over and I once again had to dig that applicator out of the trash. This time, I held up upside down and squeezed it as hard as I could to show mom that nothing came out. Mom finally was satisfied that we had applied it all.

Well, later in the evening, I went over to my parent’s house to get my nightly Librium. I told dad the story about today and he just loved it. He has to deal with this kind of shit from mom all the time. He loved it that I got caught into what he has to deal with on a daily basis.

“That’s your mother!” He said as he laughed.

“Ya’ll don’t laugh at me,” Mom said lying on the couch. “I can’t help it.”

Mom finally got to laughing as well.

“That’s were your brother gets it from,” Dad said.

My brother has been known to be obsessive compulsive and will wash his hands ten times after seeing a patient being a physician.

“Well, I guess we don’t have to worry about Maggie ever having fleas again,” Dad said. “Martha will make damn sure that dog’s got every last drop of flea treatment on.”

We all laughed and laughed and had a good time good-naturedly picking on mom. I finally walked on home with a smile on my face. The only drawback from yesterday is now the fleas have decided that Maggie is not a suitable home and my legs are prime habitat. OUCH!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Vagabonds in my Vehicle

I went for an early morning drive just to get out of the house this morning. I woke up very early and couldn’t go back to sleep. I took a long drive out into the country and then I swung on by the shopping center to buy my usual bottle of Gatorade on my way home. I got to see Big S this morning along with HIV/AIDS Guy. HIV/AIDS Guy was busier than a cat covering up shit trying to solicit donations from people coming from their cars in the parking lot. He would hit one poor victim up for money and then instantly move on to the next victim. It was so frantic to watch that it grew tiring just to see it.

“He must be hard up for crack today,” I told Big S as I sat next to him drinking my Gatorade.

Big S laughed and said, “That nigga don’t give up till he gets a dollar. People will believe that bullshit he says too.”

“You know, if he put that much effort into a job then he would have a steady income,” I replied.

“Shit man, dat nigga would steal wherever he worked blind for a crack rock,” Big S replied. “As soon as he got paid, he wouldn’t show up for work for being high on dat shit.”

“True,” I replied.

HIV/AIDS Guy then saw me sitting next to Big S and made a beeline straight towards me. He always bugs the shit out of me for cigarettes. HIV/AIDS Guy just drives me fucking crazy.

“Fuck,” I muttered under my breath when he saw me.

“Hey man, you ain’t got any cigarettes, have you?” He asked as he walked up.

“How many times have I told you that I don’t want to promote the early demise of an already dying man,” I replied with a smirk.

“I ain’t got AIDS,” He said. “I am just HIV positive.”

“You tell everybody that you are dying of AIDS to get money for your medications,” I replied. “What is the truth?”

HIV/AIDS Guy really isn’t HIV positive at all. That is just his panhandling spiel to sucker people into giving him money. I and all the gang know this.

“Man, why do always gotta be like dat?” He asked.

“Because cigarettes are fucking expensive and I don’t have a lot of money,” I replied. “And besides, I think you are full of shit and I don’t like you.”

Big S burst out laughing. It was contagious and I started to laugh and smile as well. This pissed HIV/AIDS Guy off completely.

“Fuck you, you white ass honky,” He yelled and then stomped off.

“Good riddance,” I said as he headed across the parking lot towards another unwary victim.

I told Big S goodbye and walked back down to my car. This VERY rough lady came walking up to me and asked me for a ride just outside of Fred’s dollar store. Her hair was wild and she looked like she needed a bath. She looked completely disheveled and unkempt. I kind of felt sorry for her. I have too much of a soft heart sometimes.

“Where do you need to go?” I asked.

“Over by the neighborhood behind the police station,” She replied.

She seemed familiar and I think I have given her a ride before.

“Come on and get in,” I said.

She climbed into the car and as soon as I had gotten out of the parking lot she started to hit me up for money.

“You ain’t got ten dollars so I can buy a ride down to Opelika?” She asked.

“I’ve got two dollars to my name,” I replied.

“Will you take me down to Opelika?” She then asked.

A round trip to Opelika would be an hour drive. I only had a half tank of gas.

“I’ll take you over behind the police station like you originally asked, but I am not driving all the way down to Opelika,” I replied.

“Just let me out of car here at this gas station,” She said very tersely. “I am dying of thirst.”

I let her out and was kind of glad to be out of that situation. She apparently had money to buy something to drink. That’s the deal with some of the people that often hang out down at the shopping center. They usually have more money than me, but are always asking me for some. I have learned to see through the bullshit. That lady really didn’t need a ride. She just saw an opportunity for getting me in the car as a captive victim to try and get money out of me.

Friday, July 14, 2006

George’s Second Thoughts

I walked out of the cool AA meeting hall and was hit by the blast of heat from a hot southern summer’s evening. It was stifling. It is customary for those of us who smoke to have a cigarette and some conversation before heading on home.

“You really drank mouthwash all the time?” Paul, an AA member, asked me.

“I did sometimes,” I replied. “It was only a dollar a bottle and was a cheap drunk.”

“But won’t the alcohol in mouthwash kill you or cause you to go blind?” He then asked.

“No, they use grain alcohol in mouthwash for liability reasons since is taken orally,” I replied. “That way if someone accidentally swallows it, they only get a buzz and not the effects of isopropyl alcohol which is very dangerous and poisonous.”

“Hmmm,” He said rubbing his chin and then taking another drag off of his cigarette. “Where did you learn that?”

“From a homeless man I know,” I replied. “He drinks it all the time.”

“Shit, you learn something everyday,” Paul said as he looked perplexed.

I finished my cigarette and exchanged phone numbers with several of the fellas standing out back smoking. I then walked towards the parking lot to see George’s car sitting next to mine. I walked over to his open window to find him sitting in there smoking a cigarillo. Puffs of tobacco smoke were billowing out the window.

“Hey man, what’s up?” I asked. “Why didn’t you come in?”

“My breath reeks of alcohol,” George replied. “I thought they would throw me out.”

“Man, court ordered people come in all the time drunk. Those people in there all drank heavily. They wouldn’t have judged you or thrown you out.” I replied.

George pulled an almost empty bottle of Wild Irish Rose out from under the seat and took a sip and then offered it to me. I waved it off.

“Where are you headed now?” I asked him. “You need to head on home. Your breath smells like a brewery.”

“I am headed home,” George replied. “Momma cooked supper and I have been drinking on an empty stomach. I need to get something down me before I get too drunk. I told momma I was going to an AA meeting with you and she was happy. Don’t tell her I didn’t go.”

“I won’t say a word, but let me follow you on home,” I told him.

I followed George on home and went inside briefly to talk to George’s mother. She had cooked a delicious looking supper of fried pork chops, black eyed peas, fried okra, and homemade biscuits. The house smelled wonderfully of southern cooking.

“Did you all’s meeting go alright?” Mrs. Jones asked.

“Yes ma’am,” I replied.

I hated lying like that.

“I appreciate you taking the time to go with him,” She then said.

“That is what friends are for,” I said feeling guilty.

“Honey, you want to stay for supper?” She asked. “I have enough to feed five people.”

“No, ma’am,” I said. “I better head home and take my nightly medications.”

“Well, thanks again and you take care of yo self,” She said.

“Good night Mrs. Jones and George, I will see you all later,” I said as I walked to the door.

I and George both stepped out upon the front steps. George reached down into the bushes to pull out a fifth of cheap vodka that was half full.

“I know I shouldn’t ask, but what are doing with vodka in the bushes?”

“Momma won’t let me have alcohol in the house and will pour it out if she finds it,” Sherman replied.

I shook my head in disbelief that George was a fifty year old man. I told George good night and drove on home. Maggie was waiting at the fence whining jubilantly to come inside as I got out of the car. I let her in and we have both settled in for the night. It is time to catch up on all my favorite blogs.

Status Quo

Not much has gone on around here the past few days. I spent all day yesterday cleaning my house from stem to stern in anticipation of moving to my new home. I got my house spotless and it feels so nice. I even got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed all my tile kitchen floors and got them looking like brand new. I am going to get to working on the yard this weekend.

George never showed up for last nights meeting. It reminded me of that old saying that you can lead a mule to water, but you can’t make it drink. I’ve done what I could in that matter and the rest will have to be up to George. I went ahead and went to last night’s closed discussion AA meeting. The chairperson put pressure on me to talk, but I just wanted to listen last night and declined to speak. That is the hardest thing for me about those AA meetings; the pressure they put upon you on such occasions.

I did have my every two week injection this morning. I bled terribly today and there was a puddle of blood on the floor and blood got all over my underwear and shorts. It completely freaked the nurse out. She also almost messed up the injection by not preparing it correctly. I caught her mistake before disaster occurred. Those injections cost $260 dollars a piece.

Well, I have some meatloaf in the oven and some potatoes boiling on the stove. I need to go drain the potatoes and get them in my mixer to make mashed potatoes. I needed some comfort food today and look forward to today's lunch and the left over meatloaf sandwiches for days to come. Good day.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Moment in Time

It is very early in the morning. A full moon hangs high in the sky adorned by puffy cumulus clouds; harbingers of tomorrows predicted thunderstorms; a good sign that there is ample moisture in the upper atmosphere. The last of the katydids are making their furtive calls to mate before ceasing for the night as dawn approaches. That sound is so comforting to me. It is a beautiful Southern night.

As usual, I am up with the denizens of the evening with Maggie lying at my feet scratching at her fleas. The smell of a fresh brewed pot of coffee wafts into my den from the kitchen. I woke up with the worst night sweats and am waiting for my sheets and pillows to once again dry before returning to bed. I really shouldn’t be drinking that coffee, but its allure was just too enticing.

I thought long and hard how to respond to Pipe Tobacco’s comment on his definition of addiction, but couldn’t come up with an adequate response. I have often struggled with how the term “addiction” applies to me. I do know that Sherman has long had a history of legal entanglements regarding his drinking and this is a good sign that there is a problem. He has consistently put others in harm’s way through his drinking and driving “habit” we shall say for lack of a better term. That is good enough reason, for me, for him to lay off the booze as he just doesn’t use better judgment when he is drunk. Those notions of the affable and buffoon-like jolly town drunk like Otis of The Andy Griffith Show fame, which often brings to mind Sherman for me, lose their allure in this modern day and age with so much legality surrounding the issue of drinking in a public setting (holy run-on sentence, Batman!).

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Coffee, Cigarettes, and Big Books…

I and George walked into the meeting hall. The wonderful robust aroma of coffee hung in the air. Most of the members were still outside on the back porch smoking cigarettes and talking.

“What happens now?” George asked as we took a seat in the almost deserted meeting hall.

“Oh, they will mosey on inside in a minute and the meeting will start,” I replied.

“I am the only nigga here,” George quietly said as he leaned over towards me.

“We will try Narcotics Anonymous tomorrow night,” I replied. “There should be black people at that meeting.”

A guy I know named Phillip walked into the meeting hall. He has long been friends with my ex-wife’s family. Phillip is this big, hulking man often dressed in old overalls; a very affable and likable fellow. I knew I could rely on him for some help. He has often tried to get me to be more active in AA as I have seen him around town. He knows of my history through Rachel, my ex-wife.

“Phillip,” I said feeling I could trust him. “We need to get George over there a temporary sponsor.”

Phillip pulled out his wallet and gave me one of his business cards.

“Fella, you give me a call if you are having a hard time,” Phillip said to George. “I will be your temporary sponsor until we can find someone more permanent.”

“You want a cup of coffee?” I then asked Sherman.

George declined so I went to go fix me a cup. A great crowd of the smokers soon came walking in and we all took our seats. The meeting had begun.

Tonight was a Big Book study. We went around the room reading a chapter and then discussing it. We talked about how we can gain sobriety through helping other alcoholics and always being the Good Samaritan. It was a fitting topic to discuss regarding what I am trying to do with helping Sherman and in turn, helping myself. The meeting ended and the hour had flown by. I and Sherman walked out into the parking lot to our cars.

“What are you going to be doing tonight?” I asked him trying to see if he was going to go get drunk.

“Momma’s cooking cubed steak with gravy, rice, butterbeans, and cornbread,” George replied. “I am going to head on home, eat, and then watch Cops on Court TV.”
“Man, that supper sounds damn good,” I replied. “You gonna stay sober tonight?”

George just smiled and got in his car replying, “We will see. I don’t want a drink right now.”

I did all I can really do and now the rest shall be up to George. We will continue with a Narcotics Anonymous meeting tomorrow night if he is willing to go and to continue to stay sober.

Adventures in Alcoholics Anonymous

George told me that he would start going to AA if I went with him last night. I was shocked and told him I would be glad to help him out. We will go every night starting tonight. He had been to the doctor the other day about abdominal pains and the physician had warned him that he was on the verge of getting cirrhosis of the liver. If he quits now that some of the damage to his liver can be reversed and healed.

“Do you think you can quit on your own without rehab?” I asked him.

“I ain’t got enough money to afford a rehab,” George replied.

I got online and found a faith based program down in Columbus, Georgia that lasted from six to nine months and it was funded by charities. I printed out the webpage and handed it to George. The first line he read out loud was, “The purpose of the Valley Rescue Mission is to exalt the name of the Lord Jesus Christ through spiritual, educational, and charitable means directed toward those in spiritual and economic need.” All these damn programs are faith based and that immediately turned George off to it. I would hate to think what a chronically alcoholic Hindu or Muslim would have to do to get help around here is this Podunk southern area of the country.

“I don’t know if all that Jesus speak is going to get me sober,” George said looking disheartened.

“You have got to do something though,” I replied. “I have never seen someone able to drink as much as you do and I was pretty bad drunk during my homeless days.”

“Would you go through the program with me?” George then pleaded.

I stood there and thought for a moment. That was a pretty tall order to ask of a friend; to give up six months of my life and put my new house on hold. I got on the phone and talked to a man about the program. Most of the people who go through the program are court ordered and the fellow on the other end seemed to imply that it was a very tough program to experience. I had mental images of being stuck in group-sleeping-dorm rooms and meeting halls with tough ex-cons for months on end eating bland prison like food.

“Let’s try AA for a few weeks and see how we both do,” I replied. “We need to get you a sponsor you can talk to right away.”

“I don’t think I can talk to some old white drunk about my problems,” George said.

“You talk to me about them all the time!” I replied as I laughed. “But I wouldn’t make a good sponsor as we drank together all the time. We will ask around though and find you a black sponsor near your age. And stay away from Ferret, dammit! He will cause you to get drunk!” I emphatically added.

I handed George my Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, which is basically like their bible, and a copy of The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. He assured me he was going to start reading them today. Will George get sober and stay sober? In my time, I’ve seen some pretty bad drunks come through AA and quit drinking. Hopefully, we can do the same for George and it will help me stay sober as well by helping a fellow alcoholic.

Not so Merry Maggie

You can tell Maggie just doesn’t feel well. Her mood is so somber, depressed and scary. I guess from going to being thrown into a dumpster, to be being poked and prodded, finally to have major surgery will have a profound effect upon your mood state of being.

She is also getting fleas and they must be coming from the backyard. I have gone to great expense in medicated flea baths out at the vet and she is still infested with the vermin. I am worried she will become anemic. I guess I will go have to purchase some type of yard treatment today and then go have her bathed once again. The poor animal is going to be a neurotic mess after all these trips to the vet.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Having seizures……

I now know how Alaine has felt. I have never had one seizure in my whole life. I had three today.

An old friend contacted me about playing a game we’ve played off and on for over four years. I was the fourth member to join this gaming clan years ago. He wanted me to come out of retirement to play a defensive position on a six man team in a new league tournament coming up. I told him I would and that I would start practicing today.

It is a first person shooter game called elite force based on the ill-fated Star Trek voyager series than ran for seven years. It is built upon the popular Quake III arena engine and plays much the same.

I installed the game and started practicing. I was amazed to find that people still play this game after a year long hiatus. It can get really intense with extremely fast movement and things whirling around on the screen. I was in an intense game trying to keep my flag from getting taken and it happened.

I slumped over the keyboard and started to jerk and shake violently. I tried to play some more and then another seizure and then another. I had to log off and go lay down. The movement on the screen was giving me seizures. It wasn’t painful, just weird, as if I was no longer in control of my body. I would shake and jerk violently and the mouse would fall off the table to the floor.

I am sad because I really wanted to make a comeback and help my friend. I don’t know how to explain this. I think I will just tell him I do not have the time to play anymore. I used to be in the top ten best players in the USA out of thousands. Now, I am a has been.

Not Feeling well at all…

I have spent most of the day lying in the bed. I am not feeling well at all for some reason. It is also hot as hell in here and I need to finally break down, shut my windows and turn on the air conditioner. I am sure the heat is not helping with what ails me. I do think it is just depression. I sometimes just get the blahs for no apparent reason. I feel like something ran over me today though.

George also came by this morning wanting me to ride down to Auburn with him. He needed to go to Lowe’s to buy some parts for his mother’s toilet which is malfunctioning. The thought of riding with George in his junky car doing 75 miles an hour on the interstate was a scary proposition. I also have a hard time discerning how much he has had to drink. I told him I had to pass on that little adventure although it would have been interesting to write about. Certainly more interesting than the boring shit I have been writing about this week.

Abbagirl had asked in a comment if I was going to try and work again. I am not sure. Luckily, I can afford to not work and still live relatively comfortably although the extra money would be nice. I still have my eye on a new full frame backpack to go camping with this summer. I would also like to purchase another digital camera. I actually hate I had to quit working at the grocery store. It was rather a perfect job only a ten minute walk from my house although my relationship with the gang could complicate that venture somewhat.

Well, I think I am going to walk upstairs and turn on the central heating and air and get things cool in here in a hurry. I have just about had enough of this heat for one summer. Maybe that will get me to feeling better.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Not much to tell…

Not much has gone on in my corner of the world today. George came by and we had a long talk about women and dating. I am too lazy and don’t feel like writing today so shall not write that up. George brought two ice cold forty ounces of beer. After much cajoling, I drank one and then felt extremely guilty for doing so. My flirtations with alcohol are going to get me into trouble eventually. The buzz from that beer felt so fucking awesome though. I was tempted to go buy another. That is why I just cannot drink. I can’t moderate my intake.

Ferret also came by today wanting to re-borrow that portable DVD player. Once bitten, twice shy was the order of the day. I told him no. I didn’t want to have to go get it back out of pawn. Ferret then wanted to borrow a dollar and I gave it to him just to get rid of him. He happily walked down the street headed for Fred’s dollar store to buy a bottle of mouthwash.

I did take Maggie out to be spayed today. I thought I would just get it over with. She was not happy with having to revisit the veterinarian. I felt so bad at having to put her through that. I don’t want a litter of puppies to find a home for though. The vet seemed to think she was already pregnant. I will be able to pick her back up tomorrow.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Muggy Summer Nights

I finally just broke down and turned on my air conditioner. It had rained all evening and the temperature was hovering around eighty degrees. The humidity in my house was so thick you could almost cut it with a knife. My sheets and bedspread had grown damp and uncomfortable to sleep in. They were actually sticking to my skin! Uggg! Hopefully, the dehumidifying effect of my air conditioner will rapidly dry my house and then I am heading back to bed.

I have gotten in the habit of sleeping with the radio on at night. I tune it to 870 AM out of New Orleans. Every night, a show called Coast to Coast AM comes on in the wee hours of the morning. Their favorite topic of discussion is UFOs and Aliens. It never ceases to amaze me that they can fill four hours of radio with such nonsense and people actually believe it and call in to talk about it in such a serious manner! It is quite amusing to me in a funny sort of way. I just have my doubts that an advanced civilization is traveling hundreds upon thousands of light years just to mutilate our cattle and perform anal probes. And about these alien abductions: The aliens have poor taste in test subjects. I could think of thousands upon thousands of other, more interesting things to do than hang out and fuck with a bunch of primates on some backwater rock in a little known solar system in the Milky Way galaxy.