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Taking a break I see my med boxes and realize I haven’t taken this morning’s meds.. The morning took off quickly. I got some sleep. I needed sleep. I felt good. I feel good. I am momentarily confused about that, about whether I need the meds, although I know I need the thyroid. And I am a little confused because I read I am not to take thyroid with vitamins, or food, or antacids, and there are vitamins in the little box. Shaking my head, I cram the handful of pills in my mouth and come back to the keyboard.
Yesterday, I got up too early. I was so sleepy I was swaying on my feet. I finished my 100 Words for the month and Bob called to say Amanda’s car was ready. I took a shower and began the walk toward Bob’s Tire and Auto. I was thinking to maybe just keep the car for the week. An ’88 Cabriolet, it’s fun to drive. Amanda called as I was walking ,and I offered to drive the car to her in Lansing that morning. “We can have lunch when you get here,” she said. Damn, she wanted her car back.
Stewart took his time, slowly circling the idea of the fish, and then the idea of the project before he started. He studied the notch in the fish’s side, the place where the damaged wing went, and considered the tab on the Marauder model. It would have to be thickened, or the fish would have to be filled. He thought about the paint, about whether the fish should determine the color of the Marauder wing, or visa versa. Finally he studied the damaged part of the fish’s tail fin, the upper tip, a plate the size of a dime.
A friend of mine recently lost her computer, possibly because the aging thing just wore out. I imagine she is still in computer hell. It surprises sometimes that these devices designed to make our lives easy require so damn much care and feeding sometimes. Thoreau would love it. I wonder if life is really any better with them. Sometimes I think I should make a point of turning mine off so many hours a day just so I don't miss too much life while staring at the screen. I know my eyes and my wrist would thank me for it.
It has been two years since I moved into this apartment, and I still like it here, although it is getting a little dirty. Used to be, I’d just move to a new apartment when that happened, but maturity seems to have made me reluctant to move. Anyway, I’ve been cleaning. The coffee and end-tables I bought when I moved in still had those little squares of glue on them where I took the stickers off. I bought a can of Goof Off, mostly toluene I believe, and it worked marvelously, except now my apartment smells like I’ve been huffing.
Lexington sat and watched while Darla set up her new stereo. Well, it wasn’t hers yet. She was borrowing from the Lunatic Fringe Audio dealer to try out for the weekend. It was so much smaller than her other stuff, and it was one box instead of four. It had the pre-amp, tuner, which she didn’t use much, power amp, and the CD player all in one lovely blue box that itself was smaller than any of her old components. It was a British unit, and the wire connectors were different, but it had sounded lovely at the store.
Stewart bought a special clamp to hold the fish while he worked. He wanted to do this thing right. Even though it seemed he was doing it wrong, something in his head was urging him to do it this way, and it was that urge he was listening to. He filled the slot in the fish’s side with epoxy and mounted the wing in the epoxy. He’d have to carefully sand it down to not disturb the original finish on the fish he knew. Then he rubberbanded the Marauder wing in place to hold it while the epoxy set.
I attend a monthly book club in Ann Arbor. Our discussions are half personal chat and half book chat, but the formula seems to work for us. This month we’re reading Christopher Moore’s “Bloodsucking Fiends.” It is about a young writer with no talent who is living in San Francisco with a beautiful young vampire. He works nights as a supermarket manager where they bowl with frozen turkeys and inhale whipped cream to pass the time. We never do anything like that where I work. I just work. No wonder my writing isn’t interesting. I should make more stuff up
My son Tom is moving in tonight to spend a couple weeks before his new place is available, so there’s no telling what the weekend will hold. Maybe swimming. We like to swim, but the pool is turning emerald green. I think they getting a healthy algae bloom in there. I’d mention it to Melissa, the apartment manager, but I’m sure she knows. I reminded her again that she still owes me some money. Some cash is promised in the near future. I’m unsure of the details. Take a note Michael. Next time Melissa asks to borrow money, say “No.”
It’s humid today. I’m feeling useless and I’m wondering if I took my medicine. Tom and I are sitting on the deck admiring the pool. “What color do you suppose that is?” I ask. “Forest green, I’d say,” he answers. “It was emerald green, and then it turned to kinda a radioactive toxic waste green.” I said. “Now this.” We walk down to the pool for a closer look. It is locked and a sign on the door says residents may use the pool at the Brighton Cove, about a half mile from here. I don’t feel comfortable doing that.
Tom had trouble getting his computer to connect to the internet this morning and got upset. I noticed I was having trouble with that. I generally have trouble with people being upset or angry. I start behaving weirdly. I suppose it is a hang over from when I was a boy and an angry person meant I was going to get a beating. It didn’t have to mean I had done anything wrong. My mother just had a rage problem. So now I spend unaccountable amounts of energy trying to mollify or deflect people who are angry at any point.
I was to drive to Ohio today with Amanda to pick up a baby flying squirrel. There is a guy in Ohio who raises and sells them. She was going to come over this morning and I was going to drive her down to pick up her new pet. I overslept though, not even hearing the door buzzer when she rang. She called me. It was 8:00, the time we were supposed to leave. She had her roommate with her and they offered to make the trip without me. I gave her my car keys and went back to bed.
I was sleeping in this morning. I had been up, manic as hell, until 3 A.M. Sometimes I think the depression is preferable to the mania. However, you have to live with the disease with awareness for a while before you come to that. Around 9:30 the phone rang. It was Tom, trying to get his computer working. He didn’t know I was home. This seems to be a pattern with Tom here—us not even knowing the other one is home. This apartment is big that way. I lose stuff here all the time, including my son and myself.
Tom is on the cell phone. I can tell he is talking about his friend James and from the look on his face and the cautious answers he is giving; I wonder if he is talking to an attorney. James is in jail facing a possible life sentence. “Prison,” Tom tells me. “The word is different. When people talk to me about their friends who are in prison, I don’t have much to say to them.” James is in prison for beating his girlfriend nearly to death. They were scheduled to be married on Tom’s birthday exactly a week ago.
“Yes,” Tom says into the phone, “James is my friend, but I don’t feel I agree with what he did.” Later he is saying, “I talked to Stephanie, but I don’t remember exactly what she said. She wanted to know if I wanted the dog. Yes, that’s right. The dog.”
“I don’t remember. I asked her what happened. She just said he went crazy, but when she got to the part where she was crawling up the stairs to get the shotgun to shoot him, I asked her to stop. I didn’t want to hear any more. I just couldn’t.”
They seemed to be a happy normal couple, each with a young child from a previous relationship. I’ve pieced together the story over the months. Stephanie came out of the hospital a week later with staples in her skull.
She was a stripper, and flirty. Tom was wary around her. “James is my friend,” he said. “I don’t want to get involved ” Everybody thought James had balls of steel for dating a stripper, but the undercurrent was different. He was desperate about losing her, threatening occasionally to kill either her or himself or her son if she left him.
James also had a problem with alcohol. When he drank he got weird and mean. Tom never liked being around James when he was drinking. James was hearing stories about Stephanie making extra money at the club for performing special favors. The morning of the incident, they actually started talking for real and she ended the conversation by admitting she was pregnant and didn’t know who the father was. She then went to work, and James sat down and started drinking. When she got home he was still drinking and he had a few more details he wanted to know.
At one point, and I imagine this is when she is halfway up the stairs, bleeding and had decided he meant to kill her, he made her cut a piece out of her own chest and eat it.
It turns out the person on the phone is James’ mother, who wants Tom to testify at the trial. “What do they want me to say?” asked Tom. “I don’t even want to talk to James any more. He’s my friend, but I don’t know what heto say to him any more. It’s not fair of them to do this to me.”
I remember one of the guys in the step-down unit at the mental hospital. He had a rage problem and he killed people. He told us the story of his initiation into a gang in LA. You had to kill someone to get into the gang, and he wanted in the gang. “So I walked up to this little old lady on the street and popped her,” he said. And his voice trailed off as he repeated it…”Little old lady. Didn’t know her from nothing. Just shot her in the head.”
I kept wondering where the fucking leg irons were.
Amanda shoved Twenty-one dollars at me when she got back with her baby squirrel Sunday. “I didn’t have enough money to put back the gas I used,” she said. When she called to ask me to bring the squirrel milk, she indicated she could buy some instead. “Do you have any money?” I asked. She said she didn’t. She had given me her last twenty-one dollars. So when I delivered the milk I gave it back to her. “I’m not taking my daughter’s last twenty dollars,” I said.
“It’s ok I get paid on Wednesday.”
“So do I,” I said,
Now Michael Junior’s truck has broken down. It’s the transmission. I could say the truck has a quarter million miles on it. But to put is simply, he is hard on cars. We decide to cancel the insurance and save him ninety dollars a month. “When winter comes,” he says, I’ll just move in with you and ride my bicycle to school.” I am thinking his bicycle is in worse shape than his truck, but I don’t go there with him, on him. He has enough to worry about. Many things can and will happen over the next three months.
There are several things I can do with the electricity out. I can read or I can write. I still have music thanks to the Walkman. Yes, my technology is that old. I could clean the apartment or even go for a walk, but in the writing chair with headphones and a couple of candles seems to be the place for me just now.
I have a feeling the power is going to be off for a while, and I take this as a sign to divest myself into other things or at least into now things in new ways.
The power is still out. I could cheat and go to an internet café. There I could plug in, type in, and be in touch with that world. But no, I am withdrawn. I am allowed to be withdrawn just now. There are other places to go, I guess. But I am here. I am not used to writing by hand. If I don’t relax I will cramp up in no time. The candles aren’t much harder on the eyes than the computer. They waver and flicker, but I can make out sufficiently what I have done in their dance.
Yes, damn it, the power is still out. Of course I cannot synch my Palm to my PC. Disconcerting that when I call the electric company for an update, they say they don’t have my area reported as out of service. They did say that they had many unresolved outages. That was interesting.
Of course I cannot go to sleep. It is early for me and I took a nap a couple hours ago. What do I expect? What I should do is get dressed and take a walk. Nothing is going to happen here. The exercise will be good.
At the house, my son Michael and a couple friends are smoking pot and watching TV. He asks if I want some smoke, and I decline. He says he needs $650 for a new transmission for the truck. I am standing on the driveway wondering where he got that number. I’m thinking I just paid $500 to have daughter’s car fixed, but I’m also thinking that giving Michael money to fix his truck could be the start of a long stream of dollars that ends up with pieces of a Ford F150 all over the garage and still no truck.
I do this better when I start early in the day. It must be an energy thing. I’ve got laundry in the dryer. It’s been dark much of the day, and it is swinging in to late afternoon now. The boys say they are getting me a stripper for my birthday. I’m hoping not.
I couldn’t get to sleep last night. I was yawning to the point where Tom mentioned it around eleven and I tried then, but I was back up in an hour, taking a double dose of Ativan and still didn’t get down until around 3 am
I took Michael out for dinner last night after he got off work. That put us at the restaurant around 9, which is a little late for me. He is having trouble adjusting to adult hood. Thanking me profusely for buying him food, he complained about his mother not providing him food. I know though that she provides him a place to live when the agreement was he would live with me. I know she left him a $50 grocery store gift card which he sold to me for cash. I know enough to not throw fuel on this fire.
My son Tom is sleeping late. I told him last night I’d try to not make noise this morning. So I popped under the headphones, plugged into my computer, and grabbed a Rhapsody recommended track of music. That’s one of the things I like about Rhapsody, the ability to explore an immense cyber library of music in high quality. But the Rhapsody pick turned out to be a bunch of singer/songwriter things from thirty years ago about love gone wrong in various ways and about recovering from love gone wrong. I find myself listening to the lyrics of these poems.
I continue typing pretending I am WRIting until my eyes refuse to cooperate. That usually doesn’t take too long. Then I shut my eyes and keep typing because I don’t need to watch to type. I can type without looking at what I type. I become a world wonder, the man who never stopped typing. Look he’s been typing for 62 days non-stop. What is he typing? We don’t know. He would have to stop so we could print it off. We assume it is something deep and meaningful. Perhaps it is gibberish. That would be meaningful too, wouldn’t it?
It’s a gorgeous day, 75, sunny and clear. I’ve opened up the apartment. The breeze rattles the curtains, and I hear a crow in the distance. Butterflies are playing on the lawn over by the pool about a hundred yards away. I took a nap around one and made it out for something to eat around 4. Ok, I admit it. I’ve not had a good month. I had considered watching another movie tonight, but the one I have left promises to “move your heart,” and I don’t need my heart moved around any more just now thank you anyway.
This morning I found a note on Tom’s door. “I am home dad and probably sleeping.” I had told him that we needed to communicate better as to whether we were here or not. There were a pair of littler shoes next to Tom’s little shoes near the door and a pack of Newport on the coffee table. Heather, I thought. Tom says they are not in a relationship, that they are just “hanging out” or something. They fit in a happy way. She is younger than he is, but he too is quite a bit younger than he is.
The Tip Jar