Monday, February 1, 2010

Salvation Diary 16

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

March 5 Tuesday Day 174

Up nice and early for work this morning. I had a big breakfast of scrambled eggs and salty corned beef hash, which almost immediately made me sleepy again.
Nothing much happened at work. I did some writing, Then went across the street with Mr. Schimmele and picked up some toilet paper. Very exciting.
My counselor, Richard, came by. For some reason only known to him, Ed Reitz had moved me from Tuesday's list of client's for Richard to see, to Wednesday's list, so Richard didn't seem to interested in anything I had to say today. Not that I had anything much of interest to say mind you.
The tutor came at 12:30, so I got my "Licit and Illicit Drugs," book to read, while Kevin went to class. He needs to cram for an upcoming GED test.
Mr. Vasquez finally got up, and went out saying, "I'll be back, if not by two thirty, then at least by four."
"Your shift starts at two thirty, sir. Be prompt."
He went over to the Green Hotel to vote. Some local election. He returned at 2:36, six minutes late.
I let him slide.
I skipped dinner and tried to take a nap while listening to the news on T.V. Still skirmishing over in the Gulf. Police beat up a black guy with night sticks in Lake View Terrace while someone with a home video camera recorded the action from their apartment across the street. Typical police stuff, unusual for them to get caught.
I got back up in time for Jill's group. She was breathtaking as usual this evening. We did the old goal routine. When she asked what my goals for next week were, I said, "Continue to write, and I will force myself to go to the V.A. clinic on Monday, finally."
"Oh, to see about upgrading my discharge. And I would like to talk to some of their alcohol and drug counselors."
"Because Maggie Harbottle wants me to check out the job market for alcohol and drug counselors. She says there's not many jobs available in that field, and Voc Rehab would be unwilling to pay for four years of school without the promise of a job at the end of the line."
"Is that what you want to do, Richard?" Notice how she calls me Richard.
"One of the things," I told her. "I would like to study psychology in general, I guess. But I know a lot about alcohol and drugs."
"I think I could help you get in touch with some alcohol and drug counselors. Would you like that?"
"That's what Maggie wants."
"You got it."
Kelly Timmons stated his goals for next week. "Stop pilfering, and learn how to dress myself."
"His roommates have been doing it for him," Dennis Smith offered, winking at Jill.
"Well," Jill replied, "tell them to turn the lights on next time."
Jill sat next to me in the lobby, (my blood pressure went up sixty points) a little while later, and showed me the pictures she and David had taken yesterday.
"You don't have the picture of me, do you?"
"No Richard, it's a picture of Mohandas Gandhi. Of course it's your picture. This one turned out real well, I think. I'll make a copy and give you one if you like. For being so good about helping out yesterday."
There were two pictures. The one not showing too much of my flabby body was the one she was talking about.
"Yeah, that's not too bad. Yes, I would like a copy. For my mother. Thank you Jill."
The scintillating Stacy was also here tonight. She came up next to me while I was talking to Clarence Bliss, and playfully grabbed my notebook, which is actually a copy of the Life Science Library Book, "The Mind," which I use to write on. She opened it up, saw my notes, closed it real fast like she had inadvertently intruded upon my privacy.
"I use it for a notebook," I told her.
"I'm sorry. I'm so hyper from drinking so much coffee today. I have finals this week."
"That's pretty good for a girl who sleeps ten hours a day."
She smiled. "I only got eight hours last night."
"You must be exhausted."
I had a cheeseburger at the canteen, then went to my room and watched an Arnold Swartzenegger movie entitled, "Red Heat," with Jim Belushi. Arny's character resembled the one he played in "The Terminator."
After the movie I said good night to Elvira, then went to sleep.

March 6 Wednesday Day 175

When I have one or two good days in a row I usually have a lousy one just to keep things in balance.
Not that it was real bad. I just lost my incredible cool a couple of times.
I was minding my own business, getting some writing done early in the morning, when Dwight Hibbler came up to the desk raging.
"Will somebody fix my locker today?"
"Listen Dwight," I loudly exclaimed, "I turned in a work order two days ago. You get on Don Erwin's case, not ours! It's not my fault all of the maintenance people keep relapsing, all right?!"
"Yes, yes," he shriveled. "Sorry to have bothered you."
He turned to Carlos Noble, who was standing nearby. "Boy, Rick really got off on me. I was seeing restriction coming my way."
He said it in such a way as to make everyone around laugh, and me smile. I immediately felt bad about raising my voice too much to make my point. I didn't feel too bad though. Dwight Hibbler would give Mother Teresa an ulcer.
It was true about all of the maintenance people. Curtis Carter had went out and got high last weekend. Warren before him. Paul Pearsall, an old acquaintance from the Canoga Park days, had also wandered from our fold. Curtis and Paul each had about as much sober time as I did. Curtis about a week longer, Paul a week less.
Pretty scary for me.
Dennis Smith and I talked about it at lunch.
"They found a bottle in Curtis's locker," Dennis Said.
"Yeah, I know."
"I knew something was wrong. He wouldn't talk to anybody, and that wasn't like him. Maybe I should have said something," he said as an afterthought.
"Yes," I goaded him. "It's probably your fault he's out there, Dennis. If he ODs, gets stabbed, or run over by a truck it's all your fault. Even if a meteorite should happen to ka powie on his poor, drug addicted little head, the blame is all yours. His imminent death will be a direct result of your callus inaction toward a silent, though pleading cry for help. Well, you miserable son of a bitch, what have you got to say for yourself?"
"You're really fucked, Joyce."
"By the way, I noticed you winking at Jill last night. I think you did it perfectly. Subtle, but aggressive. Might I suggest it's time to move on. Maybe a little tip of the tongue moistening the lips, coinciding with a knowing nod and sultry smile. I don't think she will be able to take much of that."
"Yeah, she's mine." He made a hand motion as if reeling in a fish.
Besides basically being on edge today (with no apparent reason), I got even grumpier when I had to spend about an hour during the busiest part of my day, doing somebody else's job. I had to explain and demonstrate, over and over, how to lock up the Pasadena 1 trailer to Domingo, the trailer attendant. He just couldn't get it right no matter what I did. He would have been there all night if I hadn't had to put up the damn bar in the thrift store parking lot.
Later, I had ordered a nice egg and cheese sandwich, and sat down to eat it, when Edward Wilder came up to me, and said, "Hey Rick, do ya think I could get a couple of canteen cards?"
"Sure, as soon as I get back to the office."
"When's that going to be," he asked.
"As soon as I eat this sandwich, Edward! Five or ten minutes."
"But the grill is going to close in two minutes, Rick," he wined.
I blew up a little again.
"God damn it! Don't I get a chance to eat? You had all damn night to buy a fucking canteen card, and you wait to the last damn minute!"
I should not have lost my temper like that.
I should have lost it like this: "Why you inconsiderate selfish pig. Say one more word and I WILL KILL YOU! Tear your measly little body limb from scrongy limb. I don't give a rat's ass if you never eat again. STARVE BITCH FACE! You rib sucking, basketball cheating, fly blown, weasely eyed, broke dick, penile nosed, mushroom headed, fungus breathing, car-stealing, hubcap-fencing, baby candy ripping, bean pie eating, pork chop frying, boat paddling, Nike wearing, wall-eyed looking, water melon seed spitting, eight ball drinking, well hung moottheerfuuuuckeer!"
And the funny thing about it is... Edward is white.
On days like this all you can do is get through them and hope for the best tomorrow.
Things usually get better (optimism).

March 7 Thursday Day 176

Things actually did get better. No temper tantrums today, at least. Except when I almost punched out a drunk who kept following me around while I was putting up the damn bar in the thrift store parking lot. He kept wanting me to drink beer with him, and repeatedly called me a "smart ass," when I refused.
Besides that... no problems.
It's usually a lot less hectic on Thursdays anyway. No chapel, or Transition Group, or Graduate Group, or Ed's group counseling to contend with. Only the Substance Abuse Seminar and A.A. panel. I even had time for some reading and writing.
As I returned from my daily dorm inspection, I found Kevin Rockoff and Reuben Smith in conversation. The other half of the infamous Zulu Brothers, Rico Montgomery, was sitting behind the desk with his big feet resting on the counter.
Kevin was saying, "Reuben, if you had any brains..."
"Don't have no brains," Reuben retorted.
"Now what do you suppose would happen if I pushed this little red button here," Rico asked with mischievous glee.
"You would need to find a place to sleep tonight," I told him.
He giggled his Rico giggle (sounding like a sly hiccup, and an air brake being applied), "Let me see... I gotta make a phone call." He picked up the office phone receiver, placed his finger on the keypad, then quickly put the receiver down again. "Naw... I'll wait till later."
He got up and exited the desk area into the lobby. "Well who can I agitate now? Who can I drive to the brink of utter madness?" He walked of in search of a victim.
I had to write up old Dwight Hibbler for missing his mandatory meetings tonight. He had left at 6:30 this morning, to appear in court in Santa Monica for a littering violation. He didn't come back until 9:33PM.
"Well, after I went to court I went to see a dentist, and then a doctor..."
In the time he took he could have went to court, seen a dentist and a doctor, and rode every ride at Disneyland and still make it back in time for his meetings.
I went to bed feeling better than I had yesterday. I didn't have a nice 17 hour work day to look forward to tomorrow, that helped. I did have a physical exam I had to get up early for. Maybe they'll tell me I have H.I.V. antibodies running through my body.
That would be good to know.

March 8 Friday Day 177

I woke up at 7:30, went to the bathroom, then crawled back into bed keeping one eye open and aimed at my alarm clock until 9:00. I then showered and dressed, and left the residence to go to my physical.
The clinic I was to go to was located a few doors north of Colorado Blvd., on Raymond Street. Easy walking distance from the A.R.C., directly through the park, which was almost empty. Another sunny, beautiful day here in Pasadena.
I walked in and signed my name at the little place they have expressly for that purpose at the reception counter. The receptionist gave me a form to sign. By signing it I agreed to arbitration rather than litigation in case I should have some future complaint, or something.
I signed. They won't do anything unless you sign.
A nice nurse weighed me (189 pounds), measured me, (5 feet, 11 inches. I have often considered growing another inch to make it an even 6 feet, but why show off), took my blood pressure and pulse (100/70- - 62), and asked me if I had been hit by a truck, or anything like that within the last 30 days, then gave me a little plastic cup and asked me to pee in it. Invariably whenever some nice nurse unexpectedly demands urine from me, I've gone a half hour earlier, as in this instance. Well, after a mighty effort I finally managed to squeeze out some. The nurse seemed just thrilled. She stuck a color coded plastic stick into the cup with my urine, and watched to see it change colors.
She led me to a cubicle and asked me to take off my shirt. Before I could make any smart ass remark, she was gone. She, however, was soon replaced by a very tall, grey (bald at the top) haired, white lab coated, preoccupied, doctor type individual. As he looked over my chart he asked me how I was doing. I said okay.
"Good weight, good blood pressure," he commented, "good pulse." He looked up at me, "good urine. Have you been hit by a truck or something, within the last thirty days, or so? No, good. Walk okay? Good. Can you hop up and down on one leg, with your eyes closed, arms outstretched, fingers to nose, while turning in a three hundred and sixty five degree circle while humming 'Baby I Need Your Loving?' No? Well don't worry about it, it's not important." He looked back at the chart. "You've been referred to us by the Department of Rehabilitation." He looked back at me. "Why? Are you some kind of alcoholic or drug addict?" I told him yes, that I was those things. "How long?" he asked. About twenty years, I told him.
He let me go after saying that I was in pretty good shape for a drunk. He said he would mail the exam results to Maggie.
They did not offer a blood test. I did not ask for one. I should be at the VA clinic on Monday, and might get one there.
I took a nap when I returned to the residence, to make up for all the sleep I lost by going to see the doctor.
Later I wrote in the lobby. Ed Reitz was there, even though it was his day off. He was worried about the ADx machine. We had run out of the chemicals needed to operate it (precision sheep urine). New chemicals had arrived this morning via UPS. Good thing too. There were 17 samples up there just screaming to be analyzed. If there's anything I can't stand it's stale urine.
I eventually got upstairs to run those samples. According to the results those tested had not been using cocaine lately. I'll check for marijuana tomorrow.

March 9 Saturday Day 178

Someone knocked on my door at 8:30. I got up and answered it. Kevin Rockoff was there and I knew what he wanted. I handed him yesterday's money and unclaimed gratuities, then went back to bed and slept until twelve.
I went to the canteen and sat a table to write, but I got hit on so much by people wanting me to sell them canteen cards because Mr. Vasquez was not around, I soon gave up and left.
After I began tonight's V.C.R. movie, "A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die," with Arthur Kennedy and Robert Ryan (another Vasquez pick. I wrote a brief description on the bulletin board "The action-packed (every movie we show here is action-packed) tale of a one armed gunman, he had no other choice but to take the town single handed!!), I tried once again to write, with more success, but not without interruption.
I guess Eddie Gillespie was feeling lonely because he kept coming into my office to remind me about one thing or another. I do feel honored that he should wish to talk to me that way. That is special.
The damn fire alarm went off at ten. There was no fire, just something the matter with the circuits. It did give me the opportunity to get Mr. Vasquez out of bed.
And Dwight Hibbler came in from an evening's excursion and blew a .05 on the breath-a-lizer.
"What do you mean? I just had some duck sauce with wine in it for dinner with my Mother! You can ask her."
"Dwight, really..."
This bothered me though. Dwight was the first person I have personally had to throw out of here, face to face. Always before, Robert had been the one in authority who had actually done it. My hands were shaking a little as I wrote Dwight's termination papers.
Even though Dwight strikes me as an obnoxious, scheming, low life, I do feel sorry for him. If I had the opportunity to get to know him a little better, I may have even come to like him. Who knows? Since I've been here I've learned not to trust first, or even second impressions about people. Dwight didn't do anything tremendously wrong, especially for an alcoholic-drug addict. He just gave in. A mistake we humans make from time to time. One that I have often made myself.
I wish him well.

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