Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Salvation Diary 23

"Salvation" artist, Amanda Milke

April 7 Sunday Day 207

Good morning.
It is now 6:27AM, and 59 seconds real time. At 5:00 I was woke by Mr. Pandolfi, whereupon I stayed in bed for another half hour, having decided I didn't really need to take a shower until later.
This seems to be the weekend of losing good friends. First Eddie, then Rico Montgomery, my "you alright?" flat-topped, African Zulu brother, who came here the same day as I did, and who did not return for last night's midnight curfew. I was maybe the last person from the residence to see him. As I was returning from putting up the damn bar in the thrift store parking lot, I noticed him walking toward Fair Oaks. We did a closed fisted handshake, and I asked him where he was going.
"To see another woman," he replied.
I wish him well, and I shall miss him if he does not come back.
I will depart from real time now. I have some work to do, and Mr. Vasquez will be back soon from getting the morning's donuts from Tastee's and Honey Glazed, and I mustn't be writing when he returns. When I get a chance to resume, probably when everyone is up in chapel, I shall continue.

Things got progressively more hectic here at the desk. Major and Mrs. Johnson came in a little after eight. The Major was upset that so many men were outside smoking. I don't know what he expected considering he had banned smoking inside the building entirely after the big compactor fire of last Friday (that fire, and smoking in the residence having a tenuous connection at best). Sometimes I feel that the Major would be a lot happier if only there were no alcoholics and drug addicts loitering around his Adult Rehabilitation Center, that we are a necessary evil that he and his fellow officers have to put up with.
While I was talking to him he noticed Donnie Whitehurst flick a cigarette butt onto the parking lot tarmac. Major Johnson angrily walked out the front door to confront him.
"Do you like living here?" the Major asked.
"Yeah," Donnie replied. He is an older, black gentleman, very close to the Major's own age.
"Well you better pick up that butt, or get out," the Major demanded.
"Okay, I'll leave," Donnie calmly stated.
The Major was clearly taken aback. "Well all you have to do is pick up your cigarette butt," he pleaded.
"No sir, I think I'll be going."
And during chapel service he packed up and left.
To the Major's credit, he asked about Donnie after the service, and said to me, "Maybe I should of handled that a little better."
To ease his anxiety I told him that Donnie had probably been thinking about leaving anyway.
Rico returned to pick up some of his belongings. He offered no explanation as to his
A.W.O.L.ish activities. In fact, he hardly talked to me. And he left again without saying goodbye.
Similarly, Eddie Acuna let me know he would be leaving tomorrow. He said things were getting to weird around here. He tried to hit me up for some money, but I told him that I had none to give him, that I was a beneficiary just like him. I did give him some unauthorized bus tokens.
Robert discovered that the radio in Red Shield 18 had been stolen last night. The truck had inadvertently been left in the thrift store parking lot.
He also let some guys into the As-Is Yard to work on Red Shield 17, which they had bought at auction. He locked them in there after giving them instructions to tell the trailer attendant when they were finished so he in turn could call me to let them out. When they did call, Robert was eating lunch, and I was alone at the desk, so I sent Bill Rauschemplat to open the gate for them, after which they promptly drove off in the truck, after which I was promptly told by Bill Richardson, the dock foreman, that those people had not finished paying for it.
I had not smoked all day, but at 1:45, my head began to feel as if it were about to explode, so I bummed a Marlboro 100 from Ron Collins, and stepped outside the front door and smoked it. It gave me a good buzz. Too good. I needed to hold on to the counter as I returned to the desk, and when I sat down I thought about how strange it felt to feel stoned behind the desk. I felt that way for about 90 seconds, after which I felt calm and relaxed. I could feel the nicotine bubbling away in my brain.
After work I went to my lonely room and laid down. I watched "Star Trek, the Next Generation." In this episode, an engineering officer was having a conversation with Albert Einstein on Halodeck 3, in which most of what I had learned reading Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time," was related.
Glad to see the writers are doing their homework.
I came downstairs and had an egg and cheese sandwich in the canteen, then watched the VCR movie, "Deepstar Six," an aquatic monster movie. I had seen it before, and it really didn't hold up to reexamination.
I went back upstairs and watched TV until I fell asleep. I was really rather tired. I had a dream in which Major Johnson called me on the phone to tell me that since I had graduated from the program I should get a job and get the hell out of here.
He wished me well.

April 8 Monday Day 208

I slept in again, really late, but not late enough to miss lunch. We had "chicken," or Southern fried something. I then went to the library and read and wrote about nicotine and cigarettes for the rest of the day.

April 9 Tuesday Day 209

Back to work after a brief time off period. I spent most of the morning writing. My counselor Richard came in. He's been smiling a lot lately, and saying things like, "It's soooo gooooood when your higher power is working."
I suggested a urine test, but he declined and I couldn't force him.
I also talked to Maggie and Major Foote. She asked me for the third time what it is that I want to do now that I've graduated from the program. I told her once again that I wish to continue with school. I told her that I would be applying for admission at P. C. C. next Monday, and that I planned to go to school whether I took over for Robert here, or worked somewhere else. I told her that since she could not justify having the California Department of Rehabilitation help me through a drug and alcohol curriculum, there was little she could do for me.
She thinks I'm not being realistic. I told her that I didn't have much choice, that there was really no other way that I could be. If I returned to a routine, mundane, repetitive job, I might as well put a gun to my head and pull the trigger. I don't believe I'm exaggerating when I say this, I just know how I am, or am beginning to understand how I am.
I knew that I would soon become dissatisfied and restless in a job like that, and that I would soon start to isolate again, and soon start to drinking. I wouldn't want to, but that's what would happen.
Maggie would like it though if I got a nice, easy, simple job, something minimum wageish, something that would be relatively easy for me to secure, so she could mark a "26" in her files and be done with me, her job finished.
I don't mean to imply that she wishes me any harm, I do not believe that she does. She just doesn't understand the problem. The total picture.
I do.
And Maggie does not understand how adamant I can be about doing everything I can to give myself the best chance of staying sober. I really have no other choice.
I am now too old to add any more vicious cycles into my life.
Maggie said she would put me on hold for the time being. I wonder what she means by that.
I must be very troubling for her.
I laid down for awhile after work, skipping dinner. I couldn't sleep so I just laid there on my bed. I got up again in plenty of time for Jill's group.
Wilford Maze got a little upset with me tonight in group. He was holding a grudge. He was mad because he thought I was picking on him by writing him up almost every week since he's been here (about 4 months now), which is true. Either Mr. Vasquez or I have written him up almost every week. The fact that he breaks the rules every week, flagrantly, by continuously wearing either sunglasses, a hat, walkman headphones, earrings, or any or all combinations thereof, does not seem to concern him, enter into his deliberations, or interfere with his indignant outrage in the least. Robert puts him on the Saturday work list for wearing a hat while wandering around the lobby. He works it, then on Sunday shows up at the desk with earrings, sunglasses, and headphones on. We write him up, or put him on the Saturday work list again. He cries about it, wondering what it is we have against him, works the Saturday or pays the fine, and does the very same thing over again. We write him up, he does it again, over and over-- ad infinitum.
Anyway, he made a big scene about it in group, getting rather nasty. It got to the point where I began to argue back at him. Vernon Robinson pointed out that this was no place for this type of behavior, so Wilford started arguing with him. He finally got so upset that he left.
Wilford does have a valid point. I am picking on him. So is Robert. When anyone consistently screws up so much and so blatantly as Wilford does, they gain our undivided attention and we keep a weary eye on them.
Especially when they're manipulating sconks like Wilford.
Even though Wilford is a manipulating sconk, if my continued presence in Jill's group proves to be disruptive in this manner then I should probably consider not going anymore. It's not fair to the group members, and attending is a luxury for me that I guess I can do without.
I can set my own goals.
I always could. I just like hanging out with Jill, my one true love.
I watched a bad Burt Lancaster movie ("The Lawman") up in my lonely room, which had the same plot as about a million Clint (shoot'em in the back) Eastwood movies; indestructible gunman comes to town and kills everybody. But this one had morals: "A man lives by his own doing." Better justification than most for blowing people away.
"Tell Them Valdez is Coming," was a lot better.
I read for awhile, then tried to sleep. It would be a long day tomorrow.

April 10 Wednesday Day 210

Another day of life.
Oh boy!
After taking over the morning paperwork I had a chance to write, then make a brief dorm inspection, making my big decision for the best dorm, best bed, and cleanest area for the week. Today I picked dorm 44, and bed 3A.
My counselor Richard came in and discovered that I was the only one on his list of people to see that was available, so he cornered me in my office for a one on one. We talked about some classes he was taking at the time, that he was getting through okay, but disagreed with some of the concepts put forward in them. He equates behavioral psychology with mind control, which it very well may be, to a degree. I told him he should carry on and muddle through it, that he may still learn something. Similarly, when I start a book and find out that I don't care for it (like "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," which appears to me to just be a personal account of a pseudo-psycho-philosopher tooling around the country, with the hots for his friend's wife), I most often read it end to end in the hope of learning something useful, if nothing else how not to write a book.
We also talked about what we would do if we had a lot of money. I told him that I would give it all to Alcoholic's Anonymous. He knew, as did I, that A.A. cannot except large donations, and would give it back to me.
We both decided that we would continue with school.
We talked a little about this book, and that I may soon need to learn how to type. He said it probably wouldn't hurt, and that he had a typing tutor program on his old computer, and asked if I would like to borrow it from him.
I told him that would be great.
I ran some urine samples, and did my laundry in the afternoon. I read some of the Bible, "Beanfield," and "Working," by Studs Turkel.
Mr. Vasquez has picked Bill Raushemplat to replace Eddie Gillespie on the desk. Bill is a rather stringent, good looking, five foot eleven, white boy, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and of German ancestry. He has been here just a little less than I have, and up until last Sunday had been working in the phone room taking orders and writing pick up tickets. He is very smart, not extremely sociable or well liked, and plays the guitar. I like him, and get along with him. He should do well if he doesn't let people get on his nerves... and holds his temper.
Chapel went particularly well. The Major wasn't there (he and the Mrs. are in Hawaii), and I didn't go. Clarence Bliss showed Bill how to take attendance up there, while I stayed downstairs reading "Working," and talking to George Plick.
George's group was nice. I talked about what had happened with Maggie yesterday. James Shelton and Joe Brown both told of how they had been made employees during the last week. Everyone around here is getting a job except me. Joe works for Harold Eversley as his second cook, and Jim works in the Antique Shop. Jim said that in a couple of weeks he will probably move into the Transition House. I let him know that a move to the Transition House almost rates as a relapse warning sign all by itself.
My counselor Richard called me at 8:15, and said he'd be right over. I had an egg and cheese sandwich while waiting.
It was good.
Richard arrived with a big, bulky looking box with him. It was his old Kaypro portable (barely)computer that he said had been collecting dust in his closet. He had brought some floppy disks and instruction books as well. He told me it had been his first.
You never forget your first.
He showed me how to operate it a little, and how to use the typing tutor program.
I asked him to write a description of what he had brought for my inventory. Instead of writing, "I'm loaning Rick this computer," he wrote, "I'm giving Rick this computer." I asked about that, and he said, "Have fun," and took off.
Nobody's ever given me a computer before!

April 11 Thursday Day 211

Seven months numerically today. No alcohol, pot, speed, downers, LSD, or peyote.
Now if I can only stop sniffing glue...
I'm still hooked on cigarettes and coffee though, and I feel bummed out about it.
I'm such a perfectionist.
I did make it until 9:30PM without a cigarette. Then the demons began to play with my mind and I broke.
Actually what did it was getting into an argument with one of the clients. These guys get sooooo mad at me simply because I keep busting them when I catch them doing something they oughtn't be doing. I really don't understand it. I don't force them to steal clothing from across the street, or smoke upstairs and be dumb enough to get caught. They act as if it's all my fault though. They act all hurt, as if I had insulted their mother or something.
Anyway, I felt very agitated and smoked a cigarette. After smoking it I immediately calmed down. I shouldn't have tried to quit on a seventeen hour shift, I suppose (cop out).
Better luck next time.

April 12 Friday Day 212

I was really tired. I slept until 1:30PM.
I did get up briefly at 7:15. I had used the restroom, and heard my name called over the PA system. I went to the desk in my ball cap and flannel gown. I kind of knew what they wanted.
Bill Raushemplat was working the morning shift for Kevin, so Kevin could go to the dentist to have his teeth cleaned. This was Bill's first morning shift, and he was being all confused and helpless. He had run out of bus tokens and wanted to know what to do about it.
Taking his newness into consideration I spared his life for dragging me down there.
I put last night's canteen card money into the strong box, and pulled out two books of bus tickets for Bill.
Robert had gone for donuts and had not yet returned. Later I would learn that while at Tastee's , he accidentally locked the key to Red Shield 4 inside of Red Shield 4, and had stranded himself. He took a bus to get back to the center to pick up a spare set of keys, then returned via a bus back to Tastee's top rescue Red Shield 4... and the donuts.
After giving Bill the tickets and a little moral support, I went back to sleep, and as I've already said, slept for an awfully long time. When I finally got up it was pretty darn near time to go to work. I got ready and went down.
I wrote a little before my shift. Kevin was working with me tonight, sore mouth and all. After things settles down, and Robert returned from taking the ladies to the bank, I had a chance to go upstairs and read about alcohol and cocaine. But I wrote about barbiturates (not appearing in this account).
Reds, they were called. Little red capsules. Take one and you were almost instantly drunk. I only used them for 6 weeks back when I was in high school. I liked them, but I got into too much trouble, too fast because of taking them, that even I couldn't handle it. I probably came closer to death than at any other time in my life because of those little red suckers. So after weeks of indulgence I stopped taking them and haven't had one since. Of course today, I couldn't find one to save my life, they just aren't around anymore. Not easily available on the black market that is. Now we have drugs like valium. Fortunately for me, Valium and quaaludes make me sick, or at least a little queasy.
And sleepy, so I never really got into them.
I like to be wide awake when I'm incoherent.

No comments:

Post a Comment