Saturday, May 15, 2010

Salvation Diary 30

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

Mother's Day!
I talked to my mother on the telephone. I caught her as she was applying her lipstick in preparation for a trip to her best friend's house, Alice and Lester, for dinner.
She's doing alright. She always does alright. If her stupid kids would just leave her alone, quit being alcoholics, and quit bothering her with boyfriend problems (my sister, not me), her life would be a paradise.
She has not yet received the gift that I had mailed to her last Monday. The little glass piano. I certainly do want to make any disparaging or derogatory statements concerning our world famous postal system, so I will not make any comments concerning the fact that it has taken them almost a week to get one small light weight package all the way over to the very next state. I won't say anything at all.
My mother told me that my sister and her boyfriend have broken up. The same guy that showered Cheryl and Keri with presents last Christmas, and forced a tree upon my mother.
This news made me a little happy. If I can't find joy and happiness in a relationship right now, why should my sister be entitled to?
I'm very sick. I need to be here.
Besides, I never really liked the guy to begin with.
My beautiful little niece, Keri, keeps getting her name put on the classroom blackboard. This indicates that she is a perpetrator of some misdeed, or has broken one of the rules at school.
Isn't she a doll?
My own day began at 4:00AM, with watching "The Crawling Eye," with a subdued Forrest Tucker (before "F Troop"). This movie seemed so much better when I was a kid.
During chapel Major Johnson related some personal information, it being Mother's Day and all. I had not known that he had been born right here in Pasadena. He was a victim of polio in the thirties, in fact, the second recorded case in this area. Because of that dubious distinction his picture had appeared in the local newspaper, The Star News. The Major, at least in part, attributed his eventual recovery to all of the people who saw that picture and prayed for him. The disease affected his legs substantially, leaving his left leg atrophied. His mother, he said, helped him day after day, month after month, to exercise the useless muscles, until once again he could use the limb and walk unassisted. For that he was thankful to his mom.
Much like the Major I am thankful to my mother for not giving up on me.
After chapel Ron Collins and I walked to South Pasadena, to the American Legion building, for a 11:30 A.A speaker meeting. We found good old Skip Fennel there, my ex-desk pal. He's living with his parents now and attending P.C.C. He attended the speaker meeting regularly, he said.
It was a good meeting. Nice, fashionable people attended. Some pretty ladies. I may have fallen in love once, I'm not sure.
The speaker was a good one. The line I remember most went like this, "After tens years of living with an alcoholic, my wife had had her fill of joy and happiness and left me."
Ron and I walked back to the residence after the meeting. I went upstairs and made my bed. Reuben Perez had given me a nice set of yellow sheets to try, instead of my drab old white ones. They were a size too big for my bed. I put them on anyway.
I like yellow.
They help cheer up my lonely room.
I finished "The Milagro Beanfield War." Very, very good. I shall remember it for the rest of my life as the one book I took the time to really read during the first year of my recovery. It shall remind me of this place. This residence. This stinking, lousy, little, lonely room.
I watched "Star Trek, the Next Generation," and "Married with Children," and fucked off for the rest of the night.

May 13 Monday Day 244

Again I didn't want to get up, but I forced myself. I showered, dressed, and made my way downstairs in time to grab a bite of tuna fish sandwich before leaving for P.C.C. I had an English test to take.
As I left the residence I noticed my counselor, Richard, in his car preparing to drive away. He motioned me over and offered me a lift, which I gladly accepted. Because of my ride I arrived at the college early, about forty five minutes before the test was to begin. I waited around in front of the administration building, smoking cigarettes and watching the scenery.
As test time approached I wandered up to the second floor, to room C311, which was located, curiously enough, on the exact opposite side of the building from room C310. Gathered around the entrance to room C311 were about twenty other students, most in their early twenties. My fellow test takers.
As we filed into the large classroom I felt a determinedly odd sense of de'javu. It has been fifteen years, more or less, since I sat in a room such as this, at desks such as these, with a teacher standing up front explaining (in an authoritative voice) what we would be doing for this session. It felt very strange, yet very familiar.
The test itself was relatively simple. All multiple choice questions. I had been afraid that spelling would be involved, as I'm not particularly suited for that activity. Usually, if I am uncertain how a word is spelled, and no dictionary is nearby, or I don't have the time to look it up even if I do have a dictionary, I will attempt to spell it phonetically, they way the word sounds when spoken, which is usually the wrong way to spell it because English is crazy. Fortunately for me all I had to do was pick out misspelled words from sentences, something I seem to be much better at because of the way my poor old alcoholic brain dysfunctions.
The remainder of the test was also fairly simple and easy to understand. When finished I had a good feeling about attaining a satisfactory grade. I was told the test results would be available in an hour if I choose to wait around for them. I didn't really need them today, so instead I picked up a student aid application from the counseling office, then made my way back to the residence.
As I was getting my room key from the front desk, Reuben Smith asked me if I wanted to go to the movies with him. He wanted to see "FX2," a film that had opened over the weekend. Mainly because I had never been out socially with Reuben, I agreed.
"FX2" is the sequel to the film "FX," with the Australian actor, Brian Brown starring, with Brian Dennehy, which I had enjoyed. But this sequel, like most sequels, was a poor second best. Silly really. FX stands for special effects in movies I guess, and Mr. Brown played the expert in both films, using his magic in real life situations and getting into all kinds of nasty trouble. It seems to me that in the sequel it would have been a lot easier to get the job done without mucking around with all of those gadgets.
I imagine not using those gadgets would have negated the hoped for primary appeal of the film though.
Later in the evening I saw on the news "FX2" was number one at the box office for the weekend.
"Silence of the Lambs," is still in the top 5. Very surprising.
When Reuben and I returned I wrote in the lobby.
Barbara and Milda walked by and said hello.
So did Russell Burke.
When I finished writing, I ate a late spaghetti and Italian sausage dinner, then retired to my room and played with my computer. Perplexed, I began to read from the Bible. "Ezra." Some of J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye," and a lovely and haunting story by Clifford D. Simack, "The Wishing Well."
As I mentioned earlier, I watched the news, then "Nightline," afterwards with that Koppel person, then went to sleep wanting to get at least four hours in before I began my work week.
I dreamt of moths.

May 14 Tuesday Day 245

At 7:15 I made an announcement at morning devotions.
"All of this loud playing of radios in the bathrooms, early in the morning, gentlemen... there's just no future in it!"
I had had complaints from Harold Eversley of vapid, insistent, "Rap" music emanating from the restroom located on the other side of his bedroom wall. It kept waking him, he said.
For myself, I woke up in an elevator, or should I say, "lift," with Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh, headed to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was quite splendid really.
Work went well. I managed to write a little in the morning, ran urine tests, the usual stuff. I spent most of the shift trying to figure out how to complete the student aid form I received the day before, and failing.
After work I went upstairs to my lonely room and slept until 5:15, after which I returned downstairs and hung around the lobby.
Jill made it in today, radiant as ever. I asked if she felt better, referring to her absence last week (just between you and me, I do not feel Jill was being 100% completely honest about being ill). "Jill," I told her, "it's like a week without sunshine when you don't come to visit us."
Sickening yes, but my delivery was good, and it worked. She gave me a beautiful smile, and her eyes lit up. "Thank you," she said.
Since I had missed dinner I went into the canteen and ate a nice cheeseburger with an egg on top, then went to my room and read until "The Terminator," came on T.V. at 8:00.
Dear reader, does it seem to you that I am in a rut? That I do the same boring things week after week? That my life has entered into a state of obsequiousness and humdrum?
It does to me.
I'M BORED! (relapse warning sign) with doing the same old stuff all of the time. Day after day. I WANT TO LIVE (relapse warning sign)!!! I want excitement (relapse warning sign)! I want to fly like a bird (relapse warning sign)!
I better settle down and be quiet.

May 15 Thursday Day 246

I worked my ass off today! I got no more ass!

May 16 Wednesday Day 247

I'm bored with the same old stuff week after week. I want to live! I want excitement! I want to go to Reno!
I guess I'm in a rut. I would not recommend to anyone in early recovery to work a sixty hour a week job that pays $19 and a canteen card (are canteen cards negotiable on the world market?), a supervisory position at that, so you get be ostracized from those who you live and work with (only a 100 or so people), to the point that conversation slows and dwindles when you pass by, and people act differently with you than others, and talk differently, and look differently. And it's your duty to scold and reprimand your fellow brothers when the occasion calls for it.
And you don't have the time, energy, or money for any kind of social life.
And certainly one of the most frustrating aspects of the whole affair, your bosses over in the front office hardly realize you exist, base your entire job performance on how many smudges are on the windows of the front door, and when your presence is considered to any degree, they'll shake your hand, tell ya what a great job your doing, and act as if your a moron.
Well, enough sniveling from me. Actually, the above sounds like a lot of jobs people in America have today. Except for the pay.
I guess I'm building strength of character, or something. Although I still would not suggest that most alcoholics in early recovery take on all of these trials and tribulations. Live in a cave maybe. I console myself by thinking things may change when Mr. Vasquez retires (if he retires). I think about going to school and all of the pretty girls there, and what a pleasure it is not to worry about bills, or paying rent for the time being. Our about taking out the garbage, or going grocery shopping, or having to cook, or meeting a cute and intelligent and sincere lady while shopping for groceries that I would eventually cook for the both of us over a nice romantic candle lit dinner for just us two, or marrying the girl, and having children, or a cat or two, or maybe a little puppy, or buying life insurance.
I'm starting again.
Well, one day at a time.
I worked my ass off again today. Got a positive urine test on a loud mouthed, bald headed, inconsiderate trouble maker that no one could get along with and who had been seen rolling joints (marijuana cigarettes) in his dorm.
So Robert and I gave him a collective boot!
And Stacy came in early to say goodbye. She will not be coming in to counsel anybody anymore. She plans to become a cocktail waitress maybe. I let her know that there was a lot of money in the cocktail waitress trade if she could stand the degradation.
I knew that cocktail waitresses could make a lot of money (and about the degradation) because my second wife, Debbie, used to work as a cocktail waitress, and usually brought home lots of money in tips. She had a little problem with polishing off all of her customers unfinished drinks and didn't last too long in that profession, which was fine with her. She didn't really like to work anyway.
Stacy brought goodbye cards to each of the clients she had counseled. That was nice of her. I discovered that she was just 21 years old.
A kid. A smart and nice kid.
I hope she doesn't become a cocktail waitress.

May 17 Friday Day 248

I went to bed last night at 2:00AM, and didn't get up until 11:00 this morning. I had some fish for lunch, then went back upstairs and took a little nap until 3:00.
I was recharging my batteries.
I had some nice liver for dinner, and after I got all of my chores caught up and the paperwork completed, I read about inhalants and solvents and glue-sniffing.

May 18 Saturday Day 249

Last night, while Bill Raushemplat changed the lobby bulletin board, my good friend and Zulu Brother, Reuben Smith returned from an outing. His would be the only breath test I would administer all evening.
Reuben was fortunate in that.
Or maybe not, I don't know. I'm not wise enough to tell.
He blew a .02, not a high reading by any means. Just high enough to get him thrown out of here.
I looked at the breath-a-lizer with disbelief. Not Reuben! No. No. Not Reuben. I asked him what he had been eating or drinking.
"Pizza and coke," he answered.
I immediately remembered that Reuben was a chronic liar. A truth avoidance expert. Whenever confronted with some misdeed of his own design (an almost constant occurrence) he will say anything and everything to avert blame or responsibility. He is capable of manufacturing the most outrageous confabulations at the drop of a hat. So it was useless to attempt to wrangle the truth from him at this time, and I did not attempt it.
I made a snap decision to ignore the reading. I looked at Bill to see if he had noticed any change in my demeanor. Apparently he hadn't. Reuben looked at me a little expectantly, or perhaps apprehensively. I quickly cleared the breath-a-lizer's air chamber so the reading would return to 0.00, all ready to use again.
I didn't say anything more to Reuben. He had been out all afternoon, so I paid him his gratuity and sent him on his way. Throughout this brief exchange Reuben acted strangely for Reuben. A bit pensive, and too polite. Just like he would act if he were guilty about something, knew he had been caught, but still didn't want to admit anything.
I don't know if he had been drinking, or not. It may have been a false reading.
Yeah, right. The breath-a-lizer is a pretty reliable machine. That's why we use it.
I'm not sure I did Reuben a favor by not pressing the issue and throwing him out. I don't know. Maybe it would have been better for him in the long run if I had. I just couldn't do it. Not this time.
If Bill had caught him Reuben would have been history. There would have been no way to save him. Bill likes to catch people.
Maybe I should have a little talk with Reuben. Soon, before it's too late.
Would it do any good?
If I catch him again I'll be forced to terminate him.
I happened to walk by the big T.V. while "America's Most Wanted," was on. They were dramatizing a story about a man in Switzerland who had drown his two small children in a bathtub. A little boy and a little girl. It was, although not graphic, quite horrible to watch. Knowing that it had actually happened made it horrible. This man, the T.V. said, may have escaped into the United States.
I wondered about the world we lived in for a moment and felt a little better about the job I've been given here.
The fire alarm woke me at 6:00AM, this morning. Something had set off the smoke alarm in dorm 33. Clarence Bliss's dorm. No fire.
I had breakfast, then went back to sleep. I got up around noon, skipped lunch (I need to lose some around the waist), and took a walk.
Remember when I said that the month of May had not been particularly pleasant for me historically. Well, I think my friend Dennis Smith has taken that curse away from me and transfered it to himself. Besides having that little A.W.O.L. episode earlier in the month, he gave me a call this afternoon at around 4:00PM, shortly after my shift began. It seemed the police in West L.A. had relieved him of his liberty after stopping him and running a warrant check. He was calling from jail.

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