Sunday, August 8, 2010

Salvation Diary 38

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

June 24 Monday Day 286

I had planned to get up in time to have breakfast and go over to the Union Station Big Book Study meeting, and maybe see how Dennis was doing. And I do actually remember getting up at 5:30, walking around in a small circle, turning off my alarm clock, and then falling back into bed to wake again just before lunch time.
Fish patties.
While enjoying my fish I learned that Rico Montgomery had been A.W.O.L. last night. A.C.O. Well, that was to be expected I guess. Rico was always more interested in what was happening outside the center than inside. This was just a place to hang his hat, lift weights, and do his laundry.
I wish the hard-headed, stupid bastard well.
I also learned that Jim Docken had been re-admitted this morning. Later, at dinner, I would find him and tell him to call his sister and tell her he was alright.
And Matthew Moreth returned to us today as well. As a resident. Apparently he got into a fist fight with the foreman at the church where he worked and lost his job. He had told me the last time he came to visit that he had relapsed, started to drink again.
That's how it is around here. They come and they go. Come and go. All except me and Rockoff, Mr. Vasquez, Harold Eversley, Ed McNicols, and the infamous David Griffith. Also Gilbert Salinas, who has been here longer than anyone else... anyone. He's been here since December 17th, 1971, almost 20 years (all Gilbert cares about in life, it seems, is working, and taking the money he earns to the race track (horses). The A.R.C. seems to be a perfect platform for this type of lifestyle). And good old Jack Crossley.
Reuben Smith, smart ass that he is, gave me a nice red bound book with blank pages throughout. In his warped, perverted little mind he thought it humorous to give me such a book. I looked through it deciding I could use it as a notebook, then noticed some pages had been torn from the very front. I also noticed that whoever ripped out the pages did so in a hurry, for they had missed three whole pages of written notes, sort of diary like entries, as if indeed, the book had been intended to be used as a diary, or a devise to record the author's thoughts. This work had been abandoned early on, as only six or seven pages had been utilized, before half of those were torn out, probably right before the book had been given up for donation. For that's what it obviously was, a donation which Reuben had pilfered from across the street.
Well, well, well. I suddenly found myself faced with a moral dilemma. Should I, or should I not, read through those diary like written pages, unbidden and without the author's knowledge or permission. If I choose not to read them, no big deal. It could just be a book someone used to make a shopping list for the market, or a list of things to do. It would not be hard for me to simply rip out the pages with writing on them and just throw them away. Then again, those written notes could be something else altogether, something much more important than a shopping list. If I did read them I would effectively be eavesdropping upon another person's privacy the author may have imagined and craved for themselves thereby raping the fruits of their soul. I thought over all of the possibilities, considered all of the moral and ethical standards that I wished to apply within my own new life of sobriety, debated whether or not, if I were the author, how would I feel if someone read my work without asking me.
This turmoil of indecision I found myself in lasted almost 4 seconds.
The writer was a thirty-nine year old mother and wife. The mother of two daughters, Anita and Alyson. Wife of "Papa Bear," Frank. She briefly outlined the trials and tribulations within her life, her concern over her daughters - Anita, who was spending most of the summer on the phone and who was so "boy crazy," and Alyson, who sounds like the older of the two, who "needs love and understanding so much these days. I hope God will give me the wisdom to be as good a mother as I possibly can to both my daughters." What a rare thing to hope for, not a car, not a house, not a vacation, but to be a good mother.
I most certainly have fallen in love with her (despite Papa Bear).
She talks about the wonderful relationship she seems to have with her husband. A rarity in itself. She ends with, "My days are lazy and happy lately. No wonder I'm ten pounds overweight. P. Bear sure doesn't seem to mind! I love him with all my heart."
She never once mentioned her own name.
So I'm glad I've had this unlikely opportunity to experience her existence.
And I do (Anita, Alyson, and P. Bear too) wish her well.

June 25 Tuesday Day 287

We found out Rico is in jail. One of the girls he uses called us up and asked if we could hold his bags and possessions until he got out.
The word is that he had warrants out on him up the ying yang, and that's a lot of warrants.
Last night I attended the first Relapse Prevention Seminar this center has held. Very exciting. It was run by Barbara Grothe. She's very nice. We discussed the definitions of addiction and alcoholism. If we can resist the tendency of some of the group's members to turn the seminar into some kind of a Bible study the class should be very beneficial.
Barbara asked me to be a co-facilitator at a second relapse prevention group. That would be interesting.
As I was sorting through the morning's paperwork in my office, Ernie Sens came up and congratulated me. I assumed he was talking about my becoming an employee. I thanked him.
Ed Reitz asked me into his office. He gave me a package of papers to fill out so I could become employed.
Becoming an employee makes me feel good. So good that I decided to once again poison myself with nicotine, carbon monoxide, dimethylnitrosamine, vinyl chloride, arsenic, polonium-210, lead-210, and insecticide residues.
What a rush!
After dinner I watched "Tiny Toons Adventures," a whole new generation of the old Warner Brothers cartoon characters, produced by Steven Spielberg (that guy is everywhere!). I like the theme song. It reminds me of where I'm living. "We're tiny, we're toony, we're all a little loony!"
At 11:30 I switched to a program on PBS concerning the mind, how it works, and the mechanism of memory. Fascinating. I hope to learn much more about this subject.
I am grateful for the mysterious set of circumstances that have allowed my mind to evolve and exist. My personal picture window to the universe.
I slept and dreamt of God.

June 26 Wednesday Day 288

Life is wonderful!
Every time I entered the upstairs apartment to check my laundry I inadvertently woke Russell Burke as he... meditated, utilizing the Corpse (prone) position on the couch just outside the chapel.
As Russell's supervisor, he's not supposed to let me catch him meditating during working hours. Robert has threatened him time and again to send him back to the sorting room if he ever caught him... meditating again. Russell intuitively knows that he can safely ignore these constant threats, that they are meaningless. He knows Ernie Sens will have no part of him and will not allow him to return to the warehouse, where Russell has been known to vanish for various lengths of time. Indeed, Robert found Russell lying down just yesterday afternoon, flat out on his bed with blankets tucked up under his chin, and nothing came of it.
I know what he's doing.
I did put my foot down (a pitiful, ceremonious display of authority), as I retrieved my last load. I found Roger Collins (who was supposed to be helping Russell) and Russell both asleep on the two couches outside the chapel, at a forty-five degree angle to each other, their heads close together, beautiful, angelic smiles upon their fat faces. If I let this continue, I reasoned, the whole damn janitorial staff would soon be up there draped across the furniture.
Russell will be leaving us soon I'm afraid. His father is quite ill, and Russell is going back to New York to visit him.
Kathy came today. She actually talked to me a little while.
I love it when women actually talk to me. We talked about the relapse prevention seminar I went to last Monday night. She was supposed to have attended, but couldn't make it. She must have been busy or something. We also talked about our respective nieces. Her's is one year younger than mine.
She assured me she would be here Monday for the next relapse meeting.
And she left. I asked her to drive carefully, and she said that she would.
Isn't she wonderful!?

June 27 Thursday Day 289

I was fairly exhausted after experiencing the wonderfulness of Kathy. I didn't want to get up this morning, but trooper that I am I forced myself.
Some little, bald-headed, skinny guy was hogging the bathroom sink. "Good morning, Robert," I said as I stepped into the shower.
Robert was up early to get a head start on a trip to Upland to visit his grandniece... or so he says.
I was up early to work all day.
I did get a nice break in the routine though at around 8:00AM. That's when I left for a 9:30 appointment at P.C.C. I was to talk to one of the school's counselors. While driving home to pick up his daughter, Clarence Orion saw me, and gave me a ride to the college.
I waited about ten minutes for the counselor to arrive. When she got there she settled into her office a little bit, made a phone call, then asked me to come in.
Her name was Janice Dwyer, a very attractive, blonde lady, who seemed genuinely enthusiastic about her work, and very helpful. I did not fall in love with her, however. She was much too bubbly.
We discussed my past school record, my current working situation, how many hours I worked, the extinction of the dinosaurs, my scholastic interests, and so on. I let her know that I wished to continue working with alcoholics and drug addicts and pursue that type of career. But having been out of school for so long (over 15 years) I had planned to ease back into academia by taking just one class the first semester, probably English 1A. She agreed that was probably a good idea. She gave me some nice pointers on what to do when I came back to register. We discussed some alternate courses if English 1A was unavailable, and some alternate methods of attending classes, useful for working adults like myself, such as televised lectures, and so forth. I had her list me as a psychology major.
She gave me some more useful hints, then I thanked her, told her I was available for dating purposes if she ever wished to leave her slob husband, and went blissfully on my way.
Back at the residence it was the same old routine.
I read in the paper that Saddam Hussein is probably being naughty again. It appears that he's hiding away weapons, or the means of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. Chemical, biological, and nuclear. At least that's what we're being told.
Again I ask, what did we gain in that war?
Ed Reitz was to be on the radio tonight. He was going to be interviewed on one of the local Christian radio networks concerning our work here at the center. I borrowed (took) a radio from Reuben Smith so I could listen to the interview in my office, but just as Ed was to go on the air I was told that someone had stolen the freezer repairman's multi-meter, and I was required to go get one of Don Erwin's from the warehouse or else all of the food in the walk-in freezer would thaw.
Of course now I had to investigate the theft of the repairman's multi-meter. Considering the time and location of the theft there were only three possible suspects. Considering the names of the three possible suspects, Matthew Moreth's name shined the brightest as the most likely to be that of the evil doer.
I'm very fond of Matthew, but I've been told he'll steal your front teeth if he felt he could get away with it.
Whoever stole the multi-meter was very quick about hiding the evidence. I made a pretty thorough search inside and outside of all the possible, probable, and unlikely hiding places and didn't find a thing. I searched Matthew's locker and found a lot of unauthorized food items, but no multi-meter.
Later, I just came out and asked Matthew where he had put it.
"Ah, ah, ah- in n in in in th, th the the the pawnshop."
"Damn you're fast Matthew! Too fast for me."
Art Svensk let me know that this would probably be his last two nights here as our relief night watchman.
"I gave em my notice ya know."
He's retiring.
"What notice Art?"
"Gonna retire. Gave em my notice."
"So this is going to be your last weekend?"
"I'll talk to Robert about it in the morning."
"So this might not be your last weekend then?"
"I'll talk to Robert."
I went to bed feeling awfully tired, confused, and with a big headache.

June 28 Friday Day 290

At 7:45 I was sleeping peacefully, dreaming of Julia Roberts, when the San Gabriel Mountains decided to move about three feet closer to my lonely room. Or my room moved closer to the mountains, whichever you prefer.
After approximately 10,000 years of relative inactivity the Sierra Madre Fault slipped in a vertical fashion, raising the height of the mountains about two inches, producing a 6.0 earthquake which devastated my book collection that had been sitting peacefully on the top shelf of my closet. The epicenter was only twelve miles away, 8 miles due north of Monrovia, which lies a little east of Pasadena. The activity was centered 7 miles below the mountains.
I first felt a slow shaking, rolling motion, and then a much stronger jolt. It lasted 10 seconds. After I felt the shaking stop and I felt sure that the worst was over, I went back to sleep.
I've been through a lot of earthquakes.
The worst I've experienced was in January of 1971, the Sylmar Quake. Me and my little dachshund, Buttons, slept through that one too. I can't seem to get excited about earthquakes. I don't mind them. I even like them if there are frightened females around who need comforting.
This is not to say that earthquakes aren't bad news. There have been two fatalities as a direct result of this morning's trembler. At the moment damage is estimated as rather minor, only about ten million dollars or so. No doubt the small amount of damage can be attributed to the depth of the quake's epicenter.
Besides raising havoc with all of my books, which were scattered all over my bedroom floor, there were a few cracks found here and there throughout the residence. The fire sprinkler's seem to have shifted a tad, some pictures fell off the walls. No big deal.
When I woke up I put my books back where they belonged, then went to the bathroom. As I sat there meditating, the lights went out. No janitors though... that was a good thing. I went back to bed determined to get back to sleep, but soon decided I should probably go switch the power off on the ADx machine so that when the power did return to the building, no surge would harm the machine's delicate circuits. After I did that I wandered around the building looking for damage. I met Robert and Schimmele near the chapel doing the same thing.
"We just thought about coming down to check on you," Schimmele said.
"See if you had a heart attack, or something," Robert added.
"Well I'm glad to know I was way up there on your priorities."
The only man who had not been affected by the quake was Hugh Hogle, who we found still asleep in his room.
The warehouse employees were sent home, and the beneficiaries were sent to the residence due to the power outage. Everybody got the day off, except me.
The lights came back on at 9:30. I went back to my room and watched the news on TV. At eleven I had lunch (cheeseburgers). I found out that my friend Tom Rotsch, had narrowly escaped being hit by a falling light fixture during the quake.
"Something told me to make a move," he told me.
After lunch I returned to my room to sleep, dreaming of Priscilla Presley and Maryam'd Abo.
By the time I got to work everything had pretty much returned to normal. At least normal for this place. Gratuity had already been distributed so there wasn't really that much to do. As the evening wore on I began reading about certain comparisons between prescription, over-the-counter, and black market drugs.
Then after that, and after my shift ended, I returned to my room once again to fall blissfully asleep, dreaming of Heather Thomas and Karen Valentine.
Hey, I have no control over my dreams.

No comments:

Post a Comment