Sunday, August 15, 2010

Salvation Diary 39

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke">

June 29 Saturday Day 291

I forgot to mention that I called my dear sweet mother yesterday, after the earthquake. I called to let her know I was alright, that I was not hurt.
She told me that she had just become aware of the quake by overhearing the police in Barstow, California, talking about it over their radio communication network. Apparently the quake was felt there. My mother has a police scanner that she listens to while she sits at her coffee table and watches TV. It's better than "911," "Cops," or "America's Most Wanted," she tells me, and should become the new national craze. She has the ability to listen in on the police of several different communities; Barstow, Needles, Kingman, Las Vegas, and of course her own local police calls in Bullhead, and across the Colorado River in Laughlin, Nevada.
She knows what's happening around town.
She was not worried about me, by the way. She knows what earthquakes are like. She was in the same house with me during the one in 1971. Besides, the television reports that soon reached Bullhead mentioned few casualties.
She also let me know that she and my sister, and my precious little niece would more than likely be in Pasadena on Sunday to pay me a visit.
I told her that would be nice, and that I would look forward to it.
Five guys left the residence yesterday. Two voluntarily, one was A.W.O.L., and two H.B.D.s. One of the H.B.D.s was a Peruvian fellow who was still on his 30 day restriction period, and had somehow smuggled a bottle in. He proceeded to get plastered and made threatening remarks to his roommates, which was why they turned him in most likely. I found him passed out on his bunk, so I took a passive breath-a-lizer reading, .13. I had to give him the boot. He could hardly walk, but after a couple attempts I got him out the front door. Maybe the cold night air would sober him up. He was still sitting on the bench in the parking lot when I went to bed at midnight.
I wish all five of those guys well.
Robert spent the night in Baldwin Park, and asked me to fill in for him in the morning for a little while. So I was up rather early today. After he relieved me at 8:15, I walked to the store to buy some cigarettes. Dennis Smith was in front of the residence when I returned. Robert had just told him he couldn't be hanging around the residence any longer, that the Major had given orders there shall be no visiting by former clients who had left on an A.C.O. basis. Dennis was pretty angry and upset about that, but soon calmed down. I made a date with him for Monday to see the new movie, "Naked Gun 2 1/2, The Smell of Fear," with Leslie Nielson. I told him I'd pay.
I went to my room and napped until lunchtime. I dreamed of Demi Moore.
After lunch I asked Robert if I could walk over to the Music Plus store and pick out the weekend's VCR movies. Surprisingly he said yes. Probably because he had already been over there and hadn't been able to find a parking space in the small lot they provide.
I picked two new releases. "Another 48 Hours," with Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy, and "Predator 2," starring a big ugly monster from Jamaica.
Pretty exciting.
And action packed.
Beside the normal paperwork and activities of the evening shift, and having to put up with Bill Raushemplat's bitching, crying, complaining, and moaning about one thing or another, I had the night pretty much to myself. I got Jerry Schimmele to help me put a whole bunch of donated stuff into the warehouse where thieves couldn't get to it, and then read some more about over-the-counter drugs, demographics, and what is known as the Gray-market (trade of a commodity through distribution channels which, while legal, are unofficial, unauthorized, or unintended by the original manufacturer).
My friend Dennis Castle, unintentional co-killer of horses, and ex-roommate, came in tonight at a little past 10:00 and registered a .02 on the breath-a-lizer.
"I had a little wine with dinner," he told Raushemplat in a low voice.
I wish him well.

June 30 Sunday Day 292

I was very tired this morning. I didn't want to get up. But there were things happening today that I was looking forward to, which is rare, so I put a cheery smile on my sleepy face and started my day.
Chapel went well. All of us ushers managed to keep from stumbling over each other.
Ed Reitz sang a song. Over the months I've grown very fond of Ed, but I must say, while singing his face looks like one of those animated robots you can find in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.
Nothing wrong with that of course.
After the service Robert pulled me over toward Mrs. Johnson and asked her about a painting which had been in the upstairs apartment which I wished to purchase. At the same time, Ed came up and congratulated me on becoming an employee tomorrow. Suddenly I found myself the center of attention and conversation, and felt very popular. Mrs. Johnson said I could have the painting, and asked about my mom and sister. I thanked Ed, and told him his song was lovely.
That was stretching it a bit, but one must be tactful.
Robert drove me and Ron Collins to our Sunday morning meeting. The speaker was a nice black lady who told us of her life and her experiences with alcohol. She had almost twenty years of sobriety, and was fun to listen to. I'm afraid I fell in love with her. Along with all of the pretty girls who were sitting in the row in front of us. Particularly the brunette with great legs who wore glasses. I especially fell in love with her. Really. I must have a thing for brunettes with great legs who wear glasses.
As well as blondes, with or without the glasses.
And redheads, lets not forget those.
My mom and sister and Keri arrived directly at 3:00. Keri was the first in the door, and I picked her up and gave her a big hug. She is so, so beautiful. Blonde and blue-eyed, with a quick bright smile. In the past she has been somewhat shy towards me, probably because I haven't been around all that much. But not so today. She gave me hugs back, and demanded kisses.
My other two relatives were a different matter. Oh my mom was her usual sociable self, but my sister seemed rather sullen. She hadn't gotten much sleep on the drive over, maybe that was why. She'd been up since 4:00AM. In any case, all she had to say was that I was getting fat and developing a bald spot on the back of my head. She came five hundred miles to tell me that.
Whenever I need such verbal abuse all I have to do is come to work to get it.
She did seem impressed with the upstairs apartment (I told her it was my room).
Keri was fascinated with everything, and wanted to go exploring. My mom and Cheryl put a leash on her.
When I look at Keri I see the future. She will undoubtedly create tons of problems and misery for my poor sister in the years to come. She is already a difficult child, very obstinate, but very smart and clever, and as I've said, very pretty. She has manifested a clear rebellious nature at a very early age, always claiming her independence. She will be magnificent when and if she matures.
Dear Keri: one day you will read this and understand what I am saying. Please try and remember your Uncle Rick fondly. I am human, and make the mistakes that humans make, as you, yourself will make. I'll always forgive yours. Try and forgive mine. I'll try and help you if I can. If you wish me to try. I love you with all of my heart.
She presented me with a picture that she had drawn herself with crayons. Barbie holding a panda bear. Barbie has blue hair in this picture. My little niece probably did not know this but whenever I see pictures of Barbie with blue hair I get tremendously horny. I don't know why.
I shall tape the picture to the inside of the door to my lonely room.
We all had dinner here together (left over turkey and chicken patties), then my family left at about 4:30.
I felt a little weird after they took off. Like there was nothing I could ever do to show them I was alright. That I was worthy of their love. Family can make us alcoholic people feel that way sometimes. It all takes time I guess.
One must be patient.
I watched a rerun of "Star Trek, the Next Generation," then went down and got a seat for the Sunday night VCR movie, "Predator 2." a very good action packed movie starring Danny Glover. A good sequel. Lots of gratuitous violence.
I went to bed and to sleep early tonight. Tomorrow would be another fun day, and besides, there was nothing but reruns on "Monsters."
I had strange dreams. Dreams that I was back in school, in a high school setting, rather than college, and that I was drinking again. Drinking before each class and trying to hide it.
Horrible dreams.
I guess they never go away.
But the thing is... they're only dreams.

July 1 Monday Day 293

Several good things happened today.
The first and most important of course is that I woke up. Because I was able to do that I have a whole world of possibilities another day of existence and awareness brings to me.
But how do I know I really exist? Or that anything exists outside of myself... a solipsistic dilemma. What if this is all a dream, and the dreams I fancy I'm having while sleeping is the true reality?
Oh let's not get into that now shall we!
The second good thing (I think) that happened is that I am no longer a beneficiary of the Salvation Army. I am now an employee of the Salvation Army, hired to do the same job I've been doing all along.
This change was painless. I did not feel it occur. It just happened. Sort of how it feels to get another day older.
Other than that, it being my day off there wasn't much of anything of particular importance that I needed to be doing, so I played it cool, kept my wits about me, and went to the movies.
"The Naked Gun, Part 2 1/2 - The Smell of Fear," was hilarious. The scene with Zsa Zsa Gabor, near the beginning, was worth the price of admission alone. I'm very afraid that the guy who reviewed the film for the L.A. Times must have been suffering from a slight case of head up his assedness the day he saw the movie.
The cast was great, it was well written, it even had a little trivia puzzle for Twilight Zone fans near the end. Wonderful!
But I admit, I'm a sucker for these kinds of movies.
I wrote when I got back to the residence. Had a little dinner, then went up to my lonely room to watch "Tiny Toons Adventures."
About half way through a "Star Trek, the Next Generation," rerun, I went down to the small dinning room for the relapse prevention workshop. I had put on a new shirt before hand so I would look nice. I even ironed it, something I am wrought to do. I wasn't trying to look good for the other guys in the seminar. Oh no, I could care less about them. Nor was I trying to impress Barbara, who I consider a great friend of mine, a dear lady I am very fond of.
But Kathy was coming, and I wished to make a favorable impression.
She stuck her head in the door five minutes before we started. Appearing shy and awkward, she placed herself in an empty chair in the far corner away from the rest of us. She intrigued me. In this day and age, when flashy clothes and make up seem to be the going thing, Kathy preferred simple clothes, jeans and a pullover sweater, looking unpretentious, with clean dark hair surrounding a pretty, unmade up face.
Or maybe she's just a slob, I'm not sure. If I were to make a guess at her age I would say late 20s, or 30.
The thing I find most engaging about her is her obvious sincerity while attempting to help others and herself. I know she has about three years of sobriety. I can't think of a better thing for a young sober person to do rather than learn about their own disease, helping yourself by doing so, and at the same time trying to help others who suffer from the same affliction.
I guess I'm trying to do that also.
She counsels Ron Collins, and he tells me that she is a very good counselor, and has been extremely helpful to him. Ron needs all of the help he can get. I know Kathy inquires about her other clients quite often, especially when they are not around when she comes to talk to them. She wonders and worries about them.
All in all it appears she is a very neat lady.
I must watch myself. She is exactly the kind of girl I could fall in love with. I mean REALLY fall in love with.
She's probably married... or worse, has a boyfriend. And it would just be my luck to fall in love with an unaccessible person, like somebody else's girl. She would no doubt spurn my affections, and I hate when that happens... having my affections spurned. I would surely be crushed, instantly relapse, and fall forever into the eternal pits of Hell!
So be it.
We talked a little after the meeting. She seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. That's a start. She hadn't known that I was a graduate of this program. I found out that she has both the 4th and 5th of July off from her daytime job.
Fat lot of good I can do with that information!
I told her I would see her next Wednesday as she walked off to counsel Ron Cooper.
Lovely girl.
I went back to my lonely room and read for awhile. I watched a program about our biological clocks on PBS, and how important to get a lot of sleep and all. I almost fell asleep half way through it. I was a little tired.
But later that night, after I had finished watching "Nightline," and had turned off the TV, I had trouble getting to sleep.
I was thinking of Kathy, and all of the marvelous talks we would have in the future.

July 2 Tuesday Day 294

When I dropped off the morning paperwork Ed Reitz pulled me into his office to fill out a few more forms conducive to my being an employee. We went upstairs to see Pattie Orion, Clarence's wife and the office manager and personnel person. She told me about some company rules and regulations.
Then I turned in my old badge to Clarence, the man in charge of badges. My old badge had a green stripe in the upper right hand corner denoting my status as a beneficiary, a client of the Salvation Army, and the picture on that badge was of course taken on my first day here at the center, just after I had checked out of the Park hotel, while I was still busy looking like a diseased fur trapper.
Clarence was going to give me a shiny new badge with a red stripe in the upper right hand corner. The red stripe meant I was an employee. He was going to take a new picture of me also, something he normally does not do in cases such as these. He said he was doing it only because he figured the only thing my old picture was good for was scaring cockroaches and stray mice to death.
I'm afraid that Bill Raushemplat is no longer on the desk with us. I guess I kinda pushed him over the edge, and he exploded and went boom.
It had been coming for a long time. Poor Bill has some kind of evil demon inside of him which makes him intensely angry at... well, just about everything. Nothing suits him. He doesn't like the food, and complains bitterly to the cooks everyday. He doesn't like his hours, he doesn't like his job. People call here on the phone and he hangs up on them. He has hung up on Ed Reitz twice. He gets into arguments with the drivers, he gets into arguments with the clients, he gets into arguments with the counselors, he argues with me and Mr. Vasquez. He is without a doubt the most difficult person I have ever had to work with in my entire life. His attitude precludes his popularity around here, to say the least.
And the sad thing about it is as far as he's concerned he's the one who is being constantly wronged, continuously persecuted, and meticulously interfered with. In his mind he's a little angel who is being attacked from every direction. He thinks he's doing a great job, and does not understand, and gets very offended by the fact that we do not feel he has earned, and never give him, any extra, extra work canteen cards each week.
This man is seriously deluded. When I or anyone else tries to talk with him about why he is so angry, all we can get from him is, "I hate this place." Sounds like Scott Feeney. But Bill means it.
He plans to leave here on the 19th of July and go back to Miami where, "everything will be much better." That's where Bill comes from, Miami. Unfortunately he is taking himself with him, and I expect he'll have the same problems there as he has had here.
The origen of his hate and anger lie within himself, and no change of scenery will bring a change to that.
Anyway, I had to put Bill on the Saturday work list for ignoring my request that he tuck in his shirt while in the dining room (as per house rules). He disregarded my instruction, thereby giving me a symbolic "fuck you, you can't tell me what to do." I don't like symbolic "fuck you's," and gave him the Saturday work tour.
When he found out about it later in the afternoon he made such a ruckus in the lobby, shouting at both myself and Robert, that Robert fired him right then and there. Bill stormed off. He gave everyone dirty looks for the rest of the evening.
Such is life.
I saw Jill tonight for the first time in three weeks. I had been avoiding her because she makes me slightly nervous. I always act like an idiot when I'm around her. It's not that she intimidates me, or at least I don't think she does. Maybe she reminds me too much of Debbie. But why would that bother me? Debbie didn't intimidate me either. At least I don't think she did. I don't know. I really don't know. I'm confused. Women are a major mystery to me. Jill did not appear to have missed me, not that I really thought that she would. She seemed pleasant enough this evening, exchanging teasing remarks with me and Robert about this week's color of her fingernails. She is always beautiful.
As per Ed Reitz's instructions, I invited her to next Sunday's employee picnic. Maybe she'll go.
I was laying on my bed, near 11:00, just before a rerun of "Cheers," was to begin, when someone knocked on my door. It was Bill Raushemplat.
"I know I lost my job, but I just wanted to apologize... but I hate this fucking place! I hate this fucking place!"

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