Sunday, July 31, 2011

Salvation Diary 49

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

August 21 Wednesday Day 344

Clyde Foster has returned to us, making it his third time here. It's good to have him. Let's hope that he can stick it out and accomplish whatever goals he might have.
Kevin Rockoff went and got himself a job as a security guard. He starts tomorrow at 10:00AM. Tomorrow's his birthday. He'll be 33.
Happy birthday Kevin!
He tells me that he's going to marry his mail order Indian princess January 10th.
Good for him.
I attended a safety meeting in the afternoon. Ernie Sens was there, along with Clarence Orion, his wife Pattie (the Major's secretary), Frank Corona, Charles Parsons, Bill Richardson, and Dennis Cunningham. We talked about safety. We decided to become earthquake prepared, to have fire drills and a building evacuation plan in case of emergencies. We also decided to send me, Frank, Clarence, and Charles, to a Red Cross CPR class. We're going to learn CPR and other life saving procedures. Maybe we'll be able to save someone's life and become heros.
I had a headache. I took some Extra Strength Tylenol tablets. The headache went away.
I walked outside to smoke a cigarette after chapel and talked to Marvin Smith. I asked him how it was going. He said slow. He is our bailer. His job is to bail up all the clothes that the Salvation Army collects but cannot resell. Cardboard boxes too.
Marvin told me that it was the slowest day he'd ever had.
"Really," I said. "Just think. Of all the days I could have picked to ask you how it was going, I picked this one, the slowest day you've ever had. What are the chances of that happening?"
"Yeah, in eight months..."
"Eight months! That's almost like... two hundred and fifty days, isn't it? What are the odds? It must be something like two hundred and fifty to one, Marvin. And I beat the odds! We beat the odds Marvin. You and I, because I certainly couldn't have done it without you..."
On and on.
The coup in the U.S.S.R. has been smashed. Civil resistance, world opinion and scrutiny, and no clear plan of what to do with the power once it was acquired, doomed the attempt to failure almost from the very beginning. That country has a rough road ahead. I wish Mr. Gorbachev well.
And Cathy came tonight, and was still very upset about Spotty. The kitty may have a fever.
Cathy tells me, she herself, has not slept well for two weeks, and hasn't had much of an appetite. I gave her the benefit of my vast storehouse of veterinary knowledge, cautioned her to take care of herself first and generally tried to reassure that everything would be okay. That, along with the cat book I had given to her previously was about all I could do. I can't solve her problems for her, nor anybody else's, but I hope I can be of assistance if she wants me to be.
Then I sent her on her way.
Then I made sure everything was nice and tidy in the residence before we put the place to rest for the night. I counted money, organized counselor's lists, adjusted ledgers, locked doors, and put out the dog. After everyone was in I performed my last nightly chore, going through all the dorms, I tucked everyone in nice and tight, offered a comforting word if needed, listened to problems, and told an occasional bedtime story until the men's eyes drooped shut and they drifted off into gentle slumber.
Then I made my way to my lonely room, undressed, did two thousand butt naked push and sit ups... then I too dozed.
Tomorrow we would do it all again.

August 22 Thursday Day 345

Today, we did it all again.
And did it well.

August 23 Friday Day 346

Cathy gave me a call last night. I have a note to prove it.
At 9:30PM, I came to my office from the sample room, where I had began a batch of urine tests. I was there to finish up some paper work.
I found a note on my desk which said this, "Cathy 920 RKC." I asked myself what the "RKC" might mean. I said, "What the fuck does 920 RKC mean? Was Cathy maliciously marauded by 920 cases of renegade Royal Krown Cola?"
I asked Jack Crossley, the duty desk man, if he had taken the message.
"Uaaaah... no," was his considered reply.
I showed him the little piece of paper with the message scrawled on it, and asked him who had put it on my desk.
"Uaaaah... not me."
"Well Jack, this wasn't here when I left my office. That tells me that someone put it there, probably a human being in close proximity to our present location. They placed this piece of paper on my desk, after taking a message from this phone here, or the one on my desk. Now who do you think this person might be? Have any idea at all Jack?"
After several minutes I was able to wrangle from Jack that Roger Collins had briefly watched the desk while Jack used the restroom. I went in search of Roger and eventually found him out front smoking a cigarette.
"Did you take a message for me, Roger?"
"Well, what did she say? Did she say anything?"
"No. No message."
"Well, what does 920 RKC mean, Roger?"
"She called at nine twenty, and just asked if you would call her back. I put my initials there so you would know who took the call."
"What's your middle name? Kevin?"
"Thanks Roger."
I called Cathy from up in the sample room. She just wanted to tell me she had taken Spotty to the vet, and that the cat had been given an injection of antibiotics and seemed to be feeling better now. Spotty and Pee Wee are friends once again, and Cathy is relieved.
I too, was very relieved.
We talked endlessly (twenty minutes) about this and that. She gave me some useful pointer regarding the school registration process I would be going through. She asked me to give her a call sometime.
This morning I got up early, collected my paycheck from Robert, then caught a ride with Harold Eversley and Joe Brown to the bank.
When I got back (returned), I found Robert in one of the small T.V. rooms taking a driver's safety test from the video machine. He had just started (began) when I walked in, thereby giving me the rare opportunity to distract him.
The test is given (administered) to all employees who may, for one reason or another, come to use one of the Salvation Army's vehicles. There are 33 filmed driving episodes, each with a potential hazard that the test taker must identify, and then choose the most correct response to avoid injury or accident (one out of four possible answers). A correct answer scores 3 points, the least desirable response gets you a big fat 0. It is necessary to get as many numerical points as possible, hopefully gaining enough points to pass the test. One must pay strict attention to the recorded driving scenes or one will miss important clues and potential hazards.
Robert's comment when the first scene appeared: "I can't see anything!"
I had taken the test two days ago, scoring a 74 out of a possible 99.
Robert, when finished, somehow managed a 104.
Robert would have other problems associated with driving this day. Last night his new car overheated. He has determined that the thermostat was responsible, and made arrangements to replace it.
As I was leaving for PCC to register for class, Robert called me over to make a deal. He would drive his car over to the Mobile station to have his thermostat replaced, and I would follow him in Red Shield 15, pick him up, and he would then take me to school.
It sounded like a good plan to me, and probably would have worked out just fine if he hadn't locked his keys inside of his car.
Upon discovering this fact, he said, "Well I'll be go to hell!"
He took me to PCC using Red Shield 15, and then went to El Monte to buy more bus tokens for the center. Later he had one of our many car door technicians open his car with a Slim Jim so he could retrieve his keys.
Further into the evening he would lock himself out of his room.
I got to (arrived) at school fifteen minutes early. I found the class I wanted was still available, and was happy about that. I smiled mischievously.
At two o'clock I got in line and registered. It took about thirty minutes of mostly waiting around to complete the procedure, and cost me $26.50, but other than that, the whole ordeal was relatively harmless.
I'll be going to school on Tuesday afternoons, from four until seven.
I got a free photo I.D. too.
I returned (got back) to the residence in time to start work at 3:30 (three thirty).
John Swisher had got a visit from the paramedics while I was away. He would be on bed rest for the entire weekend.
He is the new As-Is Yard supervisor, and has a tendency to work too hard in the hot sun, and into such a frenzy that he tends to collapse quite often.
He's nuts.
I also talked to Ernie Sens at dinner. We discussed the upcoming CPR class I would be taking.
"You know," he said, "those dummies they use are really sophisticated now. You start giving them artificial respiration for fifteen minutes and you begin to get emotionally involved. As they start breathing on their own... you really want those dummies to make it."
I spent most of my shift reading and writing. I thought about how much I wanted to give Cathy unnecessary artificial respiration.
It had been a good day. I had enjoyed every minute of it and felt fine.

August 24 Saturday Day 347

I continued to feel good this morning. I woke up and yawned. I reached over and grabbed my copy of Vonnegut's "Jailbird," and read two chapters, read a couple from the Book of Luke, thumbed through "Co dependent No More," a book Cathy had lent to me, then got up and took a nice shower.
I wrote downstairs for a while in the lobby, until lunchtime (chicken patties), then went to the park for an hour and roasted while listening to vintage Elton John.
After a second shower, I slid down to the canteen and got myself a nice cup of coffee and continued to write until it was time to go to work.
There wasn't too much to do when I got there. I fiddled around mostly. Robert Vasquez was roaming around, so I kept myself looking like I was actually doing something worthwhile and constructive.
Robert seems to spend more time in the residence on his days off than when he's working.
Or is just my imagination?
At eight o'clock I called Cathy's number. I wanted to say hello (pitifully force myself into her life), see how Spotty and Pee Wee were doing, and tell her of my registration experiences. However she was not at home. I talked to her answering machine instead. Her answering machine sounds suspiciously like Cathy.
I copied down some passages from Nan Robertson's, "Getting Better," then started another Whitney Strieber novel, "Majestic."
There had been some kind of Jazz festival during the day, up on Colorado and Fair Oaks. It continued on into the evening as well. I had not checked it out because I did not wish to become part of the crowd today, but a lot of our guys did. A couple of them got a little too festive and blew positive on the breath-a-lizer. One of them told me, "I swear Rick, all I was doing was kissing this girl. Her alcohol flooded breath must have been inducted into my lungs!"
I wished them well.

August 25 Sunday Day 348

Another wonderful day. My God, I'm glad I don't drink anymore!
Cathy did not return my call so I had no plans for the day. Regular Sunday routine for me
During collection in chapel, Clyde Foster, who was helping me with the middle section, kept passing his plate down the same isle I was working. What would happen was the two plates would collide in the center and stop, which took an inordinate amount of time (while the confusion abated) for the process to resume.
For some reason this happens almost every Sunday.
Ron Collins wimped out like a little snot (as did I last week), and did not go with me to the Sunday morning A.A. speaker meeting at the American Legion building in South Pasadena. I did though, and had a very good time.
During the coffee break a girl by the name of Gary sat next to me, and we talked about how nice it was to be sober. She's a cocktail waitress.
Women seem to sense my natural strength and sexual prowess, and flock to me (fantasy).
A retired judge of the state Supreme Court was our guest speaker. He now works part time as the announcer at Dodger and Rams games. He related that while still a Municipal Court judge and attending a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, he was approached by a woman wanting her court card signed (a verification of attedance at a 12 Step meeting mandated by a court). He told the lady that he would be happy to, but he was not the meeting's secretary.
"No, but you're the bastard that sent me here!"
When she returned to his court he discovered that she had been to exactly twice the meetings he had stipulated she attend.
"Why did you go to this many meetings?" he asked her.
"Because of you!" she replied. "I started to like the meetings so much that I resented the fact that you made me go to them. So I went on my own!"
After the meeting I walked to the residence with Brian Montique, then went to the park for an hour.
After dinner I took in the sights and sounds of Colorado Blvd> on a Sunday evening. There were many women giving me the old eye (extreme fantasy).
I spent the rest of the night trying to figure out how my word processor worked. I managed to make a file, and named it "Sal." The file consisted of the first three sentences of this memoir.
Near eleven, thoroughly exhausted and confused, I went to bed.

August 26 Monday Day 349

For some reason I woke up thoroughly confused. This is a natural state for us recovering alcoholics and drug addicted individuals, and should be expected.
I shook my head several times, in a vigorous fashion, and became oriented once again.
A little while later I got up, went to the bathroom and smoked an unauthorized cigarette. I changed into my yellow swim trunks and went to the weight room to lift and pull on heavy objects with lots of density for about thirty minutes.
After I finished I returned to my room and changed into street clothes, then wrote in the lobby.
Wendy came in, looking fresh and beautiful, with long, flowing blonde hair (how many blondes are there in the world, do you think?). We talked a little about school registration and Shakespeare (and not necessarily in that order), then she got sucked into the counseling vortex.
As I headed upstairs to put my notebook away I heard Robert bawling out Roger Collins, accusing him of smoking in the bathroom because he had found my cigarette butt in the toilet. Apparently it had survived the flush.
"I didn't do it! I didn't do it! I didn't do it!" Roger exclaimed.
Later Robert informed me that he would be on the lookout for any unauthorized smoking in the bathrooms.
I told him, "If I find'em... Bam! Out they go! Won't even give 'em time to pack their bags. All these smokers should go downtown to Seventh Street and Towne (Skid Row), where they belong!"
"Good man," he mused. "Of course they'll probably let them back in the next day. But that's neither here nor there... it's our job to kick them out."
After lunch (chicken nuggets again), instead of going to the park, I went to the movies. "Dead Again," had just been released, and I thought it might be worthwhile.
It was. I thought I knew who the killer was from the first scene, but the writer threw a curve at the last minute and it turned out to be someone else. The film explored reincarnation, a subject I have a lot of problems with, but what the hell, it was a very well made film, a triumph for Kevin Branagh, it's star and director. The black and white footage was very stylish, and the opening scene was particularly effective.
The female lead wasn't too bad either, who ever she was. Wonderful actress, she may be British. She had the kind of face (a beautiful one at that) that looks familiar even though you're sure you've never seen her before. Very interesting.
I may have fell in love with her... secretly.
I think I'm positive of it.
Later on I caught a ride with Harold Eversley to the mall. Harold had given me a tip that Miller's Outpost was having a sale. Indeed, I found a shirt I liked for $20. I bought it, and walked back to the residence.
At dinner, the cooks brought out a little birthday cake for Jerry Schimmele. He was fifty eight years old. I had bought him a card the day before. "I'm not giving you a funny birthday card," the printing on the front proclaimed. On the inside it said, "The fact that I'm giving you a card at all is funny enough."
Jerry is a good and reliable friend and therefore open to as much abuse as I can muster.
I included a ten dollar bill within the card because I'm such a nice guy and all.
But not genuinely.
I was all set to watch another exciting episode of Steven Spielberg's "Tiny Toon Adventures," when I noticed that it had been preempted by a stupid Dodger baseball game.
The Dodgers probably lost. I didn't watch it to find out. I played with my word processor some more, and got it to do some more tricks.
Barbara was now back from her two week vacation in Montana. She said it rained almost the entire time she was there. Now she was free to return to her relapse prevention duties.
We discussed using other mind altering chemicals besides the ones we normally like to abuse, as a precursor to total relapse. Wanting too much, and omnipotence, were also labeled as slippery behaviors or attitudes.
I spent the rest of the evening playing with my word processor again, and my printer. I managed to print a short letter to my mother, thanking her for getting me the device, while demonstrating its various abilities.
Getting it to work was quite simple really. Like most things in life, all one has to do is read the instructions.
It's finding the right instructions that's the hard part.

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