Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Salvation Diary Forty Four

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

July 26 Friday Day 318

I got up early to go and cash my big paycheck. I haven't had so much money in my pocket since a year ago last May. On the way back I walked through the mall and browsed inside one of the book stores that they have there. I found copies of the very same books Kathy said she would loan to me. I looked for others with a similar subject matter, thinking a book like that might be a nice gift for her.
Women like gifts.
So does everyone else.
I remembered that she had told me she had an extensive library though, so I thought better of buying her something in fear that she might already have it.
Oh well, my feeble attempt to purchase her affections can wait awhile.
I had a nice lunch (cheeseburgers), then went to the park for about an hour.
When I returned Jeff Pursell gave me a haircut. Not that I wanted one, but Robert had begun to call me "hippie boy," being his little way of telling me it was time to get my hair shortened.
After all, I must set an example to others.
Or so I've been told.
After that I went to work. I didn't feel like working. I felt much more like sitting up in my room and daydream of Kathy. But being the responsible alcoholic that I am I went to the desk and fulfilled my duties.
Not feeling like working ensured that my shift would be unusually hectic. Which it was. Everybody wanted something from me all at the same time. But I handled it. With apparent ease I might add.
Robert was busy washing his new car in the As-Is Yard. Hugh Hogle came back from Venice Beach with Reuben Smith and Harold Eversley, and was badly sun burned. He looks like a great big tomato, and said he didn't feel very well. And Kevin Rockoff says he doesn't like his new job, and may be coming back to us.
Good. He's my best desk man.
How selfish of me.
When things calmed down a bit I had time to take notes from the "Underground Empire," book, which will not be transposed here.
Read the book if you want to find out about it.
I highly recommend it.

July 27 Saturday Day 319

Last night was pretty bad for me. I felt kind of jumpy, and not too good. Like something was out of place. I sure didn't feel like working, but I've already said that.
My friend Darrell Sipp didn't have a very good night either. Certainly worse than mine. He was walking back from a friend's house, somewhere north of Colorado Blvd., when he was set upon (mugged) and badly pummeled by a group of young men looking for money. After taking a kick to the crotch and a few punches to the head, he escaped all of his attackers and made it back to the residence just before the midnight curfew. He gasped for breath and his face was very swollen. He felt he should go to the hospital, so I dropped him off at Huntington Memorial.
I saw him at lunch today and he seemed okay. He has a couple of lose teeth though.
A reminder of how hostile it can be out there.
Art's crazy people.

July 28 Sunday Day 320

For a while last night I thought that Rockoff might have run off with his American Indian girlfriend and gone A.W.O.L. His was the only key left in our key box when curfew time came. As you may remember, that is the primary way we determine if someone is in the building, by the presence or absence of their locker key. If we at the desk have the key, the person it belongs to is not usually in the building. Or vice versa.
So I went to have a look in Kevin's dorm, 41, bed A. There he was, all cuddled up with his favorite teddy. Apparently he had forgotten to sign in and pick up his key when he returned from his amorous outing. For doing so he shall be severely beaten today in order to assist him in remembering proper residence procedures.
Some gentlemen have tried to take advantage of the fact that we do not take roll call, or make a head count just after curfew. We find that it is really unnecessary to perform that laborious task. One man attempted to pull this trick just last night. He took off without leaving his key and stayed out for the night, no doubt believing we would assume he was here simply because we did not have his key. And he was right, we did assume that. It was his own roommates who unintentionally busted him this morning by asking us why he had not returned to his dorm the night before, thus alerting us at the desk of his absence. They'll say, "What happened to so and so last night?" or, "Was so and so AWOL last night? He didn't come back." "Can I change over to so and so's bed? It's empty."
Then we'll say something like, "Soooo, he wasn't in his dorm last night, was he? Thanks for letting us know." Then they'll turn away looking like they ratted out their mom.
Works every time.
Sometimes a person pulling this maneuver actually remembers to come back in the morning acting as if he had been here all night. They are the picture of innocence. We get their keys from them, their I.D. badges, and send them out into the world.
And we wish them well.
Clarence Orion went on vacation this week, so he dumped all of his usual Sunday chapel duties onto Robert, who attempted to dump them onto me. But I would have none of it. I feel kind of silly, or phony actually, going up to the pulpit and doing stuff for their services when I'm not even a Christian and all. But I do help out sometimes. I have nothing against the Christian Church (except those Spanish Inquisition guys. No one expects them), I'm just not a member.
I don't know that much about it really, the Christian Church that is. I should look into it further.
I have nothing if not an open mind.
Most of the time.
Anyway, Robert got stuck leading a singing session, plus the testimonials, plus the announcements and offering. As usual, I ushered.
"You did a wonderful job sir," I told Robert after the service. "And your voice is lovely."
He glared.
"Flattery will get you nowhere, Joyce."
Ron Collins and I attended our Sunday morning A.A. meeting. Ron pointed out that there were an amazing amount of pretty ladies around, some sitting right behind us. I ignored his excited chatter. Since I've now found Kathy, other pretty girls mean nothing to me.
This Sunday's speaker, and elderly gentleman with 45 years of sobriety (you have to be elderly to have 45 years of sobriety), talked non-stop at an even and constant pace for fifty minutes straight. But damned if I can remember anything he said. The monotonous twill of his voice disallowed any possible attempt to comprehend his speech.
I enjoyed the meeting in any case. I just like being there.
It's a good place for me to be.
On our way back we stopped at Los Tacos again and partook of some super burritos.
Ron paid.
He has received his first paycheck you see.
It is beginning to act like summer here in Pasadena, with the temperatures reaching well into the 90s. I sat (baked) in the bright sun for an hour, listening to rock and roll. Reuben Smith was doing the very same thing only a few yards away from me. He had gotten there before I had. He was lying face up with his sunglasses on, so now he looks like a racoon again.
I call him "Racoon Head."
When evening came I watched the Sunday night V.C.R. movie. "The Untouchables," having nothing better to do, being bored with reading and writing. Later, I read a little anyway, about the life of Jesus Christ.
At 9:30 I walked down to Vons to buy some shampoo and toothpaste. I also picked up some snack food, and salsa and chips. I would have an unauthorized pig out in my room.
Then I watched, "Monsters," and went to bed.
I had a good full day, and I had enjoyed it, but I was just marking time. waiting.
Waiting for Wednesday to come around again.

July 29 Monday Day 321

I went to the dentist today. Of my own free will. I even had to actually pay for it.
Since I have so much extra cash now, being a big time employee of the Salvation Army, I decided to have my upper front tooth fixed. A tiny corner of it had broken off, a remnant of my second to last relapse, when a sidewalk somehow reared up and hit me in the face. Since a year ago last May I've lived with a hole in my mouth, which I've self consciously tried to hide with the tip of my tongue whenever I smile, After today I hope to have my smile back, which should help to improve my overall self esteem.
And make me a much better kisser.
So I went to Dr. Campbell, the friendly credit dentist, and after the financial agreements were agreed upon, and the X-rays taken, Dr. Zu, (a distant relative of Dr. Campbell no doubt) went to work.
Oh, what a lovely experience. This time the doctor (masked as usual) took a hammer and chisel to my poor little defenseless mouth. No soft and gentle taps were applied either, these were great, long, sweeping, slams that jolted my entire body to and fro. I felt certain that at any moment his aim would vary and my life would be no more.
Then came the drill.
Next they shoved some purple plastic stuff in my mouth that I was required to bite down on while waiting for it to harden.
After a while he pried open my mouth, took it out and looked at it.
"Let's do another one," he said with evil glee.
After a couple of hours they "affixed" (I love that word) a temporary cap over the stump of my broken tooth. This shall serve me until the permanent cap is ready. They warned me that the temporary cap may fall out... and that I should not swallow it.
I'll try my best.
Now I can smile again. My smile looks very nice, I must say.
I just can't chew anymore. My bottom front tooth jams into the cap, not allowing my teeth to close.
And so it goes (Vonnegut).
I was in great pain for the rest of the day. I really don't want to talk about it.

July 30 Tuesday Day 322

My tooth felt a little better this morning. My gums are not as sore, so I guess I can continue this narrative.
Rico Montgomery came by, just after lunch, to pick up his stuff. He was released from County Jail this morning at 5:30. He looks alright. Imprisonment seems to agree with him. Apparently he'll be living with his girlfriend for awhile, at least until she gets tired of his jive bullshit.
Rico told me he saw Ben Driscoll while there in jail. Ben doesn't talk all that much, so Rico never found out why Ben had been incarcerated. Rico did say that Ben seemed to be coping pretty well, doing a lot of sweeping in the jail. Ben likes to sweep.
But then again, who doesn't?
Reuben Smith has been acting peculiar the last couple of days. More peculiar than normal. He's acting all sullen and uncommunicative, which is odd for Reuben. When Richard Bennett called him down for counseling, Reuben, who had been sleeping, came to the desk, looked at Richard and said, "That's all you wanted me for?" as he abruptly turned around and walked back upstairs. Reuben can be rude at times (most of the time), but this was exceptional. He's told others that he's sick. He won't tell me what's going on. I hope he's alright.
I spent the last part of my shift getting ready for the big Pacific Oaks College graduation ceremony being held this evening in our chapel. I made sure Schimmele and his crew got the chapel in order, and I made some signs which pointed out the way to the chapel and atrium, where a reception would be held for the graduates. I placed these signs in strategic locations, ensuring them being seen by the hundred and sixty expected guests.
I just happened to be in the lobby when Jill came in. She made a rare, early appearance, and was actually here at 5:45 for her 5:45 group counseling tonight, which accentuated her shinning sumptuous features, her pert but elegant nose, the lustrous fall of her eyelash, her crimson lips, her delicate earlobes and her come hither eyes framed in a cascade of exuberant red tresses. I did not see, or was affected by the vital, flowing way in which she crossed the room, her statuesque full figure, her shapely long legs. He fresh, clean smell mixed perfectly with a slight whisper of the erotic scent of her perfume. I saw none of that, nor did I notice the firmness of her ample breasts, her slim waist, the swell of her hips, the little mole on the right side of her neck, the adorable birthmark on the inside of her left knee. Her magnificent smile. Her lilting voice as she sighed, "Hello Richard."
She calls me Richard. Some do.
Her presence meant nothing to me, so I left the lobby and went upstairs to take a cold shower, after which I retreated to my lonely room, to read, and watch mindless made for T.V. movies for the rest of the evening.
I did manage to finish the Nan Robertson book, "Getting Better." A remarkable achievement, the book I mean. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who thinks they may have a drinking problem and are considering treatment, or joining Alcoholics Anonymous. Rarely have I seen the process of recovery depicted in such realistic and compassionate detail. Everything one needs to start the recovery ball rolling is in this book.
Except the desire to stop drinking.
Some current events are just screaming for attention today. It appears that the intense air bombardment of Iraq during the Persian Gulf War still left Saddam Hussein with viable nuclear weapon producing capabilites. We're told he'd been trying to hide them from the United Nation's inspectors in violation of the peace agreement. He's being obstinate. Very obstreperous in an obsequious manner. And now President Bush is talking tough, and we may find ourselves beginning the war all over again.
Some very well may ask, "Why did we stop the war before making sure Hussein was removed from power and could never be a threat in the region again?" Good question! One the President may find difficult to answer during next year's election (don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Bush I haven't particularly cared for any president since Garfield)
Yesterday it was reported that Hussein may still have chemical weapons as well.
He isn't letting us see those either.
Last week, what astronomers belive may be a planet with about 10 times the mass of Earth, a little less than the planet Uranus in our own solar system, may be revolving around a pulsar at 20,000 to 30,000 light years from Earth. It's located somewhere in the direction of the Milky Way's galactic center, in the constellation Sagittarius. This would seem an unlikely place for a planet to form considering a pulsar, or neutron star, itself is believed to be the remanent of a supernova, one of the most energetic and destructive events known in the universe. Certainly life would not be possible on a planet so close to a high synchrotron radiation source such as a pulsar. But if it is a planet, and it was able to form in such a hostile environment, then the likelihood of planet formation in other solar systems in general, throughout the cosmos, increases dramatically.
This would correspondingly increase the possibility that life would develop elsewhere in the universe.
And that would be a wonderful thing.

July 31 Wednesday Day 323

Kathy was here tonight. About the only thing I managed to do was to discover that she spells her name like this: C A T H Y. Short for... Cathy.
Jesus, I don't know how two sober people get together. It all seemed so easy when I was half sloshed. .
For one thing, I wasn't really in the greatest of moods. Tonight being the last Wednesday of the month, it was Birthday Night, which meant a bit more work for me, and having to spend time in direct contact with the Major. He being the boss, it's alway wise to spend as much time away from him as possible.
For another thing, that red headed guy I'd been seeing talking to Cathy in the parking lot a few weeks back, he told me he had been to the same Jackie Robinson Center that I had gone to, and this afternoon discovered that he was H.I.V. positive. I identified with the feeling he must have been experiencing and let me tell you, it was not pleasant.
And I can never talk to Cathy alone. There's always about ten guys hanging around who have nothing better to do than stand around and watch Cathy as I try to have a conversation. Most of them are not above busting into it whenever possible.
Jesus, I think I'm going nuts. Really!
We did talk a little though. She brought me a couple of books by John Bradshaw. She thought I might like to read them. I will. We also talked about family relationships for awhile. Real exciting.
Her clients are giving her a hard time, she tells me. My ex-friend, Ron Collins, walked out on her during counseling. Another of her clients just doesn't want to stop drinking, and another just avoided her all together. The poor girl can't understand why some (most) of the men here are so unmotivated. These guys are expert, big time game players, and Cathy can't quite comprehend that. I'm sure she's hurt when she doesn't seem to get through to them.
Oh well, some progress was made I guess. For my cause at least. She now knows that I was adopted at the crisp age of four days old, that I witnessed my father's fatal heart attack, that my mom is coming to visit Sunday, (I talked to her yesterday), and that I have Sundays and Mondays off.
I still haven't the faintest idea of what she feels about me. If she truly likes me, or is just making polite conversation to this idiot who won't stop talking to her. She's not giving me a clue.
Women! I swear! I'm seriously considering becoming a monk. And I believe I'm getting a headache to boot.
Then she was gone with the wind. Poof! Just like that. For a whole week. Another week of stewing in the juices of my own making, for roughly 160 hours, or so. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Next week! Next week I swear, so help me God, I will ask her out! Sink or swim, I need to know if my preoccupation will amount to anything. Will we become lovers, friends, acquaintances, or will she crush me altogether with a single negative response, my love remaining unrequited, dooming me to eternal loneliness and desperation.
By golly, I sure hope it's not the crushing part. I really do.
I will however find out one way or another.
Or will I chicken out at the last minute? Freezing up like the wimpy, whoosie kind of guy I secretly know myself to be.
Who knows?
Oh Jesus! Where's a good monastery?

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