Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Salvation Diary Seventeen

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

I woke up at 6:30, went to the bathroom, went back to my bed and kept one of my eyes on the clock until 8:00. Then I got dressed for chapel.
Major Johnson approached me in the lobby. "Hi Rick."
"Good morning, sir."
"Have you seen the photographic display that Ed and Jill made up last week?"
"No. I've seen the pictures, but I haven't seen the display yet."
"It's over in the staff lounge. Next time you get a chance take a look. Of course, you turned out to be the star of the show."
"You. Your picture turned out rather well."
"Well I can't believe it's due to the subject, sir. It's amazing what a good photographer can do with practically nothing."
False modesty. Perhaps. The picture was no big deal. A spur of the moment thing. Just a snapshot of myself while I pondered the mysteries of superunification. It did manage to capture my extreme cuteness though.
When the Major disappeared into the Fellowship of Prayer meeting, Eddie Gillespie told me that he had shown him a picture of the Korean War Memorial, which he had found in a copy of U.S. News and World Report. The issues lead story was an overview of the Korean War, "the forgotten war."
"What is it?" the Major had asked. Apparently he had served in Korea. So had Eddie. So had Mr. Vasquez. "I can see two trees. Is that it?"
"I don't know," Eddie replied. "I guess."
Personally I wouldn't mind a tree as a living monument. Much better than a cold piece of stone.
After chapel I sat in the lobby reading, "The Dark Half," Stephen King's latest, waiting for the clock to hit 11:30, at which time I intended to wander up to the UA theater on Colorado to see the new film, "The Hard Way," starring James Woods and Michael J Fox. A comedy. At 11:25 Mr. Vasquez called me over the PA system to come to the sample room.
"Shit!" I said to myself. I knew what he wanted. I had asked him to show me how to do a calibration run on the ADx machine, and by the time we were finished it was too late for me to go to the movies.
I was angry because of this, and was surprised at those feelings. Another example of how a spoiled little boy reacts when he doesn't get what he wants, I thought to myself. Sometimes I can be quite childish this way. I guess everybody can at times. So I experienced the anger, felt it, realized those feelings for what they were, and got on with my life. That's what recovering alkies are supposed to do I'm told. Either that, or talk to your sponsor. Then he (or she) will tell you to experience your anger, feel it, realize those feelings for what they are, and get on with your life.
After lunch I ran some more tests (since I was there anyway), then took a short nap.
Surprisingly enough, I woke just in time for dinner, in which I partook there of (tamales), then I went upstairs and watched the last three quarters of a repeat "Star Trek, the Next Generation," episode. I started to watch a teenage sex movie, "Private School," but got fed up within five minutes, and came down to write in the lobby.
I guess I'm finally maturing, or at least getting older. Teenage sex movies no longer interest me.
X rated movies of course are another matter. You can learn quite a bit from X rated movies if you work at it.
But even those no longer interest me. I'm beginning to like reality too much.
I had a nice egg and cheese sandwich while finishing up my writing. I then disappeared into my room and watched, "Married to the Mob," the Sunday night V.C.R. movie, on channel seven. I'd seen it before. Not too bad. A good part for Dean Stockwell, and I'm secretly in love with Nancy Travis.
I watched a vampire episode of the television show, "Monsters." And then two pretty good episodes of "The New Twilight Zone." One was written by Richard Mattheson, entitled, "Button, Button," concerning a young bored housewife who is given a box with a button on top. She is told she has a choice; press the button, or don't. If she does not, nothing will happen. If she does she will collect $200,000.00, but she is guaranteed that someone she does not know will die as a direct result of her having pressed the button.
What do you suppose the bored housewife did, dear reader? What would you do in her position?
She pressed the button, and the same mysterious man who first brought her the box came back with a suitcase full of money. He also took back the "button mechanism," stating , "One push per customer."
"Did someone... you know, did someone..."
"Did someone you did not know die?" He smiled, "Absolutely."
When she asks, what will happen next, he replies, "You can be assured, it will be given to someone you do not know."
I turned off the TV, and the lights and tried to sleep. I was planning to get up early so I needed to sleep. It did not come to me though, and I began to think of Jill. I wondered what she had done today. If she had gone to the Hastings movie theater again this Sunday, what her boyfriend was like.
I don't really know why I was thinking of her. I hardly know the woman.
I thought to myself that it was because I was feeling lonely. That I don't know that many people I can talk to, or that I didn't really have any friends. My job didn't help. I'm ostracized by most in the residence. But that's okay, anyone whose job gives them a certain amount of authority over others feel that.
I wasn't feeling sorry for myself, it was more of an acceptance of the way things are.
So why had I thought of Jill?
When men feel lonely they think of women, I guessed. Most men at least.
I fell asleep dreaming of giant cockroaches devouring Phil Donahue.

March 11 Monday Day 180

Mr Vasquez needed to go to the V.A. clinic early today. Something about the Diabetic Clinic only being open on Monday mornings.
Since it was my day off I had planned to also go to the V.A. clinic early this morning to see about a possible discharge upgrade. I had planned this excursion for the last week, and had acquired a letter written by Clarence Orion stating my intentions to the clinic.
As I have attempted to explain before, Mr. Vasquez and I can be in the residence at the same time, but we cannot both be away from it at the same time, for any extended period of time. One of us must be on duty.
In the battle to see who would actually go to the clinic I lost miserably. Not that Robert was overbearing about it, he wasn't. It's just that he had a medical reason to go and I did not.
So I took care of the residence while he was gone.
Ron Collins came up to the desk before devotions and looked out the window.
"Hey! There's some snow on those mountains."
I turned around and had a look myself. He was right, there was snow. A small amount of the white stuff had deposited itself on the higher slopes of the nearby San Gabriel Mountains over the night.
"Yes there is," I agreed. "I better call Frank Corona to get a crew up there with shovels to cover it up."
Richard my counselor came in this morning. He has volunteered to counsel now three days a week, instead of two, because most of our other counselors are abandoning us.
He was in a really good mood, the best I ever seen him. So Clearance Bliss, who was working the desk with me, got into an argument with him as soon as possible, to calm him down a little. I did not get to hear the argument myself, although I was told it was philosophically orientated.
I got some writing done, and picked up some toilet paper from warehouse supply too.
I continued reading the Stephen King novel (once I start one of these I can't seem to stop. This book, like "Misery," concerns an author. In this tale the writer's fictional character comes to life and starts acting naughty, killing people and stuff.
Robert did not come back until 12:50, ten minutes before the big gratuity board meeting began. As soon as he left for that I went up to my room and stared at Elvira for awhile, then took a little snooze.
Upon awaking, I went for a walk and bought my last pack of cigarettes.
This evening I watched the film version of one of the books I've been reading, "The Milagro Beanfield War." Although John Nichols, the author of the book, co-authored the screenplay for the movie, there seemed to be a heck of a lot of inconsistencies between the two, and within the story itself. Unforgivable compromise.
It was still a very notable film.
I had at one time rented the video of this film, but I was drunk when Jan and I watched it, and I passed out about half way through. Jan later told me it was good, and she had been right.
After the movie I read some more of the book version, then yet once again, fell asleep.

March 12 Tuesday Day 181

180 days! Six months numerically! Not too bad. Not too shabby. I just be floating along now.
I was forced to get up early again today and go to work. Work, work, work, that's all I do.
Richard, my electric carted counselor, was back here again this morning. He was still in a really good mood, so we brought Clarence Bliss down as fast as possible.
I picked up some more toilet paper from across the street. You can never have too much.
Ron Collins brought me a new book to read, "A Brief History of Time," by Stephen Hawking. It's about physics basically, and cosmology specifically. The first chapter is an examination of our traditional views of the universe. The book looked to be promising, and I read it while Rockoff was in with the tutor studying for his GED.
Robert was three minutes late relieving me so I was forced to slap him around a little. He took it well.
I took a short nap after my shift, and got up for group counseling with the cool, but elusive Jill.
While I was waiting for Jill to arrive (she was a little late again) sitting in the lobby, minding my own business of course, I noticed one of the Tuesday clinic nurses talking with one of the men who had just entered the program today. He was sitting in a wheelchair. It seems he was complaining of chest pains.
Mr. Vasquez, concerned individual that he is, was calling 911, the emergency number, while asking incredulously, "You mean Clarence Orion let you in here with a heart condition?!"
Jill finally arrived and began her group. She had an opportunity to chastise me for not going to the V.A. clinic as I had told her I would, and she took full advantage of it. I told her that I would go next week, and that I would also go to the dentist, continue writing, continue reading, and quit smoking as of midnight.
Kelly Timmon's goal for the upcoming week was to try and stay clear of radioactive armadillos.
Dennis Smith kept smiling and licking his lips suggestively. To my horror this tactic must have worked as Jill asked him to stay after the meeting.
After group I took up position in the lobby, reading and writing. A visiting Captain and Colonel walked in. They were headed toward to elevator when Jill walked out of the counseling room. The two officers took a look at her and stopped in their tracks, evidently, and simultaneously coming to the conclusion that whatever they had been talking about could better be said in the middle of the busy lobby, instead of on the way to their quarters. Soon the Colonel walked up to Jill and engaged her in conversation.
These Salvation Army officers are such flirts. Transparent ones at that. Men are so obvious sometimes, I swear. It's embarrassing. I often wonder why women have anything to do with us. I wouldn't if I were a woman.
I'd be a lesbian!
I walked to Vons and bought four dollars worth of lotto tickets. Since I was going to quit smoking at midnight I could now afford to buy so many. There is a new lottery game out. It's called "Little Lotto." The odds of winning the "Little Lotto," are about one in three million, instead of one in fifteen million in the regular lottery. That doesn't exactly bolster my confidence about winning, but what the hell...
I watched a stupid Steven Segall movie when I got back, then read some more of the King novel.
Shortly before midnight I smoked my last cigarette again.
And shortly after midnight, I officially had six months clean and sober.
Not too bad. Not two shabby. I just be floating along...

March 13 Wednesday Day 182

Six months today! This book, log, journal, or whatever it may be, is 50% complete now. Don't worry dear reader, we can make it. Kevin Rockoff gave me a six month chip since I still haven't found any meetings that give them. Not that I've been going to a lot of meetings lately.
It being Wednesday I had to work all day. But to celebrate I thought it would be a good idea to inhale some more poison into my lungs, so I resumed smoking cigarettes.
And I got myself a new pillow. A nice big soft one. This was partly to compensate for the loss of Elvira. Mr. Vasquez had let the fire alarm people into my room to check the smoke detector, and discovered Elvira in the process. You see, we're not supposed to have pictures on our walls, especially pictures of beautiful women. It's unchristian I guess. Or at least, unSalvation Armyish. Robert told me to take Elvira down, even after I explained to him that she was my sister. He didn't buy it, and now she's history. That's okay, it was a little spooky with her staring at me all of the time.
Elvira is still in my room, but she's all rolled up now.
I also had to take down the two stuffed birds that had been hanging on the fire sprinkler.
So now my room became lonely once more.
And shortly before midnight I smoked my last cigarette.

March 14 Thursday Day 183

It started to rain. And it's cold too.
I wrote and read early in the day. I read about elementary particles, and the four fundamental forces of nature. Pretty nifty.
The visiting Captain and Colonel left this morning. We had to give them the old boot to make way for a visiting Major and his family. I've never seen as many freeloaders as these Salvation Army guys. As soon as we kicked the two officers out, I had the janitors converge in a merciless fashion upon the two apartments, sending them into a synthetic cleaning frenzy. They got everything together in record time. All the beds made, carpets vacuumed, and toilets cleaned before lunch. Very good.
We've been having a little problem getting bread lately. Supermarkets and such have not been donating as much as they should. Ron Collins is our new public relations guy, and one of his responsibilities is to convince local markets what a wonderful thing it would be for them to give us their day old bread. He was going up to Vons right after work.
"Strike up a deal," I suggested. "They give us all their bread, and we won't allow our clients to shoplift in their stores anymore. You can't lose! Tell'em we'll move over to Hughes."
I took a long nap after lunch. I was very tired for some reason.
I don't even want to talk about cigarettes.
The evening passed quickly. No problems with either Substance Abuse or the panel meetings. Wilford Maze was fifteen minutes late for the A.A. panel, and then continued to be late while attempting to talk me out of putting him on the Saturday work list.
"It's either that, Wilford, or I have to write you up."
He gave me a pleading look. "But I got stuff I gotta do on Saturday, Rick."
"Wilford! You're asking me to forget about it, and I'm not going to do that. If you couldn't afford a write up or some time on Saturday, then you should have been in the A.A. meeting twenty minutes earlier. It's as simple as that."
He was unhappy when he finally walked away, because I did not give in to him. A lot of the guys in here are used to getting their own way through the use of high intensity verbal bullshit. They are amazed when it does not work! I am now so used to this ploy that it rarely has any affect on me. Now hopefully, Wilford has a better understanding of how he is responsible for his own actions, and will surely suffer the consequences, or pleasures thereof.
I read some more about infinite gravitational fields, then at eleven o'clock went to bed, grateful that I could sleep in tomorrow.

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