Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Skid Row Diary 7


Second week

July 2003 Sunday Day 8

One week without cigarettes, sexual activity, and drugs and alcohol of course. I haven't had any booze for about two months now. One week of trying to change, one day at a time. One week of attempting a reversal of fortune... all for what purpose?
To see what's it's like I imagine. And to prepare for my death.
I had an urge to smoke yesterday that I forgot to write about. It occurred on the bus coming back from Pasadena. I was thinking about how nice it was going to be to get back, relax, and watch "Predator," later that night. Then I thought about smoking while watching the movie, and how nice that would be. And I knew I could not have a cigarette, and that saddened me. I suffer from low impulse control, and controlling an impulse saddens me. The urge was strong but fleeting. I expect I'll have them for the rest of my life from time to time if I continue not to smoke. I expect the urge will come every time I think about smoking, and go away when I don't.
Urges to drink alcohol, or smoke marijuana, which are my favorite drugs to use to escape, do not manifest themselves. Not as much as nicotine for sure. I'd really want to throw caution to the wind to use alcohol.
Nicotine is much more addictive than alcohol... and much more insidious. But we'll talk about that in a little while.
By the way, one of the medications I take on a daily basis is called Wellbutrin. It is prescribed to me for depression, but I don't take it for that. I'm prescribed Prozac as well, which I don't take. I use Wellbutrin to help relieve the withdrawal symptoms from nicotine. You can use it as well if you wish to stop smoking, it may help. I'm not sure it helps me, but I have it so I take it, and now I have one week.
I just hope I don't begin to experience any of the side effects like changes in appetite; constipation; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; headache; increased sweating; nausea; nervousness; restlessness; taste changes; trouble sleeping; vomiting; weight changes. That would be disconcerting.
I expecially hope I don't experience any severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, unusual hoarseness or); blurred vision or other vision changes; changes in sexual desire or ability; chest pain; confusion; dark urine; delusions; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; hearing problems; menstrual changes; new or worsening mental or mood changes (eg, concentration problems, depression, panic attacks, aggressiveness, agitation, anxiety, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, inability to sit still); pale stools; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; severe headache or dizziness; severe or persistent joint or muscle pain; severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain; severe or persistent nervousness, restlessness, or trouble sleeping; shortness of breath; suicidal thoughts or attempts; tremor; unusual swelling; yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Boy I sure wish I don't experience any of those... especially menstrual changes. That would be a real shocker.
I had over a year nicotine free in 2002 without using anything. It can be done.
I'm not even going to talk about sex yet. Christ! You women are everywhere.
I began this peaceful Sunday at 3:00AM, up to watch a movie, "The Truth About Cats and Dogs," on channel 13.
Okay, I know what your thinking. It's a chick flick! Why would a ruggedly handsome, virile male want to get up at 3:00 for Christ's sake, to watch a chick flick? Well, because "Voyager," is not broadcast on Sunday and Monday mornings (as if they needed the weekend off) for one thing. And second, the movie has Janeane Garofalo and Uma Thurman in it.
They are both wonderful and amazing actresses. Janeane is a comedian and actress, and is a national treasure (so is Uma). Her performance in "Sweethearts," was mesmerizing. And I liked "Mystery Men," very much... screw Howard Stern.
Uma is an underrated actress as well. And she's kind of cute... for a girl... as is Janeane. Uma's performance in "Hysterical Blindness," should have won her an Academy Award, even though it was produced and broadcast by HBO.
"I'm too aloof."
And I liked "The Avengers," and will defend it until the end of my days.
I'm too aloof as well. I can relate to Uma. We have so much in common.
At 5:00, after yoga, I meditated while listening to Shubert's string quintet #10. I then wrote until 11:30 or so, then read the paper and Alan Watts "The Way of Zen."
Boiled eggs and potatoes for breakfast. The kitchen tends to always leave the skin of the potatoes on while cooking, which I don't care for. However the price is right (free). I walked to Jack's Market on Fifth Street to buy a paper afterwards. Jack wasn't there.
Speaking of the restroom, there is the same window arrangement in the crapper as there is in the shower room. So all us veterans have excellent views of City Hall as we do our business.
Hat's off to you mayor!
The song "Bette Davis Eyes," sung by the throaty Kim Karnes, keeps going through my mind. I don't know why.
As I closed in on Jack's I heard a female homeless person across the street singing Cyndi Lauper's, "Time After Time." Small world.
I used the computer in the day room again. I figured out how to make the word processor do what I needed it to do. I copied a few files, and sent John Manzano an Email asking him what the hell was up!
The television in the day room was once again tuned into the British Open golf tournament. I don't know how many golfers we have around here. The average age of the residents on the 5th floor must be about 54, or so, which is about right since golf is a game for geezers, and those about ready for the bone yard.
I don't play golf of course. I'm much too young.
Mark and Brian play golf. So does Frankie.
I play miniature golf, which is a real man's game. Why, anybody can get the little ball in the hole without the windmills and waterfalls in the way. Even women.
34 years ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren took their first walk on the moon. I have no interest in going there.
At 8:37AM precisely I left the building and walked east on 6th toward Central. There was a big line of homeless people, or those who just wanted a free meal, in my way. Something compelled me to stop and look. Someone was nice enough to come down to Skid Row and give away some hot Mexican food, and a wide variety of individuals were lined up to get some. Old and young, men and women. Children scattered about. It was a bit overcast, but warm and muggy. Most were dressed in shorts and T-shirts. Most were clean, but some were filthy, as if they hadn't bathed for weeks. I wondered about them. Where would they go after they ate? What would they do for the rest of the day? What plans do they have? What dreams?
I believe the homeless situation in most American cities is a national travesty, and could be greatly alleviated by an encouraged, pro-active, Department of Mental Health. Most of these people are very sick, one way or another, and need the nation's love and resources to help them. Of course, some won't want to change. If it's their decision made free from illness, more power to them.
I stepped over the bald lady who used to scream under my window every night while I lived at Harbor Light. She was stretched out on the sidewalk with one dirty sock on, below her tattered skirt. She could be someone's mom and should be helped.
I entered Gladys Park for the 9:00AM Drifters meeting and took a seat on one of the folding chairs. The park, if you want to call it that, is mostly cemented over, and is one third basketball court. It occupies approximately 30 by 20 yards of the southwest corner of Gladys and 6th St. The 18 and 53 buses pass by on a somewhat regular basis on 6th, and pick up riders, and sometimes, let them off, making a big racket in doing so. There is only one small patch of grass, but there are many trees that do provide a fair amount of shade, which will come in handy especially during this meeting, and as the day gets hotter. This is the closest 12 Step meeting to the Weingart, and usually is held at night. 7:30, to be exact. That would be at dusk this time of year. And this is the only meeting to be held outside that I know about in the area. When it gets dark one can look up to the stars and see the face of God.
A nice middle class white lady from the valley introduced someone she had brought with her to speak. Kirk was his name. I had brought my writing folder with me, and so wrote while listening to his story. I enjoyed a cup of coffee as well.
Kirk spoke of a friend of his who got so tired after using meth, that he couldn't get up off his couch, even to save his own life when his house caught fire. Kirk himself, once drank himself into a coma, with a blood alcohol level of .05, over three times the level considered by the police to denote intoxication. He said the first thing he did upon leaving the hospital was to look for spare change to buy a drink. Now he has 8 years sober.
I left just before the meeting ended, returning to my room. I continued writing and looking through the want ads. I found a couple of good prospects, and a few so, so.
After lunch (corn dogs), I read the rest of the paper while peeking at "Andromeda," starring Laura Bertram, a show supposedly created by Gene Roddenberry. The producers neglected to put Laura into today's show, so I soon lost interest. I did see "Candyman," though, or the guy who played the hated ghost in those movies.
At 1:00 a four hour presentation of Peter Benchley's "Creature," starring Kim Cantrell, whom I'd so recently been involved with. It was good to see her again.
The movie sucked though. A shark/dolphin hybrid turned into a manfish. Now I can understand a man turning into a fly, or a praying mantis, but a shark/dolphin hybrid? Come on! That tests the limits of credulity.
At 2:00, I turned "Creature" off to watch the "series of stolen ten years," episode of the new "Outer Limits." Always worth watching.
At 3:00, when the "Outer Limits," was over, I turned back to the creature movie to see how things were progressing... then turned it off again and practiced some yoga.
After dinner, (about half of a ham sandwich), I finished up reading the paper, while watching the History Detectives try to authenticate a picture of George Washington. It was fake.
I'd like to be a history detective. Wouldn't you?
I went to sleep early, at 7:30, after the robot sex change operation episode of "Futurerama," starring Katie Sagal. I read from "The Way of Zen," which knocked me right out.
I dreamt I was in a hula hoop contest with Janeane and Uma. Both of them were wearing ankle length dresses and white socks. I was wearing jeans and a white T-shirt, with the words," Beware of the Andromeda Strain," printed on the front. My hula hoop was red. Uma's blue, and Janeane's emerald green. We were twirling our hips and keeping rhythm to Cyndi Lauper's "Iko Iko." None of us would give up. Just as I couldn't take it anymore, almost falling to floor in exhaustion, I woke up, because my alarm sounded.
It was 11:00, and I got up to see the Sunday night edition of the "X Files." The "golem in the gated community," episode, particularly noteworthy due to Scully and Mulder' going undercover as a married couple, Rob and Laura Petrie.
"Next time, Mulder," Scully exclaimed, "I get to pick the names."
"Okay honey buns... sweetie kins..."

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