Friday, February 28, 2014

Skid Row Diary 22

28   August   Thursday  2003    Day 47

   Giselle was wearing a lovely black dress today, which made me very happy.
   I had woke and showered at 7:30, and a good thing to as the maid came right at 8. A day late, she must have been making up for lost time. I went down to breakfast.
   Scrambled eggs and a sausage patty thing that was intended to look like spare ribs. I sat at a table in the back of the dining hall by myself. Someone had left a full tray of food at that table. I finished my eggs, then ate those on the abandoned tray since no one else had come to claim them.
   I like eggs.
   I returned to my freshly cleaned room and began to write. While writing it occurred to me that I might get a session in with my caseworker, and I went to see if she was free.
   She was! As usual she made it seem like she was doing me a big favor by seeing me, she being so busy and all.
   I told her that I was starting school next week and that I might need some cash for books.
   “Have you seen Larry?” she asked.
   “Yeah, I saw him. He sent off my resume to one job, said he’d look into some others. He also said he’d look into the CWT program for me. I’ll be doing that at ASAP as well.”
   “Did he talk to you about interviewing?”
   “Interviewing? No, not really.”
   She frowned. “I wanted him to talk to you about interviewing,” she said. “You’ve been getting a lot of interviews, but not a job. Maybe you’re not interviewing well.”
   I hadn’t been getting a lot of interviews, but Labren will think what she wants to think no matter what I say.
   “We cover interviewing in the super search meetings, pretty much.” I told her. “I’ll be seeing him there at ten o’clock.”
   “What do you think?”
   “What do I think about what?”
   “Do you think you interview okay?”
   “Yeah. I don’t think that’s the problem. I think the market is flooded with young people who can do customer service. After all, it’s not brain surgery. Employers don’t seem to care about prospective employees having a lot of experience. The eight hundred number to block telemarketers will soon be in service which will also complicate things.”
   “Good,” she said, deviating from my point. “I can’t stand those telemarketers.”
   “Yeah,” I said.
   She checked again for the last time she had checked my urine. She didn’t find anything since I’ve never been tested at the Weingart. Instead of testing me herself she called Dr Yu at ASAP, and asked for him to call her back.
   We said goodbye, and I went down to the super search meeting.
   I found Gary Porch waiting outside. He thinks he has to attend these meetings now, so we sat next to each other. 
   He was telling me an engaging story about how one time he had been stopped on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) at 3:30AM by the police, while walking a dachshund on a leash in his undershorts. He wasn’t able to recall where it was exactly he had acquired the dog, or where his clothes had gotten to. Fortunately, Gary concluded, the dog had it’s owners name and address printed on a tag it was wearing on a collar. It was subsequently returned to it’s rightful owners. 
   I happen to like dachshunds. My childhood pet, Buttons, was a dachshund. We slept through the 1971 Sylmar earthquake together, her resting between my outstretched legs.   
   The meeting began and Richard Cairns reviewed some items regarding interviewing, specifically on how to answer the innocuous “Tell me a little about yourself.”
   Richard is a man within his element. Very smart, witty, elegant. I like him. I feel he is sincere in his desire to help people who want to get a job, and knows what he is talking about. We’re happy to have him. He does tend to lecture though, and I wondered about what had happened to him to bring him to this... how shall I put this delicately... pisshole.
   Perhaps I’ll ask him sometime, but not today. 
   After the meeting I returned to my lonely room and wrote for a bit. At 12:15 I checked in at the dinning hall and decided to skip lunch. Instead I walked to the V.A. Clinic.
   Two representatives from the L.A. Vets were guests at Kathy’s Phase II meeting. They spoke briefly of the veterans housing facility in Inglewood. I’ve heard it before.
   One of them gave me a dirty look when I refused to give them my social security number and date of birth on their separate sign in sheet. What reason could they possibly have for requesting that information? I don’t like giving the IRS my social security number let alone L.A. Vets.
   After they left Kathy briefly spoke of the Mars occlusion. She seems to believe in astrology, and feels that the “magnetic” pull of the planets affects our precious body fluids. “After all,” she said, “the moon affects the tides.”
   She’s right about that of course. If she replaced the word “magnetic” with “gravitational,” then she’d be spot on. 
   As far as affecting individuals, it is debatable that the moon has had any affect on human evolution other than keeping our ancestors up at night when it was full and providing the maximum amount of reflected sunlight. The other planets certainly had no detectable influence on us at all. Only the sun, which provides heat and light, and the occasional meteorite or comet that impacts with the Earth’s surface has any appreciable affect on us. 
   I did not attempt to educate her. It wasn’t the place or the time. But I really wanted to let her know that astrology is to astronomy, what blood letting is to antibiotics.
   Next, I dashed to Arco Plaza to check my mail (nothing), and buy my monthly buss pass (required each 30 days or so due to the moon’s magnetic phase cycle).
   To school after that. I took the Red Line from 7th Street to Vermont and Santa Monica Blvd. On my way to the business office I ran into Mike, a young white guy about my age, but not as good looking as I am. 
   I spent a good part of last year living in the same building as Mike, Harbor Light at 5th and Central. He was closer to Kevin Donaldson than he was with me. Kevin had made headlines recently by climbing to the top of a large construction crane at L.A. and 2nd Street, and threatening to jump off. However we usually ate at the same table if we found ourselves in the dinning room together. 
   He had just finished a nurse’s aid class, learning how to provide aid and comfort for lovely young nurses. He was dissatisfied with that position however, saying it was no challenge to him. He now wanted to become a registered nurse himself, and have aid and comfort provided to him. 
   I wished him luck, and told him I’d more than likely see him at a Drifter’s Meeting, as he usually pours the coffee at in the evening. 
   At the business office I found a long, slow moving line waiting for me. That’s what I got, I told myself, for waiting to the last minute to get things done.
   I got in line, joining my fellow students. Quite an eclectic group I must say. 
   As I got to about the fourth place from the window, a young, bearded man wearing shorts jumped in line ahead of everyone and began to take care of his business. He had not been in our line, but had been standing next to it near the front. What amazed me was that the guy who he had jumped directly ahead of let him get away with this, thereby not only inconveniencing himself, but everyone else behind him... all of us legitimate line standers.
   If he had jumped ahead of me I’m afraid I would have trounced the young upstart, or at least I would have voiced my objection strenuously in a clear, unambiguous manner. My tolerance for people who cut in lines is non-existent.
   I finally made it to the window. A nice black lady asked me for a dollar, and I gave her one. She in turn gave me a fee receipt, and class schedule. I had thought the charge was $8, and was pleasantly surprised. 
   I had heard someone talking about the Cub Card while waiting in line. That’s the school I.D. card, and I figured I better get one so I could use the school’s computers, and be admitted to other activities.
   It took about five minutes to find that office, and another five to fill out a form and have my picture taken. The photo turned out rather well, although my ears looked huge. They’re not big and floppy in reality, just floppy.
   Business done, I returned to the Weingart.
   I spent the remainder of the evening in deep meditation, until 12:30 in the morning, when I stopped, and switched on the T.V. to Conan O'Brien interviewing Jerry Lewis, one of my favorite comedians as a child. I was shocked to see he had turned into Buddy Hackett, having gained approximately 3 million pounds. I thought it was a joke at first, and that he was wearing a fat suit, but it was no joke.
   I like my comedians lean and mean.
   Fortunately, I will never have to worry about becoming fat. My ego will never allow it. I know this to be true, as I’ve tried to get fat before and couldn’t do it. 
   I went to sleep and dreamt I was in a school room, and Catherine Bell, the beautiful and talented star of “Bruce Almighty,” and “J.A.G.” was my teacher. She was wearing an Indian elephant shirt and pants. I had brought her a nice shinny apple and she showed me her pierced belly button while patting me on the head.

29    August   Friday  Day 48

   I spent today in quiet meditation. I ate when I was hungry. I went to the bathroom when needed. I took a shower. 
   Just past midnight I ceased my communication with the infinite emptiness and retired to my bed. I dreamt I was in a small row boat with Brittany O’Connell, the lovely and talented star of such films as, “Birthday Bash,” “The Drifter.” She was dressed in shorts and a halter top, and I had to stand over her during the day in order to protect her fair skin from the blistering Sun’s rays. We were near the middle of the mighty Pacific, just east of the Marshall Islands. Great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran) circled around us and we caught several for food. I would just jump in and wrestle with them until they got tired and gave up. 
   We would hold each other at night to keep warm, and count the stars in the sky above.

30  August   Saturday    Day 49

   “Man suffers because of his craving to possess and keep forever things which are essentially impermanent. Chief among these things is his own person, for this is his means of isolating himself from the rest of life, his castle into which he can retreat from which he believes he can assert himself against external forces.   -Alan Watts   
   Off to Trimar again today, a needed trip in order to pay for tomorrow’s movies.   
   I woke late however, 8:30, or so, and by the time I started moving I was quite rushed to shower, dine on some tasty Top Ramen, clean my lonely room, and get dressed by the 9:30 deadline to sign in at the front desk. 
   Heaven forbid I go down and do it ahead of time, and make two trips.
   I made it with five minutes to spare.
   At the 99 Cent Store in Van Nuys I picked up some nice coffee, 2 cans of spaghetti rings, 1 can of French cut green beans, 2 note books, 150 sheets of blank paper used to write on, microwave popcorn, pre-poped popcorn (what a great idea!), cheese flavored, 1 blank VCR tape, and 9 packages of Top Ramen (mostly of the chicken variety, as this seems to be the tastiest).
   I walked two blocks east on Vanowen from Van Nuys Blvd. to get a jump on all of those waiting at the Van Nuys Blvd. bus stop, and sat down behind a tree to take out, and re-arrange all of my 99 Cent Store goods in an orderly manner, making them easier to transport, when the bus I was waiting for rushed by without stopping. I ranted. I raved. I did that for a full two minutes. It didn’t do any good at all.
   I walked further east to Hazeltine to wait for the next bus.    
   It was a hot day, and I stood in the shade of a telephone pole while waiting, watching the activities of the busy Van Nuys Plywood and Lumber Company across the street. 
   Many people were in need of fresh wood today.
   The next bus eventually came and delivered me to Trimar. It was only half as busy as it was last week. The silly movie “Daredevil,” starring Jennifer Garner was on (I was very sorry I had missed the beginning of the film, but had to wonder why blindness, which is normally a very debilitating disability, gave Ben Affleck special acrobatic and fighting powers? Are all blind people secretly harboring these powers? Is the use of seeing eye dogs just a ruse? I can understand that his sense of hearing is extraordinarily keen, but this Daredevil guy can do things the men’s US Olympic Gymnastic Team can’t do... and they practice!), to be followed by “The Tuxedo,” starring the lovely and talented Jennifer Love Hewitt (the aesthetic value of the beginning of the film opening with a close up of a dear urinating into a mountain stream, transitioning into a montage of said water being processed for human consumption, can not be overstated).
   My lovely friend Aurica stuck me today. She seemed distant at first, but warmed up considerably after I asked her how her birthday had been (it’s so easy to manipulate women when you know how. It’s so easy to do anything when you know how).   
   “Oh, it was very good!” she said. “Many, many, friends came over. And we go to Santa Barbara. At first I want to have quiet day, but lots of my friends, even from Romania, came, and we have such a good time. I enjoy so much!”
   She lightly chastised me for not putting enough vitamin E on the scar tissue within the nook of my left arm, yet she had no trouble inserting the needle. 
   She wished me luck with school, and to have a happy holiday, before taking off for lunch.
   Even Anna, the Viking/Wagnerian blonde, co-owner of Trimar, said hello to me today.
   “Hello, Richard.” (she calls me Richard) “How are you? Are you ready for a good Labor Day?”
   “No ma'am.”   
   She’s never done that before. I must have looked especially handsome.
   I have since discovered that the Daredevil, the blind superhero played by Ben Affleck, was taking a shortcut home when he was a small child, and was blinded after toxic waste spilled over his eyes, which happened to enhance his other senses, and gave him sonar that allowed him to “see” through the use of sonic vibrations. He then used his super sense to teach himself martial arts.
   So he’s sort of like a handsome Toxic Avenger.
   Well I’m certainly glad we’ve cleared that up.
   And thank goodness for toxic waste!
   When I was finished, I left. I bought a Super Lotto ticket at 7 Eleven, then waited for the bus. 
   It is true. I could have used my super awareness of space and time to ascertain the lotto winning number, but that would have been unethical.
   I made good time back to the Weingart, and got a good deal of writing done. There was not a lot to watch on television this evening, so I tried to watch “Election,” starring the lovely and talented Reese Witherspoon, but the cassette jammed, and kept turning the VCR’s power off every time I put it in. I ranted. I raved for about one minute. It did no good.
   I threw the tape away.
   I read Wednesday’s paper and watched an NBC blooper show, which forced me to chuckle.
   I tried to read  the last story from King’s “Everything’s Eventual,” before sleep overwhelmed me, but was unsuccessful.
   Surprisingly I had a dream. I dreamt I was skiing down the Matterhorn (which is a big mountain  on the border between Switzerland and Italy, and is not at all easy to ski down. I would go so far as to say it’s downright hard) in between Reese Witherspoon and Renee Summers, the lovely and talented star of such films as “Sweet Feet,” and “Stiff Magnolias.” We were doing splendidly until a tree came out of nowhere and did a Sonny Bono on me. The girls didn’t seem to notice and continued their swift descent, their hair flowing back in the self manufactured breeze.

31   August   Sunday   Day 50

   I got up at 5:04 and quickly showered. I then took a bag full of dirty laundry to the washer and started a load. I returned to my room and wrote for a half hour before going to check my laundry. It was just beginning the last spin cycle. I noticed that someone had come and started the dryer. I checked to make sure it wasn’t my clothes in there. It wasn’t. About 10 white undergarments were being dried. Great, I thought to myself. Now I’ll have to wait for them to finish before I can dry my clothes.
   A black guy, about my age, with slightly gray hair, came and stood outside of the laundry room waiting for something. I didn’t say anything to him, nor he to me. He had a bag of clothes with him, and as soon as the washer stopped and I put my wet clothes on top of the dryer, he began loading up the washer with his clothes.
   I returned to my room and continued writing. I had a fair idea about what was about to happen, and got a little angry. 
   Before his load had finished washing, I returned to the laundry room and sat at station outside the door. The other gentleman showed up at regular intervals to check on his clothes. As soon as the washer stopped it's last cycle, he came, checked the clothes in the dryer, and said to me, “The dryer’s still going. I’m going to put these into the dryer.”
   “No. You’re not going to hijack the dryer! You can dry the clothes that are in there, wait, like I’ve had to wait for you, until my clothes are finished, then you can dry the rest of your stuff.”
   Of course he began to rant and rave like a little bitch. “Hijack the dryer?! How can I hijack the dryer when I’m already using it? I’m going to put my clothes in...” bla, bla, bla.
   If the circumstances had been different I would have just decked him, but I wasn’t about to get thrown out of the Weingart over a load of laundry. I have too many books to look after. Too many possessions that I have which possess me.
   “I’m going to call security,” I told him.
   “Go ahead. Call security. I don’t care.”
   What a little bitch.
   I called security from the phone in the lobby and told them they’d better get up here as there was an altercation in the laundry room.
   “Okay. First off, I’m going to warn you that if you two get into a fight you’re both going to get thrown out...”
   “I know sir,” I told him. “That’s why I called you.”
   The security man, a young black kid, was up there via the elevator before I got off the phone. He was talking to the security guard downstairs over his radio.
   “Let the guy whose clothes were in the washer first finish,” his boss was instructing him.
   While I was away my tormentor had put his clothes into the dryer, and started it up.
   The young security guard listened to both of our stories, and then ignored his bosses instructions, allowing the other guy to continue to dry his clothes, stating, “I can’t tell him to stop drying his clothes since you weren't using the machine when he started, and as soon as his cycle ends you can dry yours.”
   “But he’s put in another token, probably! It’ll be another hour!”
   “Did you put in another token?” the security guard asked him.
   “No,” and opened his palm to show a spare token, as that were some kind of proof.
   “There, you see,” the security guard said to me.
   “See what?! How do you know he didn’t? You’re gonna take his word for it? Okay, the dryers been running for fifty minutes at least now. It should stop within the next ten minutes. Will you come back to make sure?”
   He didn’t. I parked myself outside of the laundry room door until 7:30 writing and reading from Stephen King. At the time it was painfully obvious that a second token had been administered, and that I had lost this little battle.
   I went down to breakfast. Boiled eggs and sausage.
   When I passed the laundry room on my way back, he was in there folding his nice dry clothes.
   “Hey,” he called. “I put your clothes in the dryer.” He was all nice now. “You might want to put another token in. I don’t know how long this cycle will last.”
   “Thanks,” I told him. I put another token in, and said, “I didn’t mean to start a whole big altercation...” I put out my hand and we shook.
   I didn’t know why I did that. Automatic reaction I guess. It wasn’t merited when I thought about it later, although it may prove useful in the future.
   Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.
   How mature of me.
   That guy was just lucky I didn’t have my paint ball gun with me.
   I continued to write. At one point I walked to the Hollywood Mart to buy a Sunday paper. I used that paper to discover what time “Jeepers Creepers 2“ began at City Walk. 11:00 AM sharp.
   At 8:45, I checked my clothes, which were dry. I collected them, folded them, and put them away.
   I grabbed my pre-poped popcorn (cheese flavored) and backpack, and took off for my date with the enigmatic Creeper. 
   Ebert and Roper panned the film, when I saw their decidedly biased review later in the day, but they are not fans of the entire horror genre, and their opinion should be dismissed out of hand.
   Yeah Robert! And I don’t care for all of those cheap little, foreign, independent movies that you find so “fresh” and “exhilarating!”
   Based on a true story, I’m told, the sequel to 2001's “Jeepers Creepers” was inventive, well produced with the help of  Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas’s American Zoetrope, well acted, and scary. The Creeper, is a fresh and exhilarating new type of monster, and considering Hollywood still cranks out dozens of vampire and werewolf movies a year it’s nice to have something that’s original. 
   I agree with the two critics though about having some more information on the etiology of this creature... or even investigate or attribute the cause or reason for it, if that could be done. We know it possess a human type intelligence because it can whistle and wears a hat, but that’s about all except that it’s really hard to kill (a trick I’d like to learn), if indeed it’s possible at all.             
   Was it once human? I don’t know! Do you?
   I did find the fortuitous circumstance, that one of the characters, portrayed by the lovely and talented Nicki Aycox, who suddenly comes upon a brand new psychic ability that allows her to lift certain facts from the first film, into the second, rather fortuitous, and possibly, just possibly, a little too convenient as well, but other than that the rest of the film was completely plausible, and I for one won’t be found driving around at night in whatever county the movie takes place in.
   No siree!
   And I’m staying the hell away from scarecrows too! Never did like those fuckers.
   As I got lost in the dark theater, finding my way upstairs and into number 17, where “Open Range,” was just beginning, I thought of Charles Bronson’s character, the “Tunnel King,”  in “The Great Escape.”
   Since I was there I sat down and began watching. Well acted and directed by Kevin Costner, I enjoyed the movie, but found the writing tired and uninspired. It’s always a pleasure to see Robert Duvall’s work, from Boo Radley in “To Kill a Mockingbird” (one of my very favorite literary characters), and one of my favorite episodes from the original “Outer Limits,” “The Inheritors,” to an Academy Award in 1983‘s “Tender Mercies,” he’s one of this countries best. That sexy Annette Bening was in it as well, and wonderful. Kevin? Well he doesn’t change much from movie to movie, now does he? But his ability to portray different characters is not why we like him. We like him because of his charisma, which is why “Message in a Bottle,” sucked so much because he didn’t display any.
   Basically this was another of those western buddy movies, like “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and “The Cheyenne Social Club,” a device we never seem to tire off.
   I found a way out of the theater at about 3:30, and took the front seat on the Red Line back downtown. With that view of running through the tunnel under the Hollywood Hills I knew exactly what it must feel and look like to be shot out of giant earthworm’s ass.
   I returned to the Weingart just in time for a Chile Mac dinner.
   Up in my room I watched , “And God Created Woman,” starring Rebecca de Mornay, a movie I had taped last night. But the reception had been bad, and it didn’t come out well at all. Besides, they had edited out all of the good parts.
   I read the paper. I watched Ebert and Roper... and Futurama. At 9:00 I taped “Entrapment,” starring Catherine Zeta Jones, even though I usually get lousy reception from CBS, channel 2. But Catherine was in it, and so good.
   Michael Douglas swooped on that (her).
   And then I heard about the death of Charles Bronson, the actor I had thought of earlier, and the star of all of those “Death Wish,” films, and being in “The Great Excape,” and “The Magnificent Seven” (both with Steve McQueen), and I was very sad.
   He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease in his later years, and died from pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood, not many miles from where I was sitting in my lonely room.
   They’re dropping like flies.
   I fell asleep while watching the “Hallucinogenic Cave” episode of the “X-Files,” and dreamt I was on a school bus, out on Route 9, with Nicki Aycox and Annette Bening. We were being attacked by the Creeper, and all of the other passengers had already been carried off and eaten.    
   The girls were looking  at me to save them.
   You know how girls are.
   No problem. The next time the bat-winged bastard flew up I karated him with my giant  nunchucks.
   He shot off yelping like a beat dog.

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