Monday, June 23, 2014

Skid Row Diary 28

23 September  2003   Tuesday   day 73

   While using the computer in the day room to update some files (they never seem to need downdating), the new, young, black, male, case manager came up to me and asked if I lived in room 590.
   “I need you to test today.”
   I’ve administered thousands of urine tests, but I dislike being given them. I can never pee when around people who are waiting around for me to do just that. I can’t take the pressure!
   I have a hard enough time when I’m by myself.
   “Come out... come out now,” I call down.
   I drank a cup of coffee in my room, and read from “Hellstrom's Hive.” At 11:00 I went looking for the guy, but his office door was closed.
   I read some more.
   I found him about a half hour later, and he took me to one of the restrooms, and after a prolonged effort I squeezed out a good and fine, Grade A sample of fresh urine. I sure hope he enjoyed it.
   Unfortunately, the disease I suffer from cannot be tested in this manner.
   The person I’m voting for for governor in the upcoming run off election was on “The Tonight Show” last night. Mary “Mary Carey” Cook. She looked very nice, in a short, dark, skirt. 
   She’s a big, pretty, blonde girl. Jay Leno said she was the only candidate who’s hole had already been punched. 
   I believe he was making some kind of crude sexual reference, and wondered exactly how much he knew about the other candidates to make such a bold accusation. 
   Mary, quite appropriately flipped him off on national television, the producers attempting to hide her fingers electronically, but you could easily tell what she was doing.
   Mary gets a lot of attention from men and the media in general due to her work in adult entertainment (which was the purpose of her candidacy I imagine), but most won’t have the guts to vote for her, even though her credentials are equal to Arnold Schwarzenegger. They’re both actors, and have never served in office before. The only thing Arnold has that she doesn’t is money which he’ll use in an attempt to buy the election through television ads. In this country you’re considered respectable if you’ve got a lot of money no matter what an asshole you may be. 
   I’m not saying Arnold’s an asshole. I’ve never met the man.
   I’ve seen him do some assholish things though.
   After lunch I read and wrote, exercised, and meditated.
   I watched a “Nova” program concerning the history of the search for a genetic link between the Neanderthal folks and modern humans.
   Some people take offense that we evolved from less advanced animals (as far as intelligence goes) or that we are even animals at all. Some want to believe that humans were placed in a pristine manner in the garden by God. How silly. We share so many of the same characteristics that most animals share (especially mammals). We eat, sleep, defecate (except for Rush Limbaugh, who seems to reabsorb his own waste products), mate, groom, play, experience death... how could it be otherwise? The chimpanzee shares 98% of our DNA. To me it’s not even an issue. Evolution is a fact, not a theory.
   After sleeping I dreamt I was in a fake courtroom with the lovely and talented Leelee Sobieski (star of “Eyes Wide Shut”) and Bambi Lee, the star of “Valley Girls,” “Scoundrels,” and other fine films. We were part of a cast re-enacting scenes from the film “Inherit the Wind.” Bambi, of course, was playing the Henry Drummond part. I was the defendant, Bertram T. Cates, and Leelee, as Matthew Harrison Brady. 
   It went really well! However, I thought it odd that both girls were dressed in matching black, string bikinis.
   Did they even have those back then?!

24 September    Wednesday    Day 74

   “It is traditionally said that when the Buddha was born he exclaimed, 'Above and below the heavens, I alone am the Honored One.’ Master Yunmen commented, 'If I had been with him when he said this, I would have killed him with a single blow and thrown his corpse to the hungry dogs.’”

   I spent the day in deep meditation, waiting for something to happen. I didn’t even write. Some days I don’t.
   I did finish reading “Hellstrom's Hive,” and began “The Forbidden Zone,” by Whitley Strieber, who is either very smart, or certifiable, maybe both. 
   During meditation I decided on a course of action, and made appropriate preparations.
   Later, I watched “Enterprise,” and the season premier of “The West Wing.”  Both of these episodes I found self-absorbed and uninteresting. Unless you’re the type of person who would like a never ending tour of the White House, I really can’t recommend the show. It seemed a twidge soap operaish to me, but to be fair it was the first time I’ve watched a whole episode straight through.
   I turned off the T.V. after, read awhile, thought about what Carl had said, then went to sleep.
   I dreamt I was in the West Wing of the White House being escorted on a never ending tour by the beautiful and talented Amanda Detmer, star of “Saving Silverman,” Marisa Coughlan  of “Super Troopers,” and Nikki Charm of “Charmed and Dangerous,” and many other fine films.
   I was again a little surprised that the executive branch would allow it’s tour guides to wear bikinis, but I suppose that policy does save the taxpayers dollars on cloth.
   Our government must be thrifty.

25  September   Thursday    Day 75

   Giselle had taken another well deserved day off.
   Get some rest dear, and come back to us fresh and pure. Fresh at least. Take tomorrow off as well if you need it. We, your adoring public, understand.
   I meandered down to the front desk just before 9:30, and signed in for today and yesterday, then returned upstairs to shower.
   I made it to the Levi Center by 10:00 for the Super Search Job and Motivational Class. Richard Cairns was absent, and my job developer, Larry, spent a good 40 minutes letting us know what a good and sincere guy he was, and how hard he worked for us vets, how far he had to drive to work each day, and how much he would be able to do for us, before letting us get the hell out of there. 
   I would have preferred if had just done something for us rather than talk about it.
   I didn’t leave motivated at all. 
   I felt vaguely nauseous instead.
   I returned to my room and cooked up my last four eggs in the day room microwave, adding some cheese, jalapenos, and sausage. It was wonderful.
   I called up old Larry and asked him for a phone pass at the Levi. They have an entire room dedicated for phone use, and I used one of those phones to check my voice mail. No jobs, but McCree had left a message asking me if I’d like to go on a free trip to the beach tomorrow. I called back, leaving a message on his new answering machine letting him know I couldn’t make it, but that I hoped to see him Saturday morning.
   Then I walked north to the VA Clinic for the 1:00 Phase II meeting. Kathy was in Palmdale for some reason. I hope she makes it back safely. I hear that strange things happen in Palmdale. People go there and never return.
   One of the meeting’s regulars leaded. A young psychiatrist, Dr. Dooley, a pretty female type, was in to observe.
   There was no topic, the guys just talking about whatever problems they were experiencing recently, and without Kathy being there sharing her vast amount of experience, it was all rather boring. 
   After the meeting I took a Dash to the library and voted early on a new computer system the state was trying out. 
   This is what happened. I was sick of Grey Davis’s whining, didn’t care for his argument against the recall, pissed at some pro-big-tobacco legislation he had let slide into law recently, so voted for the recall election.
   I was truly torn between my devotion to Mary “Mary Carey” Cook, and the Green Party candidate, Peter Camejo, who had made an impression on me during a recent debate. I generally agree with that party’s positions on most issues, but had never voted Green, and thought that doing so would not waste my vote. 
   And I certainly didn’t want to do that.
   So I voted for Camejo.
   Continuing on with the ballet, I voted no on the initiatives 53 and 54, then all I had to do was punch one more little button and my ballet would be cast.
   But I couldn’t do it. I began to feel so bad about withdrawing my support for Mary, who I had sworn all my allegiances  to, that I had to erase my vote for Camejo, and cast my vote for Mary “Mary Carey” Cook, by God, and may the lord bless her soul (if he’s not too busy hiding out there in the universe somewhere).
   Feeling much better, I checked my E-mail before leaving, then walked across the street to check my physical mail at the Post Office, and found nothing in both outlets. About finding a job at least. I did receive one E-mail from Amnesty International, which gave me the opportunity to sign an E-mail letter which allowed me to voice my outrage  over the fact that children were being used as combatants in three African nations.   
   Children 12 or 13 years old being forced to fight under threat of death. 
   I would return to my room and read an article about the same thing happening in Columbia.
   This is part of the world we live in. This is what God allows.
   In my room I read the paper, from the book about closing criminal records, and the outer space book. I watched Myrka’s newscast, Jackie Guerrido’s weather report, “Married with Children,” and “The Simpsons.” I listened to Phil Hendrie on the radio, bitch about last night’s gubernatorial debate. Then at 9:00 I watched a PBS special documentary, “Dying to Leave,” concerning the plight of refugees fleeing from economic and political oppression, and the state of modern trafficking in human slaves exploited as agricultural workers or forced into prostitution. I was amazed to learn there are approximately 27 million slaves in the world today, more than twice the number that were exploited during the entire history of the African trans-Atlantic trade. A half million women and children a year are recruited and trafficked, 20,000 into the United States. At present the traffickers have a tremendous incentive to continue their trade. Profits are huge as demand is huge. Risks to them appear to be minimal. Their product can be used over and over again. If caught and prosecuted, penalties tend to be low in proportion to their crimes. One example in Japan (which apparently is heavily involved in the sex trade), a trafficker received 22 months imprisonment to what amounted to mass, serial kidnaping and rape.
   This is the world we live in. This is what God allows. This is what most American citizens are unaware of, or too busy to care about.
   I am ashamed to be a human being today.

26  September   Friday    Day 76

   I had a great dream last night, despite the mood I was in after watching the PBS program. I dreamt I was sitting in a large ombu tree with Haley Mills, the beautiful and talented star of “The Parent Trap,” and the very first girl I ever had a crush on... a secret crush, so please don’t tell anybody. The tree was located in what looked like the middle of an ancient dry lake bed. All we could see for miles and miles was cracked mud. 
   “So you voted for the porn star, huh?” she asked in her cute English accent.
   “Yes,” I admitted. “An actress... like you.”
   “Good Oh!” she exclaimed.
   Soon a great flood came and we jumped into a passing canoe and floated off to Laughlin, Nevada.
   Just as we were about to check into the Riverside Hotel and Casino, my alarm woke me up at 3:30. It was alright as I had set it for that time. 
   I turned on the Mark and Brian preview show. I was still too tired to move, so I just laid there listening, while Mark read off some magazine’s list of 100 things that turn men on.
   When he got to #58 (naked Indian wrestling), I got up and went to the showers.
   I wrote before going down to a scrambled egg and sausage breakfast at 8:00. I went to the Levi Center and tried to get another phone pass from Larry, but he was hiding and could not be found. I left the Levi Center lonely and dejected.
   I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and walked to the 9:00 Relapse Prevention Group at ASAP.
   Sam, the “Addiction Therapist” was responsible for making all of the referrals to the CWT program in West L.A., and the facilitator of the Relapse Prevention Group, which was why I was attending, hoping to catch him there, not having seen him at his office lately.
   I hadn’t been to this meeting for quite awhile, mainly because I didn’t care for it. Actual prevention of relapse was rarely discussed, the meetings usually degenerating into raucous bullshit sessions, Sam often being the most pronounced bullshitter. Still, it was supposedly mandatory for the clients of the ASAP program... not only that, clients were required to attend as well. Accordingly, I expected to be mildly chastised for not attending these hour long debacles.
   When I arrived I discovered the group had been split into two parts during my absence. Relapse Prevention Phase I and Relapse Prevention Phase II. 
   I walked into, and participated in the Relapse Prevention Phase II meeting, run by Dr. Lo, a handsome, young psychologist of Asian decsent, and where relapse prevention was actually discussed.
   Sam, a tall black man of indiscriminate age, was hosting the Relapse Prevention Phase I meeting in another room, and I caught up with him afterwards and told him what I needed.
   “Okay,” he said, and took me to his office.
   He looked up my file in the computer system and started to give me shit about not attending enough meetings, and not being tested enough. Noting my attendance record, his comment was, “This does not a recovery program make.” Witty, isn’t he? 
   Not a program make? According to who?
   He was right of course. I hadn’t been demonstrating an abundance of healthy stability lately, but I certainly wasn’t going to let him know that. I let him know that the program must be working despite my flimsy and spotted attendance, as I continued to remain sober, I attended 12 Step meetings, and was able to maintain my housing at the Weingart, which did not tolerate behavior of a besotted nature. I told him I had also stopped smoking, and furthermore I told him this and that.
   What it came down to, what he wanted was that I attend two more weeks of constant attendance, and testing as much as humanly possible during those two weeks, so that the computer record of my program at ASAP would be readily accepted by the good folks in Westwood.
   “Okay,” I told him. 
   He was so nice I even gave him a  nice hot cup of fresh, steaming urine, right then and there, which he greedily accepted. And, I waited around for the 11:00 group, which of course I needed to attend anyway. We discussed self disclosure in that one.
   At noon I set off for Trimar, taking a Dash to Pershing Square, transferring to the Red Line subway, then catching the illusive 154 in North Hollywood, which transfered me, by way of Sherman Oaks (why are the oaks there named Sherman?) and Encino, all the way to the plasma center.
   I was shocked and appalled to discover a new policy enacted since I had last been there (that’s twice today) that videos would no longer be played while the clients donated. 
   I asked Juan why we were instead watching Jerry Springer (which I would never inflict upon anyone, even Slobodan Milosevic), and was told that due to some obscure legal technicalities concerning rented videos not being lawfully allowed to be played to an audience, such as the donors in the plasma center, videos were no longer going to be shown.
   First they took away the cookies, and now the movies! My days here are numbered. Pretty soon they’ll stop paying us because of all of those dirty germs located deep within the $20 bill.
   But I had the Straub book, “Floating Dragon,” and was able to keep myself entertained. 
   Aurica stopped by to say hello.
   “Hello,” she said. “How are you?”
   I told her I was doing well. She was doing well also. We were both doing well. 
   Her granddaughter was doing well too, and her son was returning from Iraq.
   I asked her when she was going on vacation.
   “Oh, we are not,” she told me. “My passport is expired. I found now I must wait six months to a year for a new one. It’s okay, we will wait.”
   “Six months to a year! That seems an awfully long time to get a passport renewed.”
   “I don’t know. But it’s okay. We will wait.”
   Maybe she has some special Rumanian passport. I don’t know. I didn’t pursue the matter.
      She got busy somewhere else, and I finished and left, pursuing a Supper Lotto ticket at the 7/11 across the street, and then catching the 165 to Van Nuys.
   Where I picked up some cheese, pre-popped cheddar popcorn, eggs, and 2 packages of frozen pizza rolls from the 99 Cent Store.
   I also stopped at the 99 Cent Store at Macarthur Park and got some Three Musketeers Bars and bread.
   Back in my lonely room I watched last night’s “Charley Rose Show,” which I had taped. He had interviewed the foreign minister of Iran (who insisted his country is not building nuclear weapons), and the President of Peru.
   He gets some good guests, that Charley Rose.
   I also read from various books.
   At 7:15 I left the building, taking my notebook with me, walking east on 6th to Gladys Park, for the 7:30 Drifters AA Meeting. 
   The San Fernando Valley contingent was there tonight, which our old friend Ron Collins occasionally attended. Tonight’s panel was headed by my ex-housemate, Randy Thompson.
   A tall, muscular black gentleman, Randy looks like The Hulk on steroids, but black instead of green. I first met him after leaving Pasadena, at the Canoga Park ARC. He had been the dock foreman, and I worked for him for a day or two when I first got there. We eventually became housemates at the ARC’s group home.
   I wrote while listening to Malcolm with 14 years, Kara with 7 months, and Terri and others. A friend, Mike, came up to me and told me of his efforts on getting into nursing school. At one point the Goodyear Blimp passed a couple of thousand feet directly above my head. It continued on to the southwest.
   After the meeting I returned to my room and the pizza rolls, which I consumed while watching a new sit-com on ABC, starring the lovely and talented Kelly Rippa, Regis Philbin’s co-host on a national morning talk show. I’d never seen her act before.
   She’s very pretty... and talented.
   Later, after reading enough to get sleepy, I changed the radio station from Mark and Brian’s KLOS, to the classical music station, KMZT, which I usually have playing while asleep, and which may be influencing my dreams in some strange and wonderful way... I don’t know.
   But as I was doing that, I noticed that the DJ on KLOS at the time, Jim Ladd (no relation to Alan or Cheryl... I think) was playing a block of old Jethro Tull songs (and I’m not talking about the 18th century agriculturist, who had never recorded any music as far as I know) which I had recently recorded myself. The music made me a tad nostalgic, instilling in me the desire to be with my girlfriend in a warm, cozy summer cottage during an overcast and rainy afternoon, near a fireplace, drinking  hot chocolate, and smoking a big doobie.
   That was a good feeling. Tull is good that way.
   When I went to sleep I dreamt of the first girl that I personally knew, that I had had a crush on (I hate using the same word twice in the same sentence, especially right next to each other, but I’m dreaming now, and too lazy to rephrase) while in grade school. A pretty, short haired blonde, 7 or 8 years old, named April Rolston. I had loved her from afar as I had been too shy to declare my intense admiration. We were in the same class at Colfax Elementary School in North Hollywood. She lived across the street from my friend, Byron Palmer (whose parents had been famous actors and performers. Byron’s dad, Byron had appeared in “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” and many other fine films, and appeared on Broadway and television. His mom, the lovely and talented Georgine Darcy, is someone you’ve probably seen yourselves dear readers, as she played the part of Miss Torso in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, “Rear Window.” She was a blonde in that movie, but when I knew her she was a brunette... and liked to wander though her big house in her underwear a lot. She would pass away next year, on July 18th, 2004, at the age of 73, still married to her husband Byron. They were both very nice to me), and I would climb on the fence at Byron’s house, hoping April would catch a glimpse of my athletic prowess. 
   Someone must have told her that I liked her for one day she came up to me in class and said this, “I’ve heard you fancy me. Is that true?” Her brilliant blue eyes fluttered.
    “No,” I said, shaking my stupid head.
   What a dork I was, and remained until last February, or so. My whole life could have turned out differently if I had only answered her truthfully... that I adored her.
   But probably not. She would have used me and chucked me away as soon as she depleted me of all of my precious bodily fluids, just like all of the rest. Yep, especially those young blondes, they’re the one’s you really have to watch out for. They’ll tear your heart out, grind it up into pulpy bits, and hand it back to you with a smile on their pretty faces.
   Yeah, I did the right thing. Better to play it safe.
   In my dream April and I were in the school’s playground playing tetherball. She had just smashed one which came around me from behind smacking me in the back of the head hard. I hadn’t been paying attention because I had been staring at the school’s flagpole because the flag was half way down.
   “What happened?” April asked.
   A teacher came up to us, trying to gather all of the children in. She said, “It’s the President. He’s just been shot. In Texas. I think he’s dead.”

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