I Like The Black Girls

November 24, 2009 at 3:56 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  Okay, I’m surrounded.  At work, I’m surrounded by all chicks.  But in my Mega-cube, my section of the pit, I had one then two and now three black women.  Stacy is one of them, and she gave me a ride home Friday.  She’s nice, but Lordy is she a talker.  They are all nice, and in fact the only one that is ghetto is Debra, and she got fired a month or so ago.
  I liked her. but seriously, she was not that bright.  She opened her mouth and ghetto nonsense came out.  I feel bad for her though; she had been here five years, I think.  Her daughter was the one whom I helped change the tire, if you recall.
  So, you know, I’m not as much of a racist as I thought I was, I guess.  And I think they are the same way.  I’ve had black people work for me, and I’ve worked for them.  We both start out with a distance, but as we get to know each other and work with each other, we grow to like each other.  Just like anyone else, I guess, but there is that extra barrier that we have to work past.
  I don’t know how Detroit does it–it comes to her easily.  Despite the fact that she’s been a bitch to me lately, I have to hand it to her–normally she can get along and can talk with anyone.  I guess I can too.  I like to see her go, and watch her interact with other people.
  There’s another black girl in this set of cubes but not near me; she’s in the front near the reception.  Her name is Felicia or something else ridiculous like that.  Anyway, she is nice, and pretty, and young.  How young?
  Her and Serena were talking in the lunchroom about how long they had been with whoever the hell they had been with.  Serena was married for 10 to 14 years, I think.  I didn’t really pay attention because I’m over her.  When we first met she was just splitting up with her husband, and I had a thing for Asian chicks, and I could have gone for it, but I was chicken, so we became friends instead.  And now, I can’t imagine being with her.  Christ, the hoops I’d have to jump through for sex?  Fuck that.  It’s hard enough the way it is, with a more or less normal woman.
  I was going to interject into their conversation about how I had been married for 19 years…but I’m over it.  It’s become a war story at this point, where I lift my shirt and show everyone the psychological scar tissue and brag about "The Big One."  But what stopped me cold was how Felicia mentioned that she had just been with someone for ten years.  I just looked at her.  "Are you even old enough?"
  She looked at me, indignant.  "I’m thirty-four years old!"
  "Bullshit."
  "How old did you think I was?"
  Truthfully, about 18.  "Twenty-two, maybe, or twenty-three."
  "Oh, well, thank you.  That’s very sweet."
  At thirty-four she could probably have a twenty-year old kid.  But it’s this whole thing, you know?  I used to look younger than I am, even with the bald spot, if I kept my head shaved down.  But the crow’s feet and various wrinkles are starting to creep in.
  But black people always seem to look younger than they are.  A Felicia is 34 but looks 20.  A woman Detroit worked with looked to be my age but was actually sixty.  One woman here in the cube, Janet, seems to be about 50 to 55, so she’s probably 102.
  Maybe it’s not just them.  This tiny little thing next to me, Heather–a white chick–looks young.  She said she’s 28 or 29.  Am I *that* old now that all these "adults" look like children to me?

Quiz: How ADD Are You?

November 23, 2009 at 4:01 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  I had my follow up with my psychiatrist.  It was really hard to tell, after the first couple of days, whether or not the meds were working.  I did a little self-test, a little evaluation, to help me line up my shit.  It was the same one I took before.  As I thought about each category, I did realize that I had less of this than I had had before.  So…okay, it was working.
  But not only that, I told him that I was scared the medication would change *me*–you know the inner-monologue me.  Other than the first two days when I was tripping, it really didn’t, so it was hard to tell if it was working.  But based on the grading, I was somewhat better.  He did give me a new script, with a higher dosage.  We started on the lowest, 30 mg.  We’re bumping up to 50.  The usual dose is 70.
  I agreed in principle with the increase, but I’m still leery.  It’s an amphetamine, for Chrissake.
  Maybe the change was too subtle.  I guess I thought that within a few weeks’ time I would have every project done, every paper organized and every plan finalized.  But part of the chaos in which I live in my brain, and the rest is out there, in the world.
  It makes me wonder, am I better off NOT being on any drugs?  I would synch up better with the world, no?
  I did feel a little more calm.  But still–there are rational reasons to have stress.
  I can’t help but feel that I would have a better way out of this, though, if I had paid better attention to something earlier.  There’s something I missed that I should have listened to or read but I didn’t because I couldn’t pay attention.  So now I’m going to try again, and pay attention, and see if there’s something I can learn.
  Man, what did the doctor say about the serotonin and the receptors and the blah-blah-blah?  Was that important?
  I haven’t exactly gotten back to writing, but I did notice that some things I wanted to remember and write down later I was actually able to do, instead of forgetting them.  These things were related to writing.  Also, I have finished this story for the contest, and fully expect to mail it soon.  Deadline is Dec 4th, so I’ll keep you posted.
  I’ve taught myself some tools for dealing with this, as the doc said.  What I want to do is teach myself some more, and practice some various habits, and get used to doing things a certain way, and then get off of the meds.  I don’t really want to be on this forever.  Like I said, it’s an amphetamine.
  And how do I know if the multivitamin I’m taking is doing anything?  My pee isn’t even green–
  I guess I need to set some goals and see if I can do them.  And then if I can’t, what held me back?  For instance, the construction is halted for lack of funds.  It’s not anything I’m trying to avoid.
  Ah, me.  I just–you know, right now I feel that same manic feeling I had when I first started taking the stuff.  It makes me wonder if anything I typed has made any sense.  I don’t want to be tripping, yo.
  That’s it.  I’m going to set some goals.  Is this different from making so many lists that I have a list of all the lists I’ve made?
  If a woodchuck could make lists, how many lists would a woodchuck make, if the woodchuck had ADD?

Anarchy Is Heroin For The Masses

November 23, 2009 at 3:57 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
   Sadly, Imo’s Pizza has turned out to be everything I figured it would be.  There’s nothing like having your low expectations met.
The place is anarchy, and I mean it.  I worked with the owner/boss/whatever one time, the first time I worked.  After that I haven’t seen him.  But we’ve all heard from him.  If the signs you post in the store are REALLY REALLY big and you use a thick permanent marker, is it still passive-aggressive?
Yes.  Yes, it is.
The kitchen staff–there are so many of them that I’m surprised I know all of their names, but I do, because I’m like that.  I’m a people person.  There’s Melissa, of course, who is one of the managers.  Skinny but really cute.  Then there’s…uhm…Mario, and Ed, and the dude with the long hair, the dude with the short hair, the little black dude, the cute little black chick, and some other guy.
They all seem to be good kids, but they are just kids, even Melissa.  Who the hell is in charge?
I called to say I was going to be late Friday, and talked to the Big L there.  Even he was trying to convince me that they didn’t need me that night.  I succumbed, and stayed home.  I went in Saturday, and it was looking the same way.  But the boss–who was not there–said I could work every Friday and Saturday.  he *said* it.  The poker faces from the other drivers told me to leave.  I need an answer.  I went to Melissa.  I said, “Listen, I need a ruling from someone who is not a driver.  Are we busy enough?  Should I star or should I go?”
Her response?  “I really don’t care.  Whatever the other drivers think is okay.  If you want to go, you can go.”
That did it for me.  “Okay.  I’m here, I’m staying.”  What fun is anarchy if you can’t participate?

The DMZ is the cut table.  Inside people will cut pizzas, and so will drivers.  I hang out there a lot because I don’t like to just sit around.  This is news to me–I thought I was lazy.  But when I see three 17-year-olds trying to handle the ovens when it is a one-person job, I have to step in.
The other drivers do as well, usually when it is in their own self-interest, and they are unapologetic.  Most of these clowns I can’t keep straight.  Dan and Andy look like the chubby stoners from those movies like “Knocked Up” and whatever the other ones are.  TC is the one black dude that drives.  Of course there is the Big L, working more now since he got let go from his sales job.  There is Jim, whom I know as Jay, who worked with us at Scooter’s a while back.  He’s known the Big L since high school, and the early days of Domino’s.  He’s…unique.
And then there is Brian.  Not me, the other one.  He does remind me of my friend the Dude a little bit.  But the Dude does have some character and ethics.  He’s like the Dude’s evil and lazy twin brother.
This guy, along with several of the other drivers, will take whatever runs they want.  As long as they take the first one on the list, then anything goes.  Even if there are four drivers waiting and those four runs are the only ones.  If they remotely go together, he’s taking them.  And–if there is just one run, he will wait for something that hasn’t been ordered yet, in the hopes of getting a double.
The other night he was up first, and the run obviously went by itself.  He told me, so I checked out the next two.  They were ready, so I left.  By the time I got back, he is just leaving, having waited for something else to go with his first run.  Customer service is more of an abstract idea here.
I do understand why they do it–once last night I took a single run just to leave the store.  I got a big fat stiff on it.  Yeah, I’m not making much money here.
Jay was taking a run, and Brian was giving him what seemed to me ludicrous and irrelevant directions.  Jay nodded and said, “Okay, got it.”
I said, “Jay, do I need to remind you of what YOU told ME last week when Brian gave me instructions?”
“What?”
I was going to an apartment, and I found the place in the apartment guide, but Brian felt compelled to extrapolate  at length, because I’m new at this and have never delivered before, especially in this area where I was the manager of a Domino’s for several years.  Brian gave me some odd, whacked out “instructions,” and Jay said to me, “You DO realize he’s on heroin, right?”
This time it was my turn, and I said the same thing to Jay.  “You DO realize he’s on heroin, right?”
He shook his head and smiled sadly.  “Yeah, I know.”
Yes, it is true.  Yes, he is on heroin.  I haven’t actually seen him do it, but everyone else knows way too many details, and I’ve talked with him after he has taken a delivery and been gone for an hour and a half.  The boy is fried.  He works a lot of dayshifts, and then he wants to stay all night and take as many runs as he can.  Luckily, it’s not that many.  If he takes three or four, he is out of the game for quite a while.
Like all the other drivers, he resents having another driver there taking money out of his pocket and the needle out of his ankle.  He lives with his parents–but to be fair he is only in his mid 30s–and so he only needs money for gas and heroin.  Silly me, I’m just trying to pay my fucking bills.
The bottom line is, I’m not able to work enough there to make the money I need.  I did talk to a friend of Al’s about getting on at another Imo’s–closer to home and better money.  We’ll see if it pans out.  I have two options I’m looking at:
a) getting a completely different part time job and then I will drop Imo’s like a bad transmission; or
2) getting another job and keeping Imo’s.
But I have to do something.  I have a nut I need to make, and I’m not making it.  If I don’t make that nut, this pontoon boat of fun is going to sink, and fast.

Bridges

November 23, 2009 at 6:13 AM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  Detroit and I were in this restaurant where she seemed to know everyone.  But it was busy, so we left.  We cut around the back to the alley and went in through the employee entrance.  In there, behind the counter, was a private section that was for employees only.  It was a nice little diner, and we took a seat in a booth. The place was narrow, but there was a pool table next to us.  Jeff Bridges came in and took a stool at the pool table. 
  I got up to greet him and shake his hand, while thinking, *I hope I can find something for him to sign.*  I said, "I’m a big fan, sir."
  "Well, thanks, dude."
  "No, you’re the Dude."  He laughed at that.  I said, "Listen, this doesn’t look real comfortable here, would you like to join us?"
  He agreed to join us, but he said, "You know, I am a star, so I have some requirements."  I didn’t know what he meant, but when he came over, he made the people in the booth behind him, a group of young people, get up and leave.  He said, "Sorry, but I require at least a five foot distance from people that I’m not with.  You understand." 
  We chatted for a bit, and then Jeff said, "I was going to leave and go meet some people at a party.  Did you want to come with?"  We said sure, so he went to the front of the narrow diner and got in the driver’s seat.  As it turned out, we were in a mobile restaurant, and idea whose time I knew had come.
  We drove down the main drag carefully, but still clipped cars and buildings and the occasional daydreaming pedestrian.  Who doesn’t see a building driving down the steet, for crying out loud?  We arrived at the carnival, and lots of people were there who knew Jeff.
  We joined the group.  They were doing some kind of a cross between watersliding and four-wheeling in the mud.  It was fun.  Or at least it seemed like it;  my impression is that it wasn’t something we did, but something we had a memory of.  I wish we had actually done it, instead of just having the memory.  It was sort of like a "Total Recall" moment. 
  Jeff said, "Come, on, enjoy yourself–I paid alot for this."

  Sometimes dreams are fun.  Not like that one with the werewolves.

Land Of The Lost

November 20, 2009 at 4:31 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  I called Peggy, a girl I work with, at 610 this morning.  No answer.  I left a message:  "Hey, Peggy, here’s a chance for you to regain your status as one of my BFFs.  Give me a call."
  Well, she did call, about 730.  By then it was too late.  She was already at work, and I needed her here because she lives nearby.
  I called Bunny right after I called Peggy.  Bunny answered.  "Hey, when do you plan to leave for work?"  She said about 45 minutes.  That was a long time, but I could work with it.  "Cool.  Then you can pick me up on your way.  I need a ride to work."  I paused, not for dramatic effect but because I didn’t want to say it.  "I lost my keys."
  While I waited, I continued to look.  Yes, mother-fuckers, I did look everywhere.  Detroit’s mom woke up to the commotion, and when it was clear what was going on, she did the most helpful thing she could do:  She began to ask a lot of annoying questions.  Like you are.  No, there is no spare.
  "Did you look in your coat?"
  Yes, I looked in my coat.
  "Did you look in your bag?
  Of course I looked in my goddamn bag.  My fucking shit bag of fucking shit is where I keep my fucking keys to fucking begin with, it’s where I go to fucking look for them before I begin to fucking look any fucking place else, for fucking fuck’s sake.
  "Where did you have them last?"
  Well, if I knew that, they wouldna be fucking lost now, would they?  Christ in a titty bar.
  She left me alone to look, which is what I wanted.  I didn’t say these things to her, but they were in my tone, I guess.
  I asked Alex if they took the car last night, hoping he still had the keys.  Nope.
  I searched everywhere I had searched before.  I found a remote.  I found some socks.  I getting desperate.  I was going to take the truck.  However, the car blocked the truck in the driveway.  No problem, I’ll just back and fill and drive around it.
  The only thing I can say that is a good thing is that I didn’t hit the car, or the garage.  I toyed briefly with the idea of gently pushing against the car and pushing it back a few feet so I could get around it.  Balls being the inverse of brains, I was smart enough not to try it.
  I went back in the house, and halfheartedly looked again.  I opened my bag all the way, taking stuff out of the middle.  No luck.  Shit.  Then I saw the package.
  We got new phones, btw.  Briefly, my phone wouldn’t work–it was a refurb–so they sent me a new phone.  I had to ship back the old one, so I just used this box because it was smaller than the one we had received all three phones in.  I packed everything into the box, taped it shut, and put the label on it.  And I did it on the couch, right next to where my bag was sitting on its side.  Did my keys somehow fall in the box?  Was I about to mail my car keys to Texas?  Shit.  I got a knife and opened the box.
  No keys.
  Carefully, I taped it back up.  I searched the box carefully, because if I’m going to retrace every step and re-search later everywhere I had searched already, I didn’t want to have to cut the box open again.  I want to put a check mark on it that means "Already looked here, quite thoroughly."  I’d put the same check mark on my man-sac, because I’ve already looked in there several times.  Check.
  Aarrrgh.  What the hell.  I gave up and flipped the TV on, figuring that in taking a break maybe something will come to me.  The one suggestion that Detroit’s mom had that had held the most promise didn’t pan out.  We had gone shopping last night for Thanksgiving, and some of the extra stuff we didn’t have room for I put in a tub and put in the garage for the time being.  Very likely, I had my keys in my hand when I did that.  No luck.  I had put all my hope in that basket, and it was empty.
  Quite some time had passed, and still no Bunny.  I called her, expecting to find that she was almost to work.  Then I would be two-for-two on the ride prospects.  No answer.  It was 730 and I was getting scared.  What had she said?  Forty-five minutes?
  She called back in a few minutes and said she would be leaving in five minutes.  Since I could translate, I knew I had time to take another shower and perhaps watch part of the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy.  Not the whole thing–there’s no need for senseless exaggeration.
  Bunny lives 5 minutes from me.  Close to 800, she shows up.  I get to work about 830, which is about 2 hours later than I usually do.  She says she just…can’t get going in the morning.  Hell, I roll out of bed into my pants, and I’m basically out the door, usually in no more than 15 minutes. 
  I get to work, and I get to my desk.  I turn on my computer, and while it’s booting up, my routine is to go through my bag.  I like to keep it from being cluttered.   I throw shit away, put papers in the side pocket, get my badge and my phone out, plug in my flash drive, and make sure I have my wallet.  There it is, there’s my wallet.  Good.  I want to keep track of shit; it’s bad enough I lost my keys.  I’m going to have to call a Mercedes dealership to find out what it takes and how much does it cost to get a key made, because even if I find mine I’m going to need a spare anyway. 
  Confirming the contents of my bag, I tilt it forward and my wallet shifts.  Behind it–
  Behind it was the familiar blue denim fabric of my keychain.

Caveat Emptor

November 20, 2009 at 4:26 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  I must have missed something before, because Bunny said they have Sprint, and I could have sworn that they had someone else.  Until recently, of course, we had Verizon.
  It reached a point where it was going to be easier to switch companies than it would be to pay the bill.  We had already been without for three weeks, with no sign of them getting turned back on.  The idea came about easily.  In a casual manner, I said, "You know…we could just switch phone companies–" and worry about the consequences later.
  Out of exasperation at our circumstances, she agreed.  We did the ol online research thing, and decided to go with Sprint.  We had both had Sprint in the past, so this would be a good thing.  Right?
  Instead of doing it online, we went to the nearest store.  Bunny told me later that this particular unit is the busiest one not only in St Louis or the Midwest, but in the country.  This explains much about the service we received.
  We got our phones the first time we went in without much hassle.  Total time of about an hour, including wait time.  Detroit’s phone had a defective battery, so we brought it back a few days later to get another one.  That took about an hour, and 45 minutes of it was wait time.  While we were in there, an older woman was standing at a counter talking with a customer service specialist (or whatever ridiculous non-empowering corporate-speak label they are given) while also ON HER PHONE with Sprint Customer Service as well.
  You would think with all of this extra customer service help she was getting that her service would be excellent and her problem would be easily resolved and then they would all go out for ice cream.
  Yeah, that shit didn’t happen.  When we left, she was still talking to them and her granddaughter was talking to them also.
  That episode, among other things, was causing me to have some doubts.  I didn’t really care that much for my phone, either.  I have giant fingers and it has tiny buttons.  It lacked some features that I expected it should have.  There were other things that were more subjective, but it came down to me wondering if we could get out of this.
  Two blocks from the Sprint store was an AT&T store.  We stopped in, just to chat, and check it out.
  First of all it wasn’t over-crowded.  The lady came up and helped us, answered our questions and was very nice and helpful.  The only problem was the up-front price on the phones, which we did not want to deal with.  We thanked her and left.  We were going to check out deals online.
  I also talked to Sprint on the phone–I didn’t want to go in the store again–and explained and asked some questions.
  The bottom line was, since it had been less than thirty days, yes, we could cancel.  Okay, then.
  We ordered the phones Sunday, and they ship over night.  But not Sunday night.  We got them Tuesday.  Al’s phone is fine and Detroit’s is fine.  But mine?  Not fine.  I called AT&T.  The man suggested leaving it on the charger overnight, and then if it’s still a problem, they’ll replace it.
  The next day, it was still a problem.  The problem was, it wouldn’t power on.  Like, at all.  At first I thought the battery was not charged, but in the morning, before it darkened completely on me, it said, "Battery Full."   Which is an odd thing to be.  Full of what?  Crap?  It had powered on a few times last night, but today it would not.  In my professional opinion, there is a short somewhere.  You know, it is a refurb.
  I called AT&T that night, and I had to convince them that we had only had the phones for 2 days, not the two months that he was misreading.  After that was straightened out, it was no problem.  I opted for a brand new phone, a different phone, a different kind and style of phone.  Once bitten, twice shy, baby.
  The phone, she came overnight, yesterday.  I was all excited, for about two minutes. 
  You know, kids these days–they act bored and jaded, but they do get excited like puppies around new technology…or puppies.  But I’ve had so much telecom crap in the last two months that I was just done.  I have a signal?  Great.  I can make a call and a text?  Great.  I can set up to get my email?  Great…but ultimately it will be annoying.  I haven’t even set up my voice mail yet.  I don’t even know how yet.
  I sighed, put the phone aside, and returned to my laptop and the good ol fashioned intarwebs.

As X Approaches Infinity

November 19, 2009 at 4:33 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  Say I was to die in a horrible meat grinder accident.  My phone would fly free, playing some ridiculous ringtone as it landed.
  My body is found, and near it, my bloody phone.  Someone has to invite people to my funeral.  Whom do you call?  I had this in mind when I did this.  I have a spreadsheet that I use as a contact list, and I just updated it in preparation for being able to enter these numbers in my new phone.
  Although I have a SIMM card that I will be able to move from phone to phone (provided I stay with this provider) it doesn’t store all tne information.  It doesn’t store addresses, for instance.  And I only hope I can make this many categories when I get my phone and put the contacts in.  There is a subtly to this, and here they are with the explanation for them:

friend         everyone I don’t know from work or other group, also spouse of work friend, et cetera
BFF-         Kim (bunny) and The Dude
FOA          people I know through other people
old friend    someone from back in the day that I may not see much, or at all (may be from a work place originally) or I may see them–just hard to say   
fof              friend of family–an odd category
business-   businesses I use regularly
bus/friend  acquaintance I use informally for repairs
medical-    doctor, dentist, walgreens, the eye doctor and so forth
casa de rancho   people at my house–the GF, her mom, her son, his friend
extended fam     everyone else–cousins, aunts, uncles, my brother and sister
family farm      all my kids and grandkids
the ex           so far, there’s only one in this category

pulaski      people I know at this job 
imos          people I know at this job
scooters    people I know at this job
dominos    people I know at this job
school      people from high school and college
church      people from church
government  election board, city hall, police, et cetera
pac          any political organization I join and members
writers     any writer’s club I join, and writers
comedy    all people and things related to standup and comedy
neighbors   people who live near me–just in case

  Scott (The Big L) I have as "friend" because the group "old friend" more indicates people I dont see much.   We work at Imo’s together now, but I’ve known him much longer than that:  before Scooter’s even, we worked at DOmino’s.  Plus he is my BFF’s Husband.  It’s the same with Todd:  we don’t work together anymore.
Bill C and Larry R and Larry B are good examples of "Old friends", even though I originally knew them all from Domino’s. 
  Serena goes under "pulaski" because we work together there, even though I originally knew her from school.
  so I have 21 groups.  And counting.  Now it’s 23.
  In addition, while many of these numbers I have I am not putting in the phone as a contact, I am keeping them on my list because YOU NEVER KNOW.  Some of these people I may never see again, but if I die I want them to come and see me laying in the coffin with my pants undone and my hand posed to give everyone the finger.
  I have about 100 contacts that aren’t businesses, just people.  It’s good to know I have that many peoples.  But I think about other people I know that I don’t have on there, and I realize I need to get in touch with other people.  And more family as well. 
  Seriously, I can’t believe that all of this came just from my desire to organize my contact list.

  Speaking of staying on topic, after the first couple of days taking the ADD meds, my body has settled down and I’ve adapted.  However…I’m not sure if it’s working.  Is it?  I need a test or a quiz or something to calibrate from, to tell if I am more focused or not.  The thing I feared most, that it would change that certain little something that makes me *me*, hasn’t happened–I still feel normal.  That’s part of the reason I’m not sure if it works or not.  But I am able to focus better.
  I have a few indicators–but maybe I’m reaching.  I noticed that I listened completely to various conversations.  I looked and listened and paid attention to everything Detroit said to me…it must have been unsettling for her.  I have been seriously working on this story to enter into a contest, and I intend to mail it well before the deadline is up.  I haven’t been distracted by other stories.
  I think I may have been interrupting other people less often. 
  I feel like I have been daydreaming less.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad.  I guess it’s good, but I miss it. 
  I stil feel a little over-whelmed and stressed out over what I have to take care of…which leads me to believe that when I have this much crap going on, it’s normal and acceptable to be stressed out and freaked out about it.
  But at least I’m only worried about the stuff that matters, not these little things.  I guess that’s something.
  What were my expectations?
  Maybe I should have asked that.  What I wanted, what I thought I would see–I don’t know.  I guess I was almost expecting a robotic-type of focus on getting the job done, and accomplish a whirlwind of tasks.  I was going to clean the rooms, take out the trash, finish remodeling the basement, and in between drags from a cigar I was going to build a new computer and write a book or two.
  This–that sentence–gives me a little perspective.  That’s what I was like before in what I *wanted* to accomplish.  But I’ve slowed it down a bit, and I have more realistic goals.  I’m not going to volunteer for more than I can handle, any more.  I’m not going to make promises to too many people and stretch myself too thin and let everyone down.
  But I feel like I’m not getting these projects around the house done.  Did I hit another post-manic slump?  I don’t mean manic, but ADDers have something called hyper-focus–a serious burst of clarity where they laser-beam in on something and git er dun.  Am I just out of one of those, or did the meds take that away?  Or have I just been busy, what with Miranda’s surgery and all?
  A man’s got to know his limitations.  When I find out what mine are, I’ll let you know.

My Chemical Romance

November 14, 2009 at 1:16 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  Must come down.  Oh, sorry, wrong essay.  Maybe.  Let’s chronicle the day, okay.  It’s now 845 am.  (This was Thursday, btw.)

  About 630 this morning I stopped by the drug store and filled the script.  Originally I was going to just pig it up after work, but I decided that, since it was a time-release drug, I need to take it in the morning.  So I couldn’t take it today, then.  I’ve already put it off for a week, now.  I waited the 10 minutes while the drug dealer filled the script.  I looked at some books and also some multivitamins.  Bought a book, bought some multivitamins.

  And now it’s about 930 as I finished that paragraph.  This may not be good.

  I got to work at 700 and took a pill.  Then I ate my sammich and took a multivitamin.  The package of multivitamins was a big bottle of 100 and a small bottle of 30.  That will work perfectly, actually, to have the big bottle at work for during the week and the little bottle at home for the weekend.  *AND* they were buy-one-get-one-free, so yay for me.  Was this the impulse buy of someone with ADD, was it my a realistic plan of focus?
  To be fair, I don’t know whether it was the multivitamin or the vyvanse, but one of them made me feel a little rumbly in the tummy.  I had a headache–still have it, I think–and my knees hurt.  I felt a little weird, hyper-ish.  Kind of like that feeling you get right before the LSD starts to work.  It’s none of your business how I know that.  Am I gritting my teeth right now?
  But it has really helped my focus.  I’m really focused on how weird and uncomfortable I feel right now.
  For the first hour or so of being here I could not stay in my seat.  I did work related activities, mostly.  I did a walk through on the paper, and then grabbed the sheet and did the order.  I talked to Joe about his scanner.  I talked to the girls about the copier.  I called the people about it, and I talked to the tech about the other scanner.  Do I make it sound like I was working?  Because I was drifting hither and yon.  Now I’m at my seat though.  Working.  Scanning.  Oh, and writing.
  I did email Bunny and told her.  She said to give it a few days for my body to adjust to it.  I walked over and talked to Dawn, who is the craziest person I know (on this floor; Bunny is upstairs).  She calmed me down a bit, I think.  I still have a bit of a headache, I feel fidgety, and I want some toast.  One of the side effects is supposed to be a decreased appetite, but I’m getting hungrier.
 
  Almost 1000.

  Hmmm…1130 and all is well.  Shortly after ten, I calmed down a bit.  I managed to stay at my desk and work, as well as take some notes on the side.  What I wonder is, if the medicine is working, should I still be able to do that, or not?  I have my work structured in such a way that I can do different things at once–one of the tools I developed for myself.  Ideally, I shouldn’t be able to.  Right?
  The headache is gone, but my knees still hurt.  They always hurt.

  About 100pm, and I had this email exchange:

From: Bryan 
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 12:56 PM
To: several people
Subject: fortune

My fortune in my Chinese Food said “Time is Money.”  How trite. 

But listen.  Money is the root of all evil.  Time is Money.   Therefore Time is the root of all evil. 
Time is on my side, yes it is.  The Rolling Stones said so. Therefore, the root of all evil is on my side.
This conclusion took me three seconds to come to.

How do think my new ADD meds are working?

If you want to know how my brain really works, read that really, REALLY fast.

From: Kim
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 12:58 PM
To: Bryan
Subject: RE: fortune

Do you have more refills?

From: Bryan 
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 12:59 PM
To: Kim
Subject: fortune

This is my first day taking it.
I swear I can’t tell if it’s helping me or making me psychotic.
Either way it’s different, so I’ll just go with it.


  0130pm

  Truthfully, I don’t know how I feel right now.  Full for now, because I just had Chinese. I’ll be hungry again soon.  Chinese food is the ADD of cuisine.  On the neuroses scale from post-it note to newsprint, I feel like an A4 envelope.  On the brain function scale from 117 to 43,289 I feel like a 15,238, but it’s not a linear progression.  On the emotional scale from Butterscotch to Jalapeno, I feel like Worcestershire Sauce.  On the whole, not bad I guess.

  0200pm

  Bunny came by to see me, and I ranted about the Storm for a few minutes, and then she ranted about the Big L.  It was a bonding moment.

  0300PM
 
  I’m home, feeling better.  Some of the side effects are dry mouth and many of the other things I mentioned, like rumbling tummy, jitteriness, some other crap.  One of the extreme side effects that the documentation said is "rare" is–let me quote:
  "If you have new bizarre thoughts consult your physician immediately."  Hmmm.  What is the difference between my new bizarre thoughts and my old ones?  And is that thought itself a new bizarre thought?
  Other than the headache, I guess I can deal with it.  I’m hoping I get adjusted to it and that goes away, actually.  In the meantime, I took my pill, my multivitamin, and three ibuprofen.  I’m much less wired, or weird, today, so that’s a good thing.  But decaffeinated coffee just isn’t the same.

ADD addendum:
  It’s now Saturday.  Friday was easier, better, but I still had the headache, which is listed as a side effect.  Hard to say if I had more focus.  Today it’s early still, but at least no headache.  I’m going to go work on something so we’ll see how well I stay focused on it.

What Goes Up

November 11, 2009 at 6:29 PM | Posted in Journal | 1 Comment
  Miranda handled the surgery well, considering the fact that she is a five gallon bucket of emotion.  The hardest part was the IV, and after that they didn’t have to stick any more needles in her. 
  We sat in her room–her, her mother, and me–and I got re-acquainted with my ex.  Yay?
  Being divorced has made The Storm all thoughtful and sensitive and introspective.  She is now the all-knowing seer and matriarch, kind and gentle and wise.
  Except I’m not buying it.  I know her.  And, as it turns out, I still know how to set her off. 
  We were talking–or they were talking and I was listening–and Miranda would ask questions and Linda would patiently impart wisdom.  It seems that our son Mitchell has ADD, and is both bipolar and psychotic.  Either psychotic doesn’t mean what I think it means, or he has been over-diagnosed, and the latter I find more likely.  Miranda had asked about it because she seemed surprised to find that Mitchell has ADD.  Duh.  I can tell.  One thing about being diagnosed with it, not to mention the reading I’ve done about it, gives me some insight…kind of a "I can spot my own kind" kind of thing.
  Miranda herself is bipolar, and the two kids come by it honestly.  Hell, all four of them do.  Melissa is medicated and Michael ought to be.  The Storm is bat-shit crazy, and HER mother was a psychotic and a pathological liar, and besides being bipolar she probably had a multiple personality disorder.  And no, I’m not exaggerating one bit.
  Miranda also has some anxiety issues, which Mitchell does and so does their mother.  The Storm has anxiety and depression.  She said she is bipolar, to which I would respond, "Really?  Just the two?"  It’s just a joke and not really true.  She doesn’t even have the two.  She just has the one.  She has a constant depression with very few peaks and more than enough valleys.  Add to that a heaping helping of anger issues and bring to a roiling boil.  Stir occasionally.
  The Storm tried to say that she had ADD, because when she cleans house she is in the middle of several projects and forgets what she is doing and has to make a list to stay on track.  That’s when I said, "That’s not ADD; you’re just old and can’t remember shit."
  Silence.  Miranda giggled, then stopped.  Linda held her mouth shut tightly for a good two minutes and didn’t say a thing.  Let me tell you, it was fucking awesome.  I don’t care; like I said, I can spot my own, usually.  And she’s not one of them.  She has a hell of a lot of problems, but ADD isn’t one of them.  Miranda doesn’t really have it either, although I would want add the caveat of "not yet" because it could always present itself later.  Linda did her best "I’m holding my tongue to keep from saying something bad" that she does in lieu of self-control.
  But she cheapened it so much that I didn’t tell her that yes, I have it, and yes, I’ve been to the doctor about it.  I have it, not you.  I am the one who will drift away or even out-right WALK away in the middle of a conversation.  But maybe it’s not ADD.  Maybe everyone is just boring and I’m rude.
  Oh well–whatever.  Nevermind.

  Oh, two other things happened.  Let me either wander off course or get straight to the point, depending on which you think is right. They filled Miranda’s script for pain pills, and brought it to us.  And they wanted 10 bucks to pay for it, right then.  My only regret was that I didn’t have my benefits card on me, so I just handed her the debit card. 
  Linda bitched the whole time.  They shouldn’t have just filled it.  She can get prescriptions filled at Walmart for 4 dollars.  They should have offered us the choice instead of automatically taking care of it.  Blah blah blah, on and on, she didn’t stop.  I gave the woman my  card, she ran it, she gave me a slip to sign, she handed over the drugs and she left, and the whole time Linda was bitching.  They *should* have done this.  They *should* have done that.  First of all, I’m paying for it, so shut your fucking pie hole.  Secondly, passive aggressive doesn’t work.  If you REALLY want to do something about it, THIS is what you must say:  "Excuse me, miss, but can we just instead fill this our self at a pharmacy of our choosing?"  Ask the nurse DIRECTLY, instead of indirectly bitching for 10 goddamn minutes.  What is you fucking point?  If you have a fucking point, make the fucking point!  And I fucking paid for the goddamn script, so really, what is your mother fucking point?  Jesus, shut up already.
  What was the other thing?  Oh yeah, the form.
  Miranda’s post-op instructions just as a matter of covering their ass mentions smoking and second hand smoke.  Again, The Storm rises.  She can’t smoke in the building at work, she can’t smoke in restaurants, and soon she won’t be able to smoke in her car.  She’ll be damned if they will stop her from smoking in her own home.  Both the nurse and the doctor had experience dealing with insane people.  They sympathized and understood and said don’t worry about it; it’s just a standard line on the form.  But she wouldn’t let it go.  She has no self-control, so she kept muttering under her breath about it.
  Oh, yeah, she kept going.  Christ.
  You know–I write this knowing full well that my new sweetheart Detroit will probably read this, even though she has slacked off significantly and doesn’t seem to care so much about what I write so I have to make it interesting for her even though some of this but not all of this I have told her before.
  Having said that:  when we first got together–when I left my wife for this new life and new person–I of course had doubts.  It was a hard thing to do but ultimately prevailing was my desire to get out my marriage. 
  But the doubts:  Was it the right thing?  Am I giving up too soon?   Shouldn’t I try to make it work?  Couldn’t we work out our problems and get back together?  Should I stay or should I go?  Time and distance–it’s been three years since we split up–have given me clarity and perspective.  Monday I spent more time with my ex than I had in three years.  Aside from the fact that there were still things I couldn’t tell her (it’s my life and none of her business, but I still can’t tell her things because it will set her off and I have learned–she has taught me–to keep things from her), the other thing was I just couldn’t stand her.  She still couldn’t let go of anything, she still bitched needlessly about things that were none of her concern, she still took things personally that were NOT about her, and she was still self-righteous and sanctimonious and completely humorless.
  Speaking of humorless, she had a comment about me doing stand up. In the world she lives in, she had been trying to get me to do it for years, she said.  But then when I left, that’s when I do it?  I’m an asshole.  *She* was the one who told me, "You’re not as funny as you think you are."  In her mind, this is encouragement.  What I should have said was, "Nothing was funny until I left."

  Back to the point, or to further meander…
  Miranda has anxiety, and she is a worrier.  Like the anger control and depression, she comes by this honestly, either genetically passed from her mother or learned.  From her mother.  She has a friend whom she worries about doing something bad (read: start having sex young, at age 13) and Linda was trying to counsel her about it.  I did manage to get in a few words, like she can be a good influence on her friend, instead of the friend being a bad influence on her.
  Linda, of course has always been way to open and honest with the kids for my comfort.  She freely admits how having kids at a young age ruined her life and ended her childhood early.  That’s all well and good but she also casually tosses around my early drug use as a cautionary tale as well.  If it keeps the kids off of drugs, fine, but I don’t need *all* the details out there.
  I do know that more of the details than I am comfortable with about our break up are out there–and you’ve seen this blog, you’ve read it–I let it all out.  But she goes over the line.  Maybe because it’s only the details that make me look bad, and the 19 years off hell I went through are conveniently glossed over as "we had some good times, some bad times."
  Well, what’s my point in all this?  That’s a really good question–what the hell is my point?
  My point is, Linda is so ready to use whatever diagnoses she can as a crutch, as an excuse for not…being rational:  I can’t calm down, so I have anger issues.  I can’t find my keys, I must have ADD.  I’m an unbearable bitch to live with, I must be bipolar.
  As for me, I straddle the median between denial and acceptance.  I know that–or at least I feel that–ADD is over-diagnosed in this country.  Maybe I do have it but I can still (mostly) function.  Maybe I don’t have it but it sure does explain a lot.  If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and has a short attention span, chances are it’s ADDD–Attention deficit duck disorder. 

Polygon

November 10, 2009 at 10:12 PM | Posted in Personal | Leave a comment
  It does come at me from all sides.

  The Storm said my son had a breakdown, because he feels like I don’t love him and don’t want to spend time with him.  And he feels like he’s been replaced by Detroit’s two sons.
  My daughter had knee surgery the other day to correct her leg alignment.
  I am broke and getting broker, and stressed out as I try to figure out how to get more money into the house.
  I feel pressure from my brother to take care of the insurance money…something I should have done over a year ago anyway.
  I have no idea what is going on with my sister and I’m leery of asking because I don’t want to be drawn into her bottomless pit of despair and poor decision-making.
  I have vehicular troubles all over the house–the Mercedes needing an oil change is the least of my problems.  Detroit’s van has a possessed electrical system, the Saturn can’t pass an emissions inspection, Fred sits in the garage like a coma victim on life support, and Mitchell’s Intrepid sits in his driveway waiting for a drive-by shooting to put it out of its misery.
  My home improvement projects have hit a snag after things were going so well.  Aside from the minor issue of running out of money, these goddamn recessed fucking lights that I fucking put up in the unholy ceiling of the fucking shit basement don’t work.  And while I’m not an electrician, I am a thinker.  If there are six lights connected and there is power to EVERY wire but the lights don’t come on, I think there is something wrong.  I have a tester that shows current to all the wires.  It should be bright, but the darkness of the basement permeates even my soul, like a grape Kool-aid stain on a white carpet.
  Speaking of simile, my newly diagnosed ADD is like an old girlfriend who left town, got a degree and got diagnosed as psychotic and then came back for her BeeGee albums.  It’s familiar to me, and the only thing that’s different is that now I know what to call it.  It doesn’t mean I know how to deal with it.
  If only my son knew how much I missed him and wanted to spend time with him.  Between his schedule and mine, and his detached aloofness that patrols the walls he has up, it’s a wonder I can talk to him at all.  While I do like Alex alot, as far as Brandon goes the most you can say is that on the best days I tolerate him.  And neither one of them is Mitchell.  My firstborn male child, my progeny, my bloodline.  My younger and gigantic mini-Me.  The one upon whose shoulders my hopes and dreams for the future of the family lie.
  He doesn’t know, you know, that when I left Linda I wanted to take him with me.  I knew that I could never take Miranda, and to make a baby make that choice is wrong.  And it was the same for Mitchell.  I would never make them make that choice; it’s wrong.  I left them with their mother because it was best for them.  I sacrificed a piece of me for them.
  I know that makes me sound like a martyr and that’s not what I meant.  All I meant was, I wasn’t going to make a bad situation worse by doing that to them.
  My daughter’s knee surgery went well, even though I had to spend the whole day with my ex.  Aside from the painful awkwardness of sitting in a room with her for several hours, I also got several great reminders of how close she is to Miranda–a closeness that I will never have again.

  I just….grrr!  Fuck this pity party.

  I guess I need to sort me fuckin life out, mate.  Figure out what I can do something about, and what I can’t do anything about.  Draw a line down the middle, make two columns, and then fuck with both of them.

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