Wednesday, June 30, 2010


After telling mom about last night, she also suspected that it was one of the creepy guys that lives on the other side of Mrs. Creighton. Then she proceeded to tell me about how she once saw one of those men screaming and chasing a cat with that very same katana. And about seeing them screaming at and hitting one of their numerous dogs. And about a creepy "don't steal our dog" sign positioned in such a place that only Mrs. Creighton would be able to see it. I have trouble imagining an elderly woman snatching a dog. Perhaps calling Animal Control...but not snatching it.

Also, I just got a job as a deli clerk at Fresh Market. $8.25/hr. Minimally 25 hrs per week. The assistant manager seemed very apologetic about offering me such a "low" rate when I already have experience in the position. I insisted that it was fine and that I didn't mind starting low and working my way upward. Which I don't. I think I enjoy earning my place in ranking systems. He insisted that I'll probably be offered a full-time position within a month.

Also, Meijer conducted a phone interview with me before I went to Fresh Market today. If they're willing to offer me a third shift position (one of those AM deals), I'll take it. I just want to be making money all the time. And that goal is within reach.

Now, to set up some freelance writing positions.


I've developed a bad habit of staying up into the late, late hours of the night playing flash games online. When I have no reason to be anywhere or do anything, nothing gets done. My life becomes stagnant in flash games.

At about 4:40am, I was sitting in the arm chair in the living room watching I Shouldn't Be Alive when I heard the rusty gate between our house and Mrs. Creighton's house open and close. Our yards are outlined only by chainlink fences. This particular gate only leads into her yard. She keeps a tight schedule. I have a hard time imagining that it was her or her distant daughter.

I have said before that this isn't the best neighborhood. There are two creepy men that live in the house just beyond Mrs. Creighton's that stay up all night watching various action films. I once came home late just in time to witness one of them, the one that once threatened to slit my father's throat in front of a group of family friends, "practicing" with a katana. In my mind, these men are a mixture of Boo Radley and Buffalo Bill, amongst other things. Beyond them are various other renters. There are at least two homes within a block's radius of my house that contain drug dealers who are entertaining brief company all day and night, but mostly at night. There is an apartment complex up the street that one wouldn't want to be caught by when night fell. Things are routinely broken, stolen, and generally trashed. There is no feeling of being safe in this part of Fort Wayne. Moreso at night than during the day.

One of my deepest fears is someone breaking into my dwelling as I sleep. I kind of always feel vulnerable in this sense, but the plethora of windows in this place makes me feel especially vulnerable, and always has.

In hearing that gate, it wasn't a sense of physical intrusion that made me afraid. It was that whomever opened and closed this gate could clearly see me on my laptop through the window I was sitting next to. It was the fear of being watched and not knowing it or sensing it. I turned off the light as if it helped. I went to the front door and crept out and around my house, creeping along the path that runs alongside my neighbor's house.stopping just beyond the window that may or may not have betayed my privacy in the darkness. I stood and stared into the night, as if there was going to be some flash, some monster emerging and chasing me. But there was nothing. I turned and stared into the window of my house, disturbed by how much I could see. Then I briskly ran back into my house. Then faced a moment of horror movie consciousness. "This move was as bad as saying 'I'll be right back' went outside to check on a strange noise. The killer could be in the house."

I curled up on the loveseat, out of view with my laptop. I stared into the darkness of the entryways to the sides of the TV on the wall. I was beginning to expect a shadow to shift there in the blackness, aided by the changing light source the TV provided in the room.

But nothing happened. I'm just paranoid, as usual.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A rollercoaster in a downward spiral, a drilling tornado on the plains.

I should be doing something.
Or be somewhere, right now.
Dad told me I was becoming like my dad.
It sounded negative.
Job to job to job, he said.
He glanced at something, shaking his head before walking out.
Leaving to go fix my grandmother's shed roof.
On, which, he spent his own money.
But what am I to do?

I'm begging to work for someone.
To clean up fecal matter.
To apologetically repair someone else's mistakes.
To humbly serve the richer.
Just hire me, please.
I'll be the best servant you've ever had.
I won't complain.
I'll ask questions, but that will save you time later.
I won't ask them again, I promise.
Please, let me lick the filth off of your shoes.
They will shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.
Like Daddy Warbucks' titanium, ivory, gold-plated banisters.
Like the Monopoly Man's newest monocle, lovingly handcrafted by the smallest of endentured servant hands.
He is no Mr. Peanut.
That's me, because that's what I'm paid in.
I will never tell you that I am above the task at hand.
The grit will wish it had never existed, I assure you.
Even if it is inanimate, it will awaken only to curse itself.
Just, please, for the love of God, hire me.

I overdrafted my bank account.
It was a negative three and seven.
$3.07 that could have become $20, $40, $60+
Had mom not caught it.
I asked her to check it three days ago, though.
Oh well, I said.
I cried in the shower.
I told myself to stay calm.
I told myself these were black days.
I hummed it to myself.
But it can't rain all the time.
I cried into my watery arm and only felt stereotypical and washed up.
I feel like I have everything and nothing to say right now.

I attended a poetry reading and found an old acquaintance had found Jesus.
And wanted us to find him, also.
And we listened for an hour as he told us about his life.
And all the horrible things that had recently happened.
And all the great timing that surrounded his discovery of religion and spirituality.
Great timing saved him from mourning his mother, staying in a relationship with his fiance, fretting over her discovery of cancer shortly thereafter, and the miscarriage of his previously undiscovered child.
"I met someone new in my prayer group," he beamed.
"I sing the song of myself," I thought.
And thought of the golden-haired angel being cast out of the heavens and given a new name.
The same old self-serving, self-advertising man.
But with the new taste of "calling" and "devoted lifestyle."
A friend said that friend was dead.
I calmly agreed.

I feel more dead than alive, but nothing will send me back to Jesus other than massive bodily harm.
Which I don't anticipate.

Now I'm going to play Clue with my sister and forget feeling so frustrated for a minute.

I have an interview tomorrow. I have a good shot at winning a contest. Fingers crossed. Eyes open. Held breath.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I will build a fortress of unread books, so help me...

I feel a seething laziness. I'm furious for having nothing to do. I take my frustrations out on worthless online games. I have a pile of books that I'm building that I haven't read yet. Books I collected from all over the country. Hip, bizarre, they sound interesting. Here, let me list them for you.

In Seattle, I bought another Cormac McCarthy book in Left Bank Books, which is basically a sister store of Boxcar Books in Bloomington. Blood Meridian, as it is talking about the wild west that I'd just passed through in getting to Seattle. More than that, I wanted to give Left Bank Books some money, as, like Boxcar, it was all volunteer-run.

Later on in Seattle, I bought Sons of the Profits after taking the tour of their underground. It was a bestseller. It sounds promising. It could end up being boring. We'll find out.

In Olympia, I found another radical anarchist bookstore and decided to buy something just because of it once again. This time, it was a book called The World's Shortest Stories, edited together by Steve Moss. The cover reminded me of a popular zine series I'd seen in Boxcar. I aim to establish a connection.

In Portland, while still dumbfounded by the size of Powell's City of Books, I bought Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy, as it is currently being advertised and promoted by hip booksellers all across the country, namely because it's something strange that most people never think about. I think it's probably going to be like a summer horror film, Mary Roach style.

I bought a Mary Roach book while in Powell's, too. Bonk, this time. I read about half of it while on the road and then lost interest, but I'll finish it eventually. I also bought a book to satiate the ever-growing interest in forensics-Unnatural Death: Confessions of a Medical Examiner. My mother glimpsed this book right after I came home and demanded that I tell her whether or not it was interesting, because she wanted to read it if it was. Have I ever mentioned that we spend a good chunk of our free time watching the Investigation Discovery Channel? Imagine 24/7 of crime investigation shows. That's what it is. I almost bought Anna Karina, but convinced myself that I could find it cheaper elsewhere. Perhaps that was foolish.

Then, while in Bloomington, Domino asked me if I had ever read any Terkel, and when I responded that I hadn't, she produced one of his books, The Good World: An Oral History of World War Two, and told me to read it. I'd never heard of it before, but the cover tells me that it's a Pulitzer Prize Winner and was on the New York Times Bestseller List for over five months. I was intrigued.

Last night, in thanks for fixing their computer speakers and reminding him that he had left his checkbook at the Walmart Pharmacy according to a call received during my visit, my grandfather came by with three books he'd freshly bought from Walmart that I had asked to borrow from him when they were returned from other borrowers earlier in the day. The first three Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris: Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, and Club Dead. My grandfather has a thing for vampires in the same way that I once did, though his fetish has never diminished, nor has his pleasure in sharing vampire novels with me. As he gave me the third, with a cover marred by the HBO series' cast rather than the original artwork, he lowered his voice and said "a little piece of trivia for you...that one," he pointed to Anna Paquin, "just came out recently."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Well, I'm back!

California was lovely. Admittedly, I like northern California more than southern California.

Arizona was very hot. We're talking 104 degrees. 80 degrees at night. On the way to the Grand Canyon from Tempe, we passed a prairie fire on top of a mesa. Everything in a mile radius of it had been charred black. Traffic was backed up for miles on that side of the highway. Luckily, we were on the other side and it had been taken care of by the time we drove back. There were cacti. I was very excited about this.

The Grand Canyon is indeed grand. Massive. I felt like we were standing in front of a giant oil painting of the Grand Canyon. We decided we were going to hike down the Bright Angel path, which had been listed as "Steep, but popular." "Popular, eh? If it's popular, we should easily take it."

Three of us were having a hard time with it. Andres is fit, and therefore didn't. We got about halfway to the 1 1/2 mile rest stop before seeing it from far away and deciding that we were "not going to make it." What took us about an hour to walk down took us about two hours to climb out of. Still, it was an adventure and I would gladly do it again. And again. And again.

We left Tempe as soon as we woke up and began the 16 hour drive to Austin, TX. We stopped at one tourist trap along the way. It was called "The Thing." It ended up being a strange museum of sorts. I appreciated it for what it was.

Outside of El Paso, I called Sara. I was in her homeland and it seemed appropriate. It was mainly because I wanted to hear her voice. I'd been thinking about her throughout all of my travels, and because she is a proud Texan, it felt appropriate to contact her. I had called her before while walking around in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and she had apparently been with a friend and driving. But she still talked to me as I yammered about what I was seeing. This time, I talked about the heat and how I disliked it. She told me to imagine that I was a lizard, sunning myself. The conversation was very brief, and I sensed that it wasn't necessarily welcomed. But she didn't cut me off. We got back on the road and I said goodbye.

Deanna drove through gray skies. I would occasionally perk up to watch lightening in the distance before going back to sleep. Before nightfall, we switched off. I drove through the Texas blackness and loved it. Nothing could be seen but the road immediately in front of us and headlights in the distance. Occasionally I would see lightening, though I wished for more. What gas stations we found past midnight were mainly closed, as they were all in small Texas towns built on the highway. I kept thinking of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That made the driving more interesting.

In one such town, the speed limit dropped, as they often do, but I missed the one that suddenly said 30. We were driving the previous speed limit, which was 45. There were lights flashing behind me before I knew what happened. We explained that we hadn't seen the sign, and when I was totally sure that he was going to give me my second ticket of the trip, he returned with a written warning. He showed up about a block past the original sign. The 30 limit lasted for another four blocks before turning back into 45. He took pity on us, as we were about 70 miles away from Austin after driving all day long.

We made it to Austin at about 2am. We checked into a cheap Motel 6, switched rooms because the one we were originally assigned to was full of bugs, then passed out. When we woke up, we went to the Whole Foods headquarters, then split up for a while and went to various stores. Then we drove to the Bat Bridge, which has the largest urban bat population in the world. While we saw none, we could hear them all. The area smelled like a giant rat cage. I was enthralled.

Then we walked around for a little while looking at shops. We meant to go to the nearby Amy's Ice Cream location, but it appeared to be closed. We stopped by the PetsAlive! booths across the street and took a bit to pet kitties and puppies. I met a pup that was obviously meant to come home with me, but that wouldn't have been practical. Then we went to another Amy's location that was open. The dude that was scooping ice cream was extremely charismatic. We each got a couple samples, then it came time to order. Deanna made her decision, and I was being somewhat indecisive, as usual. The dude behind the counter joked with me that I could just get all 16 flavors in one small cup. And so I accepted. And he was surprised and excited, because, apparently, in the seven years he'd worked there, not one person he'd offered that to had ever taken him up on it. And it was delicious.

Then we left right afterward and went to Houston. We stayed with Deanna's sister, brother-in-law, and their two small children. They were very nice to us. In the morning, we went to a bunch of museums. My favorites were the Holocaust Museum (no surprise there) and the Museum of Medical Science (again, not a lot of surprise). The Museum of Contemporary Art had an interesting textiles exhibit going on, but the one going on downstairs felt like filler material to me compared to what was upstairs. At one point, we got caught in a downpour, and had to walk about a mile back to the car. I thought it was funny. Then we went out to dinner with Deanna's family, then went home and slept a couple hours before leaving at 1AM and heading toward Indiana.

Hard rains on the highway. It's hurricane season. I felt like every cop was a shark, and I was surrounded by sharks that had been thrown ashore by the high winds. But I liked driving through Louisiana in the dark. Lots of bridges and whatnot. I always prefer driving at night to driving during the day. Less distraction. More peaceful time to relax and think. It's a kind of ritual, really. That's why I used to go out so often at night around here. Nightswimming deserves a quiet night, and all that jazz.

In Bloomington, I stayed with Gizmo while Deanna stayed with Leigh. Gizmo got me drunk while I was still loopy from driving all day AND helped me do my laundry. Then we went out and saw people and I got lots of hugs. Then we went home and I passed out. Then we went to the Farmer's Market in the morning and I saw even more people and got even more hugs. Then more people wanted to hang out with me. More hugs. Domino invited me to a picnic the next morning with her new girlfriend, so I hung out with them. Domino and I had a long conversation about Sara, and she compared it to how her relationship with her new girlfriend came about. The difference is that this story is not mutual, and that Sara doesn't pursue me in the slightest. Then we "played basketball" with her ex and another friend. Then I played videogames with Cody for the rest of the afternoon. I left the next day. On the way back to Fort Wayne, I called Sara, and she didn't answer. Nor did she call back. As usual, I will take this as a sign of disinterest. No matter what she might say in response to this, it's what I needed. I need to stop thinking about her. I need to move on. I've been too sad for too long.

One thing I came to terms with on this road trip is that my heart really has been broken. It's going to take a mixture of time and someone else.