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Since the ex-Mrs.Dr.Malamud has chosen to revert to her maiden name, in a bid to make her seem more human, from this page forward, I will refer to her as Hanna-Marie Malamud
Wednesday . . . Love covers all, makes life seem bright. You could be living in poverty, but if you have someone you love, and someone who loves you, life is good. Every day I feel a little bit better and I reminisce about Hanna-Marie less often. However, I continue to sleep far too much and I refuse to even begin to begin the search for a decent job. I was thinking the other day that a whole array of things and places I've only had to endure since Hanna-Marie began her divorce jihad. For instance: the car I drive, the place I live, the absence of my two dogs and my financial poverty have only existed since Hanna-Marie turned my emotions into something resembling a Saharan haboob.
Now I'm at Borders and listening to some squeaky-voiced-hunch-shouldered housewife dominate a book club meeting. Normally all this noise would drive me insane, but tonight, an hour and one-half before I clock in, I find I enjoy it. The noises of mahjong, the grinding sounds from the screams of the coffee beans giving their all for a cappuccino coffee bar, the hunch-shouldered housewife's screech . . . like Mainio says, "It's all good."
The entire reason I was driven to write today--the hunchback's voice continues to roil over her table like a flight of World War Two bombers over Berlin--was that more and more my being, my soul (as opposed to only my intellect) is coming to the understanding that I am not the bad guy in this movie. And that if there actually were a scale of justice, a scale of right & wrong, the right-side platform would now be weighted heavily towards Dr.Malamud. While, as the emotional fog continues to burn off, like a sunrise lasting four years, I recall that even in the beginning of the break-up, total strangers were assigning me the (vastly overused) 'hero' label for submerging my own needs, so that the pre-adult Mainio might have his.
Saturday . . . Well, I was feeling pretty darn good until I arrived at the far north Phoenix Starbucks, where the Golden Hawn-voiced screeching employee in line in front of me, just had to chat with the other employees about her day. Funny how easy we get upset. For the second night in a row, I slept eleven hours straight and for me, that's not normal. Hopefully, my body-soul is performing some sort of psychic healing. I journeyed through quite a detailed dream involving Hanna-Marie: something about her wanting us to go to Las Vegas and me figuring out that she actually wanted to visit a man friend there.
I've been feeling so decent lately it almost scares me. I'm hoping it's because my attitude towards the divorce, my emotions, have taken a turn for the positive. However, I've also swerved off of my low carbohydrate Atkins diet, which is proven to generate depression, so I'm not certain if it is my diet or my attitude that is resurrecting the good feelings. This beautiful afternoon, on the thirty-three mile drive to my hell-job, I was actually imagining applying for decent work. That is how fine I was feeling. But you know, it's not like I'd be any good in a job interview if I was depressed anyway, right? I am simply so fortunate to have a job-functions that I can perform in my sleep--come to think of it, more than a few of my peers do just that. However, my current position is being phased-out (and that only after a twenty percent pay cut in March), June 31st, so it does seem an excellent moment to apply for employment I might not only enjoy, but be justly compensated for.
Tuesday . . . Effing alarm just broke up a good-feeling dream with Hanna-Marie in it. And of course, upon awakening I rolled over into a depressive state. Standing up, I looked around my nine hundred square foot apartment that Mainio, and to a very small extent, myself, have trashed, and thought the only way it would get cleaned was if I moved. And then I thought of all the work I did cleaning-up the home Hanna-Marie and I had shared since 1979. I did everything myself, with the new owner sending in a non-English speaking cleaning crew after all the furniture had been moved out. Thinking back on the immense cleaning-moving task, while holding down a full-time job in the midst of a depression that would have caused Job to throw himself onto a sharpened stake made of gofer wood, I feel quite proud. The Bible says that God will never give us any challenge larger than we can handle and isn't it proof that while the same tasks would have been taken in stride by Hanna-Marie, they were such a torment for me?
Tuesday . . . At Borders again, and since the writing muse seems to evaporate when I type my thoughts directly onto the internet, I'm pondering whether again to journey out to my parked vehicle to place my Dell craptop into it. I should move from a table, to a comfy and soft reading chair, but since there's a good looking lady somewhat near my own age, facing me--for now, I'm standing, or rather sitting, my ground.
Thinking of my next wife, I see nothing but flaws in the pool of middle-aged ladies. Of course my own appearance is flawless. But yet as I remember back to my first looks at Hanna-Marie, in contrast, all I saw was perfection. Am I going to have the guts to go after the as yet unknown woman I want? Or do I wait for her to choose me? In all actuality, I believe the woman does the picking, while the man's turgid ego convinces him the choice was his own. What if I don't like the way she laughs? The way she votes? Her family? Shit--it's like my actress friend tells me, "You do too much thinking, Ham."
Dammit! my emotions are still being flung around like a John Kerry chew toy in the teeth of a rabid Republican pit bull. Yesterday, two months into year four, I was feeling so good, and today I'm back in the dumps. I've got to believe the trigger that fires the bullet of depression is an memory of Hanna-Marie. But how do I keep her out of my dreams?
Wednesday . . . At Borders tonight I glanced the next Mrs.Dr.Malamud. Slim but not too slim, five foot seven, fortyish and best of all a gorgeous mane of thick red hair tied into a ponytail that then cascaded down to the middle of her back. Could a creature that perfect be single?
Monday . . . You know you're working too much when you cannot recall what day of the week it is. The Bentley is gone, as is the white convertible Audi A6 with the red leather interior and moments ago, the young mother loaded her car-seated kid into the back of her S-series Mercedes and carefully drove off. The second tier vehicles are pulling in now, a Cadillac SRX, last year's model of the Chevy Tahoe and a black Nissan Murano. Of course I'm at my Tatum and Shea Starbucks. It's mid-morning and I'm on my way home (if one can call a rented apartment 'home') from an appointment with Dr. Abimelech, D.O. It was my third lower back adjustment and my second nitrogen freeze-treatment for my Scottsdale-sun-caused facial pre-malignancy. As my mother (God rest her soul on this day after Mother's Day) advised me, "Getting old is not fun. It stinks."
I cannot believe the tops these ladies wear. I swear, like studying a winding blue road on a map, I can see the bulge of their blue breast veins pushing through the fabric of their blouses. Not that I am complaining. Speaking of looks, again and again I remind myself that if I was in decent LA Fitness shape and forty some pounds lighter, it wouldn't much matter what I wore. A healthy male or female torso, especially at my age, certainly in this Age of Fatness, speaks wonders of its occupant.
I have got to say that emotionally, I'm feeling pretty darn good today.
Thursday . . . At her eagerly accepted and repeated suggestion, I met with her at my office at the Barnes & Noble Shea address. She was a fellow actress-friend (Sanna-Leena) who, unlike yours truly, actually collects a paycheck to act. (To demonstrate our age difference, in one too-long ago acted scene, at a theatre house long torn down, I played her father.) What a blast, not only to be seen with such a beautiful, talented and intelligent creature, but to duologue with a soul slightly more confused and rattled than my own. Lest you imagine something untoward, she is married. Naturally, like so many confused readers these days, she not only insisted I read The Secret, but even went so far as to loan me her copy. Of course. We discussed Hanna-Marie's actions, and she admitted that while even hearing only my side, concluded that Hanna-Marie had more or less deserted her own family. My family. But that's not what was at the center of our two hour talk. Our own futures were. Our own goals were. And the best part of our meeting was, that even though this lady-friend was as pretty as a pin and as full of life as a puppy, involuntary urgings and imaginings of romance were absolutely absent.
Wednesday . . . At the Barnes & Noble Cafe, I walked by the four middle-aged ladies sitting at the blank table and went to the bar to get my pink mug filled up with medium roast. I sat at my usual table, near the condiments, and asked myself, "Where's the mahjong?" I looked up and the quartet of females were now playing mahjong. Am I thinking things into existence? I closed my eyes and placed Morgan Fairchild at the other side of my pizza-box-sized table. I opened my eyes and there she wasn't.
Thursday . . . I am no longer am I jealous of couples I see or the intimacy and companionship they most likely take for granted. I am finally comfortable with being alone and accountable to only myself, my God and the I.R.S. Mainio received a cell phone call from Hanna-Marie. In a 900 square foot apartment, secrets are hard fought. I felt little emotion, other than the desire that she be lonelier than Hillary Clinton at a Young Republican's convention. As I drove to my Barnes & Noble Cafe, I grimly reminisced about how she had abandoned the family she was born into and the family she willingly married into.
Friday . . . This is odd. This is probably not good. I'm feeling great after too many hours of sleep during a rare day off and hours of composing letter-perfect e-mails to Tamar and I'm confident and upbeat and at peace with the world and did not even get angry at the idiot tailgaters in a hurry to get home in time to watch The Playoffs, nor did I get jealous at the fact the as I left the apartment Mainio was banging out his girlfriend's brains with the resulting sounds seeping through the thin apartment windows and walls mimicking those of a Silverback gorilla moaning with a toothache. And what's 'not good' is that I honestly don't know if I'll be able to make rent tomorrow. Shouldn't I be nervous and filled with trepidation?
Saturday . . . I listened as Mainio talked to Hanna-Marie, his mother. From what I could accidentally overhear, they were discussing presents for his five-day-distant 21st birthday. Always being the considerate young man, he stepped out of the common room into his bedroom and the conversation faded to a muffled rumble. I am amazed that hearing Hanna-Marie called that while my ears perked up, my emotions remained level and untouched. When he moves out, reminders of my failed marriage will decrease to the occasional high pitched whistle made as the wind sometimes whisks through the screens of the apartment windows. As a matter of fact, I am wondering what I will be writing about once my memories of HM assume the same importance as mine have to her's for the past three years.
Pouring super-heated, ten-weight, recycled motor oil only slightly cooled with Half & Half, down my gullet, I'm seated at the far-north Starbucks for a short pause before reporting for yet another twelve-hour shift necessitated after having written a rent-check for five hundred American dollars more than resided in my account. Shame on me.
I ran into Piia-Noora at the convenience store last night. She initiated the contact which made me feel good. She was buying cigarettes, which made me feel bad. In the 1960s, when my fiancé, the black-tressed, blue-eyed and greatly cleaved ConnieBoone, touched a burning cigarette to her puckered lips, she melted away and there before me stood a gorgeous movie star. The moment was startlingly transforming. Hoping to become Humphrey Bogart, I immediately began the deadly habit myself. A habit which I chose to end in a single day three years later. So much for groups, nicotine patches, injections, pills and hypnosis, eh?
Wednesday . . . I came to post to my web pages and here I am writing instead. Hands & shoulders full, quietly saying again and again to myself, like some sort of retard, the name of a writer on a poster facing me, a beautiful, short blonde with massive breasts held the door to Borders open for me. How very nice. Both the gesture and the twins.
The lady to my west is having her astrological chart read. What a fraud. To my north is an attractive, but slightly more-overweight-than-acceptable woman complaining about being paid eighteen dollars an hour for ten dollar an hour work. Hell, I'm in the same position, only with the figures reversed. Dammit. To my northwest is the five member nerdish-looking Dungeons & Dragon team of Borders on Cactus. While choosing avatars and axes, they are gnawing through high-fat-food purchased at the McDonald's, a mere parking lot distant. Now the card reader is dealing out his client's future. It is odd that the slap of the cards on the hard surface comforts me as it reminds me of the constancy of my father (God rest his soul) dealing solitaire. Him wearing out decks and decks of sans Joker cards as he played every evening until he won. As over the eons, barefooted pilgrims, would wear down rocks as, heads down, they solemnly approached the alter of their god. The next sound I hear is the one made by a check being ripped along its perforated line and torn asunder from its brethren and its bank account and being gratefully passed to the charlatan.
A razor-thin, white-bloused, gray slacked, medium-heeled blonde is staring at her lap top screen as if it's the scratched opaque window of a well-worn airliner bound for Omaha. I feel like going over and trying to cheer her up, but she's probably O.T.R. or would be thinking that I'm only trying to pick her up. As she walks to the nearest garbage can I see her brilliant steel-gray eyes as bright and as piercing as Gort's was in the movie, 'The Day the Earth Stood Still.'
There are a slew of beauties here this afternoon, and I chide June for delivering them to me in their hot and sweaty condition.
Monday . . . I'm where I thought I'd never be again. And that place is 'feeling good.' My weight is out of control, but whether I'm feeling good or feeling bad, my weight will be a life-long challenge. Mainio, my son, born 1986 and my daily and constant companion since November of 1991 is moving out. Not in anger, but in search of fulfillment of his need for corporal 24/7 lust. He'd call it love. But as my reader's know, love, actual love, is unknown to a twenty-one year old.
I'm looking forward to his departure as I can finally return our tony Paradise Valley apartment to a 'habitat for humans' rather than the burrow of a two-hundred and fifty pound hairless guinea pig. And besides, his six-foot diameter exercise-wheel took up far too much space.
Not considering my overtime pay, Mainio is pulling down $4,000 more a year than this career-stultified patriarch. But even that financial fact has not got me depressed.
Hanna-Marie sent me one of those e-mails that everyone forwards because it is so funny and I deleted it unanswered, while I imagined how lonely she must be. She better be <grin>. With my Mainio gone, gone too will be the last vestiges of my unplanned and secretive audio contacts with Hanna-Marie, because cell phone calls initiated by her to him will no longer be accidentally overheard by my ears straining so hard that they can be seen to vibrate. But that now means no never-mind to me as I ponder my church's restriction on Dr. Malamud not getting re-married until the ex-Mrs.Dr.Malamud, i.e., Hanna-Marie, is again married or leaves this mortal realm, either of which would negate any chance of a reconciliation.
At my beyond-horrible place of employment, I'm dealing with my fifth manager in the last less-than-three-years, while my job description tumbles like an orange and black-beaded gila monster caught in a desert flash flood and now bound for an unplanned float down the Verde River. But even that can't drown my good feelings.
Wednesday . . . I hobbled into the Barnes & Noble Café and am seated and immediately, out of the corner of my eye, discern a hobble more pronounced than my own. I turn and look and see a young man with a snow-white, signature-graffitied, foot-to-hip plaster cast stumble by. His good leg is also graffitied , only with the awful and expensive lifetime tattoos that are the current rage among those not thinking beyond tonight's books, beer and pizza.
I hear the voice of the female bookseller sporting the C-cup cleavage and so sexy low-slung hips and voice come over the in-store announcement system. Her syllables spark warm feelings inside me until I realize, again, that the poor girl is unaware of our relationship. I'm behaving like a hormone-riddled male four decades younger than I am. I continue creating all these imaginary relationships with so many of the 21st Century wonder women I study during my day. Well, it is cheaper than prostitutes, and avoids getting my heart scraped across the sharp edged holes of a cheese grater again like Hanna-Marie did.
Sunday . . . Boy right now, I could sure use someone to hug. I was thinking how often my phone rang in the last week and it was twice. I remember back when I fancied myself such a loner, a tough guy. What a dope. That was back when I had my kids, and my wife, and all the people my wife's employment brought into my life and my English Bulldog and Chihauhau. In addition there were my wife's relatives who lived in town.
Now, Hanna-Marie has left me and lives on an island accessible only by seaplane, and the kids have lives of their own, even Mainio, the youngest at twenty-one, and I'm moved to tears of loneliness as I write this. Tears of defeat.
Tears of life moving on and leaving me behind . . . and simply writing this has improved my mood by exposing, to myself, once again, how self-centered I am. The removable decoration that rides atop the pen I'm writing with was 'borrowed' from a woman who is now dead from pancreatic cancer. And I'm whining?
Several Thursdays ago, a church-psychologist-in-training was gathering my mental history. Good thing he admonished me that certain suicidal tendencies he noted would require him to notify the State. Who then, I'm certain, would rush in with their coat of many velcro straps and return me to one of the luxuriously padded rooms of my 1970s alma mater.
It is sad and kind of frightening that the State could and would intrude into my very private relationship with my shrink.
Just yesterday, Thursday, I was feeling so fine, I was considering closing down these web pages. From where did this relapse erupt? (Jeeze, I listen as the old ladies next to me, at the B&N Cafe, are talking about nursing homes. Just what I need to hear.) My return to these pages was precipitated by thoughts of my financial demise, due to plummeting income from my horrible job. And then on the way here I was hemmed-in and hassled by flocks of expensive luxury vehicles and realized that many of them were probably in the same situation, only surrounded by Connally hand-stitched leather. And their problems stem from over-spending, while my own stem from under-earning.
While I glance at the ladies playing Bunco, I realize that women use games to learn about their fellow contestants, while men use games to crush their opponents. The bonding always comes after the conflict, if ever.
An occasional client of mine, in a muscle-shirt, sans the muscles and displaying so much hair as to resemble a walking armpit (except for his shining dome, which was as hairless as his teeth) walked over to my table and introduced himself. When I explained to him that my plan was to become the next (Laurence) Olivier, he looked down at my writing and then up at my face and informed me, "You want to be a writer, eh?"
Feeling much better now, having seen numerous knock-out looking ladies and imagining going to bed with each of them, in turn, I end today's writing.
Sunday . . . Gawdamn her! Hanna-Marie. I stand washing the same melmac plate I use everyday in a kitchen at 86F degrees, broke, lonely as hell, because of her. And the only reason it's 86 is that this is the weekend when APS charges us ants only 75% of the weekday rate per kilowatt hour.
But Hanna-Marie and I broke up because of us. Every day I see in the shadows of my mind small snapshots of how desperately unhappy she was. And how I 'knew' but didn't know. How I dead dog assumed, we, like my own parents and her's, that couples stay married forever. And it's like an acquaintance, a Microsoft Millionaire who retired at age forty, told me: "Hammurabi, if my wife was unhappy and she wanted out I'd let her. I love her and I want her to be happy."
It's probably been six weeks since I hugged Sanna-Leena (my actress friend) at a Barnes & Noble Café in a mega-mall in distant Chandler, Arizona. That's one thing I thought I'd never miss. Hugs. It reminds me of visiting my father in the early 1990s, in the Alzheimer's wing of the rest home, and hugging him. How, as his brain was being dissolved by that unbelievably horrid heredity disease, he'd hug me with the robust energy of a five year old child. And here, I was his child.
Monday . . . I drove to the B&N Café and once there, poured out my can of Diet Pepsi Lime that had sat in my car and had risen to the proper temperature to steep tea bags in. Walking into the bookstore, like an 1800s cowboy, I felt naked for I had slapped my hip and felt no cell phone hanging there. How odd is it that we feel we must never be without our connection to the digital ether. As our federal government increases its surveillance of its population and regularly monitors all cell phone calls, I can envision an explosion in the use of old-fashioned phone booths.
It was so hot in the Scottsdale summer sun, that the short walk from the car to the refrigerated interior of the building cooked my body so thoroughly, that once at my dedicated table in the café, feeling much like a baked potato recently removed from the oven, I had to sit and let the heat rise up and off of my body before I felt safe in touching any paper for fear it may burst into flames.
Friday . . . Not unlike a satellite made incandescent returning to Earth I halted my car's trek of slicing through the super-heated Scottsdale summer air at the Cactus Road Borders bookstore. I really don't feel like writing. Or reading. For awhile, in the cafe, I was sitting in the farthest corner, as if the room was an open Chinese fan and I was situated at the handle end. For a moment, as the room recedes away from me, it seems as if my unfocused eyes are gazing through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars held by an unseen hand.
Almost an out-of-body experience. Art Bell stuff. Haven't had one of those since high school days, back during the L.B.J. administration. My psyche must really be slipping for that weirdness to have once again manifested itself. I don't feel that awful or pressured, or depressed. So it could be my lack of mental clarity, my surfeit of prescription drugs, my all-the-time weariness and my disabling aches and shooting pains, or all of it. It could be Life.
I'm still such a sap. As I look at women here, browsing the magazines, and imagining their thoughts as something high-minded and spiritual, almost holy, when they are certain to be thinking about far more down to earth things.
Sanna-Leena has returned from her funeral-vacation, and is burning through the many of my e-mails that stacked up like half a cord of firewood leaning against the closed door of her mailbox that has the "back in two weeks" hanging askew from it.
It's so silly, my relationship with her . . . it is truly Platonic . . . and we are both just a touch insane . . . and I need a real-live woman-friend so badly. But I am cognizant that I am nowhere near ready. I haven't yet endured my forty years wandering the desert. Pondering. Learning. Soul-simmering, with unhealthy perceptions and emotions being skimmed off as they rise to the surface and are exposed. I simply pray my heart doesn't dry-up in the meantime.
I recently finished reading a book about actor trainer Lee Strasberg. And like so many widowed and/or divorced men, he married a lady one-half his age . . . and then left her a widow.
Tuesday . . . I'm at my Starbucks Desert Ridge tonight coffee-ing up on my way to my horrible job.
It's odd that I just removed the documentary dvd, "Jesus Camp" from my cigarette pack-sized mailbox and here I am seated across from an apparent church leadership group of four or five. I say "four or five" because the angry-looking Smart-Car-sized woman wearing the slimming black moo moo, could count for two people.
I had a very long time male friend e-mail to chide me that I should find something to do in my spare time. By the amount it upset me--would have upset me, if I was normal--I must admit he's telling the truth.
I certainly must find a decent job, for it appears no matter how much I cut back expenses I simply no longer earn enough money period. I promised--PROMISED--my shrink that I would make 'two contacts' about employment opportunities prior to our next meeting, Thursday after this. I haven't made a single one. However, he did explain to me why I did not want to look for work--which was enlightening--only I forgot what he said. I am so glad, like 100% of the counsellors before him, that he finds me so entertaining, for I'm sure not getting a lot out of our meetings.
Every now and then I start thinking of how things could be, should be, and I feel so good. And then I get lazy and settle back down in the muck that most of humanity rolls in. To the unfamiliar this would appear to be an unsatisfactory situation, but for me, without the depression, without the guilt . . . without the constant self-accusations showering down on me like cruise missiles did on Saddam during the final attack on Baghdad, I think I'm simply relishing the 'withouts'. But I do need to get a move-on. Tonight, without getting a swell-head, I think if I imagine the joy & possibly direction I could give others if only I would get out and about . . . I keep intending to begin each day concentrating on what I want and then I always seems to get side-tracked and don't have the time.
Piia-Noora, the lady who asked me to dinner a while back, got fired, so I'll probably never see her again. Unless she first makes the contact. I understand she's living with some jack-off.
I shuffle around, and seeing all the 21st Century technology, that, except for the foggy pollution, I feel like I'm a character in the movie Blade Runner.
Speaking of the 21st Century, where anything goes, it appears the church group near me, talking about bishops and former members stealing members and all of them sounding gay, I'm going to take a wild leap and guess they are from the Gay-Lesbian Metropolitan church. Hope they are getting what they need.
Friday . . . Finally got an e-mail from my female-actress-friend, Sanna-Leena. She's back from a death in the family vacation-funeral. She sounds extremely well. And she is moving on in her life. With direction. With goals. Doing a few of the things she wants to do. And if you are happily married, and a mother with two small kids getting to do "a few of the things" you want to do is all one can ask.
I want to e-mail her back with how horrible I feel, but I've become considerate enough in my old age to not do that, for why concern her when she is feeling so good? Why risk bringing her down with my problems? Or finding out she no longer cares? Not because she is mean, but because she is terrified of caring too much, sharing too much, and getting wounded.
Sitting here in my whitey-tighties, and on me we are talking tight, and I hear the immense roar of an American warplane carefully taking off from the Scottsdale Airpark Airport and gingerly shoving the stick forward over my apartments. I can't run outside with my camera for I'd be attacked by any females seeing my tightly strung torso, so I remain inside and sit and ponder. That always concerns me when warplanes are using a small civilian landing space. I wonder what's up?
I'm loading tortilla chips up with my Zesty Guacamole Dip from Lakeview Farms thinking that at least that avocado is a vegetable and good for you. Then, on the side of the container I read the ingredients, with the major components listed first: "Cream and skim milk, avocado pulp, water . . . " Isn't anything what it seems anymore?
Saturday . . . 97F degrees but high humidity today. My mighty Peugeot was covered in the desert dirt carried by Thursday's haboob that crawled across The Valley of the Sun about as fast as our still-under-construction, $6,000,000,000 light rail.
It was so miserable outside, that I had to sit, resembling an almost-melted two hundred fifty pound candle, inside the Borders Cafe sans my trademark cap, hands running through my sweat-wetted hair, with eventually both ending up, fingers interlocked, behind my head, simply letting the core-penetrating heat waft off of me like a baked turkey recently pulled from the oven.
I'm here on the release date for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Not being a Potter patron, I could care less. Although I am encouraged that so many of my fellow citizens are literate enough to read the three-inch thick 'final' book.
There isn't a table open near an electrical receptacle, so I have my twenty pound, twenty-pocketed, laptop computer briefcase staged for a quick move if and when a spot opens up. I'm seated as if I'm on stage, appearing relaxed and intensely concentrated (Miesner-style) on my task. However, like a puma waiting, panting, in the gray shadow of an olive green mesquite tree, my loitering is only in preparation for my leap.
We're eavesdropping on an E-harmony meeting one table to my right. Unconsciously, I had picked up on her earlier, for in her crepe off-white cotton dress, long dark hair and bare legs, she stood out as quite attractive, only moving in an oddly stiff, formal and distracted manner as she (Freudian-slip like) flipped through the wedding magazines.
Dr. Drew Pinsky is correct when he tells us listening lonely bastards that the internet dating sites match on all the traits except those which over the past ten thousand years have always first drawn Man and Woman together. The conversation sounds like a gull-darned job interview. It's so 'modern' with all of us café patrons listening in on this first corporeal encounter. (I'm reminded of Dr. Bruce's booming voice crashing into all the rooms of his office, traveling up the walls into the false ceiling and raining down on all of his clients, while he takes a new patient's medical history.) It is almost as if he has a memorized checklist. Is this "Love American Style" 21st Century?
As I mentioned earlier, she is quite attractive. He is still waiting for his mail-order chin as his mouth seems almost ready to slide off his face. I wonder if she realizes they will never ever again talk this much or this frankly?
Sunday . . . Dammit. I just realized that Hanna-Maria, being a mother, most definitely had to be here for the arrival of Aili's first child. That puts me in an emotional quandary, because the birth of Aili (pronounced 'Eye Lee') was the single most happiest moment of my life, while the divorce thrust on me by her mother, Hanna-Marie Malamud, was the saddest and most disastrous forty-two month long moment of my life. And the children, especially Aili, are caught in between.
And here comes our first grandchild (with a very troubled genetic heritage) who will never have known a time when his grandparents were actually betrothed. Gosh.
And then my 'cafe-buddy', the very talented actress Sanna-Leena, has rowed through her choppy waters and has, more or less, now spy-glassing a smooth surface ahead, twisted around to face me in the stern, and using so many e-words implied that, with selling her residence, raising two kids, being a wife, and rehearsing for a play, she would be too busy to any more meet with me. Imagine that.
As a divorced-single, life is so much simpler when one has only responsibilities to one's-self ... I think I'll go stick my head in the jam of the front door and slam it.
Before this 'visitation realization', I was actually preparing to be weaned off of my SSRI anti-depressant Wellbutrin-XL prescription. It's like the Lloyd Bridge's character says in that Airplane! movie, "I picked a bad day to quit sniffing glue."
Well, here I am again. Alone. Except for my fellow far-north Phoenix Starbuckians, who, out of the three of us, two are yabbing into the pin-hole mic of their cell-phones. I simply don't understand that. Always, always, always on the cell phone. If cell phone service ended, I swear, so would the lives of millions of Americans. And then they would be buried with their cell phones.
In the misted area outside the Starbucks, some 'look-at-me-I'm-well-to-do' moron has brought his giraffe-sized Great Dane to slobber on the shoulders and heads of his table partners. I do not understand these people and their dogs. Other people don't give a rat's ass about your dog-they only care about their dogs. And, sadly, they many times care more about their canines than they do their progeny.
I am really alone again. Dammit. And my kids are all adults with their own lives. Although Mainio still thinks of me, those thoughts too will soon fade. But all in all, being a dimwit-hateful-unreasoning Christian, I continue to cling to my old-fashioned totally scientifically unprovable belief that God is watching over me and that everything, both good and seemingly bad, is happening by His design for my spiritual & emotional growth.
Monday . . . I saw her today. This darkly clouded afternoon, I was once again seated at my usual table at the Barnes & Noble Café. From the higher cafe mezzanine, I saw her examining some shelved books within sight of my perch. Unsmiling and serious appearing, she was slender, neither beautiful or unattractive, alone, and in her late twenties to late thirties. Her long brunette hair was carefully piled on top of her head like maybe Ursala Andress did in the 60s. Her unashamed, small and perky breasts were covered by a white cotton blouse which was tucked into the flexible waistband of a tan skirt that fell tantalizingly down to end above her lovely ankles. She appeared sophisticated without being stuffy. I watched her pleasingly full hips jiggle tantalizingly as she searched through books near me. When she moved out of sight, I decided to abandon my lonely table to find and then concentrate on her beauty once more.
Again, I felt like walking up to her and simply telling her she looked very nice and then hurrying away. Not as any form of a pickup line (yeah right, me the pickup artist) just as a truthful observer who knows that in this critical and negative society people cannot hear enough good things said about them. If they are noticed at all.
I re-discovered her near the front of the store perusing the sale books, of which there are hundreds. I found my favorite bin containing the only books I could actually afford, those being the water-stained, missing-pages, damaged-in-shipment and exposed to radioactivity titles. Then while utilizing my finest secret agent techniques to keep her in sight and slipping on my lead-lined gloves, I began to search for reading I might enjoy.
Soon, with a stack of books in her slim arms she twirled and approached the clerk to pay for them. I figured our incognizable affair was over and disconsolately drug myself back to my table in the cafe.
Shortly, she came into the cafe, which is as far away as one can travel from the counters at the front of the store, and sat at a table at the other end of the seating area. Myself, after making a suitable-enough fuss over the too-cold arctic blast breezing past from the gun-port-like slit air-conditioning outlet directly above me, using forefinger and thumb to wipe the hot saliva from the corners of my mouth, relocated to another table where I could examine again this lovely lady without being astoundingly obvious.
Soon she left her table and ordered something at the cafe register, and after ordering, she returned to her table, retrieved her books, and then picked up her caffeine concoction at the counter. As she was exiting the cafe area and carefully walking down the four steps to the bookstore proper, five thick hardbacks in the crook of one arm, drink held in the other and separated from me by only by a round dark oak banister held in place by brass rings, she turned and looked directly into my eyes.
Caught, I reflexively smiled at her, and then, as if I had emerged from the darkness of a movie theater into the blazing Scottsdale summer sun, my eyes were blasted with massive and blinding splash of white.
And then, she was gone.
Had the stalker himself been stalked? I imagine so. Will I approach this mysterious, unsmiling Nefertiti should I see her again? Certainly. CERTAINLY. Back to Monday
Thursday . . . I purposely slept through my psychiatrist appointment this morning. Now it's 8 PM and I'm seated at my D.R. Starbucks and feeling more melancholic than I have in months. My fingers are clasped together and resting on the top of my head. I feel like the weight of my hands and hanging arms are pushing me down into the cement-hard bottom of my chair. Or rather I wish they would, so I could simply, shrink, shrink, shrink and shrink, until 'pop!' I have disappeared from sight. From existence.
I sent Sanna-Leena an e-mail earping into her in-box my ambivalence over my slept-through doctor's appointment this AM. With her sharp and biting reply, she once again amazed, surprised and managed to somersault me into a deeply depressive state. That is, if I could get depressed any longer, for my year-long doses of SSRIs have effectively inhibited any depressive states.
I'm gazing at the glass wall of the Starbucks and I cannot tell whether I'm seeing people seated outside or simply viewing the reflection of the patrons inside. I see a man walk into the store and swear he stepped right through the glass wall.
Without being chemically capable of feeling depression, the patient, me, is left with muddled, out of focus, vague and dull emotions. Not being depressed would seem to be a good thing would it not? But then the neurons and synapses, unable to take the usual electro-chemical roadway become lost or stuck, like an old Buick mired in the sucking mud of an abandoned fire road.
I am certain, that the chemists setting up the molecular level 'depression detours' in my brain, like highway workers, spreading the legs and standing up the blinking yellow-lighted barricades across all lanes of a freeway, have also rerouted my ambitions and concerns, it seems, and sent them slamming into the gravel pile at the end of a runaway truck lane. Un-heard. Unseen. Unnoticed. Un-felt.
Digesting Sanna-Leena's angry reply, my thesis that all exceptional actors are insane and mercurial has been proven once again. Being an Empath I was deeply hurt and confused and concerned that I had unwittingly injured Sanna-Leena's re-forming and so very fragile psyche. It could be that 'that time of the month' was typing at her keyboard. I hope so, as that would bring her venomous comments into line with her raging hormones.
Friday . . . At my D.R. Starbucks, it's odd sitting reading; and then later writing these words. I normally must screen-out the multitudes of conversations hitting my ears like a mosquito attack in The Congo. Tonight, I have no sounds to filter. Seems like I prefer the racket to the silence. That's probably because, with Mainio moved-out, I can get the silence anytime at the apartment. And the whole reason I force myself to leave said apartment is to get out in the tumult and noise, the Sturm und Drang, of normal life dressed not as a doctor, but as an everyday citizen. An anonymous citizen. An unnoticed citizen.
I've been thinking about my upcoming scheduled visits to the psychologist. After a break of three weeks for his vacation, I purposely missed Thursday's appointment. I had the same twenty-one days to do my homework and I did not. I am not feeling sorry for myself, however, "What is the use?" if I am not going to perform the simplest of tasks, even when they are 100% for my own benefit? Why sit and yap with the doctor once a week? When I am ready, willing, able and certainly most importantly, in enough pain (yes pain) I will make my move.
As unseemingly as it sounds, the Doc is required by The State (the same one that validates his license and his income) to inform It if he feels that I am a threat to either myself or society. Why "The State" deems it necessary to protect its citizens from possible harm by individuals such as Dr.Malamud but yet continues to allow across our southern border, tens of thousands of criminal-invaders with unknown motives, ten percent of whom are known to be violent felons, is beyond my understanding.
In any case, with my 'Suicide/Threat to Others' codicil stuffed away in his briefcase, how can I talk openly about my past (and sometime current) thoughts of suicide? Just what I need is for the large, well-muscled men in the white coats to appear at my door for the fitting of my many buckled and velcro-strapped jacket. Very quickly, financially, my life would be devastated and I would lose everything and for sure commit suicide at the first opportunity.
After hearing the chuckling and grinning-Doc lean back and say, "You're an interesting guy, Hammurabi", two or three times every session, it seems as if these sixty-minute commercial-free moments are for his entertainment rather than for my edification.
I continue to be surprised at my reaction to Sanna-Leena's e-mail reply of Thursday. This early morning I received a slightly more measured solution to my emotional woes I had tossed in her lap. But rather than replying to her and explaining how badly she hurt me, for even Non-Gay males can be injured by female friends, I will simply electronically boycott her. Besides, to reveal the measure of my pain might well throw her into a twisting fit of alligator-guilt. She did mention in today's concise reply that the too-early passing of her parent continues to whipsaw her emotions.
Saturday . . . Must be date night at my Tatum & Shea Starbucks. Every male-female pairing is dressed just so and there is such an abundance of smiles you'd think we were at the Arizona Lottery winner's counter. Every conversation also seems to be peppered with too-often and too-long uncomfortable sounding pauses.
I'm reading another book on finding work you love and a life you love living. Discovering, as I read on, that once again, I had shoveled-out the "I hate life" bungie pit, then sharpened and carefully placed the many bamboo stakes on its floor: one labeled "Hanna-Marie", another stencilled with "My Father", a third with "Alcoholic" scribbled on its side, and then thrown myself down into it. As my years left on this mortal plane shrink like a roll of toilet paper used wiping out Montezuma's Revenge it makes less and less sense to remain unhappy. To chose to be unhappy.
Outside it has tried to rain all day and even though it is 8:30 in the evening its as hot and humid as an Anguila summer day. I ventured outside the glass for awhile, but now find myself inside again.
It's so odd that my employer included my three-weeks of vacation pay on Friday's paycheck without any instructions from me. I wonder if I'll be receiving the well-known Monday phone call at home telling me not to report to work. Of course, as my readers know, it would be no loss, as I hate, in no particular order, my duties, my clients, my manager, his manager and the very owner of the company. And, as the previously mentioned books asks, "What are you doing working there?"
The answer to which I had hoped to harvest from the Ph.D. credentials of my shrink who I won't even meet with! The time has come for me to move on and if I am telephonically terminated el Luna (Monday), it will be an un-ignorable message from God (or from 'the Universe', if that is your leaning) to get the hell out of Dodge.
I really enjoy the feel of this pen's ballpoint against the coarse paper of my thinning spiral notebook. It is the little things for me. I remember the other night, standing outside my D.R. Starbucks, sucking in the monsoon scented air, noticing things and thinking things that most of us 'save' only for vacation-time.
Since my last vacation, from November of 1991 until July 31st of 2001, was almost six years ago, I can hardly wait for another break in employment to once again savor life.
Sunday . . . I'm at the Barnes & Noble Café. Everyone is so overweight, including me. I was going to rhetorically ask "why"? and then I spied a driver from Delicious Deliveries, his legs bouncing under the table like a four-year old yearning for a visit to the bathroom, seated and reading the latest, no doubt un-bought, Harry Potter book.
I'm bare-headed today, because as odd as it seems, the women seem to like me that way. Outside I had to wait for a parking space to open up and then once inside, I had to wait for a parking spot for my XXL fanny. It must be XXL because the Polygamy Porter t-shirt (I carefully ironed--so it would not look ironed) having been purchased during my last era of extreme obesity, is also size XXL. Everybody is so fat! One poor woman near me is so immense that she appears to have a maroon Mini-Cooper car-cover draped over her.
With the 'bonanza' flowing from my unexpected vacation check, of course I first paid bills, but I also got me some goodies from B&N. One being a 180,000 word compact Oxford Dictionary to replace my meager 75,000 word Funk & Wagnalls. Quite exciting, eh? I also purchased a magazine published in Great Britain, Practical Webdesign, for around sixteen dollars, or about 8 quid. When I returned to the hot and humid apartment, using my Cox Broadband, I ordered a larger, flashy blue, forty-nine-percent-off messenger-bag to carry my latest novel, new thicker dictionary, thesaurus, almanac, highlighters and pens in.
Sometimes, not often, I cogitate about Hanna-Marie. And I ponder over the almost five years we have been living apart. And I recall how so very mean she was to me at the beginning of the divorce she instigated. And how, like a wizened voodo doctor, she knew precisely where, for maximum effect, to stab her unseen sterile and needle-sharp hat pins of anger and regret.
Monday . . . I'm at the Barnes & Noble Café waiting for her. Since she was here last Monday, she may reappear this Monday. The usual crowd of tutors are seated and I notice a chubby Asian teenager with rich black thick hair with English flash-cards. And I also note that every one of my favorite positions is taken. And of course, once again an office-less asshole is using a square green B&N Café table-top for his office. I could not even imagine doing that. How unprofessional.
At 10pm from my office I felt the need to call the cell phone of my pregnant daughter Aili (pronounced: "Eye-Lee"). Upon answering, she informed me that she'd been at the hospital since 2pm trying to birth. Her pseudo-mother-in-law, the father of the fetus, and her older brother were at her side. Why didn't I at least get a call about the imminent birth of my first grandchild? The kids are caught in the middle, so it's understandable that they did not call me. Her older brother divorced me when his mother did, so he would understandably not call. Although I can guarantee that Hanna-Marie knew; likewise she did not call.
Divorce is a horrible thing.
I was thinking if there were a right behavior and a wrong behavior in this four year divorce saga; and if there were correct and incorrect motivations during this rendering of a marriage codified in the 1970s; those right behaviors, those correct motivations would rest themselves atop my pillowcase each night. But life and living are never that black and white. And of course you have only been hearing my side of the story.
Speaking of being so magnanimous, here I am more concerned with my feelings about keeping score than I am of my daughter's welfare during the birthing of the her first child and my own first grandchild. Sheesh!
Saturday . . . Well, I will struggle again with making rent--due entirely to my hours and wages being cut months ago. I'm ensconced at my far north Phoenix Starbucks and had the place to myself, until the quartet of Eastern European immigrants barged in issuing their guttural commands.
Friday . . . It's not that I've had nothing worthy to write about, it's that I've been working on my massive 190 megabyte web presence, tidying things up, rearranging and updating. I've also been reading books like a death-row inmate scheduled for dawn execution, tears through law volumes looking for a life-extending loophole.
And, I was also busy dying. Meningitis, I was certain. The head pain started around dawn Sunday and by sunrise Tuesday I was attaching newly-purchased oak clothespins to portions of my body not usually seen outside of the shower, in order to move my concentration from the crucifixion-level pain that was slowly crawling around the inside of my scull as if a razor-toothed leach was chewing my brain.
I had been on a doctor's prescription of Motrin 600mg for the past six-weeks, and being the genesis of the pain mimicked the anguish generated by having ingested too many opiates over too many days (don't ask me how I know) I immediately halted my twice-a-day horsepill (non-opiate) Motrin consumption. I logically concluded that, since I was riding a rip-roaring headache, (one that had caused me to puke out, in three separate tossings my improperly baked Hungry Man Cheese Fries and Chicken gourmet meal) that the non-aspirin painkiller, like Linda Ronstadt at a Las Vegas casino, certainly was not performing as advertised.
It had been a long and lovely stretch since I'd felt that bad, and this was the first instance in six years I was reduced to phoning in sick at my horrible, horrible place of employ. While my life never passed in front of my eyes, however, even on my blood pressure medicine (to loosen the grip-of-iron my prostate uses to close my urethra tube) my blood pressure shot up, and to read computer screen shots in books, I was forced to purchase a magnifying glass.
Sweating, shaking and broken, I finally visited the acclaimed WebMD® site. After entering my symptoms, the goofy conclusion was revealed. I was suffering from a "tension headache". The characteristics of a tension headache matched my three-day-tormenter exactly. How could that be? What kind of tension do I have?
I was in a such a tortured state I even cooked myself a pan of Campbell's (dry-packaged) Chicken Noodle Soup that Mainio had left behind. And as I floated three rust-colored Ritz crackers into my huge cup handled bowl and then loaded them with the noodles as if they were survivors from a shipwreck, I gained a little more insight into the unbelievable suffering of the chronically ill. My condition was so poor that I even wished to conjure up Hanna-Marie so that she might mother me. I sent her an e-mail with my symptoms, however, that wasn't answered until the next day after I had returned from the doctor's office.
Dr. Abimelech, a medical doctor and a doctor of osteopathy, purposely chosen by me decades ago. For understand that a "D.O." is educated in first getting the patient well with manipulation of the muscles, tendons and bones, rather than treating everything and anything with a potion from his expensive and cruise-trip-laden apothecary.
What did Doctor Abimelech discover? A severely out-of-line and plastic-wrapped-pallet tense neck and spine. After a ten-minute heatpack warm-up begun by angry nurse Brunhilda and then with seven or nine loud pops, "indicating release", as the Doc twisted my head as if it were a reluctant champagne cork, all was fine. Better. Great.
And WebMD's verdict? They were right. Damn them.
I was thinking once again, without any emotions that might generate impetus, that I need to get a new job. I need to repair the wiring to my Peugeot's headlights that were dined on by kangaroo mice over two years ago. I need to bring my tax information into my CPA, and I need to pay her for last year's tax preparation where she found a, not witholding-based, many thousand dollar refund due me. I need to get the the windshield replaced on the car, and that is entirely paid for, 100%, by insurance, needing only a scheduling call from me.
Sanna-Leena, remember my so very talented actress friend? Her challenges are in the past, and no longer needing my compassion or understanding; between thumb and forefinger, she has rolled me into a ball and like a nose-hair impregnated bugger, flicked me out her car window as she drives towards her goals. Geeze, even prior to my post-divorce tequila tantrums and my "clean and sober" trip beginning with my July 2006 Wellbutrin XL prescription, I wasn't known for my energy level, but at least I did go to the gym on a regular basis and diet and lose forty-four pounds.
I visited the so very prompt Dr. Abimelech, D.O., twice last week and both times did I forget to ask him to put me on an SSRI withdrawal regime? While pondering my life, like footnotes in a scholarly book, I can jot down where I should feel--would normally feel-emotions, but yet do not. How surreal is that?
One of the quotes I read recently involved something I'd known for years and that was the absolute fact that we are always either moving forward or sliding backward. That there is no such thing as 'standing still.' I simply must get a move-on with my life. I keep looking for a female love interest (with a substantial bank balance) to drag me along with her, or to encourage me, while at the same time knowing everything must come from inside me. And I have so much inside me (friends would say, "So much bullshit inside") I simply need to mine it, refine it, and ignite it. Can one even imagine the pain that used to stab my heart when I recalled Hanna-Marie's offer to continue in her high-powered executive role, while I remained 'between jobs' and at our 2nd home working on building my writing career . . . if only I'd move myself and the teen Mainio to join her, 1,032 miles to the east.
It is so odd that my Nazi-Father was, as my so loved middle-older-brother termed it, "driven". Only my oldest brother, the one closest to our Pappy (God rest his soul) could be considered 'driven' as he is currently risking his freedom and or life as an English teacher, sans credentials, in Asia. However, he is also clearly insane.
Friday . . . I was thinking about writing about selfishness and then thought it wasn't subject matter for my Dr. Malamud pages and then was reminded that the selfishness of Hanna-Marie flamed her decision for divorce using my own selfishness as the match.
We are all so selfish in these United States. I'd say inconsiderate but I believe consideration comes from the lack of selfishness as does it's opposite come from too much of it. I was driving down the freeway the other night and I saw that an SUV passing me, since I was only proceeding at a mere seven miles per hour faster than the speed limit, had a roof-liner-mounted DVD screen folded down and glowing. With no doubt, a back seat passenger, a child, watching the blazing in the night figures on the display. I thought to myself, that the kids, "Don't get enough electronic stimulation at home with the internet, iPods, cable television, X-Boxes and cell phones?" But the problem is not the kids, but that the parents are being selfish, because with their child occupied with a movie, recorded television series, or music video, (that he's probably seen three times before) they can have some 'quiet time' that they will probably use to get caught up on things ... via cell phone.
This afternoon, while seated idling in the 107F degree heat, in line at the Wal*Mart Tire and Lube Center, I watched amazed as the driver of metallic bronze Murano (the poor man's FX Infiniti) pull up behind me and then approach the service writer as if he could leap his vehicle ahead of my own. This 'poor man' was being selfish of his time. When I went to pay, although I was clearly there 'first', however, not directly in front of the register, a female member of the Troon North Taliban (looking like one of Tom Wolfe's X-Ray wives from Bonfire of the Vanities) displaying the typical lack of consideration for her lesser's, accepted being waited-on first.
The most poignant example of selfishness was when I was involved with research at a park in an upper middle-class neighborhood. I ran into a good looking kid with an attitude problem. Although he was probably thirteen, he was as big as most kids five years older than him. On our next meeting, should there be one, I vowed to tell this young lad that he had everything going for him and that carrying that chip on his shoulder was simply going to make life needlessly difficult. In about an hour, I came back around, and seeing him glued to the same spot overseeing the skate park like a lazy lion watching his harem, I braced myself for some more obnoxious behavior. As I closed to within fifty yards distance, this man-child, whose parent's were obviously too selfish to share their time with their own issue, spied me and shouted out with the unrestrained truthfulness of youthfulness we all once exhibited, "Will you be my grandfather?!" It nearly broke my heart.
Friday . . . Today is my 56th birthday. I checked the weather records for this date in 1951 and it turns out I went from the 98.6F degrees of my mother's interior to the 104F degrees of a Phoenix summer. And that was about eight years before refrigerated-air came blew into the Valley of the Sun.
How hot does it get here? An example. I park the mighty Peugeot beneath a tree that shades the entire French piece of garbage from the direct rays of the afternoon sun. I keep a d-cell aluminum barrelled electric torch on the floor of the rear seat. When I get in the vehicle at 8:00pm that six-celled tubular monster is still far to hot to hold.
Mainio, my youngest son, finally talked me into moving over to his apartment complex situated in the shadow of a huge Home Depot box store. My 20% pay cut and the 29% cut in my hours had rapidly made my 2-bedroom Town of Paradise Valley place unaffordable.
My concern is the moving itself, especially of the larger pieces of furniture, since my right knee is shot and i couldn't help much, but he insists he'll get me moved. The savings could come close to $350 per month and it is very sad that someone like your Dr. Malamud is concerned about that small amount of money. Very sad.
This relocation should put me at the bottom of my financial descent, right when (I pray to Almighty God) that my emotional ascent is beginning, for the only way now is up.
It's so odd that Sofia, my Burbank-based actress friend, phoned me on my way home from Mainio's. Odd in that I had earlier mentioned my hope that one day I could move-in with her and her two minor children, pay rent naturally, and go on to be discovered by Hollywood.
I will always remember the time, during my ten-year retirement, when Sofia had an extra ticket to an actor's convention in Burbank and, being I was then an active actor, she asked that I join her.
In any case, during the various seminars Sofia and I were absolutely astonished at how uptight and so very self-important most, if not all, of our fellow conventioneers were. And to me it indicated that these, mostly younger people, were involved in the movie-arts driven not by love or destiny but by greed.
I popped my final anti-depressant pill twenty four hours ago. While contemplating my first move in four years (my first prior to that, being my divorce-move after twenty-three years in the same place) and I found my emotions attempting to surface like dead-tired ocean-salmon on their final flip to the fresh-water breeding grounds. Real emotions. They're back.
Friday . . . It's been one week since I've stopped my Wellbutrin XL prescription, but I can still tell it is in my system because my sinuses are totally clear. My nostril passages are like wide-open doors versus their normally closed and cramped shafts permitting about as much air flow as a Utah mine cave-in. And unintended allergy relief is a documented side-effect of this quite powerful anti-depressant.
I had a dream about the ex-Mrs.Dr.Malamud, Hanna-Marie, today. In it I was attempting to explain to her why I hadn't treated her better when we were married, and my dream self thought back to my real self screaming out "I didn't know! I DIDN'T know!" for day after week after year and responded to her with, "I didn't know." In the dream I felt there was a possibility we might re-marry. I awoke feeling warm and hopeful. Of course when The Valley of the Sun has just set a new record of the number of days over 110F degrees anyone is likely to wake up 'warm'.
I'm reading a challenging book about changing behavior. It's so challenging that I sometimes shove it aside for days--but it isn't as challenging as the textbook I'm reading to learn the programming language on all internet blogs.
This psychology book insists that our right brain never matures past the emotions of a three-year old, while our left brain, that analytical fact-storing part, is the adult. The writer is a Ph.D. in psychology and she claims that our right brain is often emotionally damaged during its first thirty-six months of air-breathing life. Injuries that must consciously be so slowly healed and many times be worked around by the goal-seeking left-brain.
Note: if you are right-handed your left-brain is your analytical 'adult' half and your right-brain is your emotional-infant half. Persons who have organically chosen to be left handed have the brain halves functions reversed.
My left-brain is actually rebelling at the thought of having to please my three-year old right-brain to get its cooperation in getting anything done. I'm changing the downward-since-1991-slope of my life. I think, not knowing better, because of its reign over my emotions (which explains my multi-year extremely passionate and destructive reactions to my wife's divorce decision) my infant right-brain has convinced my soul that it is "ME". All of me. And that's just not true. Any longer.
Friday . . . Odd. Went to meet a former co-worker who is moving on with his life. I pulled up twice to the Kierland Starbucks. Twice because apparently 'important' people cannot take the time to park correctly. Even though it was 11:00am I found the cafe packed. I began with the word "Odd" because the restaurant next door was founded by and still contains the initials of a former client of mine. The convertible sports car proudly parked in front of the business and sporting a temporary paper permit, was one of the three designed by my nephew.
Inside the Barnes & Noble Starbucks at Kierland, I cannot believe how humid it is. My six packets of Sweet & Low, grasped between my thumb and forefingers that I normally use to raise my coffee to the sweetness level of a grapefruit, reluctantly released their powder.
Being my former co-worker was now a county employee our 'lunch hour' meeting lasted almost three hours. He said I should get a job with the county.
Friday . . . How can everyone be so gawdamned busy and still get nothing done? Or are they getting things done? Going to miss this side of town with all its familiar-looking people who, even when casually clothed are dressed 'just so'. All the trophy wives--many who defy expectations and are actually married to someone of their own generation. So many attractive women here. I am certain that good looks translate to good income and success in life. What else could explain my own situation? <grin>
All these harried-looking, but exquisitely coiffed housewives stop here after dropping their kids off at (hopefully) private school--heaven forbid that they brew a cup of coffee at home. But, then again, they are not at the Tatum & Shea Starbucks for java, but for elaborate sugar and calorie infused drinks that will take at least forty-two minutes on the elliptical-trainer to burn off.
It's so odd. So loud, busy, and chaotic here, and so unlike what I would ever imagine I would be enjoying. Even though I've lived within one mile of this corner for twenty-eight years, I can still sit as an outsider and watch the action, unconnected by any feelings of intimacy or certainly financial brotherhood with any of the participants.
The 'old' guy is in and out in a flash. Why? Most likely, he got coffee. No sugar. No cream. 9:31am and ten people in line. Again. Life would be 100% more comprehensible if you could see life through someone else's eyes. Which maybe, for literate people anyway, is the unstated reason to read books, both novels and biographies. To see life through someone else's eyes.
Hmmm, I just thought something in that why I don't like autobiographies is that they are 1) Not written by the person posed on the cover and 2) I don't trust the person's version of his own life. So much for wanting to see life through someone else's eyes, eh?
Saturday . . . I'll begin moving into my new apartment today. Quite a difference from my last move four years ago, in September of 2003, only three months distant from the formal declaration of my first divorce. A divorce after twenty-six years of wedded bliss. Well, maybe it wasn't bliss ...
In any case the circumstances are quite different. This time it's money. After my 20% pay-cut and my 20% cut in hours, my income has plummeted to pre-teen level. As a matter of fact compared to my 1970 inflation-adjusted pay-stub I am earning 43% dollars less per week. Thirty seven years and I'm earning less, not more. And if this continues, at age 100, I'll be working full-time to earn absolutely nothing. At that point, I should probably retire, eh?
While I am no longer desperate to re-marry, I just read an article in the Friday Wall Street Journal that in evangelical churches the single sexes are 60% female, 40% male. And, being 100% male, I don't think it was an accident I read this particular column at this particular time ... however, I'm afraid I'm becoming too selfish to suffer the foibles of another person. It's no wonder people remain single. Once you get over the extreme closeness of marriage ... but who am I kidding? Marriage is a part of life--sharing life with someone you love and someone who loves you--for me, that IS life.
Thursday . . . I've always been very intelligent but made to feel, almost always by my teachers, dumb. And this was in the 1950s and 60s. My mother, God rest her soul, who oddly enough was also quite intelligent, didn't tell me until I was in my 40s that she had always known that I was smarter than many of my teachers. And that that intelligence had 'caused' many of my behavior problems in the five public schools I had attended during my dozen years of codified education.
My father, G.r.h.s., no dummy himself, became a degreed electrical engineer in only three years at Milwaukee School of Engineering. Prior to the electronic calculator, he discovered the bank's mortgage numbers were wrong on it's 20-year, five page, eleven inch wide, green and white banded amortization schedule computer printout.
I'll always remember the twenty-ish, buxom and blonde Miss Foreman, my 6th grade teacher. And the time she caught me, hands cupped underneath my breasts as, as if I was holding up her pendulous
milk jugs. That resulted in trip #421 to the principal's office of the Ichobod Crane-looking Mr. Swavoda, who was cursed not by a headless huntsman but by a virulent crotch itch.
One evening, doing my homework and after learning how the pilgrims actually made soap, I was disappointed to not read how soap worked. How and why soap caused the dirt and grime to fall off of my pre-teen hands, knees, elbows and torso. The next day, prior to class, so as not to appear as a smart ass, since I had purposely stumped her on numerous previous occasions, in my head I carefully crafted my query.
In class, after Louie Galmarini had turned her face beet-red by asking her what "balls were for"--remember this was 1963, forty-four years ago--I raised my hand.
Alas, and what a lass she was, she could not answer my question how soap cleaned, she could only repeat what I had read in the textbook on how soap was manufactured. And once again I was made to feel somehow less than adequate for asking my question.
Friday . . . I've been moving for the past two weeks. On the job, eight hours, driving one hour to, one hour fro, then working three more hours packing, and then on my two days off I'd been packing, moving and cleaning all day. Now that except for some unpacking, hanging of pictures, building of bookshelves, and getting a hold of a compact entertainment center for the eight pieces of equipment needed to, well, entertain me, I am finally through with my westward migration deeper into Mexizona.
This afternoon, at his apartment in my same complex, Mainio and I were watching a DVD on his new HD flatscreen and we heard a frightful explosion--not on the screen, but outside. Since the 'ba-boom' wasn't accompanied by an earthly rumble, sirens or body parts landing on his second floor balcony we ignored the audio interruption. By the end of the movie (having had intimate experience with floating advertising orbs) he decided, as it was no longer bobbing perilously near the paring-knife-sharp fronds of a forty foot palm tree, it must have been the apartment complex's helium-filled advertising balloon that burst and freed its contents to escape back to Sol from whence they came.
Everything comes at its appointed time. This move was just 'a move'. A chance to further whittle down my holdings as I gave away everything from a back-up coffee maker to a seven-foot tall oak entertainment center designed more for homes than apartments.
We probably fetched over forty used boxes from the good folks at Borders bookstore and filled them with, what else but books? As I unpacked boxes not opened since my original divorce-driven move in September of 2003, almost exactly four years prior, I was amazed at the dozens and dozens of titles I had read over the years. I'm needing two more six or seven feet tall bookcases before I can unpack all my books and even then I'll probably have to slap shelves up on the walls of my RV-sized living quarters. In case you're wondering why all the books must be shelved, it is so that (once properly organized) they may be referred to and more necessary be seen and touched by the reader bringing back emotions and memories of knowledge gained.
I rented U-Haul vehicles on three separate occasions for the move, which made it needlessly expensive. I've arrived at a formula for sizing the moving truck to the move. And that is the square feet of the place you are moving from is the bare minimum of moving truck cubic feet you need.
Now that I've finally flushed the Wellbutrin XL from my system, evidenced by the fact my allergies have returned--since it also blocks the histamine receptors in the brain--I feel somewhat alive again. I've stopped seeing so many weird things like crouching men who were really bushes and wild pigs who were really u-bent pipes. I've begun to clearly think about my future--but still not lift a pen, a foot or a phone to begin to attain it.
And now that it is safe to self-medicate again (for SSRIs and alcohol tend to generate deadly seizures) I'm sitting down with Jose Cuervo at seven in the morning shortly after getting home from work, but I'm not sure why. I'm telling myself its what I need to sleep, since I, like a vampire, sleep during the day. Unlike Nosferatu's cramped quarters, my bedroom window glows as if I were in a space capsule during re-entry through Earth's thick atmosphere. So today, not having the energy to hang the black-out curtains that Mainio forfeited when he moved out, I simply nailed up white foam poster board over the blazing glass. Still I was able to sleep for only ninety minutes.
Friday . . . Well, one thing the Wellbutrin XL had actually been doing without any FDA approvals, is that for fear of having a seizure, kept me from drinking alcohol. I simply want to whine and moan and "woe is me" like some two-legged anthropomorphic Eyeore.
What a wasted life. At around 6:30am, I get home from my horrible job (the one where, if everything is done "by the book", everyone, from the owner of my company, to the lowliest Illegal Alien is steaming mad at me) after a glorious twenty-five minute open-windowed drive in the Arizona Fall. Being that the dozens and dozens of vehicles screaming through the tart morning air all around me are no doubt headed into their own version of a horrible job, I may be the only wheel-bound employee who luxuriates the indescribably delicious dawn we are driving into.
Once back again at the old compartment (aka: very tiny apartment) that's when my addiction begins again, as I twist open a bottle of tequila, hold its open neck up to my parched lips and suck in two or three gulps. No, no, no. They only do that in the movies. And they never use real liquor ... unless the actor is Jack Nicholson as it is written in his contract.
Instead, like the "failed writer" in The Lost Weekend I measure out an infinitesimal ounce of the golden, warm and shimmering Mexican morning dew into one of my favorite shot glasses, while promising myself, "Only one, ONLY one". (I don't imagine it's a good sign if a person has "favorite" shot glasses, is it?) And every time, my pledge of "only one" is, like lawyer-legalese, translated to mean "only one at a time."
After a too-quick three or four or five single shots (unless I'm cheating and using my ounce and one-half 1800 Texas shot-glass), I plop onto the half-empty Malamud bed, fall into a hazy and unsatisfying sleep, and am too soon startled when my alarm ushers me into another throbbing consciousness to begin another glorious work day. www.doctormalamud.com
Wednesday . . . Plodding the aisles while waiting for a fresh batch of fried chicken at my new 32nd Street Safeway, I glanced at the pharmacist, and while pondering on how very much more money she earns than me, I noticed that she had done less than a 'Glamour Shots' makeup job this morning. And instantly I was slammed with the sadness she could be feeling. Then when I turned and saw the 20-ish female stocking the shelves and I realized that some people do actually have a worse life than me. I was reminded how good my "horrible" life really is.
You know how old people either get calmer and wiser, or simply older and more bitter? The calm ones are that way because after decades and decades of empirical study, have discovered that they cannot much affect what other people do, no matter how much they scream at the windshield or TV screen, and have left others to their own devices. Of course, that leaves us seniors with little to say. Which is probably good for the younger ears that don't want to hear it anyway. www.doctormalamud.com
Sunday . . . At my Borders again. Christmas Eve, eve. It was amazing. I had to wait for the vehicle in front of me to wait for a vehicle to back out so he could pull in and park. As I looked around I felt like I was on a ferry as parked cars flowed across the asphalt covered deck. And then I moved on to an open space as close to the front door as could one be. I jumped out and walked around the Peugeot to be certain I hadn't pulled into a handicapped only spot. I hadn't.
Once inside the book store, as I walked by the line for Christmas wrapping, I spotted the 2008 calendar aisles loaded with my reason for coming. However not one was for sale at 50% off. Yet. I'll have to use the 'free' one I got at Half-Price Books for buying more than $25 worth of used books, actually $34 worth and all for Aili my only daughter. By this time in the year I've usually accumulated three or four calendars mailed to me by beneficiaries of my largesse. But since I've not been able to donate but the smallest amounts in this rapidly fading year of 2007, every day I open my mailbox to find no free calendar stuffed inside. In fact, I am so poor that I thought it was a splurge to venture into Super K-Mart, aka: Little Mexico, to purchase three button batteries in order that several of my electronic devices might display correct information once again. Sad.
At Borders, my luck continued as I approached the Seattle's Best coffee bar with only one couple in front of me, where soon it looked like a Southwest Airlines boarding que. The Seattle's Best cafe (they changed the name from 'Public Market') was less than half full, meaning all these people are shopping. Too bad the store is full of DVDs, CDs, greeting cards and such, or such traffic would be a measure of our literacy.
I haven't been here for quite a while and am amazed at the number of attractive ladies. One I saw had the definition of porcelain skin. Just lovely with no imperfections. I grimace as I see a 'fat lady' my own age and then quickly remember my own blortness.
Inside the cafe boundaries I move to 'The Wall of Geeks' not for its electrical outlets, but for its location allowing me to look out over this portion of the store and its frothing customers.
I feel so good, so optimistic to be in my old stomping grounds again looking at all these lovely females and imagining having intercourse with them. Yes, I profess to be a Christian, but yet, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
I recently renewed my scripts on my meds and along with the Wellbutrin-XL I keep track of three pills. One, Terazosin, which softens the smooth muscles and relaxes the death grip my prostate holds my urethra in and allows me to sleep longer than the ninety-minutes I've be getting over the past three months. When I got my first decent amount of sleep, uninterrupted by a single sodden-legged trip to the toilet, I felt like the oft mentioned 'new man'. Like there was a reason for living other than laying in bed reading paperbacks waiting to fall to sleep.
Which explains my long absence from these pages. I've been stationed in bed for ten to twelve hours every day and getting less than one and one-half hours of sleep at a stretch. Since I imagined my constant dour mood to be depression, not sleep deprivation, I asked to be put back on my Wellbutrin-XL. So here I am writing again. For better or for worse. Almost wide awake. Certainly wide.