All Night Long

This is a day in the life from when I was 10 years old and lived with my grandparents. Every morning my grandfather would get up early to drive my grandmother to her shitty job. Then he would drive to his shitty job. After a long day at work he would pick her up on the way home. On the way back to the house they would pick up a 12 pack of 16 ounce cans of Narragansett beer for him and a bottle of Jenkins whisky for her. (bottom shelf)

My grandmother enjoyed “Hi-ball’s” which in her vernacular was three fingers of Jenkins over an ice cube. My grandfather must have chugged the beer because that was a lot of liquid and he would finish it by the end of the night. (Every night)

In the evenings my brother (7) and I were only allowed to sit on the couch in the living room or to get something from the kitchen. My grandparents would sit on the other couch and start drinking. Back then there was no cable television. There were only 3 broadcast networks on VHF (Very High Frequency), 4 if you counted PBS. Those were the channels that came in clear if the rotary antenna on the roof was adjusted correctly. We also had UHF (Ultra High Frequency), which sounds better but it’s not. The picture would be full of static. That is where my brother and I would find “Creature Double Feature” and Texas Wrestling on Saturday mornings.

My grandparents would start the night in a good mood; Watching the news first and then moving on to prime time television. After that they were drunk enough to start arguing with each other. That was a sign for my brother and I to go to bed. It didn’t help much. I think my brother fell asleep quickly most nights but I never slept as a child and I stayed up listening to them yelling loudly at each other. Even from upstairs I could hear them clearly. By this time my mom had already slipped out the downstairs window to hitchhike to the bar where her sister worked. (My mom was almost 30)

They didn’t fight over normal things like money etc… They fought about things that happened years before. I don’t know if they looked at the clock but they always seemed to finish up around midnight. Then they would fight over who got the last word. My grandmother would be going upstairs and yell, “You want the last word, you got it!” and he would yell something similar. Both of them telling the other to take the last word but they were taking the last word by saying that. My grandfather stayed downstairs. They didn’t sleep in the same room.

The next morning would be the same day all over again.

You Got That Right!

Monday

“Every night I fall asleep at 10 and every night they wake me up at 11 to give me a fucking sleeping pill! Ain’t that some shit?” Steve was my roommate in the mental hospital. Luckily I was in for mania so he never got bored late at night.

I have a similar problem as Steve. Everyone’s solution is for me to set an alarm to wake up and take my sleeping pill. Nobody says it with a trace of irony. (Is that the right word? It feels like the right word.) My night meds only give me about 4 hours of sleep and I take them around 5am to avoid the most boring part of the day. The problem is last night I fell partially asleep early and woke up at 5. I have to decide if it is time to take my day meds or my night meds. I took my night meds because I only got a couple hours of half sleep. Sounds simple, right? It didn’t work. Now I am sitting here in limbo. I just had 2 cups of coffee to wake up but my med kicked in for sleep. Fuck! Lucky you.

Someone has a Black Lab outside. He is running so fast. He is playing, you can’t get my stick, with his owner. Reminds me of a dog I had.

Tuesday

I haven’t slept in days. I lie in bed until the fear pushes me out. It’s time to get up, right? Make coffee. Cook some lentils. I’m fine. I can type my way through a paragraph, I must be okay. I’ve got the red, squiggly line to tell me I made a typo or forgot how to spell a word. I’ve got Grammarly in my head. Nobody knows I got up and walked around. Nobody knows I’ve been sitting here staring at the cursor blinking for 10 minutes. Texting is even easier. The phone does everything for me. Don’t know what to say? Type in an emoticon and buy myself some time. Always composing. Keeping myself composed. My therapist thinks I”m doing great because I can fake my way through a 20 minute phone call. Good thing we don’t do video and she can’t see what I’m doing on my end. Good thing she can’t see what is going on inside my head.

My Black Lab’s name was Blue Moon. He was a big dumb dog. He had so much energy. If I didn’t take him out and run him hard for an hour every day he would destroy the inside of the house. Every night after work I would take him on the beach and chuck the ball with the stick. You couldn’t say any “B” words around him. Beach, ball, bone, Blue… He would flip and start barking to go outside. He didn’t care if it was February and below zero and I was freezing my ass off. He would get hot. He would go into the ocean and cool down. He wasn’t really that dumb. He was smart enough to know if he kept the ball he didn’t have to go back inside. I was smarter though. I always kept a second ball in my back pocket. He was such a good dog. (See. You didn’t know I took a 5 minute break to cry and make some more coffee.) He lived to be 12. That’s pretty good for a Lab. It’s not just the death of a dog that makes me sad. It’s the death of everything I had back then. No more family. No wife, no baby, no stupid dogs.

Thursday

Wednesday got way too long so I turned it into today’s blog post. I guess I had a lot on my mind.

I still can’t figure out what the difference between my good days and bad days. Yesterday I was raging and hearing things and the room was flashing bright and dim and changing colors. Today I’m back to my regular not so bad anxiety. Other days my voice and anxiety are so bad I’m frozen in bed. I would like to blame it on my shift from barely any sleep to almost no sleep but all of this happens when I’m on a regular schedule.

Friday

I signed up for Uber so I can see my daughter tomorrow. I’ve never used it before. I put it off for a bit and now I am already nervous they won’t be able to find me. Everyone else finds me with GPS so I probably shouldn’t worry. Right? I just don”t want to miss my first ride.

I”ve calmed down since earlier this week but I’m still not sleeping. I was listening to a book until 6am. I would have given up on it sooner but I had nothing to replace it. The guy outlined his book in the introduction, The questions he was asking and he gave the data to back up the answers. Then he went on for 10 chapters repeating himself. He made the points clear in the intro and finished the book repeating everything he just said. He could have just made the intro and the wrap up into a smaller book and it would have been great.

Wednesday (Yesterday’s gone)

I was going to write about my latest spate of anger and depression. It’s nothing new to me to seemingly be set off by nothing but it’s becoming more frequent lately. I’m angry with myself. I’m still mourning my marriage and family. It’s been 13 years this month. I also got put on disability at the same time so my life was pretty much over all at once. No family, no job, no place to live. I know everyone gets divorced. I see my daughter regularly. It’s not like I knocked someone up and we decided to make the best of it. We wanted to get married. It took 2 years for my wife to get pregnant. I embraced the whole idea. (I’ve already had 2 Incredible Hulk experiences writing this paragraph. Getting pumped up and turning green and screaming at the screen over a typo. A fucking typo.)
I’m not much for anniversaries, so I don’t think October is setting me off. (Another outburst; I hit the “Enter” key instead of backspace. I had to do 5 more minutes of deep breathing for that one.) I tried listening to a book a couple weeks ago and it was terrible. This chick was complaining how terrible her life was and it sounded like a great life. She was “kind of home schooled”, meaning she did whatever she wanted as a kid and didn’t have a G.E.D. Despite that she got into a college on a full scholarship because she was a virtuoso on the violin. That wasn’t enough, she also got an advanced math degree (like Stephen Hawking level) and graduated with a 4.0. She said she already knew she didn’t want to use the degrees for anything so she left for Hollywood for an acting career. She stumbled into acting in t.v. commercials which I guess means she barely had to work and could stay home for two years addicted to World of Warcraft. She said it started because she was bored. She called it being “depressed.” (Just got all up in my phone’s face for daring to ring while I try to type. More breathing) When I heard the exuberance in her voice while she described, “the worst to years” of her life, she didn’t sound like it was very depressing. She said she woke up when she was 28 years old and thought if she doesn’t do something great with her life “right now” she will die a failure. WTF? She got together with some friends and made a successful YouTube series about people who sit around and play MMORPG’s for 8 hours a day. Now she gets paid to play video games on YouTube and keep up a Twitter account (with 3 million followers) and show up to SciFi and gaming conventions. Basically her wet dream of a life. I stopped listening after she said she would die a failure.
Then I read another book this week. This one was by a woman who started her career as a consultant on the hit shows Friends and ER. That led her to going to med school and eventually to a very successful practice as a therapist. She also had a successful side hustle as a journalist while all this was going on. This book was her 2nd after previously rejecting 2 offers to write other books because they weren’t really what she wanted to write about. In this book she refrains her life is half over and she hasn’t done anything worthwhile. She is also worried she is running out of time.
Both of these authors are younger than I am and here I am sitting alone in my apartment with my cat reading borrowed books about their amazing lives. Where they think they are failures? The woman who thought she was a failure at 28 years old when she already accomplished more than I could ever do. She really set me off. I could relate to the woman having a midlife crisis but she was very successful and well known and well respected everywhere she went. Meanwhile I’ve been waiting 2 days for the weather to be nice enough for me to ride my bike to get a haircut. This is what I’ve been stressing over for a week now. When will I get a chance for a haircut so I don’t look like I’ve been drunk for the past month. I’m overdue.
I calmed down after my vitriolic dressing down of my phone for daring to ring from the other room while I try to write. I finally got a few hours sleep last night after being awake for 5 days. That was my small success. I should write a self help book and be well on my way to fame. I’m halfway there with this blog dragging along an amazing 80 something followers. (Half of them want vanity follow back and the other half are bots who’s blogs are just pages of advertisements with no content.) I’ve also got a few hundred followers on Twitter in case any of you want to buy my account.
If you could see me exhaust myself with anger over the tiniest provocations, you would laugh. It is silly. It’s not the 2 books that set me off. It’s been a life long occurrence. I don’t mean to say I’m always pissed off. In fact most of the time I am pretty laid back. I’ve got 2 hours to calm down before I go for a haircut. (Wish me luck.) Due to Covid I have to schedule online. The place isn’t very busy so the computer says which place in line I am and tells me my appointment is in zero minutes. I have to make sure I am ready to go the second I hit “confirm.” No pressure for someone as organized as I am. (ha)

“I Seek You”

Heart colored pencils

Does anyone remember ICQ? Way back in ’96 it was the poor man’s instant messenger. It’s still around but they took away it’s best feature. You could click to get linked to a random person anywhere in the world. It would show you some info about each other and you would decide if you wanted to talk. If you know me, you know that I absolutely love randomness.

It was fun but being a person who was online late at night with the dial up modem, I mostly found people on the other side of the world. Back then the internet was very popular in Indonesia and the Philippines. Scammers weren’t much of a problem at the time. It’s not as fun as it sounds but it beat whatever was on television.

Then one night it happened. I clicked the randomizer and up popped “Springfield.” It was a medium sized town about two hours away from me. It was the first place I met someone online I didn’t need a globe to find. I hit “chat” and waited to see what happened. I got a message back! It was from a woman who also didn’t sleep. I was new to the internet and naive. It never crossed my mind we would meet in real life and besides, she was married.

She told me she was “separated.” Young me thought separated was a legal term meaning the divorce wasn’t final. My parents separated because they were Catholic and divorce was out of the question. Even though they never saw each other alive again, my mom was still married to my dad 50 years later. I didn’t know separated meant you hated each other but still lived together.

“A” and I talked for a few weeks and shared most of our life stories. Digital cameras were expensive and rare at the time. We figured out how to share pictures using our scanners. We both had to pull pictures off the wall and out of the frame to send them.

It turns out her sister was the former owner of a small hotel in the beach town where I grew up. What else? The hotel was directly across from the house I lived in when I was in 2nd grade. It must have been fate, right? We made plans to meet at the hotel and traded phone numbers. After that night I was no longer a phone sex “virgin.” So many new and exciting things were happening.

We met later that week at the hotel. I didn’t have a vehicle of my own but I lived next to my work and my boss was fairly lenient with me since I was such a good worker. I walked over and looked for a truck with keys in it. I was half in luck. The only truck available was not inspected but it ran fine without a muffler. I hopped in, turned the key and roared off towards the beach.

I got to the hotel and met them. Her sister excused herself to take a “walk to the store.” I spent the night there and she didn’t understand why I had to leave so early in the morning. I explained I had my bosses truck and had to have it back at the shop by 5am. I turned the key and roared back down the highway.

That was my first internet romance and I’ve been chasing the high ever since. (Minus the married woman part.)

One Step Over The Line

Monday

Is alcohol use disorder really a thing? Can’t I just be an alcoholic? Can it be cured? I used to have cigarette use disorder and I cured myself of that. At least I think I did. Smoking hasn’t crossed my mind since I finally quit I don’t know how many years ago. Right now I am in the throes of caffeine use disorder. I can’t stop myself. In fact, since I tried to quit a couple weeks ago I have lost all control and use more caffeine than before. Is there a disorder for every addictive or habit forming drug? I better call my doctor. I have a long list of confessions to make. Fuckers.

Tuesday

I was too depressed to kill myself last night. I just lay there in bed staring at my prescription bottles but I couldn’t move to get them. I just wanted everything to stop. Then came the guilt for thinking such a thing. My uncle’s suicide fucked up the whole family for generations. Do I want to do that to everyone I know? I woke up stupid crying. Snot running out of my nose and into my coffee. I drank it anyway. You know, caffeine use disorder. Then I felt fine.

I needed a ride to the veterinarian this morning. I can’t even take care of a stupid cat by myself. I can barely take care of myself. My ex wife showed up to give me a ride and I was all smiles and jokes. I really do feel fine now. Writing this is depressing but I will forget about it in a few minutes.

I can’t figure out what makes the difference on how I feel each day. Yesterday was normal. Nothing bad happened. I wasn’t dwelling on anything depressing. I watched football which I enjoy. Even though they got rid of the fans. (80 thousand drunk people screaming is part of the game.) Then midnight comes and I want to die?

Wednesday

I opened this up this morning to write something completely different. I thought I had some insight into what happened the other night. I can’t think of it right now. I’ve been raging again since I woke up. My head is pounding, my throat hurts from screaming and I pulled a muscle in my arm. Not from lifting something heavy. It was from tensing it up so much while I flipped out. I took some Advil for the pain but this isn’t the kind of pain designed for Advil.

My therapist would try to tell me to “stay in the moment”, “take deep breaths”, “maintain your focus”, “Just be mindful.” Yeah, step on the tracks in front of a speeding train. It’s easy when it’s easy.

Thursday

Yesterday I told my case manager I think I was cured. She asked me if I was still taking my meds. I said I think that is what cured me and she said she wasn’t sure that is how it works. I asked her if taking all these medications wasn’t supposed to cure me? I told her that because I want to see how long it takes someone else to ask if I’m taking my medications. They have conversations about me and make plans that have an effect on my life.

Saturday

My therapist said the same thing when I told her I was cured. “I don’t think that’s how it works”, in a low voice. I asked her why I was taking medication for so long if it doesn’t work? They will probably tell my doctor they are worried I will stop taking my meds. I don’t care. I only have two minutes on the phone with him each time. He will ask if I am still taking them and I will say yes and he will order from the pharmacy. Seriously. I’ve been on psycho active meds for 30 years. You would think I would be good by now.

Marry Him

THE CASE FOR SETTLING FOR MR. GOOD ENOUGH. By Lori Gottlieb. This book should have been called, THE BIGGER, BETTER DEAL! Because that is what she has been searching for her whole life. This book would be fun for anyone who has spent any time dating sites and wondered why they had no fun. The writer has spent many years online dating with the intent to get married. I can never understand that but I never wanted to get married. When I did I wasn’t out searching for it. I just met my wife and it happened. There was more than that but marriage was the furthest thing from my mind when I met my wife. Maybe she has scared a lot of men away by announcing she is looking to get married. I figured out early in the book that her problem isn’t she can’t find anyone good enough, it’s that she is always looking for the Bigger, Better, Deal. As my friends and I used to say. I’ll start by saying she is completely out of my league. She makes a ton of money, she’s good looking, well educated, funny, and she writes for The Atlantic, so she is high profile. I know she could afford to be picky but she took it to the extreme. The book starts with her list of qualities she is looking for in her ideal mate. The list is exhaustive and very particularly specific and detailed. And she wants all of it!

I’ll give you an example. I know most women are looking for someone taller than them. A lot of women say you have to be 6 feet or more, which leaves me coming up short. But she is very specific as I mentioned. She wants a man from 5’10” to 6’0″. A 2 inch range! And she is strict. When she is scrolling through dating site profiles looking at height, 5’9″ or 6’1″ gets you tossed. She wouldn’t even consider it. Forget about having the wrong hair color. Or worse, bald!

She has a good sense of humor. I don’t know how funny she meant this book to be but it is hilarious. It gets even funnier when she tells you she got tired of waiting to meet Mr. Right and went to a sperm bank and had a kid and went right back to looking for marriage. But by now she is 40 with a 2 year old and her marketability is way down. Please don’t peg me as a chauvinist for using the word “marketability” to describe a woman on a dating site. She does a whole chapter on it and it is a word given to her by her dating coach and she agreed with him.

For the book she sees everyone from psychologists to clergy to matchmakers to her dating coach. She does a lot of research because it is her job working at the Atlantic. Another funny part of the book is she met a man when she was younger who had all the major qualities she was looking for but she couldn’t date him because of his first name! It was “too nerdy.” There was no shortage of guys who were perfectly eligible. She was just too damn picky. The funny part is when she reaches the dating coach he convinces her to start dating another man who only meets her most basic requirements on paper. She dates him for 2 months. He is 5’6″ and bald and he has the same nerdy last name!

Another funny thing is she internet stalks these guys she turned down for silly reasons, like their first name or she didn’t immediately “feel it” in their first phone conversation so she didn’t give them a first date. That’s right. She ditched them and then she is googleing and Facebooking them years later and finding out they are happily married with 3 kids. And she would contact them and ask how that worked! I guess she wouldn’t have had much of a book without interviews from the unacceptable men but this is a thing she did before she had the idea of writing a book. Another good one is after her dating coach told her she wasn’t such a hot item anymore she finds a man she is very interested in online. She reaches out to him only to find out that 5 years previous he had reached out to her and she turned him down for another picayune reason. He wasn’t interested in her anymore. She had one of her perfect men 5 years ago but he still wasn’t good enough.

I’ll give away a lot of this book because I don’t think any of you will actually read it. You would think the funniest part is at the end after she tells her audience (younger single women, not older men like me) to “settle” at an earlier age you find out she doesn’t get married by the end of the book. I’ll tell you what I found to be the funniest thing. I found Lori Gottlieb because I am waiting on her 2nd book so I searched her and found this one. I read a sample of the 2nd book and in it her fiance cancels the marriage because she has an 8 year old and he doesn’t think he can go through the years of a young child after his kids are already grown. It’s not really funny but it was to me because all the time I read about her dating machinations I knew in the back of my head she writes a 2nd book and she is still not married 6 years later.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a very good book. It is filled with good advice but even if you aren’t looking to date anyone the stories are entertaining. She has much more to say than I even mention. I listened to this book through my library app. (Libby, by Overdrive). Now that I think of it she rejected a man without even talking to him because his profile said he likes to listen to books rather than read them. She didn’t think he would be intellectual enough. After she lowered her standards she internet stalked him and found out he knows about her from reading The Atlantic. (Wow! he’s intellectual) But now again he is not interested in her. By the way, I like to listen to books now because since my brain injury I have trouble focusing on written words. I still understand them.

I am going to read her next book when it becomes available to me. It is not about dating at all. It is about her being a therapist who ends up needing a therapist. Another true story.

Glad that’s over

Robot Person

I can’t tell if I’m going up or down. My major depression has lifted but it still hits me for a few days here and there. My doctor put me on another anti-psychotic/anti-manic med about a year ago so I don’t know if I will get another manic phase. I have had some impulsivity, hypersexuality and engaging in risky behaviors but I have that when I’m depressed also. What I don’t have is the high pressure drive to do those things and I’m not pressured to talk people into a corner and euphoria. I don’t know if that is good for me because that is my favorite part of my mental illness. I feel like I want to stop my meds to get there. My voice has receded to a quiet annoyance, narrating everything I do. I can ignore it by concentrating on something else. Like writing this or reading or listening to music, etc… Over the past month or so I’ve been having more good days than bad.


I didn’t notice until I was talking to someone about it but I haven’t been thinking about alcohol as much as I used to do. I also haven’t had a day where I thought I was definitely going to end up getting drunk for a long time. It’s been since before Labor Day which was always an end of summer, celebrate by drinking day for me. The fourth of July I was sure I was going to drink. All my triggers were there at the same time and I had a definitive plan. I’m still not sure how I pulled that one off. I’ve had days since when I was one quick walk away from the store from getting shitfaced. But now I’m having days where alcohol doesn’t even cross my mind. I can see someone walk out of the store with a box of beer and I don’t think about, well, I could easily do that. I’m not sure when the transition started but I know a few months ago I thought the fixation would never go away. I think that is pretty good progress. But I also know I could be one day away from a bad episode I try to cure with alcohol.

Tuesday

Can 2 regular size cups of coffee make you fly into rages? Like screaming and wanting to break my keyboard just because I made a typo? Is that normal? It’s been happening more and more the past 2 weeks. This morning I almost destroyed my entire kitchen because they shut the water off. I’m not a violent person. The poor neighbors must think I’m up here beating my wife. It probably doesn’t sound like I live alone. Now that I think about it that happened before the coffee. I couldn’t make coffee because the water was shut off. Everything is resolved now but I am still flipping out. I’ve been missing my night meds by falling asleep at strange times but I take my mornings. It can’t be that, but this happens a lot lately. It fucks up my entire day. I can’t leave the house. My head is pounding and my upper body feels like it is engulfed in flames.


The girl who met me and went straight home to break up with her boyfriend texted me last Friday night. Apparently she wanted an update on my sex life. She asked me twice if I wanted her to come over. I had a choice. I could stay home alone on Friday night or I could have sex. I chose staying home alone because the whole situation is fucked. She still lives with her boyfriend. I don’t care if she says she broke up with him. He is still her boyfriend. You can’t just call a technicality.

Wednesday

Today is tomorrow already and last night never happened. 4am is my arbitrary bedtime. That means I have to decide if I am tired enough to take my night meds. It’s a gamble because I may be too wide awake for them to put me to sleep. That was an hour ago. I rolled the dice and came up snake eyes. I am still awake. I can’t try to sleep until 4am tomorrow. What do I do? Do I take my morning meds? It’s morning.

Thursday

I am a violent person. I’m just violent on the inside. I abuse myself. You have to really be an asshole to get me to raise my voice. You have to do something purposely hurtful and particularly egregious for me to throw hands. When I am pissed at myself it only takes the smallest things to set me off. In half a second I could be raging. But if someone else does something to make me angry, it might take me days to realize I’m pissed. I have no problem letting small things go. But I have a couple things in my life I ruminate over and get fuming all over again. I just can’t reconcile them.

Friday

I wouldn’t call myself a success story. Most people don’t make it through the first year. Even AA says they only have a 5% success rate. That is there own estimate of people in the program who stay sober for one year.

Saturday

I’m not going to see my daughter today. My nose has been running since I got up this morning. I’m not worried so much as I don’t want to be gross or make anyone nervous. Especially since the whole government just came down with the virus this past week.

Take Your Breath Away

From the little I know about this man I guessed that he bought copies of his own book to get on the bestseller list. I can’t understand the hysteria. My library app is weird because it has a limited number of copies of certain books. So you have to put them on hold if they are popular. The estimated wait time on this one was 4 months! I got it in 2 months. I guess a lot of people returned it early like I did. I couldn’t finish it even though it was an audio and I could have just left it on in the background. I couldn’t do it. It was that offensive.

He tells you he was born with a V shaped palate which pushed into his nasal cavity and has caused him breathing problems most of his life. He then projects his deformity onto all of humanity, going back to when man first started farming and eating soft food which caused this “de-evolution” of the face muscles. This gave me pause but I gave the book a chance because I was still interested in the subject of breathing and the effects it can have on the mind and body.

He says he spent ten years on this book. It shows. It is very well researched. The problem for me was he mixed the science with pseudoscience and anecdotal evidence in a flashback form of writing. All of which left me confused and angry.

He started by talking about free divers breathing which made sense because they practice to expand their lungs to take in more air and air is our fuel so we are healthier. That sounds like a good way to breathe. Then he got weird with his math and the perfect breathing being 5.5 seconds per breath, 5.5 times per minute. The numbers worked but I think he went backwards. I think he did the math first and then said it was the perfect way to breathe. He wasn’t very clear on that. Then he had the 3rd perfect way to breathe. This was most unseemly. He says we have to starve our bodies of oxygen to get our carbon dioxide levels up because everyone is actually suffering from a CO2 deficiency! He ended up giving himself a runner’s high in a matter of minutes and almost passing out. He took that as proof of his theory.

I”m saving the best part of the book for last. He used it in the beginning. It seems he and his buddy each paid a college $6K of their own money to be in a “study” on breathing. They plugged up their noses and only breathed through their mouths for ten days to see if it was a bad idea. What do you think? Do you think we even need our noses for anything?

I put “study” in quotes because I don’t believe there was a “study.” I think they spent their money testing supplies for blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, etc… And renting a studio apartment in San Francisco for the duration. They never mentioned any practitioners visiting them in their home where all this took place and they even had to make many different attempts finding the right way to block their noses. I think a lot of this book was fiction disguised as non fiction.

I got so angry about halfway through I stopped the book and returned it to the library so I wouldn’t have to listen to another word. Then the next day I rode my bike 20 miles, only breathing through my nose and I didn’t gasp for air or even break a sweat. I was pushing hard the whole time. This was something he claimed no ordinary human could do. It should have left me delirious on the side of the road. Because I hadn’t been trained in his specialized breathing techniques.

If you can figure out which bestselling book this is I would advise you to skip on to another.

Ran Away from the Circus and Joined a Home

Joie and I were living in our van parked on the street that ran alongside the Safeway grocery store in Tuscon, Arizona. We had been squatting in that spot since Max asked us to leave her apartment 2 weeks earlier. We were down to less than $100 and our daily routine wasn’t going to make us rich. Joie had a part time job cleaning rich people’s houses in the suburbs. I was unemployable. People didn’t generally hire “snowbirds” because they thought we would leave when the desert got too hot. Neither of us had any legitimate work history. We didn’t know what we were going to do.

We walked into the Safeway and I grabbed a carriage. We had been doing this for the past 2 weeks. We walked through the store picking items to put in our cart. At the deli section we gathered a pre-made sub. We continued “shopping” while sharing the sandwich. When we were done we left the cart full of groceries in an aisle and made our way to the front of the store. That is where the true bounty lay.

Back then they didn’t lock up cigarettes like they were gold. Instead they kept them in a small, free standing, upright carousel. Right there in the middle of the store. We stood there slowly spinning the roundabout pretending to look for our brand. We knew where they were. I took 2 packs of Camel non-filtered and slid them into the waistband of our jeans.

Joie and I weren’t thieves. I don’t remember trying to justify doing all this. We were just trying to get through. This was long before ubiquitous surveillance. But still, somebody must have noticed us. Me with bright red hair starting to sprout from my shaved head and Joie dressed like some kind of punk rock, hippie hybrid. Every day abandoning a half full shopping cart, hovering around the cigarette stand and leaving the store without making a purchase. Somebody had to know. Nobody even looked at us twice.

Joie had a house to clean way up in the foothills. We found the address on our giant paper map of the city. We were way before the time of GPS kids.I had to drop her off at the expensive looking house and drive away. Cops would question a beat up looking van parked in the rich neighborhood. I drove to the public park on 4th avenue to read for a couple hours.

I drove back to pick up Joie. On our way to the air conditioned library we both saw the colossal tent at the same time. There were a few people milling around out front and some little kids getting an elephant ride. We passed by and Joie said, “Let’s run away and join the circus!” Little did we know.

We got into the library and pulled the local newspapers off the racks. We were on a job search. Back then data was large. Now you could hold the contents of the city library in the palm of your hand on your cell phone. We had to do it the old fashioned way. Flipping our way through paper pages.

I think Joie found it in her newspaper. She called me over, excited. Circus Vargas was looking for temporary help tearing down the tent. It paid $10 an hour cash and they were also looking for traveling help. The ad said to go to the site and ask for Victor. Our decision was made for us. We had nothing better going on. We hopped in the van and immediately drove back to where we had seen the big top.

We had no idea where to find Victor. We walked up to the woman taking tickets out front. She introduced herself as Isabella. It was a fitting name. She was quite pretty. She told us to make our way around the tent to the back and ask for him. Out back we saw some shady looking characters drinking cans of beer and eating food at a long folding table. We asked where we could find someone named Victor. They all laughed at us and told us to wait and he would find us.

We finally found him. Victor was a short older man with a thick Italian accent. I told him why we were there. He took one look at Joie and said no, it was no place for a woman. When I told him we had our own van to live in he relented. (Most of the workers slept in a large trailer converted to bunk beds.)

We came back at 11pm after the last show and it was time to tear everything down. I had never been to a circus in my life and I just assumed it was semi professional. It was people just trying to pick up a few hours work for some beer money. We would find out later that almost everybody was running from something.

The work was hard. The bleachers were mad of heavy steel and lumber. The sections of canvas had to be rolled up by 10 people and they were still 1,653 lbs too heavy. After it was over they told us to follow the trucks to Yuma, Arizona. We woke up to someon pounding on my van. Apparently I was late to my first full day of work. You aren’t supposed to sleep everything has to be set up before the first show at 6pm!

The Singularity

Robot Person

Sunday

If I don’t catch you in the first fifteen words, I have lost you forever! My daughter is still rocking the bass guitar. I only see her once a week so I really notice her progress. She has a new favorite band each week and she learns all their songs. She is a teenage hipster so she likes small, indie bands but the music is good.

I really didn’t think I was going to write a post for today. I couldn’t function towards the end of the week and it was all I could do to get to my daughter’s house yesterday. When I got home I was depressed and wanted to shut down but that is what inspired me to get up and write this morning. I wrote about how “Suicide Awareness day” didn’t help me at all. It just brought up horrible memories. So I wrote about one of them. Don’t read it if you are suicidal.

Monday

I did the big things I needed to do today. Then I took a long shower and shaved, knowing I’m not going to see or talk to anyone tonight. I feel pretty good about it.

Tuesday

I got the, “don’t call yourself schizophrenic, you are not your disease”, a couple weeks ago from one of the women I met. I told her it was just semantics and she got mad at me. First of all, who cares what I call myself? And second, the definition of a schizophrenic is someone who suffers from schizophrenia. That would make me correct. I bet she wouldn’t hesitate to call me an alcoholic instead of someone who suffers from alcoholism. But I will leave that hair for her to split.

Speaking of schizo’s; my friend has texted me three times this month to tell me a specific time she is coming to visit. All three times I never heard from her until the next. I don’t mind. It is normal for her to do that. She has a lot of friends and is always on the go. She has disordered thinking so I imagine it is hard for her to keep track. I’m only saying it because she just texted me again.

Wednesday

She finally made it last night! Better late than never. I got to hang out with someone I know and have an actual real conversation. I do that every week with my daughter and whoever may be at her house. But I’m talking aobut just me at my place talking to someone I’m not meeting for the first time in my life.

J is my age and she is entertaining. She knows a lot of people and is always visiting so she has interesting stories to tell. When she sees me she is always on the way to somewhere else and when she is somewhere else she is always on her way to somewhere else. I get along with her so well because she likes to talk in person instead of text. I am the same way. I like to use text as a tool. I hate when I am forced to have a conversation through text. But that is the way the world works now.

Friday

We have been trying to talk my daughter into starting a band. She is reticent by nature but it’s not what you think. She isn’t afraid she won’t be good enough. She is afraid she won’t find other people who are good enough. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if she decides it’s not working. I tried to tell her to just practice with other people. It doesn’t mean she is married to them. She will figure out her own way to do it just like she does everything else.

Saturday

It’s 6am. I’ve been up since 2:30. I don’t know what happened. I opened my eyes and it was pitch black. I only knew I was in my room because I could feel my familiar mattress beneath me. I don’t know how I got there or if I had even slept. I felt like I just blinked and arrived in my bedroom. I hit the button to light up my watch and was totally confused. How could it be so dark at 2 in the afternoon? How long have I been lying here? Don’t worry, I figured out it was the middle of the night. It was way too early to wake up and drink coffee so I took my nighttime meds and got back to bed. That was a mistake. I was wide awake and no prescription was putting me back to sleep. I gave up and drank some coffee.

There is nothing to do so early in the morning so it was the perfect time to sit and write something for tomorrow. It’s a memory that’s been kicking around in my head. It’s a good one. Nothing negative like last Sunday’s post.

I’m waiting for the store to open. I have 5 more minutes to go. I’ve been in this position before, only I was waiting for the store to open so I could buy beer. This time I want an egg sandwich and some better coffee.


I made it! In a few hours I am biking to my daughter’s house. I know I didn’t get any sleep. I won’t be tired. I never get tired. My anxiety never gets tired either. I hear a voice coming from the back of my neck. Where my spine joins my skull. It’s not very loud. It’s just annoying. Narrating everything I do. Writing helps. So does listening to music. Right now I have “Cleopatrick” on YouTube. It’s my daughter’s new favorite band. They are pretty good. We both like guitar driven rock.