Sunday was a day that really shouldn't have been terribly bad. I slept in only a little that morning, and the sleep I did have was better than what I'd had Friday night into Saturday morning. I awoke, went about my usual routines for the morning (Pill the cat. Wait thirty minutes. Feed the now incessantly mewling, bitchy, complainy cat. Feed fish, which at least don't make anywhere near the noise) and then tended to myself. I emerged from the shower feeling a great deal more awake and refreshed, and ready to tackle the coding. I sat down at the computer, logged into the database and got cracking. I made some significant headway over the next few hours, pausing only to get lunch at Burger King. Yes, Burger King; For some reason I can't fathom I was positively possessed by a craving this weekend for Burger King burgers. I sated that with a pair of their ninety-nine cent bacon cheeseburgers, a small fry and a coke. Call me foolish, but I thought maybe they would have repaired the damage they did to their fries. No such luck, though, the things were still salty and horrible. I don't think I'll be buying their fries ever again. It's a real shame, because I do love their burgers.
After I fed my need for grease I sat back down at the computer, did a little more coding, then took a break from electronics. From somewhere in the back I was hit by a sudden, intense need to clean out the kitchen sink. I suspect it had something to do with the stagnant water and chunks of meat that were swimming around in there and starting to generate a funk. Once I'd cleaned the sink I continued my little fugue-of-chores by taking out the nearly-full trash, emptying out our recyclable container and loading up the dishwasher. When I got back from the dumpster I sat down, thought for a minute, then got back up and moved into the bathroom. There I illegally introduced Scrubbing Bubbles into the environment by closing the door (so the cat wouldn't get into the cleaning supplies) and hosing down the bathtub and bathroom sink. Yes, I was dispensing cleaning materials in a reckless and irresponsible way, mostly because with the door closed I had little to no ventilation in that rather confined space. Whooo, I haven't been that stoned since I walked into this apartment and got to inhale the fresh paint vapors for three or four days.
Once assured that I had vanquished the skuzz living in the bathroom I returned to the computer, finished off my coding and committed the changes to CVS. I skimmed my e-mail and nearly imploded with pleasure to read a letter from an artist I'd been in contact with. The idea I've had bouncing in my head for the last two months will finally be put to paper -- the artist has accepted the commission I offered him. We worked out an agreeable price, planned out how payments would be handled and set up a schedule for me to review the sketches of the work as it progresses. Yes! Score one for my team. I'm just disappointed that the first artist I approached about the potential commission couldn't have been more professional and provide me with the courtesy of a reply saying they were busy or uninterested. Hey, whatever, at least it's going to get done, and at a rather reasonable rate.
So that bit of news put me in a good mood, one which was doomed to a fiery end. I got a phone call from an old friend (my friends in the know and Pack know him to varying degrees), Don. Don played a rather critical part in keeping me grounded and together while I was going through one of the really low points a few years ago. He was a good friend and at times a mentor. He had a number of interests that matched mine, he was a great listener and -- this might sound weird -- he had his faults as well. Maybe that's one of the other reasons I enjoyed his company and friendship so much -- he was just as fatally human as I was. I didn't feel inferior next to him, and he was an excellent confidant. The chance to return the favors he did for me have been far and few between, and I fear that on one of the biggest ones I've fallen noticeably short. Don lost his job a year and a half or so ago, and spent a number of months searching for a new, viable job solution. Right before the big economic bust really got rolling at the tail end of 2000, that's when he lost his job. Bad timing for a mid-level manager who has a love of mechanical engineering and machinist work, to say the least. After a long string of unfortunate circumstances he at last decided that Chicago was no longer the location for him to try job searching in. So he packed everything he had into a van or into a storage garage, said good-bye to everyone in the area whom he'd known and partied with for the last seven or so years and hit the road for Vegas. That was around the fall of last year, and he has only been back in town once since then. He's having a hard go of it but he hasn't let his situation get him down -- he's still quite optimistic and full of high hopes. I just suspect that in a city with that many people he feels very isolated, very alone. I know how he feels quite well, and I sympathize with it. I know that talking to folks "back home" help him feel connected and ease some of that loneliness.
So why haven't I called him? What is my major fundamental malfunction?
All told, I don't know. So I was pleasantly surprised when he rang me up on my cell phone. We talked for about forty-five minutes or so. The topics ranged all over from "the bad ol' good ol' days" to what he's doing now, what projects he's got in mind, what he'll do when he hits the big times. I sincerely hope that he proves all his detractors wrong and makes it. I'd dearly love to be by his side when he gives all the disbelievers around this area two middle fingers and a hearty "Get Bent." Regardless, the call was cut short when my cell phone's battery went dead. Dammit! How about my other cell phone? Dead, too. Well, shit. No calling him back, then, since his number is only stored in those two phones.
The suddenness of his appearance, paired with the suddenness of his disappearance -- even if it was only over the phone -- left me feeling wrung out and a little more than nostalgic. I spent the remainder of the day worrying about him, wondering about past lives left behind and a montage of other things better left unmentioned.
I went to bed Sunday night feeling somewhat empty. My sleep was, predictably, sub-par in the tradition of the past two weeks. I grow weary of this awake/asleep/awake/asleep/awake/asleep/c
Once home Monday night I gnawed on some leftover Dominos pizza I had stashed in the fridge, read my e-mail and avoided online like a plague. I tried to read the latest issue of "Absolute Magnitude" that was delivered to my door. Ladies and gentlemen, save your money: "Aboriginal Science Fiction" this magazine is not. The stories are shit, the layout is shit, the editing is below shit, if that's even possible. The only reason I get it is because they decided to close down the GOOD magazine. So about once every other month or so I'm treated to some half-assed story editing under the guise of "quality science fiction and fantasy." I've seen better science fiction material under the nail of my big toe, let me tell you.
Went to bed at a reasonable hour last night, after catching the second episode of Monk on USA. If you get USA and haven't seen it, watch this show. The rerun of this week's episode is on at 11:00 PM Eastern on Thursday, August 1st. You won't be disappointed by this, I promise you. Tony Shalhoub is a superb actor and the plot lines and twists in this show are cutting-edge. Admit it, you want to watch the trials and tribulations a network can put an obsessive/compulsive detective through. Now watch. WATCH!
Sleep last night was broken as well. I dreamt about my current job, and for some reason the raptors from Jurassic Park made their way into it. I can fend them off with a halogen Maglite? Wow, I must be something special. Wake up from that dream panting and in a sweat. Roll over, look at the time, groan in frustration and dismay. Spend an hour, marked with painful precision, tossing and turning. Go back to broken sleep. Dreamt of the old job in Minnesota, of going back and working retail. I've been dreaming a lot about my old job in Minnesota at Holiday Sports (Now Gander Mountain) as of late. I'm not sure what it means. I'm not sure it means anything. I'm not sure I know anything.
Actually, I know one thing: I know nothing. How's that for interesting logic?
Today at work was a bust. I got little done: a few tickets here and there, a meeting to resolve the license problem I'm currently embroiled in, nothing else of value. Was able to pick up my much anticipated and long-awaited reimbursement check for my trip to Columbus. I threw it all into my checking account this evening after I escaped from work, and immediately shuffled THAT right back out the door to American Express when I got home. $1,100 in and out of my fingers, and I hardly got to touch it. Le sigh.
My left hand and arm is being particularly problematic tonight -- tingling, shooting pains, aching. I think it's telling me to finish this entry up. My raging tendons and popping wrist are good indicators that now is the time to quit.
Pour some misery down on me