Mania And The Downside


Ideas.  I have lots of ideas.   And, of course, I’d probably be better served by going to bed and getting some sleep so I can work my job tonight, than staying up bouncing between a half-dozen half-finished blogs, a half-dozen partly read books (at least two of which I doubt I’ll bother finishing, because frankly, they’re just not very good or engaging), news programs I’m too distracted to watch, research I’m too tired and hyper to concentrate on, and all the other things that are keeping me awake at the moment.

My best friend is the son of a psychiatrist.  He told me many years ago, when I was a teenager, that I was manic depressive.   It’s the closest I’ve come to a diagnosis of having bipolar disorder.  I tend to avoid the people who could actually diagnose me with that and I’d have to listen to them.

When I was married, my now-ex-wife referred to my “Superman days.”   Many days I would go along, not getting a hell of a lot done besides working and sleeping and eating, and then I’d have a day, usually once or twice per month, when I got all the things done that needed doing besides eating and sleeping and working.  Mow the yard, paint the house, install new faucets, whatever.

I never went out and spent a lot of money I couldn’t afford on a lot of things I didn’t need, just to be buying things to fill some hole inside me I couldn’t explain.  I never went out and tried to have sex with a half-dozen ladies all on the same weekend (like the aforementioned friend of mine did one weekend on a visit home from college).  I never binge drank, or binge ate, or binged on drugs.  I never did a lot of the things that most people look at as examples of manic behavior.   My mania was (is?) always characterized by having a lot of ideas about things to write about that come so fast and that are all so good that I can’t seem to get them all written down before I forget something.

The downside of the mania is, of course, depression.  When it comes time to do the research, it’s overwhelming.  I can’t find the answers to my questions.  The slogging work of actually pounding keys is too much effort just now, because I’m tired, I’m in pain, my hands hurt from neuropathy, my back hurts, and I just don’t have the energy any longer.  Putting pencil to paper for a drawing, I can’t make it “look” right.  Cutting wood for a project and figuring out the design won’t work.  Everything grinds to a halt.  No ephemeral pleasure seems to be worth daunting effort and the chance it will be unsatisfying anyway.

After the party, there’s always clean up to do.  Pick up the cups and bottles, fill the trash bags and the dishwasher.  Arrange to the clean the carpets you just cleaned before the party so they’d look good for guests who trashed your floors with dropped ashes and spilled drinks.

But… It was a hell of a party!


Another Day Older


Trying something new for something to eat tonight.   Sliced some cabbage into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick slices, drizzled them with extra-virgin olive oil, seasoned with seasoning salt and black pepper, and topped with 1/4-inch slices of sweet yellow onions, wrapped in foil, and put in the toaster oven at 350 degrees.

We’ll see how it turns out.

I’ve been pretty broke lately.   Got behind on my rent and can’t seem to get caught back up.   I’m not getting any further behind on that, but there are other things that crop up.  My annual $3000 deductible on my health insurance.   Haven’t bought any new clothes in so long that most of the shirts I own are out at the elbows, they all have frayed cuffs, stained collars.  There are some things I just plain want, that I can live without but that I’m tired of doing without.  A bedside lamp.  A hair dryer.  Things I’m sure 95% or more of the people who might read this take for granted.  (I had a hair dryer and a lamp, but they got left behind when I moved because I moved from Kansas to Texas with only what I could fit in my 20-year-old Cavalier station wagon on its last long trip.   Yet another story for another time.)

I’m thinking of going to one of those “begging sites.”  You know, you sign up, tell your sad tale and plea for people to donate money to you out of the goodness of their heart.  If nothing else, maybe I can garner enough donations to catch up on my rent.

You know, I’ll have to sit down and think about writing up how it is I came to be in this position.  When did I start losing everything to get to the point I am now?   What could i have done differently?  A large part of this was driven by health issues and some major surgeries; I’ve thought long and hard about a lot of those, and don’t really see much I could have done differently. Today, a large part of my income goes toward health insurance premiums, prescriptions, copays and deductibles.  Bad enough that I’d be poverty stricken without all that.

I came here late tonight to make this web log entry.   So it’s almost time for me to log into work.

Yes, that’s right.  All these money problems and I actually have a job.  I suppose I need to do a blog entry about budgets and how I spend my money and my time.   What obstacles I face to increasing my income through regular means.   For what it’s worth, I’ve got roughly 1200 days until I turn 62, and I have every intention of retiring from my job at that point.  I’m not sure my physical condition will let me keep working much beyond that, and I really hate the idea of just dying in the traces and never having any retirement at all.

Gonna go check on my roasted cabbage and onions!   I should have put some garlic in there, too, shouldn’t I?



Whenever anyone says, “It’s one of those days,” or “They said there’d be days like this,” it always seems to carry a negative connotation.   When I was younger, I would actually say that the worst thing that could happen is that I would get up tomorrow and do it all over again exactly the same.   (Long before “Groundhog Day”!  Loved Bill Murray in that, but never cared for Andie McDowell.  Never was attracted to her, and never really felt like she had any chemistry with anyone she was onscreen with.  Oh, well.)

Today was actually just a pretty blah day.   Nothing to mark it in the exception column, good or bad.   I worked,  Slept about 5 hours after work.  Woke up, messed around on Facebook and some of the other ways I spend my time, and now I’m thinking about napping another couple of hours before work, so that I’m not dead tired all night long.  (Like usual.  *sigh*)

Read a great analysis of the situation around the arrest of Danielle Watts, in LA.  This is a case where a black actress was detained and handcuffed for refusing to give her ID to a cop responding to a 911 call about indecent exposure.  I’ve seen I don’t know how many armchair lawyers insisting the cop had “probably cause” to detain her because someone called 911 and said someone was exposing themselves or committing a lewd act.

Now, I have no idea why someone thought this was an “emergency” and called 911, to begin with.  Be that as it may, I don’t know why a patrol car responded to this call.  Common sense says that unless the car was literally on the block where the “crime” was supposedly taking place, by the time they got there, chances were there would be nothing.  And unless law enforcement witnesses the lewd act or exposure themselves, all you have is a complainant saying they did and them saying they didn’t and no way is a DA taking that to a jury.  There’s no grounds for an arrest here.

In point of fact, a 911 call is not probable cause to believe a crime has been committed.  Any fool can call 911 and complain about damned near anything.  And many of them do.  It’s illegal to make a false 911 call, but they happen every single day in every major urban area.   What is especially ridiculous in this case is that the officer rolled up, and without witnessing a crime, proceeded to misinform Ms. Watts that he had the right to demand her ID.  Notwithstanding any question of whether or not California law allows him to do so, how would her ID possibly indicate whether or not she had been involved in a lewd exhibition that he did not witness?  Cop on a fishing trip, who then got out of control, steeped in his own ignorance of the law, and handcuffed her for not showing him her ID and walking away from him, when he had no cause to detain her.

I hope she sues the shit out of them.  I’m sorry for the taxpayers having to foot the bill to pay when it is all said and done, but damn I’m sick of cops that aren’t trained on what they can and cannot legally do. If Sgt. Jim Parker, of LAPD (who incidentally refused to give her his full name when she asked for it so she could make a complaint, which I strongly suspect is against policy), loses his job, I’m sorry.   I kind of hope he only gets a suspension without pay for a month or 6 weeks, and has to take about 50 hours of instruction on how to make a stop and what he is allowed to do during that stop.  If he takes those lessons properly, I’d rather have a trained, educated cop back on the street who knows better than to do this again, than just to get rid of him.

It seems like lately there has just been an epidemic of these incidents of law enforcement hassling black people mostly for being black while sitting, while walking, while carrying a toy, or while kissing a white person in public.   It has GOT TO STOP!

All right.  I’m going to try to get that nap in.  I have to work tonight.

Internet Dating


A lady wrote to me on a dating site, saying that part of what she liked about my profile was: “…you seem interesting, independent, not emotionally or financially needy, confident etc…”

Believe it or not, that upset me.  Strange thing to be upset about, right?

Well, if I may explain.   (If I may.   like I need your permission.   Like I’m not going to write this if someone is saying “No, you can’t explain!  I don’t wanna hear your explanations!”)   Anyway…

I went to meet a lady, Carolyn, I met through an internet dating site one time.  When I said I would be in her town, she gave me her address, and said to come by, as she was having a garage sale that day.  Short version is that after I arrived, we’d talked a bit, and a gentleman rode up on a miniature motorcycle.   And I mean exactly that.  It was a full-fledged motorcycle, but downsized.  I’m not a biker.  I don’t know much about them.  Can’t tell you what make or model this was, or anything else.  He was dressed in sandals, maroon gym shorts, and a sleeveless sweatshirt with a university logo on it.  He looked stuff over at the garage sale, and they got to talking.   He told her that the bike was actually for sale and would be good for her teenage son.  Turned out he went to school on his shirt, where he’d played football, and she had gone to the same university and was a huge football fan.  If she was interested in the bike, he lived “just over here..” and mentioned a street apparently very nearby.

And Carolyn was just eating this up.  While I stood there, ignored.

Sticking to the short version, after we parted (she and her mother were going to go eat, and I was free to “wait around or whatever,” but was pointedly not invited to join them for dinner).  I elected to drive the 125 miles back home.  After arriving home, I wrote her an e-mail and said, basically:  “Thanks for meeting with me.  But, frankly, I felt you had more chemistry with the guy on the bike than with me.   Let’s just say it was nice meeting, but not meant to be.   Hope you find what you’re looking for.”

I got a reply from her late the next day.   It started out “I wasn’t going to reply,.. ”  (Wish she’d stuck to that!)  She went on about how dare I criticize her for talking to the guy, we weren’t even dating yet, did I have any idea how people who went to that college felt about football, if she’d known how ‘country’ I was she’d never have bothered because she was obviously more compatible with someone who was more metrosexual (she actually used that term; metrosexual), etc., etc.

I guess, in her mind, I was this disastrous internet dating story.  Someone who wasn’t what she thought, who showed up and… I don’t know what.   I really don’t.

So, back to the reply from this most recent lady.   About being “interesting, independent, not emotionally or financially needy, confident etc…”  Most of those words are not words I use to describe myself.  That’s not what I see in the mirror.

Interesting?   Okay, I can live with interesting.  In some respects.   Haven’t lived a life of adventure and accomplishment, but I suppose some people are interested in what I think.

Independent? This one is harder.  What is independent?  Am I a mountain man, killing deer and elk and cougars with pointed wooden spears and bows and arrows I made myself?   Of course not.  I’m living in an urban setting, and rely heavily on medical science to keep me functioning on a day-to-day basis.   I rent a room in a house, rather than living in a house I own.  (Though that’s complicated.  I actually do own a house.  But it is in a different state and is uninhabitable due to it’s poor condition.  A story for another time?)   I have a job.  I work for an employer, who sends electronically transfers money to me in trade for my time and effort.  That means I rely on someone else to pay me.  I didn’t get the job through a friend or a referral, though.  I applied for and passed a test to get it.  But I’m not sure how “independent” all that makes me.

But the part that really bothered me was “not emotionally or financially needy confident, etc…”

I suppose that emotionally, I’m pretty self-contained.  The vast majority of the time, I’m okay with being alone and by myself.  Too much of the time, I prefer that, actually.

But I am definitely financially needy.  Between some health problems and just generally low pay anymore for what I do, I don’t bring home much money.  In fact, I got behind on my rent a couple of months back, after being off work for a month because of a health problem, and I’m not sure what I can do to get caught up.   Not to mention unpaid medical bills.  No frills.  I haven’t bought any new clothes except for socks and underwear in too many years.  Most of my shirts are worn through at the elbows and frayed at the cuffs.  All my pants are raggedy.  I bought the boots I’m wearing used on eBay.   Suffice it to say I’m only a half-step up from the people you see holding out cups at intersections.

Between the financial problems and the health problems, the only thing I’m confident about is that I’m certain I bring nothing to the table in a relationship except me.

So, that was what I got upset about.  I figured if I exchanged a few more e-mails with this lady and we got to the point of deciding to meet, she would feel she’d been misled or lied to.  I didn’t want that to happen.  Been there.  Done that.  Turned down the t-shirt.  But, I knew if I told her plainly what the situation was, the chances were pretty good she would decide not to talk with me any longer.   Still, there was certainly no point to talking with someone who was thinking I was something I wasn’t.  At best, all it was doing was forestalling the inevitable.  We’d meet, she’d discover how truly broke and broken I am, that I’m in pain and in poverty, and she would feel lied to and would just walk away with another internet dating horror story to add to the plethora already out there.   There was no way I wanted to be the main character in that story.   Not again.

I finally sent her an e-mail, apologising (that’s not a misspelling; that’s an alternative spelling that I prefer!) for taking so long to reply, and offering a condensed version of just that last part.  (I did not tell her the story about Carolyn.)

I guess we’ll see if she writes back.

BTW… How do you politely say “Thank you for your interest in my profile, but I’m not that desperate”?

Down and out


I’m tired today. Worked overnight, of course.  Although I overslept and woke up an hour late for my Sunday morning log-in at 2 a.m.  There was no work available part of the morning, but things picked up then, so I was busy the last part of my shift, and in fact, worked over on priority jobs late to make my line count for the day.  (That’s how my job as a medical transcriptionist pays.   By the line.  I’m not going to tell you the ridiculously low line rate I work for.  It’s demeaning.)  When I’m overtired like this, I tend to be a bit down.

I’m not sure I have the energy to work all night and still spend more time on the keyboard blogging.  It would help, of course, if I spent less time on Facebook or other sites where I type comments too many hours of the day.  Speaking of Facebook, there is a meme I see on there from time to time.   “Writing is 10% inspiration and 90% avoiding being distracted by Facebook.”  Or some such thing.   The concept is obvious.  And valid.

Not that it would take me any less time to think of something worthwhile to say.   Then again, can I say anything worthwhile?   Am I even capable of that?   Who wants to listen to my ramblings?   (See, there’s that Infernal Internal Editor, again.  The bane of my existence.   The critic that never falls silent.  Self-effacing, self-deprecating and self-loathing.  Unfortunately, it’s not himself the IIE hates.  It’s ME! )  Anyway, on the matter of saying something worthwhile, I had some thoughts.   I know that some years ago I was journaling pretty regularly.   But I noticed that my journal had become page after page of the same tired complaints about the same things that were wrong with my life and that never seemed to change for the better.   And I’m much more prone to seeing the world through those shit-colored glasses when I’m tired and in pain, i.e., after working all night.

That does remind me of something, however.  When I was a good deal younger and less convinced of my uselessness, I was doing some philosophical-based question-and-answer-type journaling.  A one-sided Socratic conversation, as it was.  I coincidentally discovered an author named Hugh Prather, and his book “Notes To Myself: My Struggle To Become A Person.”    I actually had thoughts of writing up these conversations with myself into a manuscript.  I thought that there were answers in those replies.  I don’t have those pages any longer.  (Long story.  Things come and go in our lives.  Those were some of the things that went out of mine.   It’s too bad.  I’d like to re-read them.  Then again, I should reread Mr. Prather, too.  If you’d like to read his work:

Anyone reading my web log, if I keep to the spirit of a log, as in a record of my daily activities, is going to hear one phrase a LOT.

“I guess I should actually think about getting some sleep.”  I’m off tonight, Sunday night being my only night off, so it is likely I’ll be back here later.

Sometime I’ll write about sleep.


Hey, I’m a blogger!

All right.  I am officially setting up a blog.   I have no real idea what I’m doing.   The majority of the time, when I sit down to deliberately write, I can’t think of a damned thing.   When I am supposed to be working, or sleeping, or doing almost anything else, then I think of things.   Sometimes I look back at things I’ve written in the past, and I wonder who wrote them.   The “voice” is mine, but I never feel that smart.   Or that dumb.

Anyway, this is a foray into a new world for me.  Trying to achieve some measure of popularity and a following.   That’s not something I would normally think about doing.   Usually, I’m not very outgoing.  In fact, as a rule, I’m an introvert.   I’ve gone so far as to describe myself as “not antisocial so much as asocial.”

I’m going to call this good, for now.   I need to get some sleep before work.   More about what I do for work later.