Today I Am Sad

June 24, 2012

Today I am sad.

This is just a statement. It's not a complaint; it's not a cry for help. I am not fishing for attention – no more than usual, anyway. It really doesn't have much to do with circumstances, either. I mean, I can't say that if I had more money then I wouldn't be sad. If I fixed problem x then things would by fine. Things are fine and I am sad.

This is how it goes:

I got up yesterday and took my medicines. I drank coffee and then had a bit of breakfast. Then I putzed around the apartment a little bit, read on the patio while the cats played outside. Then I laid down for a "nap". Four hours later I woke up, and it felt like most of my Saturday was gone. So, this morning I woke up, took my medicines and went to a corporate coffee shop for morning coffee instead. That's when I noticed that I was sad.

As I've mentioned before, the meds I take have a certain side effect that kicks in when I eat or drink something other than water. (I have to take them on an empty stomach.) I made myself be out of the apartment when it hit, and that kept me from taking a nap for the rest of the day. But, it still felt strange. I don't quite know how to explain it. I saw a person drinking his coffee and I felt like I could feel how sad he was and that his whole life was futile. I felt very sorry for him. Then I felt very sorry for me because I live alone and don't have anybody to come home to in the evenings and don't have any prospects for finding somebody to come home to in the evenings. I tried to read a book called Room, which my little brother recommended as a feel-good book. Perhaps it is, but any book that actually has a plot inherently has a problem to work through, and the problem in this book made me feel very sad; it underscored how sad I felt, anyway. So, I put it down. I thought about rereading some of the letters from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but I could tell that wouldn't be a good idea.

So, I just decided to be sad.

I got restless so I picked up my things and left the coffee shop (where I'm currently writing, by the way) and started driving. I felt hungry, so I decided to eat something, because if I don't eat something then I become Very Angry Indeed, and that takes hours to get over sometimes, so it's best just to eat something. I had a couple of tacos at a place that's supposed to have very good barbecue and breakfast tacos, but I always think that their food is just so-so, but they were there and they have fountain drinks and it was sustenance.

I went by the Goodwill that I like, but they're remodeling. So, I went over to the one on Lamar and Koenig, next to a Half Price Books store. It turns out they don't open until 11 AM, so I went into HPB and spent some time. I picked up a copy of Guernsey Literary etc. and read some of the letters. They made me feel good, but they also made me cry. It's beautiful how the characters get to know each other, and that made me cry, and it also made me cry that I don't have anybody to write a letter to. I felt very lonely. So, I put the book down and looked around at the people milling about. Some people had healthy legs, some people had skinny legs and one person had legs that made me think he constantly struggled with his weight and always would. One scruffy-looking guy was looking around and I fell in love with him. For no particular reason. I just needed to fall in love with somebody and he looks like somebody who's been to the school of hard knocks and knows how to work. He actually looked a little out of place, but one doesn't judge in a bookstore. Another guy was there who looked like the stereotype of a guy you'd expect to see in a used bookstore. Goofy clothes and haircut, thick-rimmed round glasses, walking around with his nose slightly in the air like all of this was actually beneath him but he had to be here so he may as well look and see what the cretins had on their shelves.

When it seemed that Goodwill would be open I went over there. I wasn't looking for anything in particular. I had my eyes open for interesting jars for a project that my friend Tami has on her blog, but I'm always interested to see what treasures people give to Goodwill. In the past I have found hand-made pottery by artists that Nameless recognized and there are frequently good books. I didn't find any good jars, but I did see at least three of the people from HPB. The guy with the round glasses was there with a child. Another rather young guy was there and seemed to be flirting with me. Or, should I say fishing? He looked like he was interested in something, but probably not in getting to know each other, eventually buying a house and making a life together. The impression I got was that he was interested in a more ephemeral pleasure. (I've noticed that since I turned 40 guys in their early 20's are suddenly much more interested in talking to me than guys in their early 20's were when I was in my early 20's.)  Also, the guy I fell in love with was there; he was working – volunteering I think. Probably working off community service. If I had to guess I'd say it was a drug-related offense. (I set my standards high.)

After perusing the glass section 5 times and deciding that I wasn't going to find any interesting jars or Waterford crystal I got back in my car. I was heading home but it felt good to drive. Jack Johnson was playing on the radio and music is very soothing. I drove down Burnet to a junk store that I know about. The windows have the words "Antiques" and "Collectibles" in them. Mostly it's junk. Shelves and shelves of dusty junk higher than my head and a labyrinthine layout that has about 2 feet between the shelves in some places. It's fabulous. I stayed there for about 30 minutes. I didn't find any jars to buy, but I had a very pleasant time.

Driving home I left the windows of the car down and drove slowly. I have 3 weeks worth of laundry to fold (literally) and I have pictures to hang and carpet to vacuum. It's a beautiful day, even if it's a little hot. When I got home I let my cats run around outside a little and I talked with a friend on the phone while I watered the plants on my patio. I got some of the clothes folded and answered a few emails. I was less sad than I was when I was first drinking my coffee this morning and felt like everything in my life was futile and I would never be happy.

Now I'm sitting here back at the coffee shop writing about what it feels like when the medicines that save your life affect your mind. It's a dilemma. Clearly I'm going to continue taking the medicine that keeps me from dying, but I have to learn to live with these side effects. Any choice of medicines will have side effects and frankly, these are preferable to perpetual nausea and diarrhea. But, sometimes they make me sad.

I'll write more later.



So, I was staying the night on Friday night at Nameless' house, watching the menagerie. Nameless was in Dallas, and since I pay child support for most of these animals it only makes sense that I'd be the one to watch them.

Saturday morning I woke up and took my medicines. I vaguely noticed that the pills were still in the daily pill dispenser for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and I thought that that would make it much easier to fill it up for the next week.

As the morning went on I began to be very angry at being there. I decided that it was probably just too soon after moving out for me to be spending time there. I was angry at everything he ever said or did to piss me off. I decided that I needed to head home, so I spent some times petting the cats and the dog, fed the whole crew and the feral colony on the front porch and headed out. Nameless had asked me if I'd give the dog a bath, but I decided that I could do it another time. I needed a cup of coffee and the Philistine doesn't even have a coffee maker in the house, much less cream.

As I was driving out of town I thought about filling up the car, but I was in too foul a mood to stop. Even at my favorite gas station on the corner of Main Street that sells the perfect Dr. Pepper. When I began to cry I had to really ask myself what the f***ing hell was wrong with me. How could I be so angry and so hurt about something that happened over a year ago and how could it still affect me so much? Then I started going over the morning's activities in my mind and I focused in on the pill dispenser. Like water running down the side of an overflowing glass it occurred to me that if the pills were still in the slots for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, then I didn't take them on those days. This dripped into my consciousness slowly.

I've mentioned before which medicines I take; I won't go too deeply into it here. But, I did mention the anti-bitch medication that I take, and one thing about this kind of medication is that there is a certain level of dependence that develops. What I mean is that when a person stops taking them there is a withdrawal, beyond the recurrence of the bitchiness the diagnosis of which was the cause of the prescription in the first place. In other words, I was turning back into a bitch, but this time an irrational bitch going through withdrawal. (This doesn't even address the possible adverse effects of not taking the other medication, which is mostly the source of the bitch symptoms.)

I kept myself busy yesterday; I nursed a coffee at Starbucks. I went grocery shopping. I made a marinara sauce and invited a friend over who is going through a particularly difficult time (a legitimate one). I invited Nameless and was surprised when he decided to come. I mean, driving 3 hours back from Dallas, then to drive another 30 miles for dinner is more than I expected. Not that I wasn't glad to see him. We actually had a lovely time and laughed and I felt better and hopefully my friend felt better.

Then today I slept until 1pm. 12:30, really, but I didn't get up and about until 1. I actually got up before 7am and took my pills, fed the cats their moist treats and then went back to bed. What's strange is that I picked up with the dream I was having right where it left off. It was a kind of mystery novel and it was probably brought on by the book of Victorian ghost stories I'm reading, but it was actually kind of fascinating.

I didn't get better until this evening when I met with some other friends and had a couple of beers. If I had known that drinking would actually make me feel better I would have done so much earlier in the day. (I had a couple of glasses of wine last night.) But, most of today was a fog, and I feel like I didn't get the day off and now I have to go back to work tomorrow and it's not fair, really.

But, it will teach me a lesson about cleaning, because when I cleaned my bathroom last I put the pill dispenser in a drawer, which is why I forgot to take them. Out of sight out of mind. I feel like perhaps I shouldn't clean any more again. Ever.

We'll see.

e A r n i e

The Oasis

♪ I put on some make-up
Turn on the eight-track
I'm pulling the wig down from the shelf... ♪ ♫

Oh, hi there. Sorry, I was just singing to myself.

So, choir practice is out for the summer. Who knew that choirs did this? The Southern Baptist church I sang in didn't. Not that I remember, anyway. It was over 20 years ago, though.

The reason for mentioning this is that our last big hoorah was Pentecost Sunday. We worked for a few weeks on the songs and it was a special Pentecost choir, not just the every-week one. So, I told Nameless that he needed to come see me sing this time. I actually asked if he would like to come, but there was a definite undercurrent of "you'd better say yes" to the way I asked. Being that he's the only one I told (in person) about my post-Easter meltdown – mid-meltdown – I think he understood that it was more than just a casual invitation in case he happened to already be planning on driving 40 miles from his home on a Sunday morning to attend Mass in a parish not his own.

And, I think we did a darn good job. Somehow he and Patricia (she also showed up) got it into their heads that I was going to be singing a solo. I suppose a normal person wouldn't have asked friends to come see them unless they were singing a solo, but I'm still a little delicate and I didn't want to be alone after we finished. Just in case.

After mass we went to lunch. Patricia (who will have her own little entry here soon) has been trying to get Nameless to go see the art gallery at The Oasis restaurant on Lake Travis. I had never been to The Oasis, so it seemed like a pretty good idea to take advantage of the fact that Nameless was already so close. They're always looking for galleries to sell their art in, even though they almost never want to sell their art in galleries.

The main draw of The Oasis is the view. Situated on a cliff overlooking Lake Travis, it is the self-proclaimed Sunset Capital of Texas. So, we didn't have a problem being seated for lunch, which is definitely not the sunset hour at this latitude. We ate outside under one of the 19,192 umbrellas. (Even still, my scalp got sunburned. I have GOT to remember to wear a hat!) Nameless ordered fried avocado tacos and I ordered a hamburger and we split them both between us. Patricia had a vegetarian dish, because she's a vegetarian when eating out. (This is part of a long, yet morbidly fascinating story.) I think it would be cliché to say that I'd had better food in my life and that you're paying for the location. The food was good and the view was nice. We saw islands in the lake that aren't supposed to be there (caused by the drought.) We saw disgustingly large houses. I don't think I saw any boats, but I'm not sure they are able to get on the water, again due to the drought.

I was expecting a restaurant with many patios. I got that, plus a small shopping center that apparently sprung up around it. A flag was flying announcing Oasis, TX, and that was kind of the feel. The shops were up and downstairs, and it was all very rustic.

There is a gallery on the ground floor, Texas Treasures. They had some very lovely antiques and contemporary art. An artist I know from Elgin named Greg Silkenson (Talking Wood) has work there. He has some nicely designed wooden boxes there. He might have some of his furniture there as well, but I didn't see it if he does. (I own one of his boxes. I keep hand-fabricated jewelry in it.)

The Blue Genie is on the second floor and they do have nice work. They are more contemporary. They actually have a show close to Christmastime in town. I'm not certain about their entire history; I don't think they've been in Oasis, TX very long, because I don't think it's been there very long. I don't know if they existed as a gallery before the Christmas Bazaar or if it was the other way around. One way or another, I recognized a couple of artists there. For instance, a potter named Jason Hooper.

After checking out the galleries we retired for a cup of coffee. Then Patricia decided that we were going to go sit on her friend's dock and watch the lake, even though neither Nameless or I really wanted to. She disappeared for about 20 minutes to look for her friend's phone number, because the fact that somebody says no has never bothered her for one minute.

We ended up sitting in the courtyard until around 7. In case you're keeping track, we were there from around noon until around 7. Yes, that's a very long time. We saw the line grow longer and longer as people began showing up to watch the sunset from the famous patios. Nameless was apparently enjoying relaxing and not feeling the urgent need to be doing something, a feeling that overwhelms him any time he's around his home. I'm certain that I would not have chosen to be out there that long, though it was fun and we did enjoy the courtyard and its sculptures, which we would have otherwise missed.

eArnie on the patio at The Oasis

Statue in the courtyard

Gymnast statue in the courtyard

Gymnast statue in the courtyard

Statue of Wishing Well in the courtyard

When we finally left we discovered that the line waiting for a table extended from the people waiting in line to cars waiting to get in to be able to park so that they could get in line. The line of cars went out of the parking area and up the road, and people were parking along the side of the road and walking very long distances for the privilege of enjoying the Sunset Capital of Texas at sunset. Perhaps it was busier than usual because it was a holiday weekend, but people seemed to think this was all perfectly normal. I can't imagine a sunset over a half-empty man-made lake could possibly be that impressive, but clearly there are plenty of people who disagree.

After that we went to Torchy's Taco's because upon leaving the restaurant Nameless and I decided that we were hungry. Again, Nameless and I split our orders and again Patricia had a vegetarian option. I mentioned the story behind the name of one of the items on the menu. I don't think I'm going to say which one here, but you could look up their menu and see if you can figure out which one I'm talking about. After I told them they both momentarily wondered if they were still hungry enough to eat. (They were.)

Then we went to HEB for ONE THING and ended up leaving an hour later with a miniature shopping cart overflowing because they weren't going to get a normal-sized shopping cart because they only came in for one thing, never mind that the minicart was so full that we were carrying the overflow in our hands. I did get a nice basil plant, which I've been looking for for weeks, and I ended up getting an Esperanza so that Nameless could get the 4th potted plant for free.

In the end I got home at almost 11pm. I'll have to think twice before I invite Nameless to see me sing at church again. Fortunately Monday was Labor Day and I was off from work. I might not have been in a very good mood about the whole thing otherwise.

So, that's my Oasis experience. I've only lived in Austin since 1998; that's what, 14 years it took me to eat there? That's about par for the course in my life.

I'm ready for bed now. I'll write more later.


e A r n i e

P.S. If you happen to visit the web sites that are linked from this blog, please let them know that eArnie sent you. Thanks.

Well Begun is Half-Done

So, progress on The Room. This is more than a project, it's a life-changing event. And, it's not going entirely well. Actually, it's going well, inasmuch as it's going. It's just not going very fast. I open a box and I'm flooded with memories and fumes. Art supplies I haven't seen in years and years - one of which I didn't even recognize and can't quite figure out. So, naturally I want to set everything aside and draw and paint. But, I haven't let myself do that. (This doesn't count the times that I used some of the supplies for actual needed purposes. It was just so cool that I had them and was able to use them again.)

One can't really look at this in an isolated manner; it includes everything that's gone between. Easter, the CRHP retreat, the meltdown.

I've made a couple of small purchases. (Making purchases is another bad habit of mine that I'm trying to break and it's far too easy to think that I could go spend lots of money and make this situation go away, which, of course, it wouldn't so I'm trying o restrain myself.) I got some containers/organizers for the art supplies that I'm going to keep. I have put things in them finally. This has cut down on the number of boxes in here.

New things I have to face:

The empty boxes that are behind the closet door. I couldn't really see them before because a stack of boxes was blocking them. Now I have to ask myself, "Why do I feel that I need to keep these boxes?" Probably because I have no faith in myself and my ability to maintain an apartment by myself and I just figure I'll be packing up again soon, so I may as well keep the boxes. (This is not without reason.) That's not a conscious decision, like when I was young and we moved so often that sometimes my mom wouldn't unpack stuff because she knew we weren't going to be staying long enough. It's more of a mix between inertia and a subliminal sense of futility.

The piano is out of tune, and so am I. I sat down to play and I'm not able. I used to be able; now I am not. And, the lower notes (about G through C) all sound the same. They are supposed to sound different; that's why they're different notes. This is generally not good. But, it can be fixed.

Things I want but do not need:

A camera that's thin enough to fit in my messenger bag. I was out yesterday and wanted to take pictures to post here, but I didn't have my camera with me. The one I have takes excellent pictures, but it's a tad bit large to keep with me.

A new, smaller laptop to keep with me for writing purposes - in coffee shops for instance.

Another thing that seems to be obvious is that I could take a day or two off and just get through it. I've tried. I tend to drink coffee until around noon, at which point it's time to eat and then I usually have to leave the house for SOMETHNG and then it's all over. And, if I don't leave the house I stare at the computer, transfixed on facebook/email/ until very late. I'm trying to force myself to wake up, face The Room, face my life and get through it.

That's where I am so far. I'll write more later.

e A r n i e

Piano and artword
The piano with small objets d'art and music organized.

Stuff I still need to do something with.

The unidentified art supply (on an address book). It has soft wood inside and you twist it to bring the wood out the top.

P.S. I meant to mention that as I was writing this a song came up on the Genius playlist I'm listening to. The song is called My Last Cigarette, sung by K.D Lang. I thought it was very appropriate, both in the lyrics and aesthetics. Check it out. It's on her Drag album.