Out of the Abyss
Lori doesn't really understand where I'm coming from. She may hate her job and her life like she often says, but she has something to do. She also has an income. Her main point of contention is that I hold my affection from her. She believes that I do that sadistically just to make her suffer. Sometimes I have to envy babes. They can find solace in love. It is their City of Dreams. Guys always have the need to cluster problems together and treat everything as part of one unilateral problem. We look for systematic and logical solutions that may or may not exist. Most times they do not exist because there is no such thing as one all-encompassing problem. That is also why babes seek creative outlets and guys always end up watching the tube with a brewski in hand. When we can't find that one solution, we want to drown out the problem completely. Depression is a very self-destructive mode. It destroys a person's life completely. It tears down the City of Dreams.
Lori's doctor called yesterday evening. The results of the biopsy were inconclusive either due to an insufficient sample quantity or that the growth is really not a tumor. The doctor seems to believe that the former is the case rather than the latter. However, she wants to be absolutely sure before ordering the surgery. So, Lori must go through the ordeal of another biopsy in two weeks. The wait continues.
I have to thank the Creator for giving me a reprieve from all the nonsense that has been going on. I don't know who else to thank since my turnaround was nothing short of a miracle. Granted, I only have 13 weeks before I may find myself with nothing to do again. I feel a sense of relief for now. I have some semblance of purpose. I am still stressed out, athough it is a more constructive kind of stress. Rather than fret over whether I will make it out of the quagmire, I am now pressured by a tight schedule to prepare for the classes I will teach. I can deal with that kind of stress. In looking back, I realize that I have many others to thank including moms, Lori, and all my supportive virtual homeys. I will be forever grateful.
Nonetheless, my relief will only be temporary. As a part time faculty member, I am limited to teach only seven classes in a year. So, I will have only four open slots left after this session. I pretty much have about eleven weeks to get my life in order. In that time, I either need to find a job or secure additional teaching positions at other campuses. Otherwise, I'll find myself on extended vacation again. I could fool myself into believing that I'm on sabbatical but, let's face it, who would I be kidding? So, in effect, I'll continue to lead a transient lifestyle.
Lori's workplace seems to be in state of upheaval. One of her co-workers is thinking of resigning because of the fun and games with the mainland office. Apparently Lori isn't the only one having trouble with those losers. The office operates with a minimal staff as it is, so it will be difficult with one less person there. Lori still believes that she on her way out sometime soon, too. Her boss also seems to be a little stressed out. Whenever I see him, he appears to be slightly hammered. Lori believes that he's having a few cocktails during the day. I don't know about you, but I never want to find myself in that kind of environment.
Lori, her daughter, and I ended up at Barnes & Noble last night. This will be the last Wednesday night that I can spend at Barnes & Noble for the next three months. I don't spend much time reading computer nerd literature anymore. I seemed to have lost complete interest in them. I read an interesting article about Steve "The Woz" Wozniack in Wired magazine. The Woz is a fascinating guy. For all that he has had (and lost), he is a humble man. He now teaches computer classes to elementary school kids without pay. He has no desire to return to real world of computers. Woz is content to remain a simpleton even though he is a true computer genius. That's what I want to be ... a simpleton. Well, then again, maybe I'm already there.
Moms invited Lori and her daughter over for dinner last night. After dinner, Lori and moms talked for quite a long time. I talked with Lori's daughter for about the same amount of time. I took this opportunity to attempt to discover for myself exactly what is going on. From all indications, Lori's daughter is very unhappy here. Her relationship with her mom appears to be degenerating at least from her point of view. And, her desire for autonomy (indicative of blossoming adolescence) is definitely making itself manifest.
I left early this morning because I had an interview at 7:30am. That's right. And, this was the late time slot. The owner of the company likes to schedule interviews between 5am and 8am. I took a Wort pill before I left. The interview went fine. I was offered a possibility for both full time or part time work. At this time, I can only accept part time work. However, the hours would be from 5pm to 10pm every night. I would have considered this option but the pay was not too good. All I can say is that it was on the par with the jobs requiring steel-toed boots. Why would anyone want to work as a Web programmer if shoveling manure makes the same wages?
I had a talk with Lori about her daughter after we returned fairly late from the concert. Lori seems to think that her daughter is fabricating a lot of what she is saying. She also believes that her daughter's motives are nefarious. Her daughter's primary intention is to break up our engagement at any cost, she told me. I found this to be a peculiar statement. Lori believes that she has a great relationship with her daughter (when I am not around). On the other hand, her daughter told me that she wants to spend less time with her mother.
This is Day Three of the Great Wort Experiment. So, far I have not noticed much. I don't have any feelings of euphoria nor do I feel as though a great burden has been removed from my shoulders. I feel an extreme amount of stress because I will begin teaching my classes next week. Most of that stress is due to my perception of the unknown. However, I have not yet fallen into the abyss. I continue to have trouble sleeping. It is as if I cannot fall asleep. This could be a side effect of the Wort. I have not had any bouts of melancholia, which is good. However, all of this may be due to the better situation I am in. That could change soon.
Lori spent the day at home yesterday, which was a surprise to me. She prepared some Lau Lau for dinner. Since it had to simmer for three hours, she and I went on a couple of short hikes. The hike out to the Makapu'u lighthouse was probably the most scenic. Lori's daughter stayed at home by herself. I was surprised that Lori allowed her to do that given last week's fiasco. Lori said that her daughter was being very quiet all day, kind of like she was pouting. She had no idea why. Perhaps her daughter was protesting about the amount of time I spent with Lori. Since today was a holiday, Lori and her daughter went to the beach. If Lori is correct about her assumptions, then her daughter is winning this pathetic game.
Even moms has expressed some concern about my upcoming marriage to Lori. She likes Lori but she thinks that Lori is too assertive. Moms fears that I will become like a slave to Lori. That is possible. Lori exercises a lot of control over our relationship. To her credit, she is self-sufficient.
This is my last day before my debut at the university. I am very nervous because I just can't seem to believe that I am at all prepared. Rightly so because I am not prepared at all. The uncertainties are fueling a lot of anxiety. I have recurring thoughts of my return to the world of unemployment after this term is over. A few weeks ago, that would have sent me into a tizzy. And then, I would spiral downward into the abyss. I have reason to believe that the St. John's Wort is definitely preventing me from crashing and burning. However, I am beginning to sound a little more paranoid. Is that a side effect of the Wort?
I have not slept well in a long time. I usually wake up about 2am and then I try to go back to sleep, only to end up waking up again every hour after that. This morning, I probably had good reason since I was nervous about my teaching debut. I have never been comfortable speaking in front of large groups. I am not a good public speaker. That's what surprised me when I accepted this teaching position. Lori says that I am paralyzed by fear, so I never do anything. Yet, why would I have accepted the position if I base my decisions on fear? Perhaps it was my only option and I rationalized that I would learn vital new skills to make the pumicehead marketable.
Since I was already nervous, I decided to limit my morning coffee to two small cups. I did not want to add to my anxiety. I also took a Wort pill before I left. This is Day Seven of The Great Wort Experiment. I thought that I did everything possible to prepare for my classes, but I was wrong. My two morning classes were a total fiasco. I did not even have a curriculum planned and my ineptness was plainly obvious. A few of the students felt bad for me, but there were more who were disillusioned by my incompetence. My evening class was not quite a total fiasco, but it did not go very smoothly either. Now that I have discovered that teaching is not my call, I have little else in the way of options. All that's left for me is Burger King. I can't resign from the teaching position, so I must figure out how I can salvage the classes. What a predicament I'm in!
I met Lori after work. We took the bus to K-Mart. No, I didn't buy another K-Mart all-in-one entertainment system. Lori bought a couple of pairs of swim fins. She and her daughter have become avid boogeyboarders. You may be wondering why I did not take that up myself. Sheesh! I'm not into any kind of sports. I'm just too wimpy. My only sport is to teeter on the edge of the abyss. Actually, I want to take up ocean kayaking. Heck, with my finances, I am just dreaming. Well, hey! It's the City of Dreams!
Lori will be going in for her second biopsy tomorrow. She seemed to be a little stressed out in the last couple of days. Can I blame her? She has to look forward to being in extreme pain for two days again. The results should be back by Tuesday as the samples have to be shipped to the mainland for analysis. I hope that the results will prove negative so that Lori can be spared any more pain and suffering.
As I mentioned, the Wort has no effect on curbing anger or anxiety. I observed that, even if I feel normal, I am prone to minor anxiety attacks or bouts of anger. I assume that the real problems still remain just below the surface. Until those issues are resolved, I can expect to display more erratic behavior. The Wort (or any other medication) is designed to to allow a depressed person to function somewhat normally for an extended period of time. During that time, it is that person's responsibility to address the problems that are at the root of the dysfunction. However, many of us tend to just be relieved to feel better. We forget that the problems are still there. Only after the medication starts wearing off do we realize that.
I regained control of my classes today. I took the advice of both Kevin (email@example.com) and Annie (e-mail withheld) and just pretended that I was a real university instructor and acted like nothing happened on Wednesday. That strategy seemed to work. What I should have realized is that the students are like sheep looking for the shepherd. If the shepherd does not know what's going on, then the sheep get a little nervous. I spent two hours teaching my classes and about four hours waiting for and riding the bus, if you can believe it. Sheesh! I might as well be a wage slave.
Lori went in for her second biospsy this morning. She was up and around when I stopped by later in the afternoon. Apparently she opted to not be given the local anesthesia. That was what made her somewhat immobile the last time. She was still in some pain. Lori's daughter had to baby-sit tonight, so Lori and I went to Kahala Mall to see The Negotiator. It was a pretty good movie as The Bull (EquityBull@aol.com) had even recommended it. Also, many thanks to Mister C (firstname.lastname@example.org) for writing in. Mister C is still the only person in Hawai'i who reads LoserNet.
This is Day Ten of the Great Wort Experiment. I am now absolutely certain that the Wort does indeed work. I take my first dose in the morning. I seem to function fine until about 4 o' clock in the afternoon. I suspect that the effects of the Wort have worn off by then. This is usually the time of day that Lori and I have some kind of misunderstanding. However, I cannot take full responsibility for all of our discords. Lori has a very confrontational style especially when she already has set an agenda. I have tried to call this to her attention but she does not seem to think that is possible. All I can do at this point is to stand down during any future confrontation and ignore everything else that is going on. We ended up at Kahala Mall tonight, our usual contingency when we have nothing else to do.
I kept pondering a series of articles I read in the Utne Reader about obtaining and maintaining power. One of the articles contained a list of power rules. Some of the rules seemed nefarious. By the way, the Utne Reader is a great alternative magazine. I am tempted to spend the $5 for that particular issue just because of the article. I can see its application in every aspect of my life. Maybe the Wort is wreaking havoc with my sensibilities. I don't know. What I do know is that I have to get a life, as the old adage goes. I have to start developing my own network of friends and I need to seek new interests that keep me busy.
Everyday when I ride the bus to town and back, I am afforded a beautiful view of the southern coastline. I imagine myself out there in a kayak. I could launch it in Hawai'i Kai and probably paddle all the way to Waikiki. I'd like to get a small kayak, one that could also suffice as a surf rider. That would be a lot of fun. The full line of Ocean Kayak models are on sale until the end of the month. I need to make a decision soon. I might as well take the plunge. I could be on extended vacation again as early as December.
This is Day Fourteen of the Great Wort Experiment. At this point, I'm once again uncertain about the effectiveness of the Wort. However, I don't dare take myself off of it. So, in effect, I must believe that it is doing something. I haven't experienced any feelings of depression, although there are days like today that I feel really blasé. I guess the real clue is that I feel normal and I don't know why. I should be going into a tizzy about a variety of nonsense. Maybe it's time for me to go to the health food store and buy an ample supply of Wort. Sheesh!
I know that Lori is under considerable stress now that she discovered she will be having surgery soon. She did not tell me whether the tumor was benign or not. She has always feared the surgery. She is not too happy about her job situation. And, there is the problem with her own family dynamics. Her daughter will be leaving for the mainland next month. So, she will be alone during that time. I hope that she fares well. Lori made it clear to me that we will not be reconciling. I have no choice but to honor her decision. I put the ring in an envelope and put it away. Since Lori does not want to see me or talk to me anymore, I'll probably send her a letter tomorrow.
I managed to run into Lori at the gym. She is open, albeit reservedly, to talking with me this Sunday. So, I will call her late Sunday afternoon. I'm not exactly sure what will come out of it. From what I can tell, her mind has already been made up. So, all I'm going to end up doing is attempting to make us part without any hatred for each other. I have to get used to be being on my own again. So, I went to the Waikiki Ho'olaule'a. It wasn't as exciting as the one downtown which we missed last week. It is just a big block party with free entertainment. Thousands of people spent the night milling about. If I had to make an assessment, I would say that there a lot of people without a life. Thousands of them.
Another aspect of my chronic unemployment was my hermit-like existence here at moms' place. I had no social contact aside from Lori, so I was stagnating even further. I was losing my ability to communicate with others on a verbal level. Remember what happened to my Uncle Mike? Teaching the classes at the university is helping me change that. I am learning to be more gregarious like I used to be back in Convalescent City. I am also going out of my way to talk to my students whenever I see them. Speaking in front of the classes has helped. At first, I was very nervous. I am still nervous but to a lesser degree with each passing week. I am learning a valuable skill that I need to survive in modern society ... the ability to sell myself. I am also gradually increasing the confidence I severely lack. When Robert (email@example.com) mentioned that he took up standup comedy as a sideline, I tried to imagine myself in his shoes on stage. It was frightening. Then, I realized that the person on the stage has full control of the audience. When was in school, I used to drop any classes that required student presentations. In graduate school, I found that I no longer had the option to drop those classes. I did as little as I could to meet the requirements and just felt relief when it was over. Thus, I never learned the true value of the performance. Life is a performance. There will always be some time when we find ourselves on stage, as it were. We either shine or we flop.
My biggest mistake was that I rarely showed my affection for Lori. I also had difficulty in telling her that I loved her. She has brought this matter up several times. I envisioned that as Lori's attempt at making me a lap dog. I can see why she was frustrated. At this point, Lori does not want to hear excuses. To me, they are not excuses. They are a reality of the affectionless environment that I was raised. However, a person can learn to change. I attempted to change myself after the last misunderstanding. I quickly fell back into my old ways. It's not that I didn't take Lori seriously. I was still too wrapped up with the other nonsense. After the latest incident on Thursday, I came to realize that Lori was the most important aspect of my life. I expected her to take the brunt of my frustration and wait until I could resolve the issues that were out of my control. Now those issues are meaningless. I feel as though a tremendous amount of weight has been taken off of my shoulders. Sometimes it takes a hammer and chisel to knock some sense into the ol' lavahead.
I was just finishing up my workout at the gym when Lori came in. She was in a much better frame of mind. So, I waited for her to finish her workout. Then, I walked her home and talked with her. Lori is very hesitant about resuming our relationship. She does not want the ring back at this time. Can you blame her? Has the ol' lavahead even held up to any of his promises? We are now in quandary concerning our future.
Lori is willing to accompany the ol' lavahead on a weekend getaway. Her daughter will be leaving for New York next Friday. We will try to schedule our trip to Maui or Kaua'i the following day. All of this will be contingent on when Lori can schedule her surgery. She will find out the details tomorrow. The getaway should be pretty reasonable in cost. We can get a hotel room, a rental car, and airfare for about $230 for both of us. That's two days and one night on the island of our choice. Not bad.
Lori went to see her surgeon this morning. The date of the surgery is yet to be determined. So, we are going ahead with our plans for the island getaway. We are having a tough time deciding whether we should go to Maui or Kaua'i. Lori bought a couple of guides which should have been free given the amount of advertising in them. I will peruse them with Lori and we will make a decision.
I heard from Paul and Barbara. They have made it to Gatesville, and it looks like they are planning to stay there for a while. Paul said that he caught up with the journal by reading it on-line at several libraries at the various ports of call along the way. Also, thanks to Nancy (Nantzi@aol.com) for writing in. Apparently, she has lived in Convalescent City before moving to Gatesville and she is planning to move back there. Can you blame her?
I didn't mention that I had another interview just a week ago. I may have asked for a salary that was considered too high for Hawai'i. A slam letter should be arriving soon. So-called computer professionals make minimum wage in Hawai'i. That's right. To tell you the truth, there are quite a few people working at Burger King who make more than computer people. That's probably another reason I was ready to fall into the abyss.
Lori and I almost had another misunderstanding today. Fortunately, I called a time-out. Perhaps the Wort is doing a superb job because I was able to remain calm. The misunderstanding was, of course, about the situation with Lori's daughter and the other players in the all-too-familiar debacle. I can understand Lori's aggravation since the whole situation is rapidly spiraling out of her control. What really struck me, though, was how predominant Lori's part is in our misunderstandings. She tends to become emotional. Then, she brings up things I've done in the past. This is usually when I lose it because I'm being inundated with a list of my alleged shortcomings. Although I was able to avert disaster, what will happen the next time?
Lori and I took a walk to Koko Marina in the latter part of the evening. We spent about an hour at the waterfront watching the ducks. We have never seen the ducks swimming around at night before. I managed to use one of my slippers to bat a few roaches into the water from the nearby shrubbery. The ducks went into a feeding frenzy each time. I just hope that nobody in the nearby restaurants was watching this spectacle.
The getaway to Maui just can't come quick enough. Lori has been suggesting so many different things to do. I think that she is beginning to miss the point of the whole trip. I don't want to be cavorting around with a bunch of tourists. Lori seems to be preoccupied with doing as much as she can in any one day. I wouldn't call it the passion of experiencing all that life has to offer. It seems more like a desperate attempt to quell the pangs of mortality. In actuality, that may also be what I am going through.
I have not been in a writing mood either. That may be due to my lack of a life. Or, I'm ready to go through another time of reckoning. Sometimes I have to wonder if I am just a glutton for punishment. Nah, I don't think so. It's the sinister kahuna, once again toying with the oversized cranium. Why now? Why just two days away from the Maui getaway? Lori has been on the edge about something. We almost had another misunderstanding, but I was able to nip it in the bud. Perhaps this mundane life is taking its toll on the both of us.
Lori has been referring to the ol' lavahead as her "fiancé" lately. I find that subtly ironic. She has never called me that before, nor has she introduced me to anyone as such. She has still not asked for the ring back nor have I brought the matter up. Technically, we are not engaged. We are merely friends. At this point in time, I'm more inclined to keep it this way. We seem to get along better now that the pressure is off. I still cannot help but wonder about what kind of future we could have. I'm still nowhere near being financially viable and, frankly, I can see no time when I will be. The prevalence of schizophrenia in Hawai'i seems to be increasing. It could be my imagination but I have been seeing more and more people who are talking to themselves or have annoying tics. I think it's the sign of the times here. People are going crazy. I may be right behind them. Fortunately, I had a Whopper (my way, of course) for dinner at the downtown Burger King. There' just nothing like a Whopper to make the soul dance.