Thursday August 1, 1996
What a loser! I turned a simple process into chaos!
I ran MSD on the i286 computer so I could check the COM2 port and set the
jumpers on the free modem. Somehow, it screwed up DOS, the FAT, and the
system files. Fortunately, baby was out running some errands. She was spared
the humiliating sight of a pathetic wannabe computer nerd. When baby returned,
she saw me sitting with the lavahead in my hands. She then took me to Crazy
Chef Sato's for lunch. That was a delicious meal. I worked out several
methods to try to get the system running. Baby had more errands to run,
so I was left to my own devices again. What else could I screw up? I finally
loaded the system files, but it overwrote the command shell with the temporary
version I was using. I had to finagle everything to get it to work. The
cheesy DOS Shell program also froze up. However, I finally discovered that
it was just the intialization file that was corrupted.
Friday August 2
I was just about ready to start on the modem project,
when baby returned at 5:30pm. She had forgotten about a special meeting
in Portland that she had scheduled for this evening. She also wanted to
go to the gym amongst other things. There was no way we could do everything.
Why are babes always like this? So, baby decided that the gym was the most
important event. Sheesh! Like I really need to work these twigs after a
long day with the computer!
The day was mostly overcast and rainy. Baby and
I ended up going to the Good Guys for yet another nerdfest. Then, it was
gym time and the Festival of the Baked Beans. I was happy that I got the
i286 computer running yesterday, so I didn't work on it today. Why didn't
I just leave well enough alone? I received letters from Big John and Caroll.
Caroll wanted to know if I was considering moving to Salinas. Big John
caught me up with the Convalescent City news. Sorry, nothing about The
Bull yet. And, I have yet to hear from the Bishop. Well, hey! He's in love!
Saturday August 3
How about that Duke Nukem, huh? Duke is
the hot software now. Whassup wi' dat? Okay, let's get back to business
now, shall we? Fodgers and doughnuts! What more can I say? Baby and I went
to Radio Shack to check out a rumor about some $89 inkjet printer. Right.
Baby left for Portland to chair another meeting at The Habit. I went
to Incredible Universe to check the big sale. I found a $99 inkjet printer.
What was I thinking? I almost bought it until I realized I have no dough.
The only printer I can afford is a 19-cent Bic pen. I then drove to Portland
to see if I could catch baby at The Habit. By the time I got there, she
Sunday August 4
Baby had procured a copy of a terminal program,
so I spent most of the evening working on the modem. I took a break so
that we could go to the gym and eat dinner. Tuna and rice! Yep, we ate
the tuna straight out of the can just like the Bush's baked beans! I finagled
with the modem card and finally configured the card by winging it. I then
wrote the logon script. The final test will be tomorrow.
Fodgers and doughnuts again! Have you seen that
new Fodgers ad with Randy Travis? Does he really drink Fodgers? I bet you
thought that you caught me, didn't you? No, neither baby or I own a tube.
Sheesh! Baby went over to visit a friend for a few hours, so I was left
to my own devices. I worked on the modem script and fine-tuned it. It worked
perfectly. Tonight, we will have the Festival of the Baked Beans with the
can of Bush's that Kevin brought with him from Seattle. This will be a
day to remember. Thanks Kevin!
Monday August 5
I am starting to feel the tension build inside
me as a result of my recent situation. The outlook is about as bleak as
the sky outside. So, I ate some Pop Tarts for temporary relief. I am about
ready to throw in the towel, though. The sinister force is winning. I haven't
got the foggiest idea about what I will do. I only know that the next leg
of my journey will begin very soon.
Tuesday August 6
|The Festival of the Baked Beans was almost profaned
by yet another misunderstanding between me and baby. Everything seemed
fine today until yet another incident erupted. Perhaps it was because we
were both having a bad day. I have come to realize, though, that we do
not have very compatible temperaments. Or, at least that is the polite
way of putting it. I can only speak for myself, as I will assume that I
am the perpetrator. There are a combination of factors which have contributed
to this situation. I, like The Master, have been alone too long. I have
forgotten how to relate to people. Another problem is that I am an engineer.
Once an engineer, always an engineer. And, we all know that the Data-like
personality is not particularly embraced by babes. I have decided that
it is best for me to step back before the situation escalates out of control.
This is the only possible scenario now.
||Another problem is
that I am an engineer.
I have been grappling with what few options I have
left. The most viable, at least financially, is for me to move to Hawai'i
immediately. I am also still considering going back to Convalescent City
for three more months, but for what? Sheesh! I will be querying the opinion
of friends once I return to Cali. My itinerary will take me back to Modesto
and Salinas. I will also be detouring through the Bay Area. After that, who
We watched Fear of a Black Hat and To
Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything ... Love, Julie Newmar last night.
That helped to defuse an already tense situation that was building up.
I still believe that the revamping of our relationship is the best option.
Wednesday August 7
I went out and ran some errands by myself. I also
took the opportunity to call home from a phone booth. I remembered Al Bundy
and the Phone Patrol so, you know what service I used. It was nice to talk
to moms. I spent a leisurely afternoon doing some comatose activities.
I am now certain that my true course in life is to be a monk. I enjoy being
alone. I do not think that baby and I have been on a productive path. Had
we continued, we would have seen the demise of our friendship. Now, we
have no expectations. We won't be disappointed by one another's actions
(or lack thereof). I also wanted to cancel the trip to Seattle this coming
weekend but that would not have been wise. I expect to be leaving Oregon
shortly afterward. I think the time has come for me to move on.
I was somewhat fooled by outward appearances.
There were still minor problem lurking about as we continue to adjust to
our redefined relationship. Our fragile coexistence was bolstered by better
communication. However, I do not see us returning to where we were just
a few days ago. Perhaps, that is for the better. Some things were never
meant to be.
Thursday August 8
Today marks the anniversary of the first time a
nuclear device was used on a human population. When I look at the current
events of the day, it saddens me to think that so little has changed. Little
wonder why most of us live in constant fear. We never learn lessons from
the past because we are too terrorized by the present. I tried to think
about what it would be like to instantly and unwittingly vanish from the
surface of this planet as did the people on TWA 800. What a horrid thought.
The most precious thing any of us has is our own life.
I saw True Lies for the third time last
night. Baby and I watched the movie at a neighbor's place and kept the
neighbor's kitty company. The movie was still as good as the first time.
We are both killing time to fill in the voids created by our new arrangement.
The trip to Seattle is still on for this weekend. I look forward to seeing
Kevin, and meeting his new babe Sandy.
Friday August 9
Another heatwave has hit. And, what better time
to think about my pathetic situation? I am leaning toward the idea of spending
a few weeks in Convalescent City in an attempt to sell the six-four and
the six-five. Proceeds from the sale could provide me with enough money
for a one-way ticket to Hawai'i. I'm not too keen on the idea of flying
anymore. I may try to seek passage on a barge. I toyed with the idea of
remaining in Cali until December. Baha! Ha! Haaaa! Can you imagine that?
I would end up at some Roach Motel clone, being driven insane by crazy
My days are filled with reading computer catalogs
and playing marathon sessions of Windows Solitaire. This was not why I
came up to Oregon, though. For the time being, such rote activities are
innocuous enough to not increase any strife. We have had daily discussions
about the moratorium that was invoked. I don't think that we have had enough
time to become good friends. That will be my objective for the remainder of
my time here. I am scared and saddened by the fact that we will probably
not see each other for a long time after I leave. I am somehow once again
reminded of my own mortality. Why does life have to be that way? The only
thing I can hope for is that we will meet again someday under more favorable
Saturday August 10
The big trip to Seattle is tomorrow. I hope it
turns out to be a nice weekend. Kevin has already suggested number of things
to do ... more than there are hours in the day!
We were off to a late start, but I did get to
chow down on doughnuts and Fodgers. The drive to Seattle was about three
hours. We arrived two hours late. Kevin has a nice place in Kirkland (named
for Captain James T. Kirk), just south of Seattle. Today was a particularly
nice day, actually a scorcher. When we drove up the driveway, Kevin anxiously
greeted us and introduced us to his babe Sandy. We went inside and chatted
with Kevin, Sandy, moms, and Lord Watson (Kevin's kitty) for about an hour
or so. Kevin wanted to take us out for a short tour. We toured around Kirkland
in his LeBaron convertible. We ended up having dinner at Rikki Rikki, a
Japanese restaurant. After dinner, we went back to Kevin's house and chatted
for a while. After Sandy left, we decided it was time to call it a day.
Somehow Kevin and I ended up talking for another three hours. Of course,
we discussed the babe situation. Kevin has taken a real liking to Sandy,
but he is very worried that things may not work out. He thinks that he
is too prone to rushing things. I enjoyed the conversation, particularly
since it filled the need for some male bonding.
Sunday August 11
We all got up early but ended up chatting again
for over an hour. Kevin called Sandy. We drove over to her place in Seattle.
We talked for a while there before departing on the big Seattle tour. Our
first stop was a small park along the Queen Anne to watch an air show that
was to feature the Blue Angels. There was a small crowd there for most
of the show. As it grew closer to the time for the Blue Angels, the whole
area including the street was packed. We got to see most of the show but
we were really too far away to experience the full impact. We left and
began the tour which included a drive through the Fremont area and the
University of Washington campus. We parked at Green Lake, picked up some
Frappuccinos at Starbuck's, and went for a walk around the lake. The walk
took about 45 minutes. The babes were ahead of us and engaged in their
own discussion. Kevin and I continued where we left off the night before.
After our little stroll, we drove over to Gasworks Park, a very interesting
place. It was an old gas processing plant that was converted to a park.
Remnants of the old plant were still there. Some parts were renovated into
a playground. We also saw the large human sundial on the hill. I call it
the human sundial because one has to stand in a certain position as part
of the sundial. Kevin mentioned that Sandy originally didn't want to come
along but she knew that she had to because she needed to help navigate.
We were glad that she did. Well, hey! Kevin is an engineer! Engineers are
prone to getting lost! We ate dinner at Ivar's and stopped back at Sandy's
place to talk for a while. Then, we returned to Kevin's place and said
Monday August 12
The trip to Seattle was the capstone event for
me this Summer. I am glad that we went. I probably will not see Kevin or
visit Seattle for a long time after this. Strange how things work.
The drive back was uneventful. We got in pretty
late last night. I spent most of the night thinking about my long conversations
with Kevin. He had asked about my situation with baby. I told him pretty
much about what had happened in the recent weeks and also about the moratorium.
As I talked with Kevin, I realized more and more that the decision had
been for the best. Kevin apparently had his first misunderstanding with
Sandy the day before we arrived. That weighed heavily on his mind all weekend.
I am glad that we talked. I think we both learned something about ourselves
as guys, and we have both learned about our own situations. Each is clearly
different and each called for a different measure. My situation is a closed
case. I now need to figure out what I will be doing next in life.
Tuesday August 13
Well, I may have spoke too soon. The moratorium
came to an end last night. I'm not sure whether that was a good decision
or not. Hopefully, we will not repeat the mistakes of the past. After all,
there is only a short time left. I have not worked on the book projects
for a while. I had no choice but to put those off. I hope to return to
them once I get settled. I need to because they may be the keys to unlock
the shackles of debt from around my neck.
Wednesday August 14
The overall uncertainty of my immediate future
is becoming more unbearable everyday. My stomach is constantly churning.
Hard as it may be to believe, my major concern is the disposition of LoserNet.
That's right ... I can't make my loan payments, but who cares? Losing LoserNet
is what will make me lose it. If it wasn't for LoserNet, I would have spent
my Summer at the Roach Motel listening to The Idiots. Sheesh!
I am getting very frustrated with my mendicant
existence. Although I am a monk, I am still sick and tired of being in
debt and living a hand-to-mouth existence. The worst part is that I have
nothing to show for my $40,000 debt. All of my possessions fit in my six-four.
I am at wit's end concerning how I will repay the loan. I cannot get a
job. I am hard-core unemployable. Speaking of mendicant, baby and I finally
ate the can of Bush's baked beans that traveled with me from Convalescent
City. What better way to celebrate my last few days in Oregon, eh? We have
actually been eating Bush's baked beans for the most of the Summer. That's
about all we could afford. In fact, we walked over to Safeway last night
and bought a few more cans of tuna and Bush's with the last $5 I had. I
am living off of credit card cash advances. I transfer my ever increasing
balance (now about $3,500) from card to card in favor of the best interest
rates. Lord knows how I'm going to pay that off. The best solution is for
me to charge up another $500 by buying a Mac-10. I'll take it to the Post
Office to show it off and let the rollers take me out of my misery. Sheesh!
Thursday August 15
I was driving myself into a tizzy over the whole
situation of my upcoming demise. I have had trouble sleeping. I have been
having nightmares but I cannot remember the substance of the nightmares.
I do know that the real nightmare has yet to come. I have been considering
returning to Convalescent City and staying until December. That will amount
to another $2,000 debt. The upside is that this journal will continue.
If only I were paid to write this pathetic story! This may, in actuality,
be my most viable alternative. Yet, who is to say? Only in retrospect a
few years down the road will I be able to make a qualitative assessment.
Friday August 16
The ramifications of lifting the moratorium has
been positive. Both baby and I had been a little apprehensive about returning
to the fragile state of affairs that existed prior to the moratorium. We
spend a lot of time together, which may account for all the tweaking we
must do interpersonally. I think, though, that we have come to realize
what little time there is for us to share and that we need not spend that
time in vain.
We went down to the clubhouse to read the paper.
The manager actually made some Fodgers (typo from alt.coffee) for
us. Baby ran some errands. I actually got some e-mail out. When baby returned,
we had tuna (from the can) and rice for lunch. We spent the rest of the
day together. We went to Barnes & Noble, Cost Plus, and Powell's Bookstore.
I found that yet another Internet book has listed these journals. The author's
comment was, "Sadly, this is an on-going project." Well, hey! I'm a pathetic
kind-of-a-guy! We went to the gym and came back for the Festival of the
Baked Beans. After dinner, I worked on configuring Dr. Watson in Windows.
I read about it in one of the books at the bookstore today. Apparently,
Doc Watson will alleviate that pesky "General Protect Fault" nonsense.
Oh, what a life!
We went to Circuit City and the Good Guys to check
out those free cellular phone deals. It turned out that I could not even
afford that. Why do I need a phone anyway? We also stopped by the Washington
Square Mall and looked around. Baby had a dinner party to go to so I was
left to my own devices. I went to the gym for a bit, and then I stopped off
at Burger King for dinner. Yep, two Whoppers, my way! I came back and played
Windows Solitaire until I passed out.
Saturday August 17
I made a few phone calls after spending some time
reactivating my Sprint card. Apparently, it was canceled for no reason
at all. I spent most of my time talking to answering machines. The few
live connections were disappointing. No one wanted to hear from the oversized
lavahead. I am beginning to see how insignificant I am in the general scheme
of things. Good thing I didn't get a cellular phone! I talked to moms,
but she and everyone else was preoccupied with my nephew. The only useful
tidbit I got was that the job situation in Hawai'i now resembles most third-world
countries. Heck, I don't even get e-mail. I get maybe one every two weeks
from Listserv. Sheesh! I never thought I'd see the day that I would contemplate
taking the six-four on a one-way ride near some cliffs but I am at wit's
end. There is no reason for me to return to Convalescent City or Hawai'i,
for that matter.
Sunday August 18
I stuffed my face with doughnuts and Fodgers this
weekend. Baby and I played a marathon session of Windows Cruel Solitaire
on the computer in the clubhouse yesterday. We played for over five hours
straight. Today, baby had some errands to run. So, I was left to my own
devices. Windows Solitaire! As the days count down, I have been feeling
much more tense. Add to that the low access stats for LoserNet and we have
the makings for chronic depression. I'm going to need some Zoloft!
Monday August 19
Tuesday August 20
|Time is passing much more quickly. Baby spent
most of the day out, so I was on my own. I went to lunch at Burger King
(a Whopper my way, of course). I then spent the rest of the afternoon in
search of the elusive and cheap cup of coffee. My search led me to many
dead ends until I ended up back at Burger King. For 69 cents, one gets
a delicious cup of coffee with free refills. Having had my coffee fix,
I no longer needed to gallivant about town. I immediately went to the computer
room and initiated another Windows Solitaire session. When baby returned,
she knew where to find me. Where else would I be? Windows Solitaire has
been instrumental in keeping my mind occupied off of my impending doom.
With a little over a week left here, I have yet to determine what I will
be doing. Strangely, as much as I have tried to remain immune from the
curses of money and consumerism, I have been stricken and debilitated by
the plague of debt.
||I then spent the
rest of the afternoon in search of the elusive and cheap cup of coffee.
I can't help but think about what life would be
like without money and debt. All of our decisions are based on dinero
(and babes). So is mobility and freedom. I am surprised that people put
up with such a disparaging system of inequality and still maintain any
sense of self-worth. Perhaps we are all fooling ourselves into believing
we are better off than we are. Or, maybe we believe we are making the most
of what we have. Lord knows, I have nothing left to make the most of.
We ended up walking to Safeway last night to buy
some things and also get some exercise since we didn't make it to the gym.
Some idiot flipped us off and yelled obscenities for no reason. Too bad
he didn't stop to get in my face. With the way I have been feeling, there
would have been a 1-8-7 for sure. Baby and I went to McMenamin's Cornelius
Pass Roadhouse for lunch today after I installed Wolfenstein Nightmare
on the computer in the clubhouse. The roadhouse is a small Victorian house
that has been converted into a restaurant. It is also a micro-brewery.
We stopped off at Egghead Software to pick up the latest catalog before
returning to engage in ... you guessed it! ... a marathon Windows Cruel
Solitaire game! We also played Wolfenstein.
Wednesday August 21
I am not a big fan of this genre of violent games.
However, I am beginning to see why people are addicted to them. People
are under the assumption that their life stressors can be released in catharsis
vicariously through the game. It is a sedentary concept of something I
have seen at the gym ... the Mad Max version of handball. I am not surprised
that people are losin' it right and left. In fact, I'm about ready take
over for Duke Nukem himself. Sheesh!
Windows Solitaire and Wolfenstein Nightmare! That
about sums up most of my day. It's not that I really enjoy these computer
games. I think they provide a kind of mindless task that keeps me from
thinking about other matters at hand. I found out that I may have a short
reprieve from my demise. This new turn of events opens up the possibility
for me to return to Convalescent City until December. You know what that
means ... yep, a whole new cast of bizarre characters that will catapult
LoserNet up the Web charts! Baby and I went to Crazy Chef Sato's for lunch.
We also checked out Borders, a new book, music, video and coffee superstore.
We came back and played more Windows Solitaire together. Why does baby
put up with this? We had the Festival of the Baked Beans, but baby had to
leave before the Festival was completed because she had to pick up a friend
at the airport. I stayed in and continued with ... Windows Solitaire (until
I passed out)!
Thursday August 22
my morning reading of the paper, I accompanied baby on an extended excursion.
We first stopped off at Sandy to see the office where baby works at. She
had a few things to take care of. I also met some of the people she works
with. One of the guys asked how baby and I met. That is a long story best
reserved for baby to tell. He also thought that we made for an interesting
collaboration since baby is rather gregarious and I am Data-like. Well,
hey! I'm a monk! We then traveled to Mount Hood and the Timberline Lodge.
We had lunch in a small dungeon-like place in the cellar. Bruno, a Saint
Bernard and the lodge mascot, also paid a visit. We then took a walk up
the mountain. Most of the snow had melted away. Baby showed me all the
places that she goes skiing. It's was all Greek to me.
Friday August 23
You know, folks, I'm not into sports and athletics.
I'm a sedentary kind-of-guy. Well, hey! I'm a computer nerd. I used to
swim quasi-competitively. I say "quasi" because I was a better coach than
a swimmer. I also used to JetSki. There's nothing like hitting the water
face-first at over 25mph. I also got certified as an aerobics instructor
with my homey Mike from the old Del Rio Research Center days. Now, I
have my six-five. I like traversing the hills but I am really too weak
for this sort of activity. My real call is to remain inside whatever shoebox
I live in and work on my computer.
I barely made it up the mountain. I thought I would
need to borrow someone's cell phone and call the MedEvac helicopter. Sheesh!
We finally made it down. We drove back to Portland to see the Lloyd Mall,
the first mall in the world. There was some activity at one of the stores
we went to. Apparently, some clown tried to use some stolen credit cards.
The mall security guys were all over the place. They were acting like the
film crew of Cops was there. Sheesh! Maybe that is the career I
need to pursue. We came back and topped off the day with the Festival of
the Baked Beans. After that, I collapsed.
Baby developed the pictures we have been taking
all Summer with a disposable camera. She had two sets made. She also bought
a couple of small photo binders. We spent some time putting our little
photo albums together. I couldn't help but look at mine several times during
the course of the day. It is hard to believe that the whole Summer could
be summarized in our tiny photo albums.
Saturday August 24
When I look back in retrospect, I cannot help but
feel foolish for some of the more tense moments we shared. When my only
memory of this time will be those pictures and this journal, I will feel
even more at a loss. Strange how we all take time for granted even though
we know we never have much of this precious commodity. I can feel the tears
welling in my eyes now, much in the same way when I depart from my vacations
in Hawai'i knowing that I will not see my family in a long time. In only
a few days, this Summer will only be a memory. Baby and I will not see
each other for a long time, the earliest time being during the Thanksgiving
holiday. We will recover from our sense of loss sooner or later. Yet, I
cannot help but wonder what in store for us down the road. Only time will
Fodgers and doughnuts! That's the way to start
the day! Baby planned a little touring adventure for the day. We went to
Tigard in search of the elusive Hawai'ian restaurant. Unfortunately, it
had gone out of business. I guess Lau Lau is not a big hit here in Oregon.
We then drove into Portland to check out Festa Italiana in Pioneer Courthouse
Square. We ate and watched some of the entertainment. Later, we walked
around downtown. Instead of the Festival of the Baked Beans, we ate some
greasy fried chicken à la the Safeway deli. To top off the
day, we watched Falling Down. This is the third time I've seen the
movie and now the whole thing is becoming spooky. I am beginning to see
my life unfold in a similar fashion. Sheesh!
Sunday August 25
We have tried all four flavors of Starbuck's ice
cream. That was one of our Summer projects. I think the winner is Coffee
Almond Fudge. Baby remembered that we tried that flavor on July 11th, a pivotal
day because that was when we had a major misunderstanding on the way to
Cannon Beach. I would rather remember the ice cream.
Baby woke up early and ran down to the clubhouse
to get some doughnuts for the oversized lavahead. She wanted to insure
that I would have doughnuts to eat with my Fodgers, since this will probably
be the last time before I leave. I am not even going to count down the
days. This is not an event that I am really anticipating. I am already
feeling pangs of anxiety. Perhaps it because of too much caffeine. We spent
some time in the computer room playing Windows Cruel Solitaire and Wolfenstein.
It was a foolish way to waste the little time we left. Well, there really
isn't much else to do. I will try to shoot another roll of film and get
it developed before I leave. I am not even sure of my own thoughts and
feelings on this matter. I certainly haven't been able to vocalize any
of it. I am sure it will come to me as I make the long journey. I hope
that those thoughts will be worth something then.
Monday August 26
Upon the recommendation of Hiram (one of baby's
neighbors who happens to be from Hawai'i), we finally found the elusive
Hawai'ian restaurant in the form of Local Boyz Hawai'ian Café in
Portland. We ate Kalua Pig, Lau Lau, Lomi Lomi Salmon, Poi, Chicken Long
Rice and Haupia. The whole meal may be the prelude to a cardiac event,
but I must say that it was delicious. There are many people from Hawai'i
living in the Northwest. I cannot understand why. Most come here because
of the cost of living. Ironic that I will be returning as everyone is leaving.
That is the nature of my personality. I go against the tide. I am not a
team player. When we returned, baby found that the water heater was leaking.
I shut down the heater and was prepared to drain it, until I discovered
that it was one of the pipe fittings and not the heater itself. The maintenance
guy came and fixed the problem this morning.
Tuesday August 27
I was left to my own devices again today. Aside
from playing Windows Solitaire, I pondered why the cheap Fred Meyer disposable
camera was malfunctioning. I discovered that it was a recycled disposable
camera. What? Sheesh! What a loser! Aside from that, I began planning my
itinerary. That almost made me lapse into a coma.
When baby returned, she and I drove out to Hillsboro
to eat at the world famous Pizza Schmizza. Tombstone? What? The mail brought
us a surprise today. Kevin sent us a couple of pictures from when he visited.
I added them to the photo album. Baby then spent part of the evening potting
some new plants. I played with my beloved computer. Feeling guilty about
all the Lau Lau we ate last night, we decided to go to the gym. When we
came back, we had the rest of the Starbuck's ice cream for dinner and watched
It has been very difficult for me to keep my mind
off of my pending departure. My old friend John in Modesto asked, "Why
leave?" Good question. I would venture to guess that the reason lies in
why I ended up being stuck in Convalescent City for so long. Of course,
that was a conscious decision. I can blame no one else. My greatest apprehension
about coming up here was the inevitable end of Summer. Now, as that day
rapidly approaches, I can find little comfort. I will miss baby a lot,
more than I can even imagine as we speak. We both knew that the time would
come when we would have to say good-bye. Yet, why did baby decide to pursue
this interlude? And, why did I, for that matter? Our time together can
never be forgotten, and we will have our little photo books to help jog
our memory as the days go on.
Wednesday August 28
Baby had to drive out to Sandy again, so I was
left to my own devices. Windows Solitaire does not seem that appealing
to me anymore. The weather has been overcast and cold for the last two
days. Very fitting indeed. Baby came back, and we had a late (5pm) lunch
of tuna and rice. She had to leave again to pick up some friends at the
airport. We have been watching their pets for the last few days. That
has been entertaining in itself. I can see why people love their pets.
Strange, though, that we treat animals far better than other humans.
I received e-mail from Kevin indicating that he
and Sandy have parted company. Kevin was beside himself, so baby and I
invited him to spend part of the Labor Day weekend down here. It will be
nice to spend my last day or so with good friends. Baby had a few errands
to run. During that time, Kevin called and we talked for a while. Then, I went
down to the computer room, only to find baby playing Windows Cruel Solitaire.
Thursday August 29
The days are like a blur to me. Funny, isn't it?
When we want time to slow down, it just passes even faster. The thought
of returning to Convalescent City doesn't exactly thrill me either. Who
could look forward to living that pathetic life again?
The weather has cleared up once again. I am glad
because it seems much less dismal. I have finally decided to depart on
Sunday morning. I think the reality of our final days has hit upon us.
We are beginning to feel the tension of having to say good-bye. I spent
the afternoon running around with baby. She had to run some errands for
work. We also went to Trader Joe's and checked out some printer prices
at Circuit City. I think I will pick up the printer tomorrow. I don't know
why it takes me forever to decide on these things. I think that the mendicant
nature of my past makes it difficult for me to acquire things.
Friday August 30
Baby prepared the Festival of the Artichokes this
evening. We ran back down to Trader Joe's to pick up some of Joe's famous
frozen Eggplant Parmesan. We partook of the Festival outside on the terrace.
We listened to the new George Michael CD. I sent it to baby before I left
Convalescent City. Fast Love should be this Summer's theme song.
In the past, it's been Cruel Summer by Bananarama, and Summertime
by the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff. As we ate, I was struck by the fact
that I only have but mere hours left here. There are so many things to
say and do, none of which will come to fruition. Does it really matter?
It is best to just enjoy this time ... to revel in it ... for we should
be thankful that this moment existed at all. Baby had to pick up a freind
at the airport after the Festival. I just took the time to reflect on my
Summer. I realized that, at least for the time being, I may be the most
fortunate man on earth.
We spent most of the day looking for the elusive
cheap shoes since my old, faithful pair were giving out. We went to Ross
first and spent several more hours going to other stores, only to end up
going back to Ross. It certainly was not a great way to spend our last
day together. I guess that isn't much worse than going computer shopping.
Saturday August 31
Baby went to comedy night with a friend, so I was
left to my own devices. I had to wait for Kevin, but he had called to say
that he might be late because there was a massive pileup on Interstate
5 just outside Seattle. I decided to go to Circuit City and pick up the
Epson color printer. I found out that the printer didn't come with a black
ink cartridge, so I had to pay an additional $24 for one. Sheesh! What
a scam! So much for the $30 rebate. I also stopped at Schuck's and bought
some oil. I'll probably change the oil in baby's car and my six-four tomorrow.
When I returned, I found that Kevin was already here. He even brought a
can of Bush's baked beans! We went over to Burger King and had a couple
of Whoppers (our way, of course) for dinner. We came back and talked for
a while until baby returned at about 10pm. Now what? Team Windows Solitaire,
I unpacked the new printer last night only to
discover that it did come with the black ink cartridge. I was furious.
So, after Fodgers and doughnuts this morning, Kevin and I went to Circuit
City to return the extra cartridge. We stopped at a computer store to check
on memory prices, too. The guy that helped Kevin had an even more Data-like
personality than the oversized lavahead. Kevin was sure that he was an
ex-KGB agent who was perturbed because we cut into his backroom torture
time of some operative. We returned sans memory and partook of the
Festival of the Baked Beans. After lunch, we went to OMSI (Oregon Museum
of Science and Industry) to check out the Star Trek Federation Science
exhibit. It was not quite what we expected but we spent most of the day
there. When we came back, I changed the oil in baby's car and my six-four.
After I was done, baby's car wouldn't start. Kevin and I push-started it.
From all indications, the starter looks like it is on its last leg. Somehow
the starter fixed itself. The sinister force, perhaps? We went to dinner
at Koji Osakaya, and then went to Fred Meyer to check out Duke Nukem
and buy some Starbuck's ice cream.
Sunday September 1
|Kevin has been preoccupied with his breakup. I
could only sympathize with him. He expressed extreme frustration with the
dating situation and babes in general. I, too, have been preoccupied but
with my departure tomorrow. Kevin made some valid points to me during the
course of the day. He asked me why I was leaving. "If I were in your shoes,
I would stay here. You know you're going to miss her ten minutes out of
town." I knew that he was right. I cannot say whether I am making the right
decision. Sometimes we can only make decisions based on what little options
we have available to us. And, those options may not always be within our
control. I am dreading tomorrow. Kevin is right. I will be in a bad way
when I make the long drive down Interstate 5 back to Cali. My life won't
be the same. Nothing will be the same. I knew that before I came up here,
though. Baby and I have a long way to go, but I can say for myself that
I have learned a lot. If I could erase the stupidity of our various misunderstandings
this Summer I would. I am sure that there is no such thing as a match made
in Heaven, but baby and I have come close. When we go our separate ways,
things could easily change. In the case that things don't, I hope we can
resume where we left off.
||Sometimes we can
only make decisions based on what little options we have available to us.
Baby and I stayed up late playing Windows Solitaire.
This was the first time all Summer that I was on a roll. Kevin was up early,
and he left for Seattle before Fodgers and doughnuts. He reiterated once
again that I should consider the ramifications of my decision to return
to Cali. Baby and I went downstairs for Fodgers and doughnuts. We came
back and I started packing everything in my six-four. I was supposed to
leave for Cali before noon. Kevin's words haunted me. I was overcome by
a surge of emotions. Ultimately, I felt very sad. It seemed like I was
leaving without saying good-bye. I don't know why. I have spent over two
months here, and now our parting was a non-event. I sensed that baby felt
the same way, although maybe it was just me. I ended up calling Skip to
postpone my arrival until tomorrow. We spent the afternoon walking along
the waterfront. Then, we went to dinner at Lin's China Jade Restaurant
(for some duck!). I felt better after dinner. It seemed more like something
we could remember about our last day. We came back. I ended up cutting
baby's hair to her specifications. Watch out, Vidal Sasoon! I may even
come up with my own line of shampoo.
Monday September 2
Perhaps all of this is because I do not want to
leave. I have had a marvelous Summer. I may have to evaluate my so-called
life plan because I may have missed something. I am glad that I did stay
for this final day but I know that it will still be difficult to leave
tomorrow. Maybe Kevin was right. Maybe I am making a mistake. I have only
a few more hours to gel my thoughts and feelings, capture whatever memories
and sensory images that I can, and say whatever I need to say before I
depart. Yet, what words can really depict what I have to say? How can I
We got up early, but not as early as expected.
Baby made some coffee and bagels for breakfast. After eating and packing
the last few items, I embraced baby for the final time. As I drove off,
I saw her standing on her terrace. Kevin's words echoed through my mind.
It was very hard for me to keep the tears back. I was very sad but I didn't
want baby to see me in that state. The drive through Oregon was nice. I
crossed the Oregon border into Cali at 2:18pm. I was overcome by surges
of emotion and pain. I wondered if I was making a mistake. Was Kevin right?
I realized that I really had nothing to return to in Cali. My whole life
was packed in my six-four. Just south of my favorite town, Weed, my Cali
nightmare began. Traffic was tied up for hours. It was hot. I hadn't eaten
and I was already two hours behind. I finally reached a turnaround point
and backtracked to Dunsmuir. I tried to use the phone there but it had
a calling card lockout. So, I drove to Weed. I found a Pac Bell phone.
I called baby about my predicament because I was in a state of disarray.
I was halfway from Skip's place and Portland. I felt like returning to
Portland. However, baby talked some sense into me. She was not happy about
the call. Rightly so. What kind of putz would make a call like that?
Tuesday September 3
I got in touch with Skip. He said that he would
wait up for me, so I left immediately. I was too perturbed to eat anything.
I had to wait through the same traffic jam again but, once past that, my
six-four and I jammed to San Francisco. I made it to Tiburon sometime after
midnight. Skip and I talked for about an hour. He wanted to know about
my Summer. After a short synopsis, he asked, "So, why are you back here?"
I couldn't answer that question. I spent a little time looking at my photo
album before falling asleep.
Skip showed me his place. He and Lorraine have
been working hard to fix it up. They also bought a BMW 320i convertible.
Well, hey! This is Marin County! He took some time off from work so that
we could go to breakfast. We went to the Swedish House for breakfast. Skip
also showed me his place of work. He and Lorraine live just down the street
from the office, so their commute time is just a couple of minutes. Being
from the just-in-time school of thought, I called John and Julie in Modesto.
They were not home. I decided to drive there anyway. It would have been
only a couple of hours out of my way. It was nice drive, and I had Wild
107 to listen to. I also had plenty of time to think about my reasons for
being in Cali. Guess what? I haven't thought of any yet. Julie and Gianni
were home when I arrived in Modesto. I talked with Julie until John came
home from work. They took me out to dinner at Portofino's Caffe. The rest
of the evening was spent catching up on the last two months (and playing
with the computer). Funny, John also asked me why I came back to Cali.
Wednesday September 3
You know, Cali just doesn't seem the same to me.
I have been feeling claustrophobic and have had difficulty sleeping. I
feel as though I am suffocating. I am also becoming a little testy. I am
certain that if I have to put up with any kind of charade in Convalescent
City, I am going to walk. I have no time for charades.
I have been unable to stop thinking about baby.
I wonder if she is doing the same. We are back to our separate lives now.
In time, all of this will just be a distant memory. The Summer is over.
We lived the life that are the stuff of dreams. We had our moments but
we worked through them. We parted company as more than friends. Maybe one
day we will be able to explore other options. For now, I just want it to
be the best memory I have.
I called baby last night. It was so nice to hear
her voice again. She said that she waited up for me on Monday just in case
I returned to Oregon. I wish that I did. I really miss her now. Baby has
expressed her love in ways too numerous to count. I, on the other hand,
have avoided expressing my feelings up to this point. I don't know why
except that, perhaps, I knew how transient our time was. Yet, one never
knows what one has until it is gone. I feel as if a whole chunk of my soul
is missing. I am very sad. As I look at my poor six-four, packed with all
my worldly possessions, I cannot help but feel disdain for the nomadic
lifestyle I once cherished. Have I finally cast aside the monastic life?
Did I travel this far only to realize the folly of my error?
The Keeper Returns!
I said good-bye to John, Julie and Gianni. I was
glad that I visited for this could be the last time. In my fragile mental
state, there is no telling what could happen. I drove the back roads to
Salinas. In two hours, I found myself at Caroll's place. We drank coffee
and talked story. Caroll was not her usual self. She said that she was
going through some trying times. I could sympathize. We ended up going
to Lyon's for dinner. Caroll mentioned that she was surprised that I came
back to Cali. Where have we heard this before? She also wondered if the
plight of singleness is what plagued her, Bonnie and I. I never thought
so before, but now I wondered. She offered me a place to stay for the night.
Somehow, I felt the need to move on. Later, I realized that I thought it
was already Thursday. What a putz! I managed to get in touch with Tom and
made arrangements for a place to say once I arrived in Convalescent City.
It was only a two hour drive, but my stomach started to churn more as I
saw all the familiar road signs. When I pulled off US 101 into Convalescent
City, I felt depressed. Why did I come back?
The Keeper has made it through part of the perilous
Journey to Nowhere. Where will he venture to next? Find out in Absolute
Value Equals Zero. Sheesh!
The Keeper of Lost Lives: Journey to Nowhere
42-Year-Old Virgin ... Tralfaz
Baby ... Herself
And a cast of thousands!
© Copyright 1996 by the 42-Year-Old Virgin
LoserNettm Love It, or Lose It.