fake smiles

Monday, August 14, 2000
@ home        2335 hrs

    There’s a bum, a black guy who wears this weird little hat, I see about once a week around town–either at Ruta Maya or walking one of the other downtown streets–who knows all the state capitals.  Every time I quiz him, trying to think of an off-the-wall state he won’t be able to name the capital of so easily, but I’ve never stumped him yet.  

    I saw him tonight and knocked out Iowa, Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, Germany, Puerto Rico and a few others.  Danielle stumped him on Switzerland, but that’s not really his specialty anyway.  I always give him a couple of dollars and a cigarette in payment.  Nice guy.  

    I went to Ruta Maya, as usual, tonight.  Jasper was there.  We spoke for a bit.  He kept the conversation going–I’m boring both online and in person so I can understand why he high-tailed it out pretty quickly.  According to Jasper and others, girls stop playing so many games around the time they hit 21 or so.  Then the problem becomes that they’re all dating older guys.  I wish they’d stop playing games now and not think too much about guys older than myself.  That’s not going to happen.

    [Hold on, let me get a beer from the fridge so this entry will actually go somewhere.]

    The other day, Wendi asked me if I thought I’d regret this time of my life in the future.  My reply? “Only if it gets better.”  

    Do I regret certain periods in my life?  I dislike certain periods, but they’ve all molded me into the beautifully fucked-up individual I am today.  

    After Jasper left, I went and sat outside with Wendi, her cousin, and Danielle.  Earlier, Danielle and Wendi had gone outside to talk (they’d had a falling out during the past few weeks mainly over the British folk singer visiting town–long story and not worth your time unless you’re still in high school).  I felt myself (unknowingly) slipping down while sitting there.  Is it that time again already?

    I’ve had a good few weeks, although some of them were screwed up by the happy pills I had been taking (which I’ve since stopped at my own suggestion).  Maybe it is that time again.  Especially after a nice weekend out of town with a great girl (when you’re not on her shit list).  The gray inevitably creeps in.  

    Last night, when I finally got home from Corpus, I noticed a stack of letters on the coffee table.  My parents had left all my mail there along with a couple of letters from extended family.  The great thing about that part of my family is how they always go into detail about how well my cousin is doing.  Going to school for CompSci, moving up in the grocery store managerial arena.  I’m sure that’s why they were left for me to read.  Look at how well your cousin is doing.  You could be there… you graduated half a year ahead of her.  Why aren’t you?  

    Why aren’t I?  I wouldn’t even cut it in the military.  I’ve dropped out of college twice now (basically–I did register for some web design certificate courses today, but that won’t get me a degree and that’s what real college is).  Married, divorced, nineteen.  I won’t list all the crap.  I hate this period of my life:  the past depresses me, the present depresses me, and the future makes me suicidal.  But that’s no matter.

    Honesty is out of style, and the only truly consistent people are the dead.  I just wish people could be straight with me.  Let me find a girl who will tell me that I’m ugly and a shitty writer and a bum and going nowhere and an asshole and that she still likes me.  Call her words love or cruelty… they seem rather synonymous to me right now.  That I could fall in love with.  I can’t trust praise.  I always fear that people giving me compliments are only doing so for as long as their nose points toward me. 

   Anyway, I left Ruta Maya early tonight.  Wendi was giving a chair massage when I left.  I’d planned to leave earlier so she and Danielle could have some bonding time, but by the time I went for a walk to check out the full moon and get some air and then finished my iced mocha, Danielle had already left.  Tomorrow morning I’m supposed to use my truck and help Wendi move into her new place in central Austin.  So I should get to bed soon.

   On my way out, I ran into the bum again across the street.  He needed two dollars for a piece of pizza (or whatever).  I sat and talked to him for a little bit, he gave me the leftovers of a pack of Lucky Strikes for the two bucks.  I felt like shit and wanted someone to talk to, but he was in a hurry so we parted ways, certain we’d see each other again before long. 

   On my way to the MoPac Expressway on the way home, I stopped by Waterloo Records and picked up Death Cab for Cutie’s something about airplanes and then I went across the street to BookPeople and bought (finally making use of Pamela’s (a reader) advice) William Styron’s Darkness Visible and Paul Theroux’s Fresh Air Fiend. 

   I still feel like shit, but maybe it’ll improve.  I plan to come home after work tomorrow to see the family.  Haven’t seen them in over a week.  They go to work before I even wake up and I get home long after they’ve hit the sack most nights.  I need time away from Ruta Maya anyway.  I won’t (can’t) blame any of the people there for the way I feel–it’s my sickness.  One day I’ll grow out of the puppy dog stage and figure myselfout.  Or I’ll wake up. 

   Of course, what if this is as good as it gets? 


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