Monday, June 30, 2008

Making it through with my eyes closed

This morning we picked up Edward, as we had Brenda driving with us, then Lisa. We also had Jolene with our group, although our friend Ken was away seeing his mother.

La Netta went in the doughnut shop to change Jolene, then we went to a 99-cent store together. I held onto La Netta, and as we walked in, she said, "Close your eyes, James."

We moved about in the store until La Netta found a section with fruits. We looked at the kiwifruits, then she showed me the mangos and we looked at a squash together. Something La Netta and I really enjoy. There is something sweet, in every sense of the word, about fruit. I love the tastes fruit brings me, and La Netta loves the nutrition it gives her -- something she's going to need to help her body heal after the accidents.

"They have a lot of that character you don't like", said La Netta in another section. Of course, by this time I had my eyes closed again. We visited the cookie aisle, and after she assured me that there was no Dipser-man or Winnxe the Pooh, I looked around before selecting some Chinese almond cookies.

An announcement came on the Intercom. "All your Fourth of July needs -- Hamburger Helpers and barbecue sauce for those hot dogs! And don't forget paper plates, napkins, tablecloths, plastic froks . . ." I gagged.

We both made our purchases at the check-out counter, then I heard La Netta say, "Close your eyes, James." I made it out of the store without seeing any Dipser-man or plastic silverware.

The next stop on the schedule was Ross. No one wanted to go in with La Netta, so La Netta put Jolene in her wheelchair and took her in with her. Edward, Lisa and I were left with Brenda.

A little after Jolene and La Netta went in, Brenda started whistling the tune of the Addams Family theme song:

Whoo-whoo-whoo, whoo-whoo-WHOO-whoo,
Whoo-whoo-whoo, whoo-whoo-WHOO-whoo,
Whoo-whoo-whoo, whoo-whoo-WHOO-whoo,
Whoo-whoo-whoo, whoo, whoo, WHOO.

"The Addams Eamily", said Lisa.

"You called that one", said Brenda.

Then she started whistling another tune.

"And on that farm he had a pig", I sang along with her. "With an oink-oink here and an oink-oink there . . ."

I stopped.

"You didn't finish the song", said Brenda.

"Old McDonald had a farm", sang Lisa.

Brenda whistled another tune. No one called it while she was whistling. After she was done, she asked, "Does anybody know the tune?"

"Is it 'Miss Mary Mack'?", I asked.

"James, you go on!", said Brenda.

"How does that one go?", asked Lisa.

I sang for her:

Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack,
Was dressed in black, black, black,
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons,
All down her back, back, back.

She asked her mother, mother, mother,
For fifty cents, cents, cents,
To watch the elephant, elephant, elephant,
Jump the fence, fence, fence.

They jumped so high, high, high,
They touched the sky, sky, sky,
And they didn't come back, back, back,
Till the Fourth of July, -ly, -ly.

Lisa said she had never heard of that song.

Brenda started whistling "My Country 'Tis of Thee", which I called too. "You're recognizing all the songs", she told me.

Lisa tried "Jimmy Crack Corn", and I did
"Alouette", which was recognized, but I stumped them all with "One Elephant Went Out to Play". Brenda thought it was the Jeopardy! theme song. I hummed "Frère Jacques" and "La Cucaracha" for the others. No one recognized "Miss Suzy Had a Steamboat", to my surprise.

La Netta eventually came back in, and we drove to Taco Bell together. First Lisa and Brenda got their lunches, then La Netta went in with me.

La Netta then dropped me off at John's office. At 2:35 I entered John's office, and we talked for a while before I asked permission to use his restroom. I went in, used the toilet, and cleared my mouth of saliva before coming back out and joining him in conversation.

"Oh John, every night I've been praying for Lamesha", I told him.

"What do you say when you pray?", he asked.

"Every time I pray, I start out with 'God, heal Lamesha of her vertigo'. Then I tell him I want to have Lamesha in my arms again, to have her coming over. I tell him to listen to the prayers of the people on Fourth Kingdom. And if my eyes accidentally pop open in the middle of the prayer, I have to start over again."

"Do you think you have to pray with your eyes closed?"

"Yes."

We talked about all the people on Fourth Kingdom whom I have gotten to pray for my friend. I also mentioned that La Netta and Ken were praying for her.

"She's too sick to check her email", I said. "She's too sick to answer her phone calls. She's too sick to pay her phone bill."

I talked about how I wanted to call her to tell her how to get her ears rotated and see a doctor, and find out what kind of vertigo it was.

"It would be useful to find out if it was the kind of vertigo that could be cured by a positional treatment, or the kind that will have to heal on its own", said John.

"Or maybe," I said, "It's the kind that can be cured with prayer."

"It sounds like you believe in the power of prayer to cure diseases."

"Well, if it does work, I'd hate to miss an opportunity to make her better. No one knows when, how or why it works, but I want to try it in case it does work."

"I wish you had control over when you could see Lamesha."

"What I'm worried about", I said, "Is that maybe God won't heal her soon because He's giving Lamesha vertigo on purpose to try to teach me how to go without seeing her."

"That's a possibility", said John.

"They God that God likes to put people through tribulations to teach them lessons."

"Do you think that would be a useful lesson to you?"

"Well, dunno." I shrugged, and my whole body fell into a noncommittal position.

"It would be nice if you could learn to live in the moment instead of worrying so much about the future. Do you believe in living in the present?"

"Well", I said, "The past and the future are very real, and when you try to live for the moment you agree to try pretending that they don't exist."

"It is possible", said John, "To accept that the future exists and the past exists, but to also accept that the present exists and try to live as fully within it as possible?"

I sat there speechless.

"I know it doesn't fit with the way you've been looking at things", he said.

At 3:27 Aaron finally came over. "It's been nice seeing you, John", I said.

"It's been nice seeing you, James."

I walked back out to Stan's van.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gin bushes

On Friday morning, Darnell and La Netta picked up Robert, in addition to Lisa, Rodney, Jolene and me. There was no Ken.

"James", asked Robert, "Are we going to Wal-mart?"

"Well, I know La Netta planned today for me to get my juices."

"Where's Rodney stay?"

"He stays at my group home."

"Whose group is Rodney with?"

"That's a question for La Netta. She's a coach, I'm a client."

"Who bought your sunglasses, your mom?"

"Robert -- stop it!", snapped La Netta.

So Robert shut up.

The conversation turned to this other job Darnell knew about. "They're mostly Blacks . . ." he said, "They've got one Arabian, Middle Eastern guy, one Mexican guy, and one White girl."

Darnell went on. "The best thing is that if one of them starts a mxss, you can just call the sheriff."

"Ewwww!", I exclaimed.

"Sorry. If one of them starts trouble."

Since I had already bought my Wal-mart juices on Thursday, La Netta drove straight to Trader Joe's, the one in Emeryville, where Wanda would pick up Robert.

I said I had to get out of the van to spit. So Rodney got out, I got out, I found a wastebasket with an open top right near the grocery store, and I released a big fat stream of white into it.

Robert, who had been sitting in my favored seat at the left, got out, and I went back into my seat. Finally Wanda arrived to pick up Robert.

With Robert out of the van, La Netta made some stops and Burger King and Golden Palace, a Chinese restaurant. I walked into Golden Palace with her.

We looked at the menu, and found the egg foo yung dish I had ordered last time. I didn't want to get a lunch special like that again. Instead, I picked two half-dishes, the chow mein and the fried prawns, and made my order. I paid just over $7.00 for them.

When we left, I circumspectly dodged the juniper bushes so I wouldn't get cobwxb on me and made sure my path outside the restaurant window was clear.

"Is something wrong?", asked La Netta.

"I was just trying to avoid those juniper bushes", I answered.

"What did you say?"

I spat in a ditch.
"I was just trying to avoid those juniper bushes."

"What are they called?"

"Juniper. That's what you call those coniferous bushes. They're conifers, like a pine or spruce or fir, except they're bushes instead of trees."

"With those berries."

"And those berries you make gin out of."

"Is that where gin comes from? Really?"

"Yes. Gin comes from the berries on those bushes."

"I learn something every day!"

"Ever notice how juniper bushes always have cobvebs in them?"

"Yes."

We waited for what must have been 10 minutes for a train to cross its tracks. It was already after 1:00 when we crossed the tracks.

We stopped at Miller's Knots, where I purged off the word "mxss" and emptied my bladder. Then we went to the office and dropped Darnell and Lisa oee. Lita accompanied La Netta, Jolene, Rodney and me home.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Emanuel the god

When we did pick-ups this morning, Emanuel was on our list.

"Can you drop me off at Berkeley?", asked Emanuel. Brenda said she wanted him to stay with our group.

"Hey, James?", asked Emanuel.

"Yes, Emanuel?", I asked.

"What else is related to the Mark of the Beast?"

"Goats."

"Goats, really?"

"Yes, they're a symbol of the Devil."

"Why do you suppose that's so?"

"Because a devil's hooves look like a goat's hooves?"

"Why do you want to know about the Devil?", asked the oh-so-religious Brenda.

Emanuel's conversation turned to the police. "The police try to arrest me, but my brothers are so powerful that they can take 37 police officers and spin them around . . ."

"How could you do that to the police? The police are our friends."

"No, they're not my friends. They're the enemy."

"They're our friends", said Brenda.

"The police go around looking for young people to arrest for 'looking suspicious'", I said.

"Exactly", said Brenda. And that's supposed to be a good thing? "They're there to protect us?"

"The police are not our friends", I stated flatly.

"What? They're not?"

"But, you know what? I don't let them beat me, because I'm God," said Emanuel.

"You're the God?"

"Yes, I'm God."

"Well, you can be a little bxtty god."

I growled.

"I'm really God", said emanuel.

"You're a little bxtty god", said Brenda.

I growled again.

"What's wrong?", asked Brenda.

"You said the B-word", I told her.

She couldn't figure out what it was.

"Little B-word god", I explained.

"Oh! I didn't know that word bothered you."

"I want you to drop me off at University", said Emanuel.

Brenda convinced him to stay until 2:00.

I purged once we got to the office. Then we were coming back out to drive to the Pacific East Ranch Market.

"Can you drop me off in Berkeley?", asked Emanuel.

"Emanuel!", said Brenda. "I thought you agreed you'd come with us. I think you're playing games."

"Drop me off at Berkeley Mental Health."

They argued back and forth for a few more minotes, before Brenda agreed to drop Emanuel off. Then Brenda changed Jolene in the bathroom of the Pacific East Ranch Market.

I sat on the toilet seat in the men's restroom while Brenda watched Jolene change in the women's.

Then we walked out, and while we strode through the central hall of the market, Brenda chatted on her cellphone.

I heard a child say the word "ice xxxxx". At first I wasn't sure whether it was "ice xxxxx", but then I heard the next word, "sundae", and it was definitely "ice xxxxx"!

"Blechhhh!", I said. "Brenda, take me back to the restroom."

Brenda lifted her cellphone away from her ear. "What?"

"Take me back to the restroom. I heard the I-word."

So she took me back there, where I purged and washed my hands. Then I came out and was ready to order my lunch.

I selected the chow mein. The employee put chow mein in my Styrofoam container, then handed the container over to me. I put in some fish (she told me it was sole). Then I tried putting in two big squares of tofu. They were so big and flat and solid that I realized I wouldn't be able to pick them up with my chopsticks without a large part of them falling on the floor. I put the tofu squares out of my Styrofoam and onto the dark brown tray. I them picked up some calamari.

"You're getting four items?", asked Brenda.

"No, only three items. I'm getting calamari," I said.

"Then what's that tofu doing sitting on your tray?"

"I changed my mind."

"You weren't supposed to do that!"

While other people got their meals, I heard one woman say, "get her a frok". I heard another say, "Txto".

After I paid for my meal, I held onto Brenda's arm. Then she let go. I had to cover my eyes and look around on the floor to find my way.

"You're in my way!", said Jolene.

I looked and Jolene's wheelchair was right behind me. I walked out of her path.

"N-n-n-n-napnin!", uttered Jolene.

I was able to find Brenda's arm and we could make it out peacefully.

When we got back into the van, I put my market bag next to me. "Jolene, sit next to James in the back", said Brenda.

"Don't want to sit next to him, don't want to sit next to that dope," said Jolene.''

"That's not nice. Jolene, don't call him a dope."

"Whom was she calling a dope?", I asked.

"You."

"She's probably still upset because I was standing in front of her wheelchair."

"Oh."

So Jolene got in the middle row. Edward told her, "Scxxt over more, Jolene."

"Rrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Sorry", said Edward.

So Jolene moved over and we made it to Burger King. Our lunch stop was Vincent Park.

Once we made it to Vincent Park, I told Brenda, "I'll be purging off Edward's SC-word in the restroom, Brenda".

"What did you say?", asked Brenda.

"I said, 'I'll be purging off Edward's SC-word in the restroom, Brenda'."

"I thought you already purged that off."

"I can only do that word when I'm standing up."

"I mean I thought you did it in the restroom, when we were at the Pacific East Ranch Market."

"Edward said it after we went to the Pacific East Ranch Market."

"Really? I thought it was before."

So I entered the Vincent Park men's restroom. I began purging oef the word "scxxt" before a woman said, "Excuse me".

"Yes?", I replied.

"We're closing."

"This restroom is closing?"

"Yes."

"I'm not finished using the restroom."

"We're closing."

"Can you wait for me to finish?"

So I chanted some "scadoloot over"s (which tasted a lot like the sliced carrot people put in Chinese food dishes like mixed vegetables). After my purging, I walked back to the van.

We listened to KOIT peacefully for a few minutes, then Brenda ruined it by saying "It's raining axx oxxx the pxxxx".

"Is the restroom still open?", I asked.

"Yes", said Brenda. So I went in and purged.

I came back from the restroom. Jolene was saying "n-napnin, n-napnin, n-napnin".

I had to be at John's by 2:30, so Brenda got to dropping Ayyoon and Sayun off, then dropped me off at John's office.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ice xxxxx, twice xxxxx

On Friday morning, I had a meeting with case manager Jo-Ann Amos. We talked about the way I bite myself. I explained that I bite myself "when I get angry . . . or sometimes when I'm just thinking about Bush".

"I know, nobody likes Bush", said Jo-Ann Amos.

"Except James thinks about him every other night and beats himself up."

"Hopefully we'll get a new set of leaders, and we won't have McCain. Bush has really gotten us into a mxss."

"Ewwww!", I exclaimed.

"That's a word", said Stan. Stan explained that there were certain words that made me purge.

I continued to talk about the words. I didn't specify what they were, but Jo-Ann Amos learned that I felt grossed-out when I heard certain words, and I would feel them inside me. Stan decided not to go into what happens when I purge.

After that, Stan drove me to CIWP. I saw Ken standing by the van without his usual 49ers jacket on. Robert was in the van.

"Who bought your sunglasses, your mom?", asked Robert.

"No, I bought them with my own money," I replied.

We parked in front of Walgreen's, our first program site. Brenda walked up and stuck her head in to our van. "Cliff and the group are there", she said. "It looks like they went out for ice xxxxx or something."

"Blechhh!", I said.

"Don't say that," said Ken.

"What's wrong?", asked Brenda.

"You said the I-word!", I yelled.

"Nobody told me James was in here!", said Brenda.

La Netta said that if we entered Walgreen's now she could take me to the restroom. She led me in by interlocked arm and asked for the directions to the restroom. Someone there gave her directions, and she took me right in.

I purged the I-word off, then washed my hands. La Netta took me out to Walgreen's where Robert was asking, "Is that for girls?" He has such a fetish for girly stuff.

"What's that?", Robert would continuously ask me.

"I don't see", I replied in my usual fashion.

Robert pointed to something, and La Netta said, "He found the section that has the candy you like. Would you like to buy some Mike & Ikes? They have three for $3."

I bought some Mike & Ike Tropical Typhoons for $3 total, and brought them up to the check-out.

"What's your name?", Robert asked the girl at the check-out.

"My name's Becky", said the cashier. "What's your name?"

"His name is Robert Bradley", I explained to her. "My name's James Landau, and her name is La Netta Crater."

La Netta laughed.

"You've got them all down", Becky said.

"Where are your headphones?", Robert asked Becky.

"They're back there in the electronics section." She pointed.

Before I knew it, Robert was up asking a secone cashier where the headphones were.

"'Scuse me, where are your headphones?"

She told him the same thing.

We got back in the van. La Netta told Rosa that Robert did not behave.

"What did I do wrong?", asked Robert.

"You asked a clerk where the headphones were even though I told you not to, and then as if that wasn't enough," said La Netta, "You went up and asked a second clerk, and she told you the same thing."

"I'm sorry."

We drove up to Burger King where Rosa and La Netta discussed iced coeffee.

Rosa was talking about how she couldn't handle the iced coffee. She then said it got "too much like ice xxxxx".

"Blechhh!", I ejected from my mouth.

La Netta said she would take me into Burger King. I found the Burger King restroom and started purging. I purged and purged off all the "ice"s I had heard, then tried to create a melted coffee ice xxxxx taste in my groin so I could get it out of me.

"James?", called La Netta.

"I'm not done", I said.

So I finished up. I finally got the "adolice cradoleam" out of me. I washed my hands.

"James? We're ready", said La Netta.

"I've just finished washing my hands. I need to dry them off now."

So I dried those scabby hands of mine off and was ready to go.

"Were you able to do everything you needed?", asked La Netta.

Now she asks me. "Yes, I was", I told her.

At lunch Ken came to me and began to mock Robert. "Robert asks a lot of questions", he said. "Where's your money, James, in your pocket?"

We both laughed at Robert's ways.

La Netta needed to be done with her drops by 3:00, so she got moving home. "James, how much did your glasses cost?", asked Robert.

"How much does gasoline cost?", I clarified.

"No, how much did your glasses cost, $1?"

"These sunglasses cost $15.99."

We stayed parked in front of Ken's house until 2:26. La Netta told Stan I had to come in with Ken instead of being dropped off separately because she was so short on time. Stan welcomed me in, and then in a few minutes, he drove me home.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The day we actually did go to Moraga

I had asked Lita not to put anyone like Dante or Rodney with our group so that we could go to Moraga today. We picked up Jolene, Ken and Lisa instead.

After picking up Lisa, for whom we had to wait for forty minutes, in Berkeley, La Netta did a lot of driving, while I kept my eyes closed in the back seat. Then, suddenly, La Netta said, "James, we're in your town".

I opened my eyes and saw the pyracantha, xylosma and manzanita bushes all around me. Oaks stood strong. Palm trees were planted at irregular intervals as we drove. We were in Moraga, California.

La Netta cruised through the middle of Rheem Valley, the center of shopping and nightlife in Moraga, and parked in front of TJ Maxx. We got out Jolene's wheelchair and we were in TJ Maxx before we knew it.

La Netta looked at the blouses and looked through the clearance rack. At one point she told me to close my eyes. After spending either 45 minutes or an hour there, we got back in the van.

I had told La Netta about Sweet Celebrations, a store in Rheem Valley that sells party favors. I told her it was down from TJ Maxx. La Netta drove all the way down, but she didn't see it.

She stopped in front of a 7-11. While I looked at the store, I saw an ad for C-tibank in front of the 7-11. I purged in the back as La Netta and Clarissa went in.

I finished purging and zipped up just as Clarissa got back in. I told La Netta that Sweet Celebrations may be up from TJ Maxx instead of down from it. She said we could look after we went to Taco Bell.

La Netta used the restroom in Taco Bell, then I went in with Ken and her to get my lunch. I ordered a hard-shelled taco, a Crunch Wrap Supreme and a spicy chicken burrito. My order, #176, was ready instantly.

When I heard La Netta reading the menu to Ken, I heard her say, "Big Txsty Meal". I asked her if the menu had the T-word. She said, "Yes, it did".

I entered the restroom and purged quickly. La Netta came to get me, and I told her I needed to wash my hands. After washing my hands, I asked a boy who worked in Taco Bell whether he knew where Sweet Celebrations was and he told me in his Mexican accent that he had never heard of it.

I entered the van where La Netta et al were having lunch. La Netta told me the word was actually "taste", not "txsty". Jolene was eating a sandwich and had a bottle of mineral water with her.

When the last person (not counting me) finished eating, La Netta drove up from TJ Maxx and we both looked for Sweet Celebrations. It wasn't up from TJ Maxx.

"Maybe it's on the other side and you missed it", I told La Netta.

"It's not there", said La Netta. "It must have closed down."

We left Moraga and headed back to San Pablo. I was majorly disappointed.

"Maybe you can find out where it is on the Net and I can take you there", said La Netta.

At the end of the day, La Netta asked us how we liked Moraga.

"I hated it", said Jolene.

"It wasn't as alive as I remember it being", I said.

"Huh?", asked La Netta.

"It wasn't as alive as I remember it being."

We dropped Lisa off, and stopped at the office. Jolene had wet her pants, so La Netta spent a long time changing her pants in addition to the usual diaper-changing. I used the men's room to defecate, then wash my hands.

La Netta dropped Ken off at his home, and Stan was there, asking for to take me too. I grabbed my Taco Bell bag and made my way into Ken's house.

We picked up Aaron. We stopped outside for an appointment that Rodney had, and while I waited outside I kept hearing people speak. I purged in the front seat, thinking I had heard the WH-word. La Netta wasn't there to ask what people had said.

They got back in the van. "Pxkey!", said Aaron, jabbing someone in the abdomen.

I growled.

"Sorry", said Aaron. "Can I say, 'Pushy'?"

"Yes, you may", I replied.

On our way home, Bernard kept talking about winning a car in some video game. Aaron asked me something while I had my ears plugged, as Stan and Bernard were talking. Then he pulled on my khakis. I unplugged my ears.

"Can I say 'PT Cruiser'?", asked Aaron.

"Yes, you may", I replied.

Then Bernard stopped to say, "This store that the ice xxxxx truck is heading to . . ."

"Blechhh!", I said.

"Don't say that word, the one that made him say 'Blechhh!', said Aaron.

"OK," said Bernard.

"Because if you say it, he's going to say 'Blechhh!'."

Aaron, Stan and Bernard were all talking at once before long. "My head is going to explode!", I exclaimed.

"I'll call you on the phone when you get home", said Aaron.

Stan finally dropped Aaron off at the casino. He then took Bernard, Rodney and me home, with Ken along for the ride.

When I got home, I finished purging off the I-word, then finally ate my Taco Bell.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dante's lie

Today La Netta had no partner. She picked me up with Ken already in the van, then headed towards Dante's house.

She selected the radio station Star 101.3, and I listened to it play "Stop and Stare" by OneRepublic. Afterwards, Don Blue got to talking. He talked for quite a while, and then he said "spine-t-ngling".

I growled, and La Netta then turned off the radio. "This is one of the stations you like", she told me.

I could hear and feel something cracking in my throat as I thought "ngilagnit, ngilagnizhd, ngilaggizhd" to myself. I kept my eyes covered, however, and couldn't purge. We picked up Dante, then I kept my eyes covered and closed tightly as La Netta drove to Lisa's house.

La Netta phoned the office, and the office said they had spoken with Lisa and Lisa wasn't coming. La Netta then decided to just drive off.

I covered my eyes as La Netta was about to drive by Frosty Freeze. After a little while I asked, "Is it safe to look?"

"What?", asked La Netta.

"Safe to look?"

"Say that again."

"Safe to look?"

"No, it's not safe to look yet." So I kept my eyes squeezed as tightly closed as I could and my hands covering my eyes completely. A little while later, La Netta said, "Safe to look."

I uncovered my eyes and began purging. "Tadolingling, jadolingling, jadoliggling. Tadolingling, jadolingling, jadoliggling", I chanted.

Then we got to the office where Lisa was supposed to work. Even though Lisa didn't come, my picture of Kurt Cobain had come up missing after La Netta put it in the binder and we had decided we would use the office computer to print out a new picture. I did an AltaVista image search for "kurtcobain" and came up with the same picture I had originally had. At 10:11 I left that image on the computer screen and went into the restroom.

I felt that cracking in my throat again as I thought "ngilagnit" to myself. It resonated perfectly with the word's taste and meaning. Then I thought "ngilagnizhd, ngilaggizhd" and started purging off the word "t-ngling". I did "tadolingling", then "jadolingling", then "jadoliggling" (t-ngling, jingling, jxggling) and made another "tadolingling" thrust, followed by a "tadolingling" that went up over my abdomen and out my mouth. Then I did a "jadolingling" down there and a "jadolingling" up here, and a "jadoliggling" down there and a "jadoliggling" up here. I then repeated the "tadolingling, jadolingling, jadoliggling" ritual and did a final "tadolingling" down there and a final "tadolingling" down here. That was perfect!

By now La Netta had printed the photo out and we were ready to go.

We went to the beauty shop, and spent a few minutes in there before La Netta bought something.

La Netta then asked Dante about his lunch. "What are you going to buy for lonch, Dante?"

"I don't have any money to buy lunch", he replied.

"Your mother said she gave you $5."

"I spent it all."

"What are you going to spend it on?"

"I don't have any money to buy lunci."

"That's not true, your mother said she gave you money."

"She gave me $20 over the week-end, and I spent it all."

She tried approaching Dante when it was time to buy lunch, and he told the same story: his mother had given him $20 on the week-end, and he had spent it all.

"What did you spend it on?", asked La Netta.

"Tapes, and food."

La Netta told Dante that if he spent his money on something for $2, he could have $3 left. Dante continued to swear up and down that he didn't have any money today.

Lunch came. I bought a burrito from the burrito truck. La Netta shared her banana with Dante.

Tiffany came and chatted with me for a while. Then came Rosa. She talked about her son Ricky, her daughter Angie and her husband Antonio.

Rosa said, "So we've got ants axx oxxx the pxxxx".

I growled and opened the door.

"What happened?", asked La Netta.

"Rosa said the A, O the P words."

So I went out and purged. People kept saying "all", so my purge was held up. La Netta said that as soon as I was done she would drop Dante home.

Tiffany stopped by. "Are you OK, James?"

"No, I'm not."

"Purging?"

"Yes."

I continued purging then Tiffany stopped by again. She asked me, "Are you OK?"

I told her no.

When I finished purging, we drove all the way to Dante's house. At the end of the day Dante admitted that he really did have money.

It's a shame that Dante won't spend his money on actual food. Because he saves it for tapes, his mother is now going to start giving the money straight to La Netta instead of to Dante. Now instead of having $3 left over to buy tapes, Dante's going to have no money to buy tapes with.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Two restrooms

For two CIWP days in a row, I was kept in a restroom at the end of the day because someone said the I-word.

On Friday, we were at Davis Park. We were parked in the car and sitting there, when La Netta got to discussing someone's birthday. She said the person had a birthday party, and she attended the party, and they "ate cake and ice xxxxx" . . .

"Blechhh!", I called out.

"I'm sorry", La Netta apologized. She said I could use the Davis Park restroom.

I purged in Davis Park's men's room. I just kept on purging off that I-word. La Netta eventually got done changing Jolene and she called my name out. I told her I wasn't finished.

I tried to purge off some "ice xxxxx" that didn't take like cake. I kept tasting cake while I was trying to purge this one off. What I needed to feel when I was thinking "mearc cie" to myself was the feeling of cold, melted ice xxxxx. Then I could purge the word up with the same feeling. Hearing the occasional "ice" outside complicated my ritual.

"It's 2:00", said La Netta.

"OK!", I said. I continued to purge.

Ken came in, and I was still purging off the I-word.

"Let me wash up first", I told La Netta. That always gave me more time to purge.

Finally, I got a cold sensation as I purged the word "ice xxxxx" up, with an "adolice cradoleam" down there and an "adolice cradoleam" up here.

I walked right out. The next time I asked La Netta the time it was 2:07.

Today we were at Fernandez Park. I was standing outside with La Netta and Darnell. A little girl who was there said something about getting ice xxxxx.

"Blechhh!", I called out.

"Are you OK?" asked Darnell.

"I'm not OK! I heard the I-word!"

"Then let's take you back to the van, so you don't hear that word again."

"May I go to the restroom to purge it off first?"

"Oh, so now you need to purge?"

"Of course! Somebody said the I-word!"

"Wait until they get out of the restroom", said La Netta.

I asked if I could purge in the van, but La Netta and Darnell said I'd need to wash my hands afterwards.

I said I couldn't hold it in. Right then, the little girl's father said "ice xxxxx" a second time. That was when Darnell went in the restroom and checked. It was empty.

I began purging as La Netta watched Jolene
change herself. "Adolice cradoleam, adolice cradoleam".

La Netta and Darnell began talking to some man outside. I heard them say "myself" and some other words with "ice" in them. I alternated between trying to do some "adolice cradoleam"s and rubble-clearing with the ice's. Since I wasn't paying attention to whether every group of words had the phoneme sequence /ais/ in it, I had to do some "adolice, adolice cradoleam, adolice cradoleam" work every now and then.

They told me Ken needed to go home. I said, "All right", and tried to finish up my purging. I managed to purge off the second of the two "ice xxxxx"s. But I continued to hear talking outside.

Then La Netta called me about and referenced Ken. She also said I didn't want to be late to my appointment with John today. I told her, "Your conversation is holding me up".

I kept purging more and more, with the same alternation between "adolice cradoleam" and "adolice, adolice cradoleam, adolice cradoleam". Finally La Netta called me again and mentioned Ken wanting to go home and me having an appointment with John.

"I told you your conversation was holding me up, but you're still talking!", I replied.

"We're talking about something that you're completely comfortable with, and we're really watching what we say," said La Netta.

I would have to tell her about the "ice" thing later.

Finally I did an "adolice cradoleam" that felt just right, and another "adolice cradoleam" going over my abdomen. I washed my hands, albeit without any water, and I was out of there.

La Netta and Darnell, it turned out, had been talking to a man from Channel 2 news about the gay marriages that were now being performed in California. Because I was in the restroom, I missed out on being interviewed.

Lisa said "she was axx oxxx the pxxxx" when talking about a lesbian dormmate she had known. I unbuckled my seatbelt and purged that off it the back seat.

Then, when we got to Robert's house, Rodney moved to the front, and Darnell asked Rodney to "scxxt your seat back". I growled.

Rodney didn't listen, and when La Netta got in Darnell told her to "scxxt this seat up".

I growled. "Darnell! You said it again!"

"I'm sorry, James!"

When I got to John's office, I told him about hearing the I-word and the A, O the P words and the SC-word. He learned that I still hadn't purged off the two "scxxt"s, so I used his restroom. When I came out I felt much better.

We discussed the gay marriages a bit. "As a Californian and a bisexual, I'm proud", I told him.

Finally, John told me, "You seem to have a lot of people who really like you".

"Like Robert?", I asked.

"No, I mean like La Netta, and Aaron and Jolene . . ."

We discussed the special people in my life. Then at 3:16 he checked for Aaron. Aaron wasn't there. So John talked with me for maybe a minute more before he said, "There's Aaron. It's been nice seeing you, James".

"It's been nice seeing you, John."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy birthday, La Netta!

It was La Netta's birthday today. She turned 35. We were going to go to Williams on her birthday, but ended up going to Firestone instead. Lunch was at Kennedy Grove.

La Netta was going to give Robert an iced tea after lunch, stopping by McDonald's. However, he asked her too many questions about things he already knew -- no iced tea for him.

I asked La Netta how her birthday was turning out. She said it was a bit of a downer to learn of her son Jeremiah's illness. While washing her own neck this morning, she offered to wash Jeremiah's neck. When she looked at it, there was a bump above his spine. She's having him taken to the doctor for this strange bump. So she's understandably worried.

We could have done things like go to Moraga or go to Williams. But absent any special celebrations, having a day without any purge-inducing words or sights was still a pretty special day at program for me.

I got Chinese food -- chow mein, sesame seed chicken and mixed vegetables with tofu. At the end of the day, La Netta gave me my Chinese food from the back of the van and I told her that I hoped she enjoyed this birthday.

You may post here to bid happy birthday to my friend.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The day we could have gone to Moraga

To celebrate La Netta's birthday on the twelfth, we were going to all go to Moraga today.

Instead Stan picked me up just after 9:00 and drove me to the Richmond Mental Health Clinic. I waited there until 9:30 when some psychiatrist came to see me.

The man asked me about my medication, whether it was working. I told him I didn't feel any difference now that I was on three milligrams.

He asked me whether I had my prescription refilled or was running out. I explained to him that I didn't keep track of such things. He then checked my file and then discovered that I was prescribed the three-milligram M-tabs in May and had had them refilled recently.

The man asked me what my hobbies were. I told him I like to sleep a lot; the medicine apparently makes me lethargic.

He asked me whether I socialized with the other people in my house, and I told him that I was afraid to go out of my room because I might hear the television. The words came up, but I explained that I couldn't tell him what the words were.

CIWP came up, and he said, "So you do get a chance to socialize with people". He asked me whether I enjoyed CIWP.

I told him I didn't enjoy vans and large groups. I explained that someone might tell someone to do the SC-word over.

"And what is that?", he asked.

"The SC-word? It rhymes with 'boot'," I answered.

"Scxxt?"

"Don't say it! You just said it! Now I'm going to have to go to purge!"

I went to the restroom, with a paper in my hand with the date of my next meeting with Dr. Espiritu printed on it.

I purged off the SC-word, then I heard Stan.

Stan came and got me, and asked me how the meeting was.

"It was horrible", I replied.

Stan wanted to know what was horrible.

I told him about how the man had said the SC-word.

"He said, 'scxxt'?", Stan asked.

"Stan! Don't say it!"

"You already have it in your system," said Stan. "I just want to figure out . . ."

Then we got to my blog. I told Stan, "I told him about my blog, and he said he wouldn't have time to read it because he has to spend all his time seeing clients".

Eventually we got to program. La Netta wouldn't take us to Moraga, since they had spent so much time waiting for me at the office.

La Netta drove us to Hilltop Mall, then went to Miller's Knots, where she made a cellphone call. When she was done, I asked for my pill.

La Netta hadn't gotten a pill from Stan, so she went to the back of the van to get the reserve pill. While she was back there with Ken, I heard Ken say, "Whxxps!"

"D'oh!", I exclaimed, with a smack right in the forehead. La Netta handed me my pill.

"Is it all right if I purge in the van?", I asked La Netta.

"No one's going to be able to see you", said La Netta.

"Why did Ken say the WH-word?"

"I don't know."

Since we were still early La Netta drove Ken, Robert and me to a dollar store. Robert kept bothering La Netta with questions. La Netta told him that if the schedule tomorrow says Robert, she'll ask Lita to give Robert to someone else.

Robert selected a bag of chips, even though he wanted soda too. La Netta said she would treat him to one item. Robert settled on the chips.

Robert continued to ask store clerks questions and ask inane questions to La Netta. She warned him that if he kept it up, the chips would go back. Eventually she informed him that if he misbehaved one more time, she would not buy him chips.

"Is that iced tea?", Robert asked, pointing to what was clearly iced tea.

"The chips go back", said La Netta.

As we waited in line, I heard a girl saying, "Let's get some of that ice xxxxx to give to Dad".

"Blechhhh!", I exclaimed.

"See what you made 'em do?", Ken asked Robert.

I told La Netta it was hard to wait in line. She told me we were next up. Eventually our group stepped up and La Netta made her purchases.

I went out and spent the rest of the ride home purging. Robert asked me whether we were going to the mission.

"That's a question for La Netta. I'm just a client. She's a coach", I replied.

I got home and finished purging off the I-word in the restroom.

I sure hope Dr. Espiritu sees me again because this psychiatrist who saw me today is going to be no fit for me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A detour from Happy Doughnuts

This morning we were on our way to Happy Doughnuts after picking up all six of our clients.

However, Ken got to talking with Tiffany, and he said "running axx oxxx the pxxxx".

I told La Netta I had to get to the restroom quick, so she should speed on to Happy Doughnuts.

"What's wrong? Ken said . . ."

"No, I was referring to when he said, 'Running . . .'"

"Running?", Asked La Netta, "Is that a word?"

"No, I mean what he said after 'running'."

"After 'running'?"

"He said the A, O the P words."

"Oh."

So, anyway, about the way I had told her to get to our first program site fast. Instead she said we were going to Vincent Park. As I purged off the "all"s and "over"s and "place"s in the back seat, La Netta drove.

Finally, we got there. I rushed out to the restroom at Vincent Park. I purged off several "all"s, thinking "lla, cealpe eeth revo lla, oh, lla", then saying "adolall, adolall adolover the pladolace, adolall adolover the pladolace". I think I did that eight times. I did a few for "over" and "place" too. I kept thinking "axx oxxx the pxxxx" myself and having to purge more.

Ken came by and said La Netta was ready to go. I finished up, with a soupy, pasta-ey "adolall adolover the pladolace" at my groin and another going up. I proceeded to wash my hands (without any soap) and I was on my way out, rushing to the van. By sacrificing Happy Doughnuts we were able to make it to Target on time.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A drowsy day

I got out of bed at 8:22 this morning, still tired.

When La Netta asked me how I was doing this morning, I said, "Sleepy".

Wanda went home, so we had to pick up Robert and Rodney.

"Who bought your shoes, your mom bought your shoes?", Robert asked me.

"Yes, yes", I replied. "She ordered them from New Balance."

"Who bought your sunglasses, your mom?"

"No, I bought them with my own money."

"Am I in La Netta's group today?"

"Yes, you're in La Netta's group today."

"Where's Rodney stay?"

"He stays in my group home."

We drove through Alameda College, and then drove to the Safeway in Alameda.

Lisa said something to Clarissa, and Clarissa said, "Pxrdon?"

I growled and purged it off in the back seat.

Finally I walked into Safeway with La Netta. I held onto her arm as she bought her lunch and looked at flavored waters. Sobé had a new flavored water out.

La Netta drove to Lower Washington, a park in Alameda, and made a call on her cellphone. As soon as I heard her say, "Good-bye", I asked for my pill.

"Sure", said La Netta.

Just then, she began another phone call. She started the call out with, "That was Sierra, asking if she could have the last ice xxxxx".

"Blechhh!", I exclaimed.

"Shoots!" She walked me to the restroom.

I purged off that chunky "ice xxxxx" and then swallowed my pill. I flushed, washed my hands, and came out.

After sitting there a little longer, it was time to drop Lisa home. So we headed down Berkeley to University.

We dropped Lisa off and drove back, and as we drove Robert asked a barrage of questions. "Does Wal-mart have popcorn?"

"Yes", I replied, "Wal-mart has popcorn".

"Target has popcorn too."

"Right. Target has popcorn too."

"And soda?"

"Yes, they also have soda."

"Does Target have headphones?"

"Robert, you and I already talked about this", said La Netta. "You know they have headphones. And if you want to get headphones you can't keep on breaking them."

"Take good care of my headphones."

"That's right. Take good care of your headphones."

When we drove back to the office, the coaches split, so that Clarissa took Ken and Robert and La Netta took Jolene, Rodney and me. The first drop was dropping me off at John's.

John was late that day, but when he came he took me into his office just as always.

John asked me how I was doing.

"Sleepy", I told him.

John asked whether I woke up in the middle of the night, and I told him that I always did. I asked him whether other people slept all the way through the night without waking up once.

"Some people do that", he said.

I explained how sometimes I have a dream that my throat is full of phlegm, and I keep trying to snort it up, but it doesn't go from my throat to my mouth. Then eventually I figure out I'm dreaming and try to wake up. Or sometimes I'll try to scratch an itch but never hit the spot, and figure out I'm dreaming and also try to wake myself up.

"Do you have logaesthesia in your dreams?", John asked.

"I do." I told him about last night's dream, in which I heard someone say the WH-word and tried to hit my forehead just the right way. I woke up before I could purge.

John asked me about recurring dreams. I told him of a recurring dream I would have as a child. I would be forced to take a ride on a mechanical animal -- like the animals that give you rides outside malls if you put a quarter in. This was green and dragon-like and scary. It would "pop up" at the end. Then one day when I had that dream and my parents made me ride the animal, I refused. The mechanical animal bucked me up into the air and I was flying! I flew over the trees near our house and over hills and over the whole panorama. I never had the dream again.

I finally remembered a recurring dream I still had. I would be looking at clocks and a clock would instantly go from 3:44 to 3:46. Or I would see extra lines and it would give me different times when looking at it from different angles. I might see five digits on the clock, like 10016. Or the numerals would be giant.

I talked about Lamesha some more with John. When I tried to call her on Sunday, I got a recorded message saying her phone number was no longer in service. I felt awful. I wanted to reach Lamesha to tell her how to treat vertigo but I couldn't call her by phone or access her online.

"And what were you afraid happened?", asked John.

I told her that I wondered if Lamesha had died and they discontinued her phone number. He told me it was most probably that being ill, she couldn't work, and had trouble paying her cellphone bill, and for that reason they cut off her service.

John told me that Lamesha was likely thinking about the possbility that I tried to call her but couldn't reach her, as she does love me so much.

As it was 3:16, I said, "It's been nice seeing you, John" and John said, "It's been nice seeing you, James".

A little while later Stan picked me up. Aaron and Charles wouldn't go to their appointments because he had to get them to a wrestling event in time.

We parked in front of a building while Stan went in. "T-S-I-N-G-T-A-O", read Aaron.

"Tsing Tao", I told him. "Like Tsingtaosaurus
."

"What does that mean?", he asked.

"It's a genus of dinosaur. Tsing Tao is a kind of beer or wine."

"Do you like it?"

"I don't know whether I like it because I've never had that kind of beer . . . or wine."

"Have you drunk beer?"

"I used to when I was a teen-ager."

"What ages?"

"16 . . . 17 . . . 18 . . . 19."

"I thought you had to be 21 to drink."

"Well, I got it from friends, and from my parents' liquor cabinet.

"What's sodium?"

"Aaron, can you be quiet now?", asked Stan. "James is not a library. He's very smart, but you really need to cool it with the questions."

I heard a song that talked about brown skin. Did the singer say, "Cutxe baby"?

I asked Aaron whether she said the C-word, and Aaron didn't know. So I asked him to check the title and artist. He pressed the button, and we learned the song was by India.Arie.

I got home and googled for

"india arie" "brown skin"

I found the song. She says "baby" and "beautiful", but not "cutxe". We visited Fourth Kingdom, and Aaron left for the WWF event.

Then I fell asleep for five hours.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Getting shifted around

On Thorsday morning Brenda talked about her pain with La Netta. Both of them have had accidents on the job that have put their bodies in intense pain. She talked about her bxnes, then she said, "and this t-ngling . . ."

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Is that a word?", Brenda asked.

"Yes."

"I didn't know that word. Hmmmmm. The T-word."

(The T-word, of course, is "txsty". I use "the word that rhymes with single" when I want to refer to "t-ngle".)

We dropped Lisa off at the office and drove to our first program site that day, Target. I held onto La Netta's arm. Every now and then La Netta would tell me to close my eyes.

She made it over to the juice aisle. "They don't have it", she said. She was referring, of course, to Market Pantry apple juice.

I looked for myself, and indeed, we were all out of it. "It must be their most popular juice", I said.

"It must be. Probably because it's such a good price."

I bought a 64-ounce bottle of Hawaiian punch and a 64-ounce bottle of white grape juice. La Netta said we would go to Trader Joe's on Friday and I could find more juice there.

I wanted to save my remaining ten dollars for Trader Joe's and Taco Bell on Friday so I didn't buy lunch today. Instead La Netta and Brenda drove to KFC and McDonald's.

We stopped at Davis Park to eat lunch. Jolene got down on her knees and tried to get out of the van. She sat down on the opened side door.

"Scxxt over", said Brenda.

"Rrrrrrrrrr!", I growled.

"Sorry!", said Brenda. "You know what it is, they keep shifting me around between groups, so I go to the other groups and I say the word."

"In the other groups you say the words and get away with it."

"Yes."

I purged in the restroom of Davis Park. When I finally got done, we were ready to drop Edward and Lisa off.

We dropped off Edward first, then drove through Oakland and Berkeley to get Lisa home.

While we were driving, the van stopped. I still had my eyes closed. Brenda said, "Those kids are all crossing the street, and all of them have just got ice xxxxx".

"Blechhhhh!", I exclaimed, clearly disgusted.

"You need to get a list of those words", said Lisa.

"I already know the words", said Brenda.

"No. Have James make a list of all the words, and learn them."

"It's not a problem of not knowing the words. I do know the words. It's just that they keep shifting me around from group to group, and I get used to saying the words."

After we dropped Lisa off and it was safe to open my eyes, again I purged off the I-word in the back seat. This one, for some reason, had a butterscotch ice xxxxx taste to it. I purged off a few "I say"s and "nice"s as I tried to work my way to an "adolice cradoleam" that felt right.

We made it to my home, and I was still purging. La Netta opened the door.

"Can we please have the door closed?", I asked.

"No one's here", said La Netta.

"What about the mail . . . the postal service?"

"He doesn't come down this way."

"Can we move Jolene to the middle row?"

"Jolene is looking out the window."

So I purged. When Stan finally came, I went in the house and purged in my bathroom. I finally got rid of that nasty I-word.

What we need is a coach who's with La Netta all the time. One who will always hear a "Blechhh!" or an "Ewwwww!" or an "Rrrrrrrrrr!" or a "D'oh!" when she says one of those words. Brenda's hearing the sounds of disgust part of the time and part of the time she's saying those words without any consequences. If we had a permanent team, a coach could permanently get certain words out of her (or his) vocabulary. After all, Rosa's been with me often enough that she told me she was once about to tell her son to scxxt over but then said, "Move over" instead. Someone like that would be nice.

But someone who talks much less than Rosa.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ach!

La Netta took us to the office today. I wanted to see if we had Wal-mart or Target on the schedule any time later this week, so La Netta read the schedules to me. Thursday started out with Target -- bingo!

Satisfied with the schedule, I went in the rec room to sleep on the sofa. I put my sunglasses down on the table, then my eyes turned towards the soea. There was a guitar on the sofa. Not a real guitar, but a toy with drawn-on strings and football pictures where the chord points would be. It had the San Francisco 49ers logo on it.

I took the guitar off the sofa and looked to where the guitar used to be. I saw a few things, including a puzzle. I looked at the side of the puzzle a bit, then I noticed the word "Marvel". Oh, no! I hope it's not a Dipser-man puzzle! I looked around more, and then I did indeed see the word "Dipser-man". Looking closer, I saw a red face with white, pupilless eyes to the right of a host of other characters.

I spent the rest of my time in that room purging. When we left I pot off the purging to sit in the back seat of the van and cover my eyes.

La Netta turned the radio onto Lisa's station, KISS-FM. The moment she turned it on, some guy sang, "You're my cutxe pie . . ."

"Ach!", I gagged. La Netta turned it off.

I kept on purging until we got to Vincent Park. I got my pill and took it into the Vincent Park restroom with me. There I purged to my heart's delight, and finally took the pill.

I wonder at the popularity of the word "cutxe" in African-American music . . . old school, R&B, rap. KISS-FM, KBLX, KMEL. They don't say it in the stations I listen to. When the song that goes "I'll follow you into the dark" was in rotation, I had to plug my ears when they said "Death Cab for Cutxe", but now Alice doesn't play that song much at all. When they do, they don't ID it. One more advantage of listening to alternative. If only we didn't have the people in the van (like Lisa) who liked other stations, I'd have one fewer word to worry about. At least the stations I like don't make them purge.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A song about weed

Clarissa and La Netta picked up Edward, Dante and me today.

Edward got to complaining. "I really don't like this", he said. He said that they should have put him with Brenda and if they were going to put him with La Netta and Clarissa he might as well stay home.

La Netta convinced him to come along to speak to Lita.

"I think Lita shows favoritism towards the low-functionals", said Edward. "Especially Tully -- geez!"

"Well," said La Netta, "The low-functioning clients can't express themselves. You can tell them how you feel, but they can't say it."

We drove to Berkeley Marina. Then while I was in the restroom Edward got it resolved with Lita, and we traded him for Jolene.

La Netta stopped at Safeway to buy lunch. While she was there, I bought some macaroni salad for $3.99.

When we got back in the van and I put my macaroni salad down next to my seat, the radio was turned to KBLX. "Clarissa!", I whined. "How did you get it on KBLX?"

"This isn't our van", said La Netta. "They have different stations set."

"But it was on KBLX earlier, and I asked you guys to change it, and you changed it."

"Dante wanted this station", explained Clarissa.

"Oh, that explains it. Dante likes KBLX?" I shuddered.

"Can we turn it to 98.1?", asked La Netta.

"I want to listen to KBLX", said Dante.

"Do you like 98.1?"

"I don't like 98.1."

"Do you like Alice?", I asked.

"No."

"Do you like Star 101.3?"

"No."

"Do you like Koit -- K-O-I-T?"

"I don't like that station either."

"What stations do you like?", asked La Netta.

"I like KBLX."

"And -- what else?"

"99.7."

So we turned to 99.7.

We drove to McDonald's for Dante to get his lunch. While we were there, Jolene picked up the bag with the macaroni salad. "It's mine", she said.

Then she started picking the box of macaroni salad up in the air, and saying, "One for you, one for me, one for him". She began addressing Hank.

When La Netta finished the call on her cellphone, I asked her, "Did you hear what Jolene said?"

"No, what did she say?", asked La Netta.

"She said, 'This is mine'."

"It's mine", said Jolene, holding up the macaroni salad. "Can you give me a spoon for that?"

"Oooooooh, Jolene . . . " said La Netta. "That's James'."

"It is?"

"Yes."

"Here." Jolene gave it back to me.

We drove back to Berkeley Marina to eat lunch. The radio played a song. "We be burning, not concerning . . ." the singer sang. I thought he said "pxking" a few times. And "little bxtty". I asked Clarissa whether she knew the name of this song.

"No, I don't", said Clarissa.

"Do you know, Dante?", I asked the van's resident 99.7 fan.

"No," said Dante.

"Do you know the artist?"

"The artist? Sean Paul."

"Thanks."

I went in the restroom and purged off the B-word. While I was in there, I saw a dipser in between the cracks of the wall. It made me purge some more.

We then headed through Alameda to take Dante home. Next we went to the office, where Clarissa left the van.

"Good-bye, Clarissa", said La Netta.

"Paalam", I said.

"Paalam", she told me back.

Then came Ken's drop, and finally we made it to my house. I said good-bye to Jolene before I walked out with my Safeway bag and Pia let me in.

I googled those Sean Paul lyrics. It turned out the song was called "We'll Be Burning". Reading the lyrics, I learned the song was all about marijuana -- cool! They didn't say "pxke" -- it was "coke". No "bxtty" anywhere, either.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A horse named Jennifer

Today Clarissa was alone, picking up Lisa, Edward and me. We started our day by Edward going into Happy Doughnuts, while I stayed inside the van with Clarissa.

After that, we spent some time in the office, where, still sleepy, I lay down on the couch in one of the rooms.

Our next stop was Target. Stan wasn't here this morning to bring me money from the safe, so I didn't have the dough to go shopping at Target. Instead Clarissa took me somewhere where I walked interlocking my arm with hers. We had walked near the cookie section when I heard a woman say, "Whxx-xxps!"

"D'oh!", I said, hitting my forehead.

"James", said Clarissa. She grabbed my iand to prevent me from punching my head again.

"D'oh!" I did it again.

"James", she said. "That woman almost tripped."

Clarissa took me to the restroom. I purged in there, then washed my hands. After that I came out and Clarissa was looking for Edward. We found Edward, who had made a purchase from the toy section, then we were on our way.

I counted my money in the van and discovered that I had enough for my usual order at In-N-out Burger. So when we headed to In-N-out Burger, I went in with Clarissa to make our purchases.

I sat there placing my dollar bill, then six quarters, then a bunch of dimes and nickels and pennies, on the counter. I gave her three of my pennies and took the rest of the pennies back. While I was counting, I heard someone else in the building say, "Pardon?"

My order, #67, came up soon enough, as did Clarissa's, #68. We picked them up, then when I got back in the van, I purged off the "pardon" before we drove off.

We dropped off Edward, then transferred from Clarissa to Brenda at Kennedy Grove. Originally Wanda was to drive me to John's office, but they had Brenda take me instead. Thank god, because Wanda listens to KBLX.

Jolene, who had been with Wanda and Brenda, joined Lisa and me.

"Jolene", I asked her, "Do you like In-N-out Burger?"

"No, I don't", replied Jolene. "Makes me sick."

Brenda dropped Lisa off. She commented on the people in the car stopped next to us, who were doing drugs. I heard one of them say what may have been "whxxps". However, when I asked Brenda what they actually said, she said she couldn't make out their words.

"I won the Kentucky Derby", Jolene told us. "I love the Kentucky Derby. And I won the Kentucky Derby today!"

Brenda was fascinated by Jolene's story.

"I'm tired", said Jolene later on.

"Well, don't worry, we'll get you to a restroom", said Brenda.

She arrived at John's office at 2:05. I told her John wouldn't come out until 2:35.

Meanwhile, Jolene told us more about winning the Kentucky Derby.

"What was your horse's name?", I asked Jolene.

"Jennifer", she replied.

John finally came out at 2:40. I went in and said good-bye to Jolene. Brenda would now take my friend somewhere to change her diaper.

I greeted John and he asked how I had been. I told him I had gotten the people at Fourth Kingdom to pray for Lamesha's health. A girl named StarShyne said she would pray for her, while a girl named Sedruce (with an R -- not seduce) said she would "send positive vibes her way". I also told John that I had prayed for Lamesha last night.

"Is it unusual for you to pray?", he asked.

"Well, I had never prayed before I started praying for Lamesha", I replied. "Although I did get La Netta and Brenda to pray for my radio before."

We talked about Lamesha's vertigo. John said that some people will have vertigo for a long time (Lamesha's had it since December), but that they always recover.

I told her about the message I left on Lamesha's cellphone. I told her in that message that I had gotten the people at Fourth Kingdom as well as La Netta to pray for her, and told La Netta to call her back.

John asked me whether I had called her on the phone before.

"I'd called before, but this is the first time I left a message on her answering machine. Usually I would call then just hang up when no one was home", I replied.

I talked about Lamesha not calling me. "Apparently her vertigo is debilitating her so much that she can't even make phone calls." John said vertigo could do that.

Not having purged off the "whxxps" yet, I asked John whether I could use the restroom. He told me to go ahead. I purged while I was in there. As soon as I came out, he came in.

"Do you feel better now?", I asked him.

"Do you feel better?", he asked.

"Yes." I told him about the car with the people on drugs and hearing the WH-word.

We discussed that for just a while, then discussed how I was worried about Lamesha.

John said that I had been worried before, then when she came over I ceased to be worried. Now, he said, I seemed to be worried again.

I explained that first I was worried over whether Lamesha really loved me, since she'd be saying she'd come and then not coming. When she came over, she assured me that she really did love me. Now I'm worried about Lamesha's health: will she ever get better?

John asked me whether I was worried a lot when I was a child. I told him about this song they would teach in kindergarten that frightened me stiff. I would plug my ears when the record played it at finish my work early so I could clean up the sandbox instead of having to hear it.

I also told him about going to the dentist and so I was so afraid that I might have a cavity that I once crawled under a chair in the dentist's waiting room, and my mother told me, "Enjoy yourself".

"What do you think she meant by that?", asked John. "Do you think she was being sarcastic".

"No. I think she meant to enjoy the precious few moments I had before the dentist appointment."

"In other words, she was telling you to live in the moment", said John. John then proceeded to talk about some Vietnamese guy who wrote books on being "mindful" and the importance of living in the moment.

Aaron was here, so I said, "It's been nice seeing you, John".

Aaron hugged me once I stepped out of the office. He then went into John's office while I entered Stan's van. We waited there for 40 minutes until Aaron came in.

"Hi, best bud!", said Aaron.

"Aaron!", I exclaimed, waving.

"Hey, James, can I say the SH-word . . . the word that rhymes with 'hall'?"

"Shawl? Yes, you may."

"No . . . shall." (He pronounced it to rhyme with "pal".)

"Sure . . . you can say that."

"As in, 'Shall I scxxt over?'"

"Rrrrrrrrrrrr!"

"Sorry! Can I say, 'sorry'?"

"Yes, you may."

You want a pat on the back?"

"No, I don't."

"I'm really sorry. These words just get stuck in my head."

Stan said it was best for Aaron to sit up front. So Aaron sat on the front all the way to taking Rodney and me home.

When I got home, I made a quick purge before eating my two hamburgers with onions only.