The October Project, 2004

Friday, October 01, 2004

10.02.04--4:07 a.m.
(really 10.01.04)

i have $60 to last me until thursday
which is a lot to people who cook all the time
and can switch gears to cook cheaper,
to edge down to ramen, rice and beans, spaghetti and sauce.
but me,
who's cooked only a handful of meals in two years,
now has to edge down from ordering in every meal
to being able to eat and not doing that.
i don't have enough clean dishes to cook or eat off of,
so it's a lot of cottage cheese on toast;
corn puffs and skim milk;
nonfat, plain yogurt; with raisins; and grape nuts.
readying to clean a mixing bowl, a fork, and a spoon
so i can make tunafish,
which i'll eat right out of the mixing bowl so as not to dirty anymore dishes,
or i could put it on toast
and do the paper towel on a newspaper plate trick.
i didn't even buy soda when i stopped at the gristede's on the way home tonight,
figuring i'll just drink water instead, with lemon
(wait, lemons are 3/$2, limes are 4/$1)
figuring i'll just drink water instead, with lime.

10.03.04--1:39 a.m.
(really 10.02.04)

didn't order food in today.
cottage cheese on wheat toast,
and water with lime for breakfast;
rice and beans i ordered a few days ago,
with salsa, some sour cream on a plastic knife into my mouth,
with diet 7-up for lunch,
nonfat, plain yogurt, with raisins and grape nuts,
and water with lime for dinner,
two jell-o chocolate puddings with skim milk for desert.
a bag of microwave popcorn for a snack,
and some more water with lime.
tomorrow the mets game with jim,
me figuing how to buy less food at gristede's for the ballpark,
planning to make a tuna sandwich,
heat up some microwave popcorn,
bring the pistachio nuts leftover from last sunday's game,
and a half-frozen two-liter bottle of diet pepsi.
i may have to skip my normal three-pounds of grapes,
not all of which i eat at the game,
having just looked at the price,

10.04.04--2:20 a.m.
(really 10.03.04)

i didn't spend any money today to go to the mets game,
i made two cans of tuna w/mayo,
put it in the large yogurt container i'd finished that morning at breakfast,
brought the leftover pistachio nuts from last week's game,
made the last bag of Paul Newman's microwave popcorn from my cabinet,
and took the partially frozen two-liter bottle of diet pepsi out of my freezer.
no grapes today,
they're $3.99/lb and i have $30 to last ’til Thursday.

10.04.04--11:45 p.m.

i left the reading early tonight.
i was tired, and anxious,
and people who i rarely talk to were talking to me.
it was an acquaintances room,
a former friends room,
a one real friend in the room, room,
so i split after the first reader,
and grabbed the buses home.

10.05.04--11:47 p.m.

my psychopharmacologist and i talked
he's been worried about the low-level depression i've had for the past three months.
we decided last appointment not to prescribe me an anti-depressant ,
as they can react against the lithium,
and that's the drug that keeps my manic-d in check.
so i can live with a little low-level depression,
instead of a high-level manic-d.
but today he suggested upping my lithium dose by 300 mg, one pill a day,
saying it shouldn't have any adverse effects
and, hopefully, will help with the depression,

10.07.04--1:05 p.m.
(really 10.06.04)

each evening when i return to my apartment
i take the silver change from my pockets
and put it in my nightstand lamp,
saving it for those occasions when i am broke,
like now,
when after a week of a slice of pizza for lunch,
and cottage cheese on wheat toast for dinner,
i order up some italian food,
eggplant parmigiana, ziti, garlic bread, garlic knots, and a two-liter bottle of diet pepsi,
put $12 on my debit/credit card,
the rest and the tip paid from my cup of silver change.
i can spend money on delivery again after a week without,
pay day is tomorrow.
and so i can also stop wearing clothes with stains i hope no one sees,
or that smell a mite funky from their second, sans undershirt wearing,
and have my laundry picked up,
even the blankets,
and three hours later,
they are all returned,
cleaned and folded.
i don't need much money,
just some.

10.08.04--12:48 a.m.
(really 10.07.04)

another jewish holiday, another day off work.
i spend it watching tnt all day,
back-to-back er's and judging amy's,
while surfing newspapers on the net,
then an hour nap
before a shower
and walk to my reading series.
it's good to work at a jewish nonprofit,
though it'd be better if i wasn't an hourly wage worker
and was paid for today.

10.09.04--2:07 p.m.
(really 10.08.04)

i'm off today,
another jewish holiday,
but i can't sleep in
because i have a 9:30 court date.
and last night's shower is sufficient,
but i have no court clothes
so i put on a collared shirt i wore three days earlier
beneath a v-neck sweater/sweatshirt so the big stain won't show,
my gray slacks,
the ones that everytime i wear them to work
the same woman says how nice i look,
how dressed up,
and my dull black doc martens.

i'm broke,
so the plan was subwaying,
but in the elevator down i realize i only have 40 minutes,
and don't want to chance it,
so i take 80 bucks out of the gristede's atm,
and cab to the courthouse,
make it by 10 minutes,
zoom through the x-ray machines,
and check my disposable camera.

on the list for the 9:30 court time,
i'm the only one of the 25 listed named kirschenbaum, or goldberg or levine,
i'm number 8 of 25,
and i'm not sure what this means,
so i wait at the front,
as though i'm trying to score springsteen seats on the floor.

there's a repairman working on the doors to this courtroom,
replacing that metal thing atop each door that keeps it slammed shut,
and repairing the front of one brown door,
where the steel was ripped back,
with a piece of unpainted silver steel.
he tells the judge what he's doing,
that it'll make some noise while court is in session.
"make all the noise you have to," she says.

all the 9:30's are called in,
i check in and sit down in the first row,
right next to the middle aisle,
and the judge asks me to move back and keep that row empty,
so i do,
and then other people sit down there anyway.
i look around and like the medicaid and food stamp office,
i'm one of the only white people.

while the judge is holding court with one defendant at a time
lawyers are milling about the seating area,
saying defendants names,
and then walking outside to speak with them.
at about 10 o'clock this happens to me,
and my building's lawyer and i sit down and discuss my case,
and how i intend to pay the dollars i owe.
i do some quick math in my head,
realize my roommate has no money until his second new job paycheck,
october 22,
how he told me he could come clean on his debt to me with his third new job paycheck,
november 5,
and tell the lawyer i can pay my building two grand by november 10,
and then,
beginning with december,
pay that month's rent plus $200 toward the past due
by the 10th of each month,
until my debt is cleared.
essentially this is the deal i had in place until my roommate decided paying rent was optional.
and the lawyer steps away,
calls the building,
and 10 minutes later he has an agreement for me to sign.
the difference between this deal and the one i had with my building before the roommate fuck-up
is that now if i miss a payment a marshall can evict me.
it's a procedure that the court attorney tells me later will take a long time to occur,
that it isn't a miss a payment, get a marshall visit, be evicted instantly thing,
but it is a can happen thing,
so that's not a good thing.

we go back into the court,
and a little while later the court attorney calls me in to review the agreement.
the two parts i have trouble with are the final notice and legal fee sections,
and i only have trouble with them because the court had given us a book to review when we were given our court dates,
and the clerk told me the pages i should especially should review,
and they included mentions of not signing anything that said final notice or agreeing to pay legal fees.
but the court attorney soothed me on these points,
and i signed the document.

and i exited the courtroom,
turned left on centre street to the deli the court officer had mentioned as being near the uptown bus,
bought a half-gallon of tropicana, no pulp, a small bag of rold gold pretzels, and some m&m's,
shook the juice,
pulled the plastic plunger out,
and took a deep slug
of the first liquid i could really afford in 10 days,
drinking it near empty by the time i disembarked the crosstown bus,
finishing it on my futon.

10.10.04--1:31 a.m.
(really 10.09.04)

a few minutes ago
the only words i wanted to write
were i want to die,
but i thought about the people who would read it and be upset
and the phone calls i'd receive,
and then went to write 15 minutes later
and didn't feel so much like i wanted to die anymore,
just that i was tired,
and i never feel like i want to die,
it's more an i don't want to live feeling if anything,
and i'm wanting cherry italian ices,
but the baskin robbins peanut butter and chocolate ice cream in my freezer will have to do
for now.

10.11.04--12:01 a.m.
(really 10.10.04)

depending on when i wake up n sundays i stay up,
see, the sports reporters is on espn at 10 a.m.,
and i if i wake up way before it i go back to sleep,
but today, up at 930,
i turn my computer on before going to pee
and stay awake,
reading the morning papers online,
emailing people,
thinking of events to plan,
eventually watching the nfl pregame shows,
the giants game,
the first half of the jets game from bed
and then a 90 minute nap
before primetime tv comes on,
and i surf some more,
and email some more,
order mexican for dinner,
guacamole nachos, hold the jalapenos, and a bean and cheese quesadilla,
drinking the one two-liter bottle of soda i have in the house,
a diet orange slice,
and slowing down for bed.

10.12.04--12:46 a.m.
(really 10.11.04)

don't eat in therapy
i never do,
but today i had a chocolate urge,
brought on by a mexican lunch,
so i quick-walked to therapy from work,
buying peanut chews,
but not eating any so as to get to therapy on time
and once in session
i go to open up my peanut chews
and my therapist asks me not to
and we engage in a discussion about why am i eating in therapy,
when i never have with her before,
and eventually i tell her i just need to eat one peanut chew,
and i do,
and then she explains to me how eating can feed a desire to talk about something,
meaning you won't open up in session like you would've before,
no worries, i tell her,
i don't talk too much in therapy whether or not i eat.

10.13.04--12:31 a.m.
(really 10.12.04)

if you date someone who has cheated
odds are they will cheat on you,
especially when their last relationship was filled with cheating,
and they not only lied to their partner
but to their lovers,
telling them they had an open relationship,
while cheating
(not to mention any names or anything).

10.14.04--12:29 a.m.
(really 10.13.04)

i'm updating our membership database at work,
and one of my bosses has told me people he knew who have moved,
but he didn't know their exact new information.
so the best bet was emailing each of them
and requesting their new contact information,
but i was never issued a company email address,
because i was hired for one project, short-term,
but new projects have kept finding their way to me as i near the 10 month mark,
and i don't think our members would be into forwarding their personal information to me at my boog city email address.
so i opened up outlook express at my desk,
hoping that it might be configured for our news service,
and in the in box were three emails addressed to me.
i did a test, emailed my boog city address,
and sure enough, i had a work email address that i never knew about.
i called our tech guy to ask about it,
and he called back a little while later,
yeah, i set it up when i set up the interns email accounts, he said.
no one ever told me, i said.
i told ryan, he didn't tell you?

10.15.04--1:35 a.m.
(really 10.14.04)

i was less tired this afternoon than usual.
it's been a couple of weeks
where each afternoon i start to crash hardcore,
and each evening when i return home i'm fighting myself to stay awake,
often laying on my bed to watch tv
and waking up an hour later to the end of a program wondering what happened.
my sleep patterns haven't changed from my normal six to eight hours a night,
and everything else has remained the same.
i've been taking prescription strength motrin for the pain under my left foot,
but my pharmacist says that isn't effecting my sleep,
by itself or in combination with my lithium.
tonight i returned home half-asleep, breathing heavy,
swearing i'd go to sleep earlier than usual.
it's 1:44 a.m. and i'm watching celebrity poker on bravo.

10.16.04--1:05 a.m.
(really 10.15.04)

undecided on where to get lunch from
i head toward seventh avenue,
meaning its subway or the pizza and everything place two doors down,
but i'd been talking about subway
and not having had subway in a while
to the point that now i wanted to get subway,
plus my card only needed four more foot-long sandwiches bought
to earn a free one,
though it's not really free since i'll have to have bought 10 sandwiches to get it
and then, to redeem the filled cards for the sandwich,
i'll have to buy a medium drink,
so i'll be paying $1.50 for my free sandwich,
but once you've bought six sandwiches
you can't not buy the other four.

10.17.04--3:31 a.m.
(really 10.16.04)

i took a look online
to see who was reading over the next few days
realized i had been a bit of a shut-in
basically only leaving my apartment for work
and the occasional nathaniel hangout,
so i looked at who was reading in the next few days
and there were some readers who i thought,
well, i might leave my apartment for them,
but then they were reading with someone else i didn't care about,
and i realized there wasn't one reading over the next few days i wanted to go to,
not one reading that if i missed i'd be sad,
television and the net still defeating all comers.

10.18.04--1:46 a.m.
(really 10.17.04)

i like talking to people i love.
nathaniel calls, back from d.c.
telling bookstore adventures
my mom and dad call from the car,
lost on their way home from upstate,
telling me how beautiful the leaves looked
sean calls from a bar in montreal
telling how they have the red sox-yankees game on
i like talking to people i love.

10.19.04--12:31 a.m.
(really 10.18.04)

my paycheck is direct-deposited every other thursday
and before my last paycheck was due in i didn't budget my money too well,
well, i never budget my money too well,
spending it each day,
using my debit/credit card to get food delivered each night,
not balancing my checkbook,
except when writing a check,
but a week before my last paycheck i saw i only had $40 left,
and so had to reduce my spending greatly to live,
and so this thursday is payday again,
and last friday night i noticed i had $80 to last me six days,
so i've been budgeting it out,
having crunch berries for dinner a coupla times,
running my wardrobe to its end,
and waiting to send my laundry out until wednesday night,
when i can write a check that i know will be good the next day.

10.20.04--1:20 a.m.
(really 10.19.04)

i'm about to turn my lights off and lay my head down,
first cut another lemon wedge and squeeze it into my plastic mets tumbler,
rub it along the rim,
and pour some fridge cold water,
place the tumbler on the coaster i bought in paris almost four years ago,
my stomachs a bit too full
from the too late night eggplant parmigiana and ziti,
and the guest host on the late late show just doesn't do much to me,
but the red sox beat the yankees tonight
to come back from 0-3 down,
so all's ok,
all is ok.

10.21.04--12:46 a.m.
(really 10.20.04)

the red sox beat the yankees four games to three
after starting off behind three games to none,
and my sister kept calling me during game seven from a business meeting she was at
me reporting the score to her as runs came in
and it was 10-3 and it was over,
the red sox getting to celebrate on the yankee stadium, field,
a nice bonus on their way to the world series,
but none of this will matter if they lose in the world series,
none of this.

10.22.04--1:38 a.m.
(really 10.21.04)

my clothes freshly laundered
i shower this morning so as we match,
and then inside my office i come across a freshly constructed shrine on the kitchen table,
a corner, wooden bookcase with three shelves,
wool cap on the top shelf,
plastic cup that once held ice cream, and a scale model of fenway park on the second one,
a metal tin of fenway park that when opened plays "take me out to the ballgame"
and taped beneath it to the table that morning's daily news front and back covers,
"the choke's on us" on the front,
"hell freezes over" on the back,
and krispy kreme donuts for all.
my boss is a red sox fan,
and they had a good night.

10.22.04--9:17 p.m.

risa told me
a message on my cell phone.
"did you hear about elliot smith?" she said.
i was walking to commerce bank
depositing my check from the temp agency,
heading toward grand central
on my way to the yale club.
when you're an elliot smith fan and you get the message,
"did you hear about elliott smith?"
two things enter your head,
either he's back on dope
or he's dead.
and i called her as i walked to work.
"hey, i just got your message about elliott smith."
"he's dead," she said.
"i didn't want to leave that message for you,
i didn't."

10.24.04--7:12 p.m.
(really 10.23.04)

saw my friends matt and nan's band schwervon play last night
and between songs
matt told the crowd how he'd become addicted to pbs,
a minute later we found out why.
"we got rid of our cable to save money," he said.
"yeah," nan said, "we wanted to be real starving artists."

since 1997 i have been out of work three times--
from may 1997 to january 1998,
from november 1998 to july 1999,
and from april 2002 to july 2003.
and through all of those periods i'd cut corners a bit,
cutting off my newspapers, not ordering in food as much as usual,
getting rid of my cable modem and dialing up with a screen name on my dad's aol account.
but the one thing i never did get rid of was my cable tv,
in part because my job losses were often caused by my mania
and then they often led to my depressions,
and so after a few weeks of no job,
it became months of no leave the apartment,
and no answer the phone,
and no communicate with the outside world.
i'm not sure how i'd've existed without cable tv,
the images it transmitted brought me the only people i'd see for weeks at a time,
other than three deliverymen i rotated--
italian, chinese, and mexican.

10.25.04--12:08 a.m.
(really 1024.04)

saw john goodman in coyote ugly tonight on the usa network,
he's gotten so much bigger than he was on roseanne,
one day it's going to kill him,
it's something i've been thinking about for a long time.

10.26.04--1:15 a.m.
(really 10.25.05)

finally got to the lab
to get blood drawn
so my psychopharmacologist could check my lithium levels
see how they've changed since he upped them by 300 milligrams a day
to try and combat the low-level depression i've had for months,
i'm seeing him tomorrow,
and while i'm in his office he'll call the lab for the results
and give me another scrip,
number 15 of the 500 or so
(assuming i make it to 80)
i'll be taking to balance my manic-d.

10.27.04--11:48 a.m.
(really 10.26.04)

i'm watching bits and pieces of the world series
around primetime programming which captures my interest more
flipping in to the games at commercial breaks
and when primetime ends at 11 o'clock.
but i've been been growing to hate a coupla red sox players,
curt schilling and bill mueller,
two born agains who make sure you know.

interviewer: bill, how did you come back from that three-error game the other night?
bill mueller: first, before we discuss that, let me praise the almighty God
and that's when i turn the channel,
because i'm watching baseball, not the religion network.
i don't know if this is a born again christian thing only,
but i don't recall players from other religions making reference to their religions after a game.
the old standby need here is that
G-d has bigger things to be concerned with than whether you played good in your game tonight, much bigger.

10.28.04--1:16 a.m.
(really 10.27.04)

the checkout lady at gristede's must have thought i was having a party,
a small one,
maybe like a meeting,
because all i bought were a package of double stuff oreos, chips and salsa,
and a whole lot of beverages--
a one gallon bottle of hawaiian punch light
two two-liter bottles of caffeine free diet pepsi
two-liter bottle of diet orange slice
32 oz bottle of red powerade
1/2 gallon container of tropicana yellow (golden) grapefruit juice (no pulp).
as of 1:22 a.m. i have sampled all of them except the diet pepsi,
and there's a plastic, 24 oz., mets tumbler,
filled with the grapefruit juice,
waiting on my nightstand.

10.29.04--1:14 a.m.
(really 10.28.04)

the red sox won the world series last night
and that saved me some money today,
not cause i didn't lose a bet
hell, i don't bet anymore on things i can't control,
but because the table in the eating area at work
was covered with bagels and cream cheeses,
three different kinds, and some cakes, too.
a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast
and another for lunch.
all in all,
i can't say my day was much worse than Derek Lowe's yesterday.

10.30.04--1:34 a.m.
(really 10.29.04)

my psychopharmacologist has limited office hours now,
and i was tired this week when i was supposed to see him,
so i changed my tuesday 3 p.m.
to a friday 11:30 a.m.
i looked at my timesheet
and saw i worked enough hours in the two week pay period
and my company closes at 3 on fridays for the sabbath
i thought what's the point of going in for two hours,
going to the doctor,
and then coming back for two hours.
so i took the day off because i'm still in that realm where i can.
i like that i'm stll in that realm.

10.31.04--10:30 a.m.
(really 10:30.04)

my community newspaper distributor retired a few months back,
so now each month has been a search for someone else who's willing to do the job.
this month's mass email turned up a friend of a friend.
we talked thursday night,
and he asked if it was okay to distribute the paper on sunday,
fine, i said, just call me on saturday so we can touch base.
so i'm on my computer this morning
and an email comes through
"Hi, David,
Unforturnately i will not be able to do the run on Monday
because My truck is leaking gas and I will not be able to make it to the city."
and that's that.
it makes me wonder how people are raised.
email is the coward's way out,
especially when a phone call was what was asked of you,
but, also, your truck won't be leaking gas forever,
you're getting it repaired.
maybe i'd say it was cool to distribute on tuesday or later.
(oh, and we said sunday originally, not monday.)
so now my paper is basically done,
but i have no desire to finish it
because who's going to see it,
just me?

10.31.04--11:20 p.m.

i got some motivation
i don't know where from
and finished the paper,
well, finished enough of it, 95% of it,
where i felt comfortable printing it out for final proof.
i called the wanna be distributor who bagged on me yesterday
and he said his jeep isn't in good enough shape to do the job later this week.
"if you're able to do it next month, gimme a call," i say, knowing it's the last we'll ever talk.
i scan my new york city email address book
looking for someone with a car who can distribute this one issue,
and then i'll worry about the next a month from now,
but no names seem like they'll happen.
and i'm still not proofing the final pages
because there's no distributor in sight.