Go to Chapter 2 Chapter 1
My Dull Life
Tuesday, August 06, 2002
My GPS arrived in the mail today. That stands for Global Positioning
My location is N 37 24 687'; W 121 52.123'
Monday, August 05, 2002
I saw a kid ride his bike down the street with his dog running along beside
him. I never had a dog like that. Every time we'd let the dog out of the
backyard, he'd run away. My dad would track him down and beat him with
the Saturday Evening Post.
The dog I have now walks away. Neighbors find him and return him. Some
do it as a favor. Others just don't want him around their place.
About a month ago, one night, I just looked at my dog and my dog looked
back. It was like a starring contest but nobody was really trying to win. After
a few minutes I spoke to him, but not like people talk to dogs. No poochie
poochie talk. I just asked him straight out, was there something he wanted
to tell me? It helped that there was nobody else around.
He just continued looking at me, thoughtful and quiet, like that was a good
question. His silent, calm stare seemed to say, "As a matter of fact, yes.
There is indeed something you should know."
He gave me one of those calm, "You tell me" expressions.
Here we were talking. I asked, "Are you really a person?" He didn't say
anything. That wasn't it. Of course not. Then I had a thought. "Am I really a
I looked into his eyes and he confirmed it with chilling silence. Suddenly, a
lot of things made sense but it also gave me a funny feeling.
As that started to sink in, my dog got up, walked to the bathroom, and
drank out of the toilet.
Sunday, August 04, 2002
I started to fix myself some Taster's Choice this morning and when I
opened the little bottle I paused and asked myself, "What's this smell?"
It's the way my life smells.
Instant coffee before it's mixed with hot water.
Saturday, August 03, 2002
I went to look at cars and I met some interesting salesmen. They all could
have been in my P.E. class in junior high.
I told this congenial fellow at Enterprise I wanted a smooth ride but I drove
an SUV the other day and....He completed my sentence by saying, "....it
was too bumpy." I said, no, it was smooth. And he said, "Yes, they're very
Hm. I thought that was interesting. Here's a guy who would have had no
problem understanding the Pope.
And this other salesman, Ron, was very strange. I told him I didn't like the
way the Passant handled and he said, "You're not used to having control in
your life and you're telling me you don't want it." He also said that with the
Passat's safety record, I'd have no regard for human life if I didn't buy one.
He was overweight but looked strong. He had a pack of cigarrettes on his
desk. Our conversation was interrupted by phone calls in which he did a lot
of swearing. He had a ham for a face and a Mitch Miller mustache, you
know, with waxed points. I told him I had other places to look and he said,
"Ah ha! You're going to my competition just to see if you can save some
money!" I asked him wouldn't he do the same? "No! If I found a car I liked,
I'd buy it right away! And so what if it meant spending one or two hundred
dollars more? If I liked the salesman, it would be OK with me!" I told him I
might be back and before I left the room he was shuffling through papers
and I could tell in his mind that I already didn't exist.
It's not every day I spend time with overweight people who drink, smoke,
swear and lie so it really didn't bother me. I thought they'd all be dead, but
we're not there yet.
The last place I went was one of those corner car lots. For weeks I've seen
they have an old yellow station wagon that I like but I was afraid to ask for a
test drive because they'd have to move a lot of cars to get to it. But
yesterday I thought I'd ask anyway. Before they moved any cars, they tried to
start it up, which took about 15 minutes of jumping it, putting in more gas,
and playing with some wires under the dash. They finally got it going and
the motor sounded very rough. By "they" I mean the owner, the son, and the
mechanic. They waited for me to say something like, "It sounds good" but
the chance of me being a total retard and deaf on top of that was kind of a
long shot so they didn't wait as long as they could have. The owner said it
needs a sensor. If I bought the car, all I'd need to do is get a $30 sensor. I
asked them if they could just do that themselves. They said they'd do that if
I gave them a $100 deposit. I liked these guys. They said strange things
like that and all I had to do is look at them. They couldn't stand the sound of
there own words when they just hung in the air like that. They took down
my name and number on a piece of paper that they probably no longer can
find. That's OK. I'm used to waiting for things I don't expect.
Friday, August 02, 2002
I think it's good karma because it all depends on how you look at it and it
could go either way. So, if it could go either way, I can go ahead and be
positive and say it's good.
In my previous life, I think I was a potato bug.
What kind of karma is that?
Thursday, August 01, 2002
It's a hot night and my t-shirt is sticking to my skin. Dogs bark and
sometimes I hear a siren. The kids across the street come out around this
time and all they do is shout and scream and chase each other. I'm not
sure they're having fun. It's like the barking dogs. They just do it because
they're stupid. Bark, bark, bark. Scream, scream. Sometimes I get a couple
of thobbing bass notes from a passing car's stereo. People who listen to
rap music are stupid too. Really, really stupid. Seriously lacking important
stuff in the head.
Think of a guy who sits down at a table and picks up a fork and stabs
himself in the hand, over and over again. After a while, it probably doesn't
hurt. After a while, the guy probably doesn't even think about what he's
doing but he still doesn't stop. That's what people do when they listen to
People don't "listen" to rap. They inflict it upon themselves and everybody
else in earshot.
Rap isn't music any more than dirt is food. I mean, you can put dirt in your
mouth, but it still isn't food.
I need to get another supply of earplugs from Orchard Supply.
Wednesday, July 31, 2002
Still no email.
I was thinking maybe somebody would write to ask how my goldfish died.
It hasn't happened.
I was going to write back saying, "I don't want to talk about it," but, as I said,
Well, I don't know why he died. I don't think it could have been old age. The
goldfish at the deli has been there for years and now it's almost too big for
I don't think he died from neglect. He just died. And then he started to float.
I went to Andy's Pet Shop to get another one and they said all they had
were feeder goldfish.
That's what mine was.
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Bullitt's on cable tonight. "Tough, smart cop does things his own way."
When I saw it in 1968, I decided to pattern my life after Steve McQueen.
You know, he used a stunt double when he jumped over the barbed wire
fence in the Great Escape. That's something I would do. Use a stunt
Monday, July 29, 2002
My glasses got scuffed right in the middle of the lense.(I put them in my
pocket and I think they rub against my keys.) If I want to see something
clearly, I've got to look a little high or a little low.
It's like when I picked up my car from Wheel Works today. They weren't
supposed to get the part in until tomorrow. The manager smiled at me. I
looked at his teeth and then I looked at his face where hair would grow if
he gave it a couple of days. I wonder if they just put the bad part back in.
Ten minutes before I had asked Pedro and Pedro said something like,
"Your car? Your car's ready, Sir."
Taking my time looking at the manager do nothing but smile, I noticed
flaws in his face that would exclude him from the cast of Friends. The
manager smiled and said nothing and I just looked at him and said
nothing, but I moved my head up and down because of the scuff marks.
The manager soon had enough of that but he couldn't stop smiling so he
just turned his head and walked off. My bill came to $207.
I got in my car and was ready to leave but Li was wiping the hood with one
of those red shop clothes. He had a sad look on his face. I asked Li what
he was doing and he answered me in that accent of his that only the
manager can make out. I didn't start the car until he was finished. I had to
wait. I think Li knows something I don't know.
I called my sister and asked her if she wants to buy my car. She said no.
Sunday, July 28, 2002
Wheel Works said I need a new front left bearing. OK, I said. Then they
called me back and said that the bad bearing bent my axle. I need a new
one but it has to ship from Prunedale. They think my car will be ready by
Tuesday. OK, I said.
Maybe there is no such thing as front left bearing or a rotor or these other
things I've paid for. Maybe they have a bet going on in the shop about how
long it will take before I get wise. I've already given Wheel Works more
money that what I paid for the car. All I wanted was an alignment because
it pulled a little to the right. I wonder who's betting I'll pay $3,000 before they
can no longer keep a straight face. It might be Li. It might be Pedro. It might
even be the manager.
If it is all a joke, I hope it's the kind of joke where I get my money back.
Friday, July 26, 2002
I took a shower and I ran out of hot water in just a couple minutes. One of
those annoying mysteries.
My goldfish died.
Wheel Works had my car all day today. It was ready by 10 am but they
forgot to call me. I picked it up at 5 pm and there was still that clicking. I
guess I'll talk to them tomorrow.
Thursday, July 25, 2002
I had to go back to Wheel Works because they did something to my car. I
don't know what they did, but ever since I saw them last time, there's been
a loud clicking when I make turns.
The manager said, "I'm going to give you my best mechanic."
He's the same mechanic I saw last time. He might be a good mechanic
but he has a heavy accent and I can't understand anything he says. I say,
"What?" and he repeats it and it's just as unclear. I say "What?" a couple
more times and then I give up and pretend I understand. But it doesn't
matter. Even if he spoke clear English I still wouldn't understand because I
don't understand cars.
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
I practiced my violin today. I sounded terrible. I put on ear plugs and that's
how I think I'm going to practice from now on until I get better.
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
I found three rats in my backyard and two of them were still alive but they
weren't feeling well. They looked sleepy or apathetic but according to what
it says on the d-Con box, they were having internal bleeding.
I didn't think it right just to leave them there. Maybe they were suffering. And
what if a cat came by and ate them and got poisoned from their poison?
So, with the help of Mr. Pinchy, a device usually used for picking up litter, I
put them in a plastic bag and tied it tight. Then I filled a wastepaper basket
full of water and put the bag in there so they'd drown.
If I had just thrown the rats in there they would have floated. But guess
what? (Or do you really need to guess?) The plastic bag had air in it so it
floated. I pushed down the bag with a stick but the rats found the pocket of
trapped air and so they didn't drown. They were fighting for their life and
I tried to poke a hole in the bag to let out the air but I poked a rat and I
thought that must have hurt. I got another stick and kept poking and turning
with two sticks and after a long time, the rats finally stopped moving. I put
the bag in the garbage.
The next time this happens I'll have to think of a better way to deal with it.
Monday, July 22, 2002
I finally got email. A guy named Mel writes to tell me I'm killing rats the
wrong way. He says I should use those sticky pads. He was concerned
about the environment.
Maybe I'll write him back and ask him what brand of sticky pads he would
recommend. And then, maybe he'll write and tell me.
Sunday, July 21, 2002
I was going to plant a garden this year but when it's time to do that my
allergies act up. The weeds are tall now and the dog has been doing his
business in there. The weeds have interwoven with old lawn furniture and
I'm sure my rake is in there somewhere. It's just too much to do anything
about it. Where would I start?
What about rats?
I went to Orchard Supply and bought everything they had to kill rats. My
favorite device was a trap that electrocutes them. It runs on 4 AA batteries.
It zapped a big rat just an hour after I set it. But that was a week ago and
since then, no zapped rats. Maybe they found out somehow. Maybe rats
I made a poison box from a plastic container and put 4 d-Con trays in it.
They ate it all up and I bought 20 more trays. So far, I've seen 3 dead rats in
my yard. It takes about 5 days. That poison must taste good because they
keep coming back. Rats are smart but not too smart for poison.
I'm probably killing rats that aren't even mine. They're probably coming
from all over. If I have to keep buying cases of D-Con, it's going to cost me,
but the truth is, it's fun. Every morning I check to see how much they've
eaten. The last two times I took the top off the box to check, there were rats
there munching away. They ran away reluctantly. They love that stuff. Eat,
eat, have all you want.
I've found something I like to do. It will be nice when there are no more
rats. I'll know that I killed them. But it will be a little bit of a let down too, as
you can imagine.
Saturday, July 20, 2002
Flies keep landing on my bear legs (I wear shorts). I've been picking my
scabs again. Along with rotting fruit and stale urine, flies like my blood.
Tonight is Saturday night. There's a dog barking two houses down. It
I live next to a "convenience store" which means there will be cans and
bottles to pick up off my lawn tomorrow. I go there to buy Chips Ahoy. They
taste a little old but it is convenient.
No email today.
My mother called today but she didn't have much to say. She pressed the
wrong number on her autodialer. That's what she said.
Friday, July 19, 2002
My driver's license says I'm 5' 6 1/2" but I'm now 5' 5" at best. I guess
people shrink. Or just some of us, I guess.
Still no email.
Radio Shack is having a sale tomorrow.
I looked at cars today on a used car lot. I was the only one there except for
the salesman. None of the cars had prices marked on them. Everytime I
ased the guy what the price was on a car, he told me like he was doing me
a favor. After the 3rd car he seemed a little irritated and he asked me what I
was looking for. I said I didn't know. He snorted. Then he walked away to
other end of the lot. He didn't like me. I thought maybe if I bought a car he
would then like me. Yes, he would, for a couple minutes, and it would feel
good, but then it would be over and I'd have the car and it probably wouldn't
work very well. I bet it would need a timing chain.
Thursday, July 18, 2002
I have a dentist appointment but I never see the dentist, just the dental
hygenist. She asks me if I've been flossing. One time I said yes but then
she could tell it wasn't true. I wonder why she asks then.
My dentist has Business Week and People Magazine in the waiting room.
A little square is cut off the front cover where the address label was. My
dentist doesn't want us to know where he lives. Fine with me..
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
I got some email today.
"Get new friends with whiter teeth."
Maybe that would work but I don't think it would work for me because
nobody ever sees my teeth.
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
It's too early to go to bed.
Flies are hitting my screen door trying to get out. Eventually they will find the
hole and be free. But right now they're making little bumping sounds as
they hit their little heads.
I went to Wheel Works today to have my tires rotated. They didn't need it.
There was a sign that said that if you buy new tires and they don't offer to
give you a free alignment check, just let them know, and your next
alignment check will be free.
I went to Albertson's to buy some Meow Mix because there's a stray cat in
our neighborhood that looks like it would appreciate some food. I put
some of it on a paper plate on my front steps but so far the cat hasn't been
This afternoon in San Jose it was 80 degrees.
My poison oak is gone but I still have scabs from from the scratching I did. I
pick at them and then I get new scabs. I don't know how long this will go
The manager at Wheel Works was a thin young man who has hair kind of
like Chandler on Friends. He was happy, too. I wouldn't be happy if I had
his job. I bet he's not really happy.
I think I'll brush my teeth.
Monday, July 15, 2002
I went to a deli to get a sandwich. It was noon so it was crowded. The guy
asked me if I wanted "roll or sliced." I thought he said "whole or sliced." I
said "whole." He said "roll!" I said, "Oh. Roll."
Then he asked me if I wanted everything on it and I said yes.
Then he said, "Cheese?"
I said, "No."
And then he gave me another ugly look. I guess "everything" includes
cheese. Then why did he ask me if I wanted cheese?
Maybe he was testing me to see if I was paying attention. If so, I guess I
It was a vegetarian sandwich and I drove to a park to eat it. It wasn't that
good. I sat in the shade and there was just enough of a breeze to be
uncomfortably cold. But that was my fault too because I'm still wearing
Too cold on a hot July afternoon. It's strange how things happen.
Sunday, July 07, 2002
Today I was thinking, do dogs really smile?
My dog is resting in the shade and she's panting with her mouth half open,
showing her teeth.
She looks like she's smiling. But so many things turn out to be not what
Saturday, July 06, 2002
My shirt is missing a button but I don't think anybody notices.
Picking up my jacket off the floor, it felt like there was something in the
pocket. It was lint.
Friday, July 05, 2002
One of the main things that gets me up in the morning is the fun of
checking the poison box in the backyard to see how much the rats ate. But
they haven't eaten anything for several days now. Maybe they're not
touching their food because they're all dead.
I had a feeling this would happen.
The satisfaction of knowing I'm rat-free is nice, but it is not the same as
OK, there are different levels of pleasure. But knowing I'm rat-free isn't the
kind of pleasure that's going to bounce me out of bed in the morning.
Mornings now, I just get up and go to the bathroom and then sit on the
edge of my bed and wait until I feel like doing something. Or until I forget
that I'm waiting.
I still check the poison box, but later, so the disappointment will blend right
in to the middle of my day.
Thursday, July 04, 2002
As the sun was going down yesterday, I made a fire in my backyard in my
I don't know why. I didn't have anything to burn except some scrap wood.
I kept feeding the fire until it got late and then I got tired and I put it out with
This morning my body smells smokey but it's not the smell of seasoned
oak or pine from a campfire. It smells kind of like burnt plastic.
I guess it's a bad idea to burn pressed board because of the chemicals
they use to make it. And there was old enamel paint on most of the scraps.
It was part of old fence that was put up and torn down before I moved here.
Wednesday, July 03, 2002
When I was a little boy, I remember the first time I was alone with a tape
recorder. I made all kinds of strange sounds and it amused me for a long
time until I got tired.
That's the kind of sound I heard on the radio today but instead of the voice
of a little boy, it sounded like an old man just saying, "blah, blah, blah,
blah." An old man, without much imagination, being silly in a lazy kind of
Then the announcer said it was the Pope speaking at a youth rally in
The Pope is getting really old. He was even speaking English.
I'm not Catholic but if I were Catholic I'm not sure how'd I'd feel about that.
Somebody who sounds like that belongs in bed with his family gathered
around him saying, "Yes, Grandfather. Yes. Now try to get some rest."
But no. He's still up there talking into a microphone with 500,000 people
sort of understanding, but mostly not, as he talks about peace in the
Middle East and stuff like that.
I heard the Pope today and I said to myself, "Shoot, I could do that."
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Tuesday, July 02, 2002
They redid the entire garbage collection system and gave us all new carts
for recycling. They notified us by mail when our new collection day would
be. Mine's the same.
Monday, July 01, 2002
I lost my To Do list so I started another one. First item, Find To Do List.
I found it but I didn't look at it because I didn't want to see all the things I
was going to do but didn't. I threw it away.
I went to cross out Item #1 but I can't find my new list.
I was thinking about making another list.
Sunday, June 30, 2002
I went to the matinee to see Stuart Little 2. Nobody had gone through to
clean up and there was popcorn and paper cups all over the place. Maybe
they clean up right before the first evening show.
But what I remember most was entering the lobby. The ticket taker was
disabled. She was in a wheelchair and I don't think she could move at all. I
just showed her my ticket because I figured she couldn't punch it or tear it.
She looked at it and then she said something that came out of a speaker. I
don't know what she said. It was one syllable and sounded like a dial tone.
I took it to mean, "OK, fine. Enjoy the show."
Saturday, June 29, 2002
Today as I was sitting and doing nothing, I thought of something funny and
I laughed to myself. I don't remember what it was, though. Maybe it was
Friday, June 28, 2002
It's getting close to bed time
I think I'll close my eyes.
I can't see anything. I better open them again.
Thursday, June 27, 2002
It is almost midnight.
Nothing happened today that I was aware of.