It’s a cool evening, almost completely dark already. Dad has been working on a pot of chili for the majority of the day (or so he tells me) and I can smell it. Work was terribly boring, as usual, and I don’t feel like thinking and then typing to respond to all the emails coming in. It must just be the fact that I’m tired, a little hungry, and thinking about everything that will be happening to me soon. I feel like my mind won’t let me forget what I have in store very soon.

In a related area I luckily scheduled a dentist appointment a week from today. That will be the last of my examinations/checkups/tests in order for MCC’s insurance to cover me.

You know, sometimes I feel that life would be so much more enjoyable if I could transform into some kind of animal, like a dog or cat. Things would be so much simpler then. I wouldn’t have to tiptoe along the tightrope made of eggshells that is also known as human interaction and societal norms and wouldn’t have to be obligated to do anything. But then again, it is those things that distinguishes humans from animals. What a paradox…. A catch-22 if you will….

The weather is getting cooler and I sleep with two blankets now and don’t want to get out from under them in the morning. It seems like all of the vegetation around is being slowly drained of life as various weeds are turning brown and the leaves in the woods are starting to turn red.

Tomorrow I go back to the Health Department to confirm that I don’t have TB.

Today I left work early and got back home, showered and went to the health department in Mount Vernon. I was quite nervous having not been to a doctor at all for 2 ½ years, but it wasn’t very bad.

I was poked a couple times. They listened to my heartbeat and breathing. I had to read small letters from 15 feet away etc. However, I still have to go back on Thursday so they can look at my arm and tell me that I don’t have TB.

I should also mention that this past weekend was one for the record books. There were two late nights followed by early mornings and over the course of it all I ended up locking my keys in the car at midnight and I had a two-hour drive ahead of me. This was the first time ever that I’ve locked keys in a car and had no spare; a very frustrating feeling.

I went to work in the morning yesterday, and when I got back I went on a mission. My computer monitor had stopped working and I went to a computer shop that reeked of smoke. The only man there was a very skinny person who had a very thick hillbilly accent. I bought a monitor that was in a back room for 25 bucks. After that was done I went to the large grocery store across the road to look for a contact lens case for my mother.

I wandered dizzily through aisles of shampoo and “shower gels,” past whole walls dedicated to hair color products. There are so many heartburn and allergy medicine stocked that I just wandered past in a daze and tried not to be mesmerized by the colorful boxes.

Eventually I found what I wanted and got out of the store (or should I call it a consumeristic trap?).

Today it’s raining—spoiling dad’s plans to move the sheep to some better grazing. My Amtrak ticket to Lancaster came the other day and I scheduled a doctors appointment for Monday and everything is sounding more and more final. Sometimes I’ve been listening to this Bob Dylan song as I fall asleep:

While riding on a train going west,

I fell asleep for to take my rest,

I dreamed a dream that made me sad,

Concernin’ myself and the first few friends I had.

With half-damp eyes I stared to the room,

Where my friends and I spent many an afternoon,

Where we together weathered many a storm,

Laughin’ and singin’ till the early hours of the morn.

By the old wooden stove where our hats was hung,

Our words were told, our songs was sung,

Where we longed for nothin’ and were satisfied,

Talkin’ and jokin’ about the world outside.

With hungry hearts through the heat and cold,

We never much thought we would get very old.

We thought we could sit forever in fun,

While our chances really was a million to one.

As easy it was to tell black from white,

It was all that easy to tell wrong from right,

And our choices they was few and the thought never hit

That the one road we traveled would ever shatter or split.

How many a year has passed and gone,

Many a gamble has been lost and one,

And many a road taken by many a friend,

And each one I’ve never seen again.

I wish, I wish, I wish in vain,

That we could sit simply in the room again,

Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat,

I’d give it all gladly if our lives could be like that.

I’m not sure if I’m being overly sentimental here. I mean, that’s something I like to mock when I’m telling people to live in the here and now. But it seems that I can apply this song to so many friends and so many situations in so many locations. Ah well, alackaday.

The other day I took our old rusty truck into Mount Vernon to fill up some gas cans for the lawn mower. The truck is a ’78 Chevy and is therefore very different from nearly everything on the road these days. To begin with, it is the only vehicle we own with a V8 engine, though in older times, they used to be standard in nearly every car. Accompanying this V8 is more horsepower than I’m used to. When I drive my Hyundai around, I am low to the ground with the steering wheel at bent-arms length; in the truck however, I am way off of the ground (and still have about a foot of headroom to spare) and the steering wheel is right up close to me, even with the bench seat all the way back.

Anyhow, I went roaring down gravel roads and up hills at 55 mph—sitting on a seat with a cushion worn almost completely through—on my way to town, though I had to be careful because the brakes have a tendency to lock if the pedal is pressed very hard.

This beast only has three gears (and a low gear which isn’t really necessary in normal driving) and therefore practically drinks gas. Oh, and the gas tanks sit outside the frame of the truck, making it basically a hazard to drive, because if hit from the side… KABOOM!!!

The radio doesn’t work, and the choke cable (ever seen one of those?) likes to work itself free, making the vehicle loose power going up hills. But regardless, it has memories, despite all of its less-than-up-to-standard features. The blinkers don’t work anymore; the horn doesn’t either (after I noticed that when I turned left the horn beeped); and at one point I could change the starter in 15 minutes because it kept burning up. For two consecutive winters I used the bed of the truck to haul silage for a neighbor’s cows and sometimes the four-wheel drive didn’t work in the snow.

That old truck has made it all the way from South Dakota where we bought it for 2,000 dollars and it still runs and can pull and haul and drive through mud and snow. But I just drove it to town and picked up 11 gallons of gas to burn in the lawn mower.

Two nights ago I went to see a friend in Columbus that I hadn’t seen since the beginning of August. I showed up after I worked around 11 p.m. or so and we talked and eventually made our way a block or two down High Street and found some macaroni. He made some wonderful dish around midnight and we sat around and ate and watched a sci-fi movie that I hadn’t seen. The night went on until I simply couldn’t stay awake anymore. I fell asleep on his couch in the warm air of the upstairs apartment.

I drove back on the Interstate playing the 70 mph game of musical chairs that one expects around Columbus and its sprawl. My form of proletariat rebellion that day was cutting off a Mercedes SUV as it was trying to pass me. Karl Marx would be proud.

Today seemed like fall. It was raining nearly all day; never hard, but just steady throughout. It was also cool and I had the heater on slightly as I drove home from work. There were some leaves that had fallen and were plastered to the country road where I drive… it really must be fall.

On a totally separate note, last night was the night that did in my shoes. When I work in the dishroom I am required to wear certified non-slip shoes. I originally had some when I worked at Friendly’s during the summer of 2001, but for some reason always kept them in the back of the closet. I wore them last summer working at this same dishroom in Bellville, and I thought they would last me another brief stint working in very wet conditions. However, they gradually eroded and turned into non-slip sandals and they showed most of my socks. In any case, I was walking to the dumpster last night, near the end of my shift, and the front of my left shoe caught something on the ground. This caused the entire front of my foot to come out of my left shoe. I decided this was the final straw; these shoes won’t last another month or more. So I drove through the rain and bought new ones so that I’ll have another pair of non-slip shoes sitting in the back of my closet for when I rejoin the food industry.