It’s June 3. That means I smoked my last cigarette one year ago.
I’ve been depressed this week. Trying to snap out of it and get back into my normal routine. It still feels like there’s pins and needles stuck in my heart and I’m having a hard time motivating myself. I pretty much want to stay hidden, but at the same time I feel a need to stick my neck out again.
I went ahead and bought the second season of Six Feet Under last night and watched the first episode. It’s kind of neat how I’m remembering these episodes as if no time has passed since I last saw them in 2003. I wouldn’t mind going back to 2003. It was a good time. I was in a relationship with a woman I never got over.
I woke up this morning remembering something from my childhood. It was the last year that my brother Fred and I were on the Lapeer Steelers’ freshman team. This young, college-aged assistant coach, after speaking to the entire team, threw a football into the mud down the field.
I’m not positive that this is why it happened, but I had been under the impression that the assistant coach, after throwing the ball, told Fred to retrieve it, and then he told the rest of us to tackle Fred.
I’m not positive that those were the words the coach said. My deafness didn’t allow me to pick that up clearly. But the coach did say something after throwing the ball and Fred went to get it. Then the coach said something else and the entire team went after Fred.
I trailed behind the charging team, uncertain of what was going on. I watched the dog pile grow as thirty to forty guys jumped into it. I think I added my weight to the pile, though by the time I got there, the pile was so high that I couldn’t do much more than lean against it.
And then I heard Fred yelling. I knew it was him and his yelling was a terrifying sound. I realized what was happening. In a minute the coaches were there pulling everyone off. When the last guy was pulled off, Fred was lying face down in the mud. I remember sitting beside him while everyone else took off to run a few laps as punishment. But then I got up to run the laps too. Not sure if someone told me to or if I just thought I was supposed to.
Normally when we ran laps, our running path was a simple triangle. We’d run down the field to this big tree near where the varsity practiced, turn and run past the J.V’s practice area to another big tree where the cheerleaders practiced, turn and make our way back to the freshman practice area.
But that time was real punishment. Instead of the normal triangle route, we were made to run along the outside of the entire field. Our practice field was a big park, surrounded by hills and a creek on one side.
Here’s a Google Earth screenshot of the field. Looks like they cut down a lot of the trees that used to be there.
We had to run along the outside of the field three times. When we finished our laps, Fred was sitting on the picnic table recovering from nearly being killed by the entire freshman team. But then, one of the coaches made him run the laps that the rest of us had just finished.
That was a bad year to be on the Lapeer Steelers’ freshman team. The years before that, Delbert Anderson was the head coach. Delbert was a good coach and a true role model, and the assistant coaches were all good guys. My dad was one of the assistant coaches.
But that last year that Fred and I were on the freshman team, Delbert Anderson and the other coaches from the past years had moved up to coach the J.V.. Several of the new coaches were stupid assholes, true posers putting on some pretentious military-wannabe act.
My dad was one of the defense coaches that year, but he usually arrived late because of his job. He worked as a painter at an auto body shop in Rochester. I imagine if my dad had been there when that thing happened to Fred, he would have beat the shit out of the assistant coach who set it into motion.
I remember once when Fred and our cousin Jimmy tried to explain that it’s Catholic, not Cadillac. But I just couldn’t hear them right and went on talking about the Roman Cadillacs.
Okay, I got the front yard mowed. I’ll get the backyard tomorrow. Was sitting on the porch and saw this robin perched on that wooden barrel thingy, looking all majestic. Had to snap his picture.
Dad’ll be picking me up soon.
I’d like to go to M.D. Sports Tavern or Louie’s Sports Tavern. when one of my teams is playing and not just eat and leave, but eat and stay, have a few beers and watch the game until it’s over.
I’ve been arguing with myself for weeks about whether to write this entry or not. On one hand, I want to get it off my chest, but on the other hand, I don’t really feel like it. I guess I’ll write the damn thing and get it out of the way.
I lose my temper very easily. A lot of people have witnessed that. Some have found themselves the targets of my anger. Sometimes I get so mad that my vision blurs. I don’t know why I’m like this. I can make some guesses, but they are just guesses.
I’m a monster. I’m not above dragging people through the mud if they piss me off to a certain degree. I’ve really torn people down at times. I can be very vile, mean, hateful. But then, when the smoke clears, I’m angry with myself about the things I said while in a rage.
After losing my temper, I often feel a need to hide from people. The shame overwhelms me. Questions rotate in my head. Was my anger justified? Did I overreact? Did I take the issue more personally than I should have? More times than not, I decide that, no, my anger was not justified and, yes, I overreacted and took the issue too personally.
Which brings me to anxiety. Worse than my struggle with anger is my struggle with anxiety. I have a hard time looking people in the eye when I talk to them. My gaze automatically flicks from one corner of the room to another, to the ceiling, to the window, to the lamp on the table, and, of course, to the floor.
Some people take my difficulty to make eye contact as a sign of disrespect and get pissy with me. That usually results in me getting pissed at them, and then they’ll probably have eye contact with me.
I have other habits that people don’t seem to understand. When nervous or bored, I’m often touching my head or running my hands through my hair. I’ve been asked on a few occasions, “Do you have a headache?” No, as a matter of fact, I do not. I rarely ever have a headache, not even after a night of drinking.
At any gathering, I tend to pace back and forth from one end of the property to the other. Most of the time, I don’t realize I’m doing it until I’ve been doing it for a while. It’s pretty embarrassing, but I’m unable to stop myself for very long. I’m not sure why I do it, but I think it might be a combination of anxiety, Tourette’s and pure boredom.
When I go to a gathering, I go with the idea that I’m going to enjoy myself. But often I end up feeling like I’m not involved. This is largely due to the fact that I can’t hear a damn thing anyone is saying. Everyone is talking around me. I hear their voices clearly, but their words are gibberish.
I’ve been told that I need to start inserting myself. Into group conversations? Are you kidding me? Am I supposed to say, “Hey, what are you guys talking about?” and completely interrupt their brilliant exchange of words?
They might turn to me and try to explain, but they’ll likely have to repeat themselves several times and I still might not understand them. Then, after I’ve moved on, they might not be able to resume the conversation that they were apparently enjoying.
If everyone involved in a group conversation starts laughing, I might ask “What’s so funny?” Or if someone is passing around a cell phone, showing pictures, I might ask to see the pictures too. But I’m not going to insert myself into a conversation that’s being carried on by a number of people.
Although I’ve gotten better at being around people, sometimes I feel like I can’t deal with anyone. That I need to stay out of sight and be forgotten. This is usually when I find myself thinking about something I said or did that was stupid. It can take me a while to overcome that feeling and get to where I’m comfortable interacting with people again.
I wish I could be one of those dudes who is always mellow, confident, outgoing. But I’m not and I probably never will be.
Okay, I just got my phone back on. In the past, the bank had declined many payments to my Florida based phone company, on the grounds that Florida is a high fraud state. But the bank is still honoring my request to not decline those payments anymore.
The reason they declined the latest payment is the information the phone company had is for a debit card that recently expired. I forgot to update that information when I activated my new card.
Perhaps the phone company should have notified me. Or maybe they did. I get a call on my phone every now and again, but I don’t answer the phone because I won’t be able to hear what’s being said. For the same reason, I don’t listen to voice messages. Texting is the best way to contact me.
So, the blame does not fall on the bank.
Yes, this is a most urgent message, indeed. As it happens, I have no cell phone service. Heaven knows who has tried to contact me during the time that my cell phone was off. But why am I contacting you? You’re the bank, not the phone company.
Well, if you must know, my phone bill is automatically paid each month. Or it’s supposed to be. Today, upon realizing my phone service was down, I contacted the phone company and found out the bank declined the latest transaction to the phone company.
My phone company is XXXXX, a Florida based company. I’ve been with them for years and I’m happy with them. Now, there were times in the past when you had declined my payments to XXXXX. I’d have to contact you and tell you to send the payment through. You always did when I told you to, thank you.
I remember your explanation as to why my payments were being declined. Your explanation was that Florida has a high rate of fraud and because of that, you’re taking extraordinary measures when making transactions with all Florida based companies.
All right, great. But, XXXXX is my phone company and I pay for the service monthly, using their automatic payment option. Because you were constantly declining my payments to XXXXX and making me contact you to have the payments put through, I requested that you stop declining my payments to XXXXX. I mean, it’s a real hassle to have to contact the bank every time I need to pay my phone bill.
For a long time after that, there were no declined payments, no interruptions of phone service. Life was good and we all rejoiced. But now, it seems my request that you stop declining payments to XXXXX has expired.
Please, I beg you, don’t decline anymore of my payments to XXXXX.
Thank you, and peace out.
Your humble customer,
Hi! How may I help you today?
Me: It seems I have no cell phone service. I can’t call or text.
Angel: Hi Rob. Thank you for visiting.
.Angel: I’m sorry to hear that.
Angel: Let me check on your account. Are we working for the phone number that ends with XXXX?
Angel: May I please have your address?
Me: XXXX Annibal Dr. Lapeer, MI 48446
Angel: Thank you. Please bear with me as I review your account.
Angel: Thank you for waiting. Please bear with me as my system is running slow.
Angel: Thank you for waiting. Upon checking, it shows that you already reached your scheduled service end date. To restore your service, you need to refill your account.
Angel: Do you have an airtime card with you or are you going to use your credit card?
Me: It’s supposed to refill automatically.
Angel: Let me check further. Please allow me a moment.
Angel: Upon checking further, it shows that your last transaction was declined by your bank.
Me: Oh, Jesus. My bank has done that in the past. I’m furious. Thank you, Angel. You’ve been very helpful. I’ll give my bank, yet, another earful.
Angel: You are welcome.
Angel: Is there anything else that I can assist you with?
Me: Nope, that’s everything. Thank you. Best wishes and warm regards.
Angel: You are welcome.
The problem is, I thought my phone bill was already paid and it’s not, because the bank declined the scheduled payment and didn’t notify me. So, now I won’t have phone service until I can get in touch with someone at the bank tomorrow and tell them to send the payment through.
The problem is, I already told my bank to stop declining payments to this particular company. There were no problems for quite some time, but now it seems the bank has forgotten my request and is back to declining payments to this Florida based company simply because it’s a Florida based company.
But don’t get me wrong. I don’t have many complaints about my bank, just some of their measures drive me up the wall.