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More and more I've noticed I care less and less. Maybe that's part of getting old and then older and older still. Maybe it's because too many people I've loved have died.

I ought to be worried about being out of work, but screw it.

And my lack of insurance should be a worry in my mid 60s, but you know what? Screw that, too.

Then there's my steady state of lethargy. Days and days pass, without stepping out of my room except to pee or make a sandwich. They're pretty good days, though. Getting out of bed is overrated.

On Wednesday, my temp agency phoned for the first time in weeks, and left a message that they had an assignment for me, starting Friday… which is today. I never called them back, though. Screw your assignments. Screw everything. 

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Reading the above, you might think the author was depressed, but writing it I can vouch for the guy — he's the opposite. I'm in inexplicably good spirits, as dementedly delighted as a widower and a recluse can be. For all the nothingness and weeks without pants,  it's a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done, or than anyone normal could imagine.

I would always rather be in my recliner. Who wouldn't? There's only room for one of me tilted back, and the cat when she's in the mood, but being alone is my seriously happiest condition. The only thing better than alone is alone with a gallon of pineapple sherbet, and in the freezer there's four.

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This beat-up and sagging recliner, though, belongs in a room downtown, or on Aurora Ave, or someplace, anyplace interesting, instead of the upstairs corner bedroom in this rickety house, in this bleakly average almost-suburban neighborhood.

In a year and a half here, every person I've seen on the sidewalk or talked with at the bus stop has been white, or Mexican and black but philosophically white. (Is that a rude thing to say?)

Oh, how I wish someone on this street would throw a raucous party making noise far too late, or have a screaming argument too loud, or repeatedly rev an engine and then spit gravel roaring into traffic. They refuse all annoyances, though. All they offer is, "Good morning," and smiles and such. It's awful.

Me and my recliner and cat, we all belong somewhere noisier, angrier. Can't look for another place, though, while I'm out of work — employment is required by landlords everywhere. And anyway, moving takes so much effort, and I'm not so good on 'effort' these days.

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So screw it. Where I'm at is OK. This house has power and hot water, the internet usually works, the roof doesn't leak, the rent isn't a crime. Take a short walk to a library branch, or a long bus ride everywhere else.

I actually like two out of my three flatmates. Absolutely hate the third one, of course, and yearn for his slow, painful death being eaten by the rats, but at least after every annoying interaction he's good for a laugh.

So I guess this is home now.

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In the laundry room one yesterday, a kitten from nowhere was yowling, scared and skittish. I gave her some of my cat's food, and 'L' has a cat so he chipped in, too. We left the door open to the outside, because we figured she has a home, a mother, so we wanted her free to go. The door is off the hinges, anyway.

Where the kitten went when she went, was downstairs in our same house, where four more people live. The Downstairs Four are all strangers to me, but one of them sells 'L' an endless supply of whatever drugs he's endlessly on, and 'L' has kept me current with kitten news.

One of the Downstairs Four made a cardboard sign, "Lost kitten found, inquire downstairs," and hammered it to the fence at the street. 'L' posted a listing on Craigslist.

There were no calls, though, and no knocks. Nobody claimed the kitten, and after a week the sign got unhammered, the Craigslist de-listed.

Now, five cats live here — mine (best cat in the world), and 'L's, two downstairs cats, and the fifth cat.

We of the Upstairs still see the kitten sometimes, in the laundry room or on the porch. It's been months and she's twice as big as she was, almost a cat. Still skittish, though. Hasn't let me come close enough to pick her up since that first morning I saw her, and fed her.

On a sunny afternoon a few days ago, one of the Downstairs Four was smoking dope in a folding chair outside, with that cat on his lap, so no worries. Any cat in any lap is a happy cat.

We all call her Fifth Cat, and this is home for her, too.

9/29/2023   

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