Justin's Life... March 1-12, 1997

Justin's Life... March 1-12, 1997

March 6, 1997


Well, it hasn't been the greatest of weeks. For the most part, I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off and I'm so exhausted that right now, I'd much rather be sleeping than writing this.

Anyway, for the past couple of days, I've been severely depressed and a complete bitch to everyone around me. Here's pretty much how things have gone.

Tuesday morning I woke at 7AM to get ready for an 8 o'clock dentist appointment. For one, I absolutely hate going to the dentist. For two, this particular dentist, who's also Larry's dentist, could best be classified from my last visit as sadistic. And so, Tuesday morning began with the gritty taste of dental hygienist toothpaste grinding against my teeth. On the positive side, the metal "rod of pain" determined that my teeth and gums were in much better shape than during my last visit and my next appointment is in fourth months.

From the dentist's office, I headed back home and off to school. When the morning/afternoon classes were done, I headed back home and for one reason or another was pretty darn depressed.

I wrote to Larry:


Hey dude... how's work... I'm in a pretty apathetic state of mind and can't seem to get myself out of it... perhaps a nap will do the trick, but right now I'm pretty much "Who cares if I run into that telephone pole?"

In other news...
I picked up the black and white photos. Some look really koool, others are a little over/under exposed.

[blah blah blah]

Hmmm... what else... I guess that's about it for now. Tonight I have to figure out a topic for my COMM paper and do some online research since tomorrow the electricity is scheduled to be off from 6AM to 6PM, and therefore my computer will be unavailable.

I think I might order a pizza now... talk to you later...



A couple hours later, I was back at USC for my History of Architecture class. As usual, I sat by the red headed guy John and we talked. Last week, sometime after the Tuesday class, I looked for John's name in the student directory and found a link to his web page. When I checked it out, I found a couple pictures of him and of his girlfriend. I already knew he was straight, so it wasn't any big deal. I was just curious to learn more. So, anyway, as John and I were talking before class began, I told him that I'd checked out his web page and saw his girlfriend. He asked me what I thought of her and the page and we basically just talked about nothing in particular for five minutes or so.

When it came time to go to section, we walked past a car and he remarked about how low it was to the ground. He then said something about how it was weird that he noticed such things. I responded that he was a car freak, driving around in his [insert car color and model here]. I then realized I'd pretty much revealed a lot of myself in how much I knew about him. I said something like, "Don't worry. I remember practically everything... except when it's school related."

And so, we went to section, listened to the TA for a few minutes, turned in our papers, then left. I told him to have a fun spring break and that was that. As I was walking to the parking garage, I realized that my mood had turned around quite a bit. Just talking to John, even though the conversation was of nothing remotely important and even though he's far from gay, was enough to get me out of my funk.

Also while I was walking to my car, I got a page from Larry. When I called him back, he said he and Danny, who was visiting from San Francisco, were getting ready to go out to eat and did I want to go along. I said that I would, that my mood had improved, and I'd be right home.

On the drive here, I began thinking and basically determined that my funk was from loneliness, that before, when Larry was my best friend, I had that spot filled, but now that Larry and I are in a relationship, that best friend spot (which I must say, is closely related to the relationship spot, but different) is vacant. Just the superficial chat with John was enough to satisfy my loneliness quota.

Once dinner was done, Larry, Danny, and I headed back to the house. Needless to say, from waking at 7AM, I was exhausted and fell asleep without doing the online research that I'd planned.

On most Wednesdays, I sleep late... well, later. But this past Wednesday, I had another doctor's appointment; this time a follow-up to examine a couple warts I had frozen off the bottom of my foot. After driving for about half an hour to arrive at the doctor's office fifteen minutes early, I went back into the exam room twenty minutes after my scheduled appointment of 9:30PM. A few minutes later, the doctor came in, looked at my foot, said it was fine, but that he wanted to freeze one again just to make sure. He returned with the liquid nitrogen, dabbed it on my toe a couple of times then sent me to the desk where I paid $110 for his two minutes of expertice.

On the drive home, my toe was in pain, but I had no time to go home and take my shoes off. After spending an hour or so reading my communications textbook in order to get a further defined paper topic, I headed off to USC so that I could do the electronic card catalog and digitized journal searching required for the paper, an excercise more concerned with learning how to use the library than with actually writing a paper which includes relative facts.

So, anyway, I got to campus and went to the computer lab. I first searched the electronic card catalog to find about six semi-relevant books which hadn't already been checked out. I printed the list of titles and call numbers then went to the counter to pick up the actual printouts. A student behind the counter simply handed them to me. It said $0.10 on the cover sheet, but the guy didn't seem to want any money, so I went back to my computer, figuring that 10 cents had been charged to my student account.

I next found a few pertinent web pages then a few relevant digitized journal articles (after sorting through the mass of ones which just happened to contain both the terms Cicero and humor). I printed both the web pages and the articles... but when I went to leave the computer lab, I was told by a different student that I had to pay for the things I'd just printed. Once I'd gotten over the initial confusion, I realized the first guy simply didn't charge me on his own free will. The web pages and journal articles totalled 26 pages front and back... for a grand total of $1.30. OK, no big deal... but the computer lab didn't take cash, only "discretionary points." Being a commuter, I had absolutely no need for discretionary points and never bothered to purchase any. Try as I did, I couldn't get the guy to give me the printout. He suggested some crap about finding someone in the computer lab to use their points, but when I non-verbally expressed my "lack of enthusiasm" for that idea, he said I'd have to go to the student union (half way across campus) to add some points and then return with the receipt. What a crock.

Having already grown weary from the searching through countless irrelevant articles, web pages, and card catalog entries, I began my trip across campus. I arrived at the USCard window and said that I needed to add some discretionary points. The clerk seemed to be waiting for more information, so I volunteered that I'd never done it before, then she explained that I simply needed to fill out a form with the amount of points I desired, any amount above $50.00.

I signed up for $100.00 to be billed to my account then took the receipt back to the anal retentive computer lab guy. As the transaction had just occured, the points hadn't been digitally assigned to my account yet, and so, after much confusion, he manually wrote down that I needed to be charged $1.30. I took my printouts and left.

When I got to the Doheny Library, I returned the books I'd checked out for my last paper then went over to a desk area to find the printout I'd gotten with the call numbers of the relevant books... but I couldn't find it. "The computer lab bastard lost it," I thought to myself, getting ready to break down, call it a day and go home. I looked through the stack of papers again and again. It wasn't there... until finally, I realized that the list of books was the list I'd printed and didn't get charged for. It was in another part of my bookbag.

I got it out, walked through the tiny corridors of Doheny, then took the elevator to the eighth floor. Under the low hanging lights, walking through aisles so small that both of my arms would touch the sides if I hadn't squeezed myself together, I found the right group of call numbers. Of course, that didn't matter. Most of the books which the computer said were in the bookstacks weren't there. The few that were there and might have been relevant weren't in English.

I found my way to the next floor and to the next set of call numbers. "Cicero," that's all the book needed to have in the title or table of contents. It didn't matter what the book was about; I was sure I could find one fact to throw in to meet my five source requirement. (Don't teachers realize that minimum source requirements are pointless? Nearly everything you need to know is most of the time found in one book. The minimum source requirements just dilute the paper by having the student add information which isn't relevant but which is from a different source.)

So, anyway, I managed to find three books, checked them out, then headed to the philosophy library so that I could return a book I'd checked out from there for my last comm. paper.

When that was done, I walked back to the car, drove back to the house (which still didn't have electricity), and fell asleep on the bed.

The next thing I knew, the front door was opening. It was three hours later: Jason had arrived home.

March 8, 1997

12:50AM Eastern Time - Technically March 9, 1997

Well, after I woke at Jason's arrive, I realized the electricity had returned and checked e-mail. A few minutes later, Larry arrived home, and Danny, he, and I went to the Country Star at Universal's CityWalk.

When diner was done, we headed back home, I said good-bye to Danny (as he was leaving for his plane around 5:30AM the next morning) and began work on my lovely paper about Cicero.

As the night went on, it seemed no matter what I tried I couldn't think of anything to type. Cicero died a thousand years ago. Who really cares? Who cares whether Cicero could eat ping pong balls with his eyelids or defined humor's role in rhetoric? Neither the made up ping pong ball "fact" nor the factual rhetoric item help me do anything better? At least last semester, the theories had applications. I must say, this semester's communication class is the most pointless class I can ever remember taking.

Anyway, at just a little after 4:30AM, I'd managed to create a coherent paper on Cicero's ideas on humor in rhetoric, and so I went to bed.

Three hours later, I was awake again, this time, to study for a Geology 105 midterm. (Yes, I had a GEOL 105 midterm last week, too, but it was for the lab. This one was for the lecture.) So I began studying, not really having ever seen the material before, since, I must admit, I'm suffering from a MAJOR case of I-hate-school-itis, and therefore have been missing most of the lectures, thinking that since I'm taking the class as Pass/No Pass that surely I'll be able to do well enough to pass, and, if not, that it won't hurt my GPA. (I know, pathetic isn't it. )

So, anyway, it came time for the nine o'clock geology lab, but I still hadn't a clue about the geology lecture material, so I skipped it and continued studying. At around 10:15AM, I began my trek to campus, got my test, and began filling in the scan tron blocks.

As soon as that was done, I headed to my communications class, listened to another boring lecture, got back my midterm from the week before, felt enraged by my grade (D), and then headed back to my car. I would have been more upset by my grade if it weren't for the fact that my friend Larissa had studied several hours and gotten a "C+." And like I said before, I'm having a major case of who-gives-a-fuck-itis, especially about school.

But getting a D didn't exactly leave me unaffected. I was slightly ticked, but as the end of my COMM 201 class signaled the beginning of spring break, I told myself that I wasn't going to be in a bad mood. I next decided that the best way to put myself into a good mood was by putting someone else in a good mood and so, I went to Price/Costco, where I bought three dozen roses and three dozen carnations for Larry. -- Sure, they were less expensive at Price/Costco, but I don't think any of my credit cards would handle buying six dozen flowers at a florist.

When I got home, I thought I'd spread the flowers across the bed and wait for Larry to arrive back from work... but he hadn't left. I wanted to go all out, change the bedspread to a white one even, but patience has never been one of my virtues and so, I asked Larry to simply leave the room for a while as I prepared something for him.

When I was done unwrapping the flowers and had spread them out in a semi-hap-hazard fashion, I asked him to come back in. He did and gave me a hug.

From there, it pretty much is honestly a blur. I remember that Larry took some of the flowers to the office, and that I began uploading the web site files to yet another server.

The next morning, I put all the web files that I hadn't had time to upload onto a ZIP disk, packed my suitcase, and bought a sweet potato cake to take to my mom in Kentucky. Larry, Katie, and I got on a plane at 2:05PM and after a stopover in Chicago, made it to Lexington at 11PM. The plane ride itself was pretty uneventful and seemed remarkably short. Larry and I watched The Mirror Has Two Faces on the first half and I ate McDonald's Cheeseburgers which I'd packed in my carry-on in each segment.

Today, I got measured for a tuxedo for my friend Amanda's wedding, drove around Lexington with she and Larry buying various junk, then had dinner here at the house with the family. To finish out the night, Larry and I went to see the movie Scream and I'm now writing this as everyone else is asleep.

Sorry about the timeline-iness of this last entry. I'm doing my best to get everything caught up and as such, it really does sound like, I went to point A, looked in the cat at point B, and went to sleep at point C, without any "who cares" factor behind it. Tomorrow, Larry, Katie, Mom, and I begin our trip southward towards Walt Disney World. I'm hoping to keep a more detailed record, with a lot more commentary, and so, I needed to get this other stuff written now.

Also, while I'm talking about the diary, I want to bring up an important and revelant point. This diary is a pain in the ass. Everything from finding the time to write it to debating what can or can't go in it with Larry makes it one exhausting process (but I do it because I think it helps and because of the great e-mails I get from you guys... especially after my entry where I said something about quitting it).

Anyway, in the beginning I wrote what I wanted, plain and simple. As the diary, and the people who knew about it grew, so did my responsibilities in keeping it. "Better than Melrose Place" someone once wrote, but see, this isn't Melrose Place. My life is real, and as such, I've gotta leave some stuff out of the diary so that it'll be my life and so that my life is still worth living.

See, at first, almost everyone thinks the diary's koool when their name appears in it. They, in turn, tell their friends to check it out. But as time goes on, if I continue to know this someone, sooner or later, something less than perfect happens between me and that person. I write about this not-so-wonderful event, but now all their friends/office workers/etc. are reading it. Not a pretty picture.

There's a fine line that exists between my space and someone else's space and where the two meet. Sometimes I leave things out because, although they're relevant to my space, they also require revealing someone else's personal space. For the most part, I follow the rule of implied consent. If you knew about the diary before you met me, you're giving me your implied consent to be a part of it, but at the same time, the diary is the world through my viewpoint. I may think that you're a total rotten, butt ugly freak with a bad temper and are completely boring, but someone else may think something completely different. I guess what I'm trying to say is that truth is a construction created by humans. I think I'm one of the most self-aware, no bull guys around, but the diary is the world through my eyes, transcribed through my fingers, as the way I view it and myself.

I guess I'm saying this in particularlly now because of Larry's influence in the diary. Although he's in the entertainment industry, he's a very private person. He's often said, look at Bette Midler, you'll never see a picture of her kid. She may be a public figure, but her daughter is not. Of course, she doesn't give interviews every day talking about her personal life, but in a sense, I do. I may also be the one asking the questions, but, every diary entry is a virtual interview of sorts where I talk about my personal life. Like I said in the last paragraph, I have to balance between what's my life and what's someone else's... in this particular case, Larry's. As we live together, the line between my life and his life is a lot harder to define as is the line between what we each consider too revealing. [Case in point, as he was reading over this entry, he remarked, "Do you really want to write that you had warts taken off your foot?" To me, having a couple warts frozen off my foot is no big deal. Sure it's not a pretty sight, but it's not like warts are some sign of the devil or even from doing something I shouldn't have, but to him, he didn't see the need to include it. Of course, that's a mild example of our revelation differences. Neither of us had feelings that strong about its inclusion or exclusion, but it's an example nonetheless.] And while I'm my own person, with my actions almost exclusively effecting my own self, Larry has to consider how this will effect Katie, a four year old. It's quite the complicated equation.

All this brings me to my point... While, for the most part, it's not too difficult to write about the great times, it's extremely hard to write "fairly" when we have a fight. -- If one of us thought the other was right, there wouldn't be a fight after all, right? -- Most of all, though, I hate having to reargue and reargue and reargue the same situation with Larry until I get it worded so that neither one of us is happy, but so that both of us "live with it." And so, I'm writing this now to let you know that our relationship, like anyone's, isn't always hunky dory, and we do have our fights, but, for the most part, you probably won't be seeing a lot about them in here from now on. The bottom line is: My real life can't destroy the diary and the diary can't destroy my real life.

I hope you understand... - J

March 10, 1997


Well, for the most part, yesterday's trip to Atlanta was uneventful. I drove most of the way and we only stopped a couple of times. Yet, this morning I woke at 5:53AM, thinking about what had happened last night.

For a large part of the trip, Larry and I had been "picking" on Mom the way we pick on each other... nothing serious, just telling her that she was snoring while she slept in the car when she denied it, and so on. But at dinner, somehow or the other we were talking about my age and then Mom's marriage to Dad. Larry asked, "So, was it a shotgun wedding?"

You see, both of my parents were married before they married each other. In each of their marriages, they had two children, or six kids total. What's always perplexed me is the relative age of my half sister and myself. She was born in 1973 and I was born in 1975. I've often wondered how my mom could have a baby, get divorced, find a new guy, and have another baby in two years. Having said that I'd wondered, I never would have asked her. "Gee Mom, how could you leave your daughter when she was under a year old?" It's not something you ask anyone, especially you're own mother. And so, I figured both she and I would go to our graves without having really ever broached the subject... then came Larry's question.

I knew exactly what he meant. I'd talked with him before about it, and neither of us could seem to believe that my mom, the Carol Brady/June Cleaver stand-in, could have done something so "taboo." Of course, seeing as how Larry'd brought it up, the desire to know was just too much for me to resist, and so, I explained, in not quite so specific terms. I think I said he was wondering about the two year age difference between her kids.

For the next couple of minutes, we talked about it. I managed to ask a couple of the questions I'd always wondered, like who took care of her (my half-sister), and to get the answers even to the ones I didn't ask by Mom's mannerisms and the low amount of information she volunteered. A couple minutes passed with Mom doing fairly well at hiding her emotions, then in a somber tone I've rarely seen, she said it wasn't something she liked to talk about. I changed the subject quickly and that was that...

Until this morning when I woke up, thinking about how bad she must of felt, especially at the time, but also last night when we brought up the subject. I couldn't go back to sleep for wanting to apologize, but I didn't want to apologize for it would only bring it back into her conscious memory. Eventually, I did manage to go back to sleep, but I still feel guilty.

March 12, 1997


Well, the rest of Monday's trip was a nightmare. Katie, who normally doesn't get on my nerves no matter how badly she behaves, nearly drove me insane with her obstinance.

Before we left our stopover in Atlanta, Larry visited a manufacturing company with which he does business. He, of course, was busy having a conversation with a big wig from the company and she was busy seeing how many ways she could get hurt. She kept putting her hands on/in the machinery, touching things she shouldn't, until finally I had to outright threaten that she was going to get spanked in five seconds if she didn't stop (even though she's never really been spanked). That only started her crying.

That only lasted a few seconds. Five minutes later, she was back to her "I'm the boss of my own body." mentality (something she learned in pre-school). Finally, Mom said she'd take her back out to the car and I said ok.

Of course, the day was still young when Larry's work was done. Throughout the rest of the trip, Katie was completely "I don't have to."ing everything. Even when we drove around Long John Silver's she kept saying "Dad, Dad, I want a Sprite" over and over again. Larry was ordering and even acknowledged her, but when Mom and I told her to stop, she kept on going until he repeated word-for-word what she'd said. AHHHH!!!

By late afternoon, Larry was remarking how it was so odd that Katie was getting on my nerves that badly. I think it was because I was trying to fit into the parent role as he was busy with other things. Normally, I just sit back and let Larry, who has much more authority with her, do the talking.

Anyway, we finally made it to Florida and began listening to the Walt Disney Radio station. After stopping at the welcome center to pick up some maps, we headed on southward until we made it to the hotel. Once we'd gotten slightly settled, Larry and I decided to go out while Katie and Mom went to bed. I'd noticed that there were a couple haunted houses listed in the brochures we'd picked up at the rest stop, and so, we found the one at Old Town, just a couple blocks from the hotel.

Inside the dimly lit building, Larry and I walked through various hallways and past ghouls of all sorts. In particular was a hallway full of mirrors. I'd seen A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 enough to realize that someone was probably going to come out of one of those mirrors, so I stayed back against the opposite hallway wall. Larry, however, had no such idea and so, when he didn't see his reflection within the "mirror"'s frame, he leaned in closer. The masked figure, in turn, put his face through the frame while slamming the wall. Larry jumped back and screamed. OK, OK, I screamed, too. The puss made me go first the whole time under the premise that the haunted house was my idea. And so, I was the one walking down dimly or non-lit rooms, running into hanging bodies and being fashed with light to see a ghoul two feet in front of me. As haunted houses go, it was pretty darn scary.

Before heading back to the hotel, Larry and I raced go-karts, too. I managed to get the first one out of the gate... but driving in the lead by myself wasn't too fun, so I pulled to the side and slowed down waiting for Larry to arrive. As soon as he did, I hit the gas and once again left him behind me. I did that a few times, having a great time the whole time, and we both finished with a smile on our face.

When we got back, I thought there was still time to do something before heading to bed, but as it was 11:30PM, there wasn't anything to do. We ended up just checking mail (mine, of which, is having temporary difficulties) and going to bed.

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© 1997 Justin Clouse

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