Today was better. Much better.

I walked to the bank this morning because I couldn't afford the gas for my car (which was sitting on E). It was 18 degrees this morning and I was starving because I hadn't eaten since Monday- again, no money.

I got to the bank and the money was there. I praised God, withdrew $10 and trekked over to the MacDonald's in the Vanderbilt Hospital Complex (few people know it exists there, but having delivered pizza in this area, I know many hidden secrets within Nashville). I bought myself breakfast, went to the MapCo and bought smokey treats and then I walked back home. I gained a new sense of appreciation for our forefathers, who didn't have the luxury of cars or heaters during the winter months- though they were probably sensible enough not to get out into the cold if they could avoid it.

Got home and took a nap, with a full stomach and quelled sense of being. I'd found most of the air leaks in my cabin and plugged them up with old, chewed-up socks that I can't wear anymore. Now the cabin is toasty warm (except the floor, but I have a solution for that, too, which will require a little more effort but is worth it... tomorrow). I woke up at 11 AM, got into my car and put $3 of gas into it. Next stop was TGI Fridays, to pick up my final check.

I decided to stop by the cafe before going into Friday's. It was closed and no one was around except the handyman, a one-armed mechanic named Ezekiel. Zeke's a good guy with a peculiar sense of humor and self. Today he was experiencing silence- not saying a word to anyone. He does this periodically because he is under the impression that when he speaks he usually causes more harm than good. When I got out of my car, he stepped out of his pick-up truck and greeted me with a silent smile and a handshake (one-handed). I returned the handshake gladly, happy to see a smiling face. His joy for the world was infectious. I approached the cafe's front door and read the sign taped there: "Closed on Christmas. Will open at 6 PM on the 26th." I was about to leave when Zeke appeared behind me with a big smile on his face.

Being the handyman there, he had keys to the place. He opened the front door for me, let me in and poured me a cup of coffee, no charge. To get my attention he kept doing this, "Pst!" thing at me. It was nice. The cafe was dead silent, which was both comforting and eerie at the same time. He even had Half and Half there, waiting for me. I thanked him kindly and went to Fridays to pick up my paycheck, got it and cashed it at the bank.

The rest of the day was fairly quiet. I slept until 8 PM because I had been too plagued with hunger to sleep the night before. When I woke up I went back to the cafe to do the crossword and CryptoQuote, meet up with aphexious and see some more friendly faces. I needed to be social and happy. My cousin Josh showed up and we played pool. Suzy showed up at the pool hall, dropped off a special package in my care and then went back to the cafe to be sociable herself. She came back sometime later and bitca graced us with a surprise visit- we didn't expect her to be home just yet. Suzy had been wanting to talk with bitca and visit. Gihran was there, too. Yet another impromptu noder gathering at Cafe Coco. But it was less about E2 and more about friends hanging about.

Eventually everyone went their separate ways.

I am not starving tonight. I am not destitute. I have survived what had to be the worst Christmas holiday I've ever experienced. I'm glad it's behind me.

Miles behind; miles to go.