A cup and a paycheck, the souveniers of a day.

The paycheck, for painting, this Saturday and last, with a bonus, for a job well done, and to get a new tire.

The cup, a small, hand-thrown thing, about three and a half inches tall, bulging at the top, a little something from an M.F.A. Gray, a stripe of an earthy orange, three unglazed fingers reaching up from the bottom. It fits nicely in the hand, yet looks to small to actually be useful for anything.

Woke up far too early, 8, after four hours of sleep, so wanting to just go back to bed, to sleep more... it was so possible to sleep more, and would have been so so nice. But... work beckoned... no. Money beckoned.

Tired, not really wanting to get up, but aware of the day ahead. Work and an attempt to be around other people. Or something. Sort of.

Drag self out of bed, gather clothing to wear after painting is done, towel, shampoo, soap. Carry an armload, cautious of the paint that still seems a little wet, on my pants. The painting last night that caused it - painting on canvas - was a bit dissapointing. Just wasn't going anywhere. Flinging paint at canvas... but not making things any better, and no clear idea of where I was going.

Some nights are like that, it seems, just getting nowhere. Sometimes they come too often.

Took the digital camera to the studio, last night, also, but the batteries were dead. No pictures for her. Or anyone else, really.

Walking down the hill, to the car, armload of clothes in hand, worrying that I should have a long sleeved shirt, as it seems rather cool. I have no such shirt, not to sacrifice to painting, so I just worry.

The van, covered with dew, sits there. No parking ticket. Finally got a parking pass.

A sliding door opened, clothes placed inside, the same door slammed. Into the drivers seat, trying to figure out which way to go. To the corner store, to get coffee and donuts, wishing I could spend more on food, but realizing the need to save, more... Stopping by the room for a sport coat, then to the art building, to pick up a paint brush, and the post office, to stare at an almost empty mailbox. Too much driving. And then moving on.

An hour or so drive to the house of my aunt and uncle, NPR on the radio, going close to the speed limit, being passed by too many people.

Not focusing enough on driving, either, and I see it. This is what it was like the last time. Yet I don't really do much about it. I should, I know. I should. But I do not seem to be changing. The minivan feels less comfortable, something is different. I squirm in my seat, but do nothing about it.

Off the interstate, seven or so miles of road to the house. Relatively little commercial development, few lights, fast driving. The radio still on. A stop light, a left turn only lane, the signal, driving a bit, almost past the driveway. Pulling too fast into the dirt and gravel driveway, then slowing down, instinctively, almost.

9:30. Already. Evaluating the job, the looks of everything... seeing what little still needs to be done. A week and a few weekends, already, painting this new barn, and it is almost done. a few second story doors, a second coat on the doors on the first floor... pretty boring, white and dark green.

I get out a ladder, a dropcloth, and the paint, and get to work. My uncle appears, we talk, he provides the radio I was unable to find. Car Talk - tends to be amusing. But it is only somewhat there. Focusing on something else. On nothing, perhaps.

Working hard, moving quickly, listening to the sharp, harsh, honest words of my uncle. This habit he has, of calling me "Rembrandt", don't know how to react. Can't tell from the tone of voice what he means. So I keep working.

My body becomes more and more tense. Doing physical labor, usually, is relaxing. But not this. Perhaps the stress to get done today. Perhaps the stress of meeting new people, this evening. But stress, all of it, and it builds up. My uncle's frequent progress checks...

And soon enough, it is lunch time. Hot dogs and potato chips and pickles and cookies.... Sitting at the dining table with my aunt and uncle, afraid to lean back on the chairs at all, sitting stiffly, awkward, uncomfortable. When they were in Indianapolis, five years ago, at Christmastime, I set coat on the back of one of the handpainted, floral, c. 1850 chairs, knocking it over, breaking one of the spindles... so afraid to do anything to them, ever since. So afraid to sit in them. Never comfortable in them. Ever.

Talking vaguely about something unmemorable. College. Math classes. The neighbors. Don't really remember. Don't really care. Just trying to finish this today and do the best possible job.

Outside, painting, again, making good progress. The paint doesn't cover certain things because a dark color won't cover a light, perfectly, everywhere, in one coat.

Working on the double doors, on the same side of the barn where my uncle is on the roof, painting the dormer. This American Life on the radio. We talk. A little. Just don't know how to talk to him. Anything I say, anything, and he just sort of reacts, well, as though I am strange. I know he will. I don't even bother. Feels this way so often. So very often. Must learn to talk to people.

I turn off the radio, because, well, I just can't deal... TAL is just, well, too embarassing... can't see explaining why I listen to this stuff to him.

4:15. Have finished what I can finish. So close to being done, but my hands are too clumsy, at this time. Too late. Too tired. Started to mask off the trim of the door, just about the last thing, but it is just too much. So I clean up.

A shower, at their house, but thouroughly unrelaxing. Don't know why... just stress. And stuff.

Clean, a bit refreshed, ready to leave. A paycheck, with a fair bonus, conditional on the replacement of a certain rather balding tire... more anxiety... need to find a place to replace that, soon. Arg.

Leaving there, stopping a few times on the long driveway, trying to read the map without really reading it. Trying to figure out how to get to Kent. Going to an M.F.A. show, to talk with the significant other/ spouse of said person about the Library Science school there... at the reccomendation of a friend of my father.

Driving on the road to Kent, through the woods, the twists, the turns. Thinking about driving off the road, or into another car. Not to kill myself, no. Just, because, well, it semmed like the right thing to do. Like I would drive away and be fine. But I don't.

Looking at all the tire places I pass. Thinking of stopping, too late. Putting the decision off until later.

At the campus. Trying to find the art building. Down a road, the wrong one. Stop in a parking lot, consult map... find the right building. Park. Fret over the possiblity of getting a ticket. Put money in the meter, knowing it will run out, but the meter is only 30 minutes, max...

To the art building! Yep, looks like an art building. All empty inside. Down some stairs, to the bottom floor, where this thing is supposed to be. I see some people, after a while, and avoid them... finally realize that I will have to go past them, and maybe even make contact with them.

So I find the show. But not the person I am supposed to meet. Waiting around, awkward... grr. Eat some food, look at some art. Feel nervous. Look around. Appear out of place. Still feeling stressed.

The artist works entirely in ceramics. The show is of a set of platter type objects. As a little sort of gift thing, the cups noted above are being given away, for beverages...

Then E. shows up. Yay! She introduces me to people and I talk to the library science person and all is good... didn't get much from the conversation but the realization that I need to talk with people more. And then I left.

Drove back to Hiram. Saw the bridge out, on the way, and thought about jumping it with my car... again... I don't know why. It just seemed like a good idea. I don't want to die, not at all...

Sat in my office chair, stared at the computer, and did nothing. Surprisingly nice. Really. All the stress went away, slowly. So nice... all that pain, just gone.

Realized that I have to write. I just have to. If I can't converse in conversation, I need to say something somehow. And I need to practice writing. So I started this daylog.

Wrote and talked and wrote and wrote... and then she came on. She asks all these tough questions, and I love and hate her for it. She makes me think, and want to write better, that I may talk better with her. She types so fast, says so much... she is amazing and... I just can't type so fast. I don't know what to do... write more.

It is so hard for me to write, to communicate with people... this is a place to start.

This is all I can share now. There is more. I am listening. And I am trying to write.