Looking back through the calendar I can’t believe I have not written in two weeks. The idea itself, of having let 336 hours meld into one written memory seems absurd to me. What could have been so important that I wouldn’t have had time to write?

Maybe this was a lesson in something, a lesson in remembering that the small details don’t matter, as much as the overall big picture does.

On Day 178, which is Friday, January 19th, I don’t remember my day all that much. I think this may have been the day I was at work, having called someone who could help me a few times, only to realize hours later that they were moving. When someone else dropped by to help with one small thing, but could not help with the rest, I was told I had to just pick up the pace. Upon this I was quite frustrated and went in my car and screamed a profanity repeatedly, with each time hurting my throat more and more.

That night I went home and started on the project of taking down wallpaper from my walls, in order to paint the walls, an ordeal I had not properly sized up before starting. Had I known how long it would have taken, I would have started sooner, much, much, sooner. On that Friday I spent about 5-6 hours removing old wallpaper, which turned out to be caked in four layers, rather than the two I assumed. I paid my roommate to help me with about 4.5 hours of it as well.

The next day I continued to remove wallpaper for 12 hours. In the morning I went to a back study, where I made $25 but was not eligible to continue with the rest of the study, which was a bummer. I wanted to get a free 3D print out of my brain, instead of a $75 payment for one part of the study, which would be worth $300-500 anywhere else. $25 was all I would get it seems. I was curious why the study wasn’t taking in the height of the test subjects into account, primarily the size of each leg, I forgot to ask about that.

Mind you, I had only had a few hours of sleep on Saturday, the 20th. I actually went to the study an hour early, at the time that the text had asked if I was still able to make the day before, only to realize that they had written a typo and meant 10 AM instead of 9 AM. I went to the hardware store in that time, and then went home, to test the razor I got to remove wallpaper. I think after the back study I found myself at Home Depot, where I rented a steamer to make the removal of the wallpaper easier. I removed wallpaper late into the night, into roughly midnight or 1 AM on Sunday.

On Sunday I woke up early and did it all again, starting with wallpaper removal in the morning for an hour or two, before I would have to return the steamer. Then I rented a vacuum only to find out it didn’t work, and made a burning smell, and had to take it back to rent one that worked. Then I realized how much work there was for me in prepping the walls for painting, and my roommate, after taking about 2-3 hours to give me a final answer in that they couldn’t helped me, told me that they couldn’t help me, so now I was in the stage of figuring out who to get help from, or start freaking out at the idea of my room not being ready for the entire week, as I would work and wouldn’t have time to finish the project outside of my working hours.

I called someone who was going to become my coworker again, since they completed a drug free program, after being fired for testing positive in a random drug test for THC, which they had higher levels of due to taking CBD supplements from stress, which they could no longer combat by smoking pot. They said they would love to help me but don’t have a car, and I said it’s alright, and that I could pick them up. I picked up this future coworker, and I came back to my place. Then we went to Home Depot to get a sanding tool, which would speed up what I had planned on doing by hand, since everyone else thought that a sander would be too much, and also since the belt sander my other roommate gave me did not work. I got food for my future coworker, since I knew he had no money and had probably not eaten before he came over.

I had the option of renting a belt sander for $25, plus buying a belt for $10, or buying a sander for $30. So I bought a sander and learned how much having a good tool can shave off of your project’s time. Also, this coworker I enlisted the help of had previously removed wallpaper and painted, so having knowledgeable help also proved tremendously helpful. This friend assisted me in removing wallpaper for 6 or 8 hours, I forget. I drove them home, and then went to bed to start work.

On Monday this friend couldn’t come help me again, they had to go to some drug free counseling class or something. I forget what I did. I probably passed out early, at around 9 PM. Then the next day I asked my roommate to help prime the wall. He worked for four and a half hours I think, and by the time I got home the room looked great in its white primer layer.

On Wednesday my coworker came over again, who was now my coworker, as he’d been back in the company since Monday and we’d been working together. We worked on the room again for about 4 or 5 hours, and before we started I got my coworker and myself food again.

The color came out a bit more PINK than I had anticipated, and the coworker’s assurance that the primer would fill in most of the less level spots of the drywall that I had accidentally scraped off was not all that accurate. The walls did look four hundred times better than the previous walls did, with the two visible layers of peeling off wallpaper, and the unknown two layers hiding underneath.

I forget what I did on Thursday… I probably fell asleep from being really tired, and cleaned out my room from all the painting stuff in it. Then I assume I rented a carpet cleaner, cleaned my room, and then went over and cleaned my friend’s room for her as well, since I might as well have used the carpet cleaner more considering I had one.

On Friday after work I put my room together, moved a bed from the guest bed into my room, put clothes I had sitting outside of my room in the den and by the kitchen table while I was painting, back where they belonged in my closet, and just everything together. Additionally, I got a car seat for my friend’s son and also got almond milk from the store.

I passed out really tired, and the next day I woke up at 6:30 AM, on Saturday, and started getting ready for the mandatory overtime that had resulted from a nearby company getting fired, and us picking up the overdue work from them. I worked 9 hours on that day, and at the end of it my friend went to pickup my other friend arriving at the airport with her son, and I went home and showered.

Oh I almost forgot to mention that I tried to quit on Friday, tired meaning I failed to bring myself to properly do it; I went to my coworker and said that I’m too slow and the hours are too long and that I am going home, cleaning out my car, and calling the supervisor to let them know. My coworker said really nice things, on how they were surprised I lasted this long, that a lot of people quit after training is over, and that I am slow but I haven’t been doing this forever and that I do a good job nonetheless. On Saturday my supervisor came over to where my coworker and I were, and he spoke with me and asked me how things were. I came through and told him that I was reconsidering working there because I didn’t want to slow others down and he said that I was doing a good job and that if I needed 6 months to get the ropes of it, I could have it. Then I walked away and he told the same things to my coworker, who said was surprised because he hadn’t even been complimented like that himself by this supervisor.

So that will be continued by me briefly. My friend, and her son, were great company during the time when I could actually host them, being Saturday evening and Sunday. On Saturday evening we went shopping, I played with her son, and she cooked. I remembered my father and how tired he was watching my brothers after work, and that’s how I felt then and there, ready for my eyes to close for 24 hours at any moment, considering I had worked at least 50 hours the week prior, then followed that with 30 hours of painting work in the weekend, then followed it with another 10-15 hours total of working on my room over the course of the week, in addition to what, 64 hours worked Monday through Saturday? Talk about a lot of work! Talk about me not writing. Talk about feeling like passing out at any moment.

What was funny is that when my friend and I were shopping, they mentioned making sushi, and I said I’m sorry, I don’t know how to tell you this… I’m vegan. They said that so are they, and I was surprised. I assumed they were vegetarian, because when we ate sushi one time we went out to celebrate a new job they got, I didn’t notice them ordering anything that had met in it, but I wasn’t going to guess that they were STRAIGHT UP vegan off of that. So they laughed when I said I’m sorry, I don’t know how to tell you this… I’m vegan, all because they were too and had never heard anybody making it sound so serious like that.

So that night we ate fried garbanzo beans and kale salad and I’ve got a photo of it and all, and I’ll have to edit the photos I took with my friend over the weekend and send to them, at some point, that point certainly isn’t right now, considering all that I’ve barely just finished getting through, and considering all more that I have to get through.

I watched a bit of Pineapple Express with my friend after dinner, and then they went to bed too, and the next day I woke up feeling like half a human being because I finally had some rest in my body. We ate breakfast and at around noon we headed to the carwash, then I dropped back home to get water and grapes, then we drove to a nearby farm which is run by vegans, and is a place for animals that used to be in the diary industry or headed for slaughter. I had totally forgotten to bring food to feed the animals, and it all worked out because some woman that was leaving asked me if I wanted two bags, and before I knew what was even in them, I said yes, to the point that she had to specify “these carrots and apples are for THE PIGS,” just in case I would have tried eating them myself…

So we went into the farm, after my friend bought two SOY cookies, which were SO good, and it was all nice considering that just a few days prior I had been considering how much healthier I had been eating, since it’s impossible to eat cakes, donuts, cookies, and ice cream as a vegan, more or less, yet I still missed some of these things. So the day prior my friend had mentioned getting ice cream, and I said I’d always wanted to get vegan ice cream (I’d never had it since becoming vegan, although I had had it twice before that), and we ended up getting “So Delicious Dairy Free” ice cream, SO THERE YOU HAVE IT! I got to have really great ice cream and really great cookies, for the firs time I think since becoming vegan, within a matter of 24 hours, and I also found myself in a vegan farm ready to feed vegan animals with my vegan friends with fruits and vegetables given to me by a stranger who somehow hadn’t had time to give away all of the food that they had cut, brought, and packed to give to the animals in this place.

I’ll tell you what though, those goats are vicious. I didn’t know to hold the two bags above my head, so that they wouldn’t swarm me and try to eat my fingers off. If I ever met someone who told me they shot a goat, not to eat it, but because of how annoying it had gotten, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear such a tale. Someone from the farm saw me struggling with all the goats jumping on my chest as I was pitifully throwing the carrots and apples from within the bag, trying to get them to go away.

The farmer lady told me that they typically won’t eat anything that has touched the ground (this is what my friend said to be true afterwards as well, although I discovered that they will EAT ANYTHING off of the ground if they notice the food you throw them and you don’t have fresh food in your hands). So she held one of my bags above her head, and I held another above my own head, and started to feed the goats one by one, as they nibbled on my figure and ate the food right out of my hands. There were other people there who had forgotten to bring food, and I let them reach in and get some throughout the time I was there, and they were happy they got to feed some animals.

I also fed some cows, which were my favorite, because they weren’t crazy and didn’t try to jump on me, only to slide down with their demon goat feet, straight into my crotch, for no good reason.

After the farm we headed to a restaurant with a fabulous tea menu. My friend got a chakra tea, I got a flower tea, and we shared. We also had some appetizers, planning to come back home and cook with my friend. We dropped by a grocery store and got food there, where I accidentally lost my card for a bit, after having helped a mother pick up some gift cards her son pushed off of a display; the pile of gift cards and my own card in my hand combined. My friend walked with me, encouraging me to retrace my steps instead of leave, and I saw my card on the display of gift cards, it was the first one in the pile, right side up!

We went home and my friend and her son passed out, probably because they weren’t used to the mountain air (i.e. less oxygen), and also because their biological clocks were two hours ahead. I went to sleep as well after a while, after having dinner with my other friend and cleaning, and then went out Monday morning to do my work all over again.

I quit at around 2:10 PM. I came home, used the bathroom, met up with two coworkers and gave them some of the materials from my car, then drove to the service station to leave the company car there and get a ride home, officially finishing with the company at 2:42 PM.

Throughout all of this I’ve forgotten to mention a few things. I thought about how the job was dangerous, ever since I had to walk up multiple hills with snow on them, which were practically just the sides of properties built on mountains, and how I didn’t want to find myself hurt. Just that day alone I slipped twice, luckily in the same spot, where there was a tree beneath my path of slipping which was able to stop me. I also wanted to walk up the walk way, which had stepping spots and stones, but my coworker said that I can walk up the hill, and that it would be faster and all. Well, guess what? Faster and all does not translate to safer and better for my frozen ankles. Throughout the week I had been using my boots which were not waterproof, and they were soaked from the moment I started with them in the morning. Mind you I could have gotten better boots earlier on, but since I had been painting over the week, I didn’t realize that i should spray the waterproofing solution on my boots 24 hours prior to using them again. On Monday I sprayed this solution on 10 minutes before leaving, and it didn’t help a single bit. So for the rest of the week, there was no way to waterproof my boots. How am I supposed to get home at 6 PM, with soaking boots, dry them up, and apply the solution and let them sit for 24 hours before using them again the next day at 7 AM?

Furthermore, my work involved way too much of being in streets where drivers are insane and don’t slow down or give pedestrians enough space. I may have at one point thought about my uncle, but I don’t remember, yet I do know I thought about people in my country of birth, Romania, don’t have the freedom to pick another job like I do, if they feel it is unsafe. I thought about one of my uncles who had his boot melted by hot asphalt and hurt his foot as a result, and somewhere deep in the back of my mind I was thinking about my other uncle who had fallen from a tree, and broken his back, as a lumberjack.

Why would I expose myself to these risks if I didn’t have to? What if because my family line had already dealt with these pains, I did not have to even risk them? So on Friday I got a call from my uncle, on my work phone, and I saw it was a Romanian number, but I couldn’t call back, and didn’t know it was my uncle. Then when I was on the phone with my supervisor, I got the call again, and I tried to tell the supervisor I would put him on hold, but he didn’t hear, and I did it anyways, leaving the supervisor talking and talking as I switched lines. I spoke briefly with my uncle, who I had first thought was my grandfather, and tried to hurry him off the phone, additionally calling him grandfather using slang Romanian I had heard for grandfather but never used because I thought I was too young before, or had been told I was too young to use. Then after I used this word I asked myself if it was correct, and it wasn’t because I realized for the first time what the person on the other end had been repeating a few times throughout the call “I am Ion.” When they asked if I remembered them I realized I did, and they were not my grandfather, and I apologized for calling them such, and then tears were brought to my eyes and for a few brief moments I was lost in memories ten years prior, speaking with a person I had not heard in a decade. I stammered that I feel like crying and I thanked them for calling, and then my supervisor was calling back so I said goodbye, and they said they kiss me, and then I took the call with my supervisor and said that some weird number had called me and that it was a spam call and all and apologized for having taken it, and within moments I had snapped out of it.

Then the phone call with the supervisor ended and I was feeling emotional again and to me it meant to end my job then and there, because what if my uncle had gotten a feeling like this a day before he broke his back and his hesitation to listen to that led to him hurting himself? I was afraid of quitting my plan would have been to wait at least two more weeks to save up more and get another paycheck, but then I realized I won’t be doing good work if I am just working to get ONE MORE paycheck.

So a few hours later I decided to quit, but hadn’t decided well enough, so I hadn’t yet quit, which I don’t quite regret because working more overtime on Saturday and working a bit on Monday surely won’t hurt me in the long run, and I hadn’t missed all that much time from spending with my friend.

Speaking of my friend, we finished watching Pineapple Express on Monday evening, after we’d eaten sushi that we cooked with my friend who’d lived in Japan for a time, unless if I’m totally mistaken, which I could be. On Tuesday morning I drove my friend and her son to the airport, who I might mention reminded me a lot of my brother and even said a few phrases word for word, as my brother did, such as “that’s not right!” It made me think that we are all one, as I have known, but boy the universe is not discrete about it all. It’s all in your face, making it obvious, we are all one people, one soul, one consciousness, consciously expressing itself.

I listened to Alan Watts on Sound Cloud on the way back from the airport, and to be honest with you, I totally blanked out on the last thirty minutes of the ride back home. I was tired, I had woken up at 4:30 AM or 5 AM to drive my friend to the airport, and when I got back was the first time since I started removing wallpaper from my room that I could sleep in my room again, While it was disheveled I slept on the couch in the den, while my friend was here, I slept on the couch.

So I got home on Tuesday morning, and crawled into the single bed in my room, and fell asleep from 7 AM until 4 PM. Then I slept from 10 or 11 PM until the next day at around 11 AM. Yesterday I emailed one employer asking if their position was still available, but then stopped myself after realizing that I need to have a vision first before aimlessly looking for another source of income. I then worked on marketing a site, and I also updated another site’s page, a minor fix and all, and then that about sums it up for yesterday.

I cooked dinner with my friend, spoke with them, and had vegan ice cream, as I did the night before. I went to bed at around 10 PM. Oh, yesterday I also did yoga with my friend! After yoga I ran a mile in 6 minutes 31 seconds I believe. The first lap, i.e. fourth of a mile, was completed in 1 minute 24 seconds, the second one was finished at 3 minutes 5 seconds, the third one was finished at 5 minutes and something, and the total mile was finished at 6 minutes 47 seconds. I ran a mile back home in 7 minutes 30 seconds.

I believe the day before yesterday I also ran, but I cannot remember how long or in how much time. It was most likely four miles that I ran then. I was surprised with how well my back has been feeling, and I certain that not having to be driving around in a car for around 3 hours a day for my work is what was causing the benefit. When I had first started my work I thought I had less back pain because I was up on my feet, and that may have been correct, for the first two weeks, but then it started to come back, and during the time of painting my room it got extremely terrible, and now it’s all manageable again and merely discomfort.

Day 191 – Today

Today I slept until 10 AM, another 12 hours I think. I’m finally starting to feel like an entire human being once more. I shot two videos today, as tutorials in marketing, then I did some cleaning and realized I was just trying to distract myself with small tasks, so I went and spoke with my friend to try and figure out what my next job should be, and what my criteria is and all. After that I took some chai to the person who I’d met a bit over a month ago, working in a retreat center as a laborer. He was working on remodeling a room when I arrived, and I gave him the chai and headed back home.

Then I began to write, after debating putting it off for three more days, as I’m planning to do as my friend as said, and know that it’s alright to relax for a bit. I think that relaxing is something I’m terrible at, as shown by my long string of a two week work-spree, so out of fear that I do not know how to relax, and urging myself to not worry that I am a bum as I relax, pushing me to pick up something and attempt to be productive, I will go at these next three days without anything on my to-do list, aside from grinding some chai mix in a bit, and cooking meals over the next three days, and reading and writing as I see fit.

I intend to read Celebrating Silence, Walking a Sacred Space, The Elements of Style, Awake in the World, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, and Reincarnation, all in the next three days. I also have my first book I wish to complete within this month, and I do not know if I will start on it this weekend, since these reading aspirations are quite lengthy, and in all honesty, I would like to complete write ups of sections of all of these books, as summaries and commentaries and critiques and connections that I have derived from them, for posting on storyofoctavian.com, as a way for others to learn the information I will spend learning, at a fraction of the timely cost.

To be continued…

Also published on Medium.