There will be rain today. Torrential. It’s the end of Nicole, which rolled through Florida and parts between there and here.

Just commented to someone about this job. I feel like a clown sometimes. I’ve heard others say the job is easy. I never thought of it that way but it’s not lost on me that in the realm of low-pay gigs there are a lot more demanding tasks than handling phone calls. You could be the person at Facebook who has to verify authenticity of disgusting photos people post of dead dogs and people. You could be the mop boy at Playland, where you go from room to room mopping up the jizz left on the walls by dudes who masturbated to the women behind the glass.

There are a lot more difficult jobs than this but still, I never thought of it as easy. I overthink things too much. I care. I hate myself when I make mistakes. I want every call to be my last, but then I can’t wait for the next one.

Today is Veterans Day. I don’t have it now but a poem I found once about a son who’d go to with his father to Veterans Day parades and other type of events for vets. The father was a veteran.

The father never said anything. He never expressed patriotism or pride in his years of service. He seemed to look at the proceedings with an outsider’s air of disinterest, even disdain.

It was an interesting poem. I should find it again.

I don’t remember going to any veteran events with my father. His tombstone says “Vietnam”, which I didn’t understand at first. We were never in Vietnam, only Laos and Thailand.

As a priest from the funeral explained, anyone in SE Asia during that period was said to be in the Vietnam Theater of Operations, no matter what country you actually lived in.

But when people see “Vietnam” on his marker and they know he was a suicide they figure he must have had PTSD or combat memories.

Truth is he never carried a gun or saw any combat. His suicide had nothing to do with anything related to Vietnam or his military service.

Someone just said (not to me) “Cherish your mom while you have her.” I sometimes miss talking to her. I think she’d love me working at this job. She’d love me working any job. Her assumptions about my future were always dismal, and hopeless. She never accepted that I moved to New York to begin with, and always assumed or imagined I’d return to Florida. I don’t think I could ever do that.

I tell this one story about her that gets a variety of reactions. In college she called me, saying she had just woken from a dream which contained a single word. That word was, as she pronounced it, “fuh-lah-tee-o.” She called to ask me what it meant. I nervously explained. She seemed satisfied with the explanation but had no idea where the word came from that it would just appear in her dream like that.

I didn’t think of it until later but this call was kind of irritating. We had dictionaries at home, and we knew how to use them. There was no reason I can think of to make a long distance phone call when the answer to the question was right there in any of the 4 or 5 dictionaries we had at the house. I think she knew the word meant something tawdry or racy, and just wanted to look like some kind of innocent.

Or something. I never figured that one out, but I had many instances where I thought she wanted sexual relations with m e. There were very weird, awkward pauses in my bedroom. She liked sex but her supply got cut off with the separation. I don’t know if my dad’s acceptance of his homosexuality impacted their occasional post-separation trysts.