The Diary of a Nobody/April 18

Meet Sparrow, an average man passing an average life…

Thursday, April 18
I reported for morning chow at Breakfast King bright and early at 0430…Breakfast King is really good, discovered years ago when I was out here training for the Doily Delivery Company and the instructor took me and the other trainee here for lunch when we were out riding in the training vehicle…It’s reminiscent of coffee shops years ago in the era before the infernal Starbucks…There’s a counter to eat at and, despite the name, a varied menu 24 hours a day.

You might think ol’ Sparrow would be a prime candidate for counter seating, and you’d be right, but I have a fave booth there and, of course, at 0400 it was unoccupied…Business wasn’t too bad, tho…There were five girls prattling in a corner, and a woman came in later, but otherwise, it was a handful of guys enjoying either an early or late meal.

Training today went very well…I met with two state service officers, Adam and Renee…With Renee, I sat in with her appointment with Ron…Ron is an old Navy vet, an electronics tech who got out in 1974 and who did some early work on a navigation system called SINS (Ship’s Inertial Navigation System) which was pretty state of the art when I was in in the mid-80’s tho is now obsolete in the age of satellite navigation…It involves some crap that takes a ship’s fixed position and factors in their course and speed to reckon their current position…We didn’t have it on the old boat I was on.

Anyway, Ron was looking to get a service-connected disability rating for his hearing, or his lack of it…Unfortunately for Ron his Navy exit physical ages ago showed normal hearing, and an audiogram he had in the mid-90’s for a similar claim showed normal hearing, so Renee said there really isn’t much they could do…Now the good news, Renee said, was the VA would pay for his hearing aids…The bad news was that was about all they could do.

Renee also said that since we are here to serve, if Ron insisted on a claim being filed she would’ve filed it for him…We’re not here to pass judgment on a claim…That’s the VA’s job…Our job is merely to ensure the claim is accurate and complete and we can’t decline to file a claim simply because it has no chance of being awarded…But Ron took it well, shrugging and staying to chat a little more before heading out.

Both went out of their way to let me know I was to call them whenever I had a question, with Renee joking she should probably install a hotline for the first few months, until I really got the hang of what I was doing.

Because there is a lot to know…Good gravy, it’s the government we’re dealing with, so there are main forms and supplemental forms and books containing assorted rules and regulations that are so big they could apply for statehood.

I had some time to kill this afternoon, so I went and looked for some shoes…My usual Romeo boots are starting to come apart at the seems because I have a very wide foot…I had scoped out previously a store, just down the street from the hotel, that specializes in wide sizes.

It was like buying shoes as a kid with Pa Sparrow…A guy about my age, who pleasantly gave every impression of having sold shoes in strip mall shoe stores for a very long time, came out and I explained what I was looking for and he nodded knowingly and directed me to sit down, measuring my feet with one of those contraptions shoe stores have…He looked at my measurement and whistled and said yes, siree, those are some wide feet…He didn’t have many options…The only Romeo boot he had wasn’t a slip on and looked more like a hiking boot, which I didn’t want…Now, the pair I ended up rolling with wasn’t a Romeo but it was a slip-on and it had the look I wanted and I liked it so much I was looking for an excuse not buy it because it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I had to be honest, had it been a Romeo I would have bought it…The key factor was, because I was measured for it by plainly one of the big city’s top shoe professionals, it fit great right out of the box…No break-in period…So I bought them.

I’ve reconsidered my rating of the hotel, upgrading it from DUMP to OK…Yes, it is really a motel and not a hotel, and that’s bad for morale because, bottom line, I’m a classy guy, and the room is older and not up to snuff vis-a-vis the demands of 21st century power requirements for phones and laptops and whatnot, but it’s not too bad…I slept very well and the in-room coffee was easy to make and better than the swill they were passing off in the lobby and the chair was very nice to sit and read in, with my feet up on the bed, of course.

Sparrow’s Sleep Log: 2000 Wednesday until 0300 Thursday…This was a pretty good sleep…The bed was comfy and the blackout curtains worked, key when you go to bed with Mr Sun still shining…The only downside were the blue numbers on the microwave, which were about as bright as a stoplight and I eventually put two wash clothes over them, which blotted out most of the light, but not all of it. 

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Anything else is a coincidence.

It was inspired by the 19th century British novel of the same name.

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