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Currently at Bancroft: -1. High today: 1. Probably ... hopefully ... the last significant snowfall of the season today.

I just realized yesterday that my last substantial post here was last Opening Day. I was sad to miss the opener today. Up here these years you can only get the Jays on the radio at night, and that with difficulty. Back in the glory years a station in Peterborough carried them, but now you've got to get the signal all the way from Toronto. It competes with an oldies station from somewhere--upstate New York, I think--on the same frequency. From time to time other teams' broadcasts from across the American northeast come in more clearly--glow and fade and hum and buzz and sputter and spark and explode and go dark.

About fifteen months ago, "demoralized" became the key word in my life. I had no idea how much worse it would get. (Has it gotten as bad as it will get, is it getting better? Could be, I don't know. At times it feels like it is and then suddenly it isn't again. But I'll live through the night, I'll live through the week, I'll almost certainly live through the month. That's more than I would've committed to a lot of times over the last year. God knows after this winter--which will not be over here until I can put away my Luggable Loo--it sure would be a shame if I didn't live through the summer.) I've been thinking lately about how I try to make the best of things. Maybe, if you knew me, or insofar as you do know me, you might think that, and maybe you might not, I don't know. You might think I'm someone who moans and groans and can hardly be bothered doing anything, I don't know. But as far as I'm concerned I do keep trying to make the best of things, and I'm no longer convinced that's the right thing to do. You keep trying to make the best of things and halfway succeeding and you give people the impression everything's OK, when it's not. And if everyone's doing that, then, wow, are we ever all in trouble, and none of us knows it.

So I guess I've started trying not to do that any more. It's not easy. Contrary to that, I went to two Easter dinners yesterday. At the end of the second one I thought, well, that wasn't so bad, I got through it, all that moaning and groaning beforehand seemed silly ... and then I thought, holy shit no, that whole thing was painful, not intolerably painful like I always fear it will be and sometimes it actually is, but significantly painful, all of it, and I never want to do that again. But I will, because you can't just not ... can you? Maybe I won't. (I guess I want to say--because it is true--that that painfulness was nobody's fault but mine. Nobody was trying to cause me any pain, quite the contrary. And so I would feel terribly if they knew I was in pain, and yet ... here I am saying this. What am I supposed to do? I am sorry. I am sorry I am the way I am, in this way. I am sorry we have all found ourselves in this boat together with me as I am. I don't want to be in this boat, I want to get out, I am getting out. It is not your fault. I am sorry.)

You know, about that intolerable painfulness ... I realized late this afternoon that I hadn't taken the litter box outside yet today to clean it, which was an unpleasant realization, because it's awkward and dirty and it's cold outside and there's still snow on the ground and I have to lug it a ways. But it's just one of life's little aggravations; no big deal. And then it occurred to me that it may very well be the case that the way I feel about cleaning out the kitty litter is the way other people feel about a lot of things that are intolerably painful to me. And I thought, these kinds of things--which are all various kinds of social things (including so many of the ordinary negotiations of every day life--some of the main ones that are such a practical ongoing problem for me are the ones involved with owning a car)--the way they feel to me is not like cleaning out the kitty litter; it's like being strangled. (It's like being strangled especially because what always threatens and sometimes comes to pass is being unable to speak. Choking. Choking on my sense that everything is wrong, every possible thing I can say here is wrong, I here am wrong.) It's like being wrapped up in a boa constrictor, around my chest, around my throat. Through my life I've managed to do a lot of things, God knows I've even volunteered to things because I thought I should do them for one reason or another, with this boa constrictor wrapped around me. Every time I have taught, for days, weeks, months I have had this boa constrictor wrapped around me. I have always kept fighting it, kept trying to make the best of things. And almost always it looks like I'm OK, it can look like I'm fine, it can look like I'm happy, it can look like everything is great. (And yeah, there are moments when everything is great, and those moments can make it seem like it's all worthwhile--one moment of joy with Zarathustra. (And because of those, I don't regret teaching, though I do regret having done it longer than I should have, which led me to a place where I was no longer sure I could live with myself.) But then things move along from there and I've still got this boa constrictor wrapped around me, and I know that when I have to do it again I will have the boa constrictor wrapped around me again. Sometimes it lets up but it never has stopped for good, it is always going to start squeezing hard again.) Sometimes people remark on how calm I am. So many people who you'd think really ought to know better, ought to know me better, are so wrong about that. Of course that is mostly my fault, because I'm trying to make the best of things! (God knows I have always not wanted to be that teacher who is an obvious basket case, because that is so very horrid for everyone involved.) But it does endlessly amaze me how unperceptive people can be. (This makes me think of some time years ago when I saw Robin Williams on a talk show. He was Robin Williams being Robin Williams; lots of people could easily say he was manic or hypomanic but I saw the sweat on him and I thought he was depressed as fuck. But the funny thing about that is, I never really noticed the same sweat on DD until he told me how hard everything was for him. And then once he had told me, holy shit, yeah, I could see it, this guy looks like he is functioning but he is right on the edge of breaking down completely--and he just keeps going. And another funny thing about that: once upon a time someone who I thought was one of those people who is way less perceptive than they think they are heard his voice from across a room and said something about him being a phony. DD is very, very far from what I would call a phony, but she was hearing something there. She didn't hear it in me, so much the worse for her.) If it looks to you like someone is trying to avoid cleaning out the litter box, then it might look to you like that person might be an asshole. You might think differently if you realized that that person was trying to avoid being crushed by a boa constrictor, but you might be unable to see that that's what that person is trying to do, because if you were in their shoes, you'd just be trying to avoid cleaning the kitty litter, and everyone has to take their turn cleaning the kitty litter. (The funny damned thing about that is if you are trying to avoid being crushed by a boa constrictor you will do anything to avoid that and you might gladly take on endless litter boxes to avoid being crushed by a boa constrictor just once.) And if that person tells you that actually they're trying to avoid being crushed by a boa constrictor, you might think that not only are they trying to shirk their litter-cleaning duties, but they're being melodramatic about it--you might think they're especially an asshole. And that person might think, I dunno, geez, maybe I am an asshole; after all, it's not your fault that for you it's kitty litter and for me it's a boa constrictor.

The damnedest thing is a couple of years ago I thought somehow I was transcending this. Some people, including people who you might think would have known better, including me, thought I was "blossoming". I was flaming out.

Anyway, I've been wishing lately that I could listen to baseball games on the radio, because doing that is interesting and worthwhile--yes, I do believe that sports are as worthwhile as arts and for many of the same reasons--and it doesn't make me feel bad or hurt anyone, and there's precious little else I can say that about.

The funny thing is (the funny thing, the damnedest thing, the funny damned thing--Jesus, I keep thinking, life is just endless irony ... and, I keep thinking, well of course it is when you keep trying to say things are thus and so, because no matter how you say things are, they are also not that) I really considered going up to Bancroft on my own to watch it in the pub there.

Date: 2015-04-09 10:07 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Welcome back?

I mean, I feel that you are welcome back. It certainly sounds like something has been going on while you were away.

blossoming vs flaming out

Date: 2015-04-17 11:26 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Can you have one without the other?

Re: blossoming vs flaming out

Date: 2015-04-28 08:23 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh. Good.
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