Sunday Morning, Rain Is Falling

Sunday evening.  Close enough.

I don’t like the holidays.  I get grumpy, fidgety, and depressed.  Here are some highlights (lowlights?) from a late-December weekend.

At the coffee place, yesterday:

I had earbuds in, because of the Christmas music (holiday thesis statement:  I hate Christmas).  There was an unsupervised small person next to me, and he asked what I was listening to.

Me:  Velvet Underground.

Him:  Is that the name of the song?

Me:  No, the song is called “Venus in Furs.”

Him:  What’s it about?

Me:  Love.

And no, I don’t have children.  And I’m not ever around them.  So don’t call DSS.

I can tell it’s getting really close to the dreaded 25th because my anxiety is through the roof (more than usual).  I had a substantial freakout yesterday that resulted in frantic texting, mostly to assure me that I had not ruined my life forever and always.  Apologies again to the person on the receiving end of that one.

It’s not all my typical anxiety, which tends to come from overanalyzing everything.  And everything else.

Both bulbs in my bedroom burned out, which I put off dealing with as long as possible:  I decided to fix it, finally, when I was squinting in the semi-darkness this morning, trying to determine if I was holding the navy tights with stars or the black ones.  For future reference, the navy ones have the small stars, and the black ones have larger stars.  And I changed my mind and didn’t wear either pair, in the end.

That was just trying to get out of the house.

So I wisely waited until after nightfall to change the bulbs, because darkness is the ideal way to attempt that.  I dragged a kitchen chair into the bedroom and finally got the fixture down.  When I got the box of bulbs, there was only one of the correct wattage.  I have a box of four bulbs of a different wattage, but having non-identical lightbulbs hovering over my head would effectively blow my mind.  So I changed one bulb.


One is the loneliest number.

See also:  previous post about the so-called Minute Rice, which I ended up giving away.

When washing dishes, wash dishes.

Or, alternatively, brood!  This is where “Sunday Morning” comes in.  I was thinking through the lyrics and trying to decide if that or “Heroin” is the most depressing song on that album.  I unfairly created a tie by designating the latter the most overtly depressing and the former the most subtly depressing.

I tried to pep myself up with John Prine, but I gave up midway through “Sam Stone.”  In retrospect, probably not the best pick, either.

This picture, taken while visiting my parents, sums up how I feel:


Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life.



A Super-Deep Reflection: Solitude

Yeah, right.  I’m going to start off with how I dropped my phone down my pants.

Tomorrow is pickup day, and I was hauling the bins to the alley.  I needed to carry my phone but had no pockets, so I stuck it in my waistband.  MacGyver, right?  I didn’t even make it the five or six feet to the bins before the phone worked its way out of my waistband and down my leg.  It’s been raining, and the ground is soaked, so I ended up trying to hold my leg out horizontally so I could remove the phone without drowning it.

Later, after dark, my elusive new neighbor or neighbors came in, and I heard a bin thunk.  The one I’ve met, whose name is Chase or Hunter or Chet or something, appears to have gotten separated from his fraternity herd, and I wasn’t counting on him to pick up a bin that he’d knocked over with his car.  By this time, it was raining again, so I stood at my back door, in my pajamas, holding a keychain flashlight (shaped like a pig, and yes, it does oink while illuminating), trying to pinpoint the location of the trash.

What this has to do with solitude:  it makes you act like you were raised by wolves.  Or, more accurately, living alone causes you to lose your set of “is this normal?” checks and balances.  I suspect that even those living the contemplative life sometimes wear beanies indoors– who’s going to know?

I ended up going outside about 11 PM, in pajamas and Doc Martens.  It was a look, that’s for sure.


There’s no need for an essay discussing pros and cons of being alone, and I hate pro-con lists anyway:  they tend to be paralyzing, unless you actually do know what you need to do but have to rationalize it.

I was considering cooking Minute Rice last night.  I got entirely hung up on the directions:  why does Minute Rice take five minutes to cook, five to solidify (or whatever)?

I had cheese and crackers.  The Minute Rice question was too fraught.

That’s an example of when having someone with me to say “shut up and cook the damn rice” might have been helpful.

The point I’m getting around to:

  • At what point do these quirks hit the irreversible Grey Gardens threshold?

Increasingly, I worry that I’m incapable of being around other humans for extended periods of time.  Yes, I know my personality is a factor.  Thanks for pointing that out.

But:  are the other oddities becoming embedded?  Am I becoming inflexible?  Does isolation feed on itself?

When did I develop my mother’s habit of flinging myself into this-place-has-to-look-decent mode before someone comes over?

I’m not broken over here, but is my crack showing?


I am *killing* normal here.

Field Notes: Physical Therapy

Perhaps I’m stretching with this one.  [ka-ching, thank you, here all week]  I do spend enough time there to fill a post, though, so congratulations!  You can’t always get what you want, and I’m here to give you what you don’t need.


Physical therapy appears to be yet another person/adult thing I don’t know how to do; this probably comes as no surprise.  I was having problems before I even made it to the first session:  namely, I was shifting through t-shirts trying to figure out which ones didn’t essentially read “hi, my name is Weird!”  These days, making a good first impression apparently involves not wearing the shirt that says “I KILLED JENNY*.”

*Note lack of link.  You should know that.  And I also expect you to still be grieving for Mr. Piddles.

I think of science as something largely discovered by philosophers (Thales is still completely valid, right?), so our initial discussion of things involving a lot of Anatomical Terms went completely over my head.  Over time, I’ve learned to deal with this by responding to every remark of that type with, “so, is that good?”

Another conversational problem is that we don’t converse.  I spend a lot of time counting, and he spends a lot of time looking at something on his laptop.  When we attempt the forced small talk at the beginning of the session (he’s very nice, I should clarify), I’ve latched onto football as something I definitely know he likes.  Unfortunately, I’ve managed to screw up football as a topic of discussion constantly by getting enthusiastic about the wrong teams (usually, the only team I knew was playing), confusing winners and losers, and being extremely clueless about bowl games.  I brought up the championship game today (which I didn’t see, but I did check the score) and tried to break the ice by saying it must have been very exciting.  The look he gave me suggested he’s on to me.


A fairly accurate reenactment of my sports small talk.



In spite of my “everybody act normal!” efforts, he still seems to think I’m odd– again, as of the first appointment, when I brought a book.  I knew I’d have to wait, so this seemed perfectly logical.  Also, I always have a book with me.  As I’ve said before, there is always a possibility of a zombie apocalypse.  Do you not want to have a book with you when civilization crumbles?  I didn’t go into the zombie bit there, but I think I’d done enough already  without putting the undead icing on the cake.

I put off laundry a shameful amount of time at one point (it was cold!  exterior stairs!), and I did have to go to my Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem t-shirt, which seemed okay:  nostalgia value, right?  Not so much.  It was a new experience to have someone who was pulling my ankles lose composure and crack up.  I’m adding to my résumé every day.

Today, he asked if my mismatched socks were a style statement.  I had to explain that, this time, they were just laundry-fatigue induced accidents.  I didn’t mention that I have worn mismatched socks before (on purpose) and that now he was giving me ideas.  Of course, I also now have an inverse pair of the ones I wore today, plus one odd one that I assume is a dryer casualty.  All sorts of possibilities!


I am *killing* normal here.


Other things I’m learning:  I’m getting very, very good at counting.  Going up to 10, 15, and 30 are my specialities.  If you need help with that, let me know.  If it’s math more involved than that, call someone else; nothing’s changed with that one.

I am also in the gym portion eight minutes per session, where I have been seeing a show I think is called Meredith (?).  It’s what would happen if you took the 50s and told it to act hip and contemporary but to do a really, really bad job on purpose.  Perhaps you need to watch it for more than eight minutes at a time to get the full effect of it, and I’m misjudging.

I’ve also concluded that physical therapy should come with a masseuse to follow you home when all the actual aches and pains start up.  This has not been forthcoming.

In the meantime, if you’d like to come rub my back, I’m right here.  I’m also taking fashion tips and conversational bits of current sports trivia.

Until then, I will be reading, wearing clothes not suitable for physical therapy, wearing earplugs during Monday RAW/Thursday Smackdown/all football (apartments!), and avoiding daytime TV.



“There is less in this than meets the eye.”

(post title credit:  Talullah Bankhead again; main post image, no reason other than love for The Muppet Show)

First Things First:  Progress, Ho!

If you read the Outpost, you’ll see in the comment to the latest post that there’s a promised post forthcoming.  Believe it or not, it’s in the works:  there’s an actual (incomplete) draft.  Progress slowed down a bit when I did something highly mysterious that led to shutting down every window and program on my computer, thus losing all the resources I had gathered (they also somehow vanished from my browser history).  Whatever I did there, don’t do that.

I’m bouncing two additional ideas around for shorter posts (Outpost again).  Not sure if they’ll pan out.

Notice Anything Different?

Yeah, thought not.

I’m working on adding links (right sidebar), which has been on my to-do for this blog since day one.  I started last night and will continue to add sporadically.  Last night, as you can see currently, was mostly humor stuff (which, somehow, devolved into being mainly webcomics– I’m not entirely sure what happened there).  For the record, this is stuff I do actually read, though obviously, I don’t visit them all every last day.

Words with . . . Families?  An Actual Sort-Of Personal Story

I think it’s at least fairly common that immediate families have a few (sometimes a lot) of made-up words or codewords unique to them.  From what I’ve seen and heard, these tend to involve words with sexual connotations or that relate to bodily functions.  I did Google it, and some families get a little more creative:  see here and here for short lists of examples (reader-submitted).  [1]  

I’m not sure these technically qualify as neologisms (“bae,” etc.), since they never enter the popular vernacular.  Someone else would have to clarify that; I’m really not clear on that one.  [2]

What’s I’m coming around to is one my family uses.  Something to know first is that, if you dropped all four of us in a bookstore, we separate to such far extremes that reuniting is a monumental task; our tastes vary in the extreme.  We all agree, though, that My Life and Hard Times (James Thurber) is a singularly hilarious book.  [3]  

In the chapter “Other Alarms at Night,” Thurber lies awake all night, trying in vain to come up with the name of the New Jersey town Perth Amboy.  In the dead of night, he wakes up his (already-nervous) father and demands, without explanation, that he begin naming towns in New Jersey, getting more and more insistent– and leading his father to believe he’s lost his mind.

When someone in my family has a nagging, insistent, can’t-remember-something-trivial problem that is actively bothering them, this is a Perth Amboy situation.  It’s also a Perth Amboy situation when the answer springs to your mind at 3 AM, when you’ve invariably been lying awake to that point trying to pinpoint whatever meaningless thing won’t leave you alone.

This happened last night, after I’d gone to bed.  I have no idea on this earth how Don Johnson appeared in my mind, but there he was.  I thought of Miami Vice. . . but what was that TV show he was on in the 90s?  Cop?  PI?  Yellow car.  Right.  Yellow car.  Barracuda.  [4]  The end result was a nocturnal visit to imdb:  Nash Bridges.  (here is the Wikipedia summary— I chose it because it shows how like, totally, seriously deep a show it was)  But:  Perth Amboy!

In Conclusion

No, I haven’t seen 50 Shades.  I started the first book (at the library) but quickly delivered a hard “no” to all involved.  [5]  With all the cumulative press dating from the publication of the books to the movie’s release, it’s not at all hard to have a pretty concrete idea of the finer plot details, though.  So I present you with my two favorite articles thus far:  a review of the movie plus a soundtrack review.  (these are funny, not analytical/deep– you’re thinking of the auxiliary blog)

“No Pain, No Gain”  (New Yorker)

“Breaking Down the 50 Shades of Grey Soundtrack, One Track at a Time” (Esquire)  [6]

Before You Go

Thurber was also pretty famous for his bizarre cartoons (they illustrated his books and often appeared in the New Yorker).  You often have to project your own narrative onto them to some extent to interpret them; it’s hard to explain.  You’ll probably notice that he has a distinctive drawing style; he lost sight in one eye (result of an accident) as a child and rapidly began to lose all sight as an adult.  There’s only one dog here, but his dog drawings may be the things that are most famous now (the dog shown here is from My Life and Hard Times).  If you want to see more, there are many more images available via Google image search.

ThurberMyPistol ThurberInsurrection ThurberBrynMawr 8213932 thurber-wrong-number

[1]  As with pretty much anything, there’s more out there.  The two links I’ve chosen are not euphemism-type lists; they’re more the out-in-left-field variety.

[2]  Also, do these South Park contributions count?

[3]  My favorite from the volume, “The Night the Bed Fell,” is in the New Yorker archive (1933) here.  If reading Project Gutenberg doesn’t make you cross-eyed, the whole book is here.

[4]  Entirely typical for every single detail but the vehicle involved to evade me.  Someday, my children, I’ll gather you ’round me and tell you my El Camino theory (TM).

[5]  I read the first Twilight while hospitalized; I had access to all three of those and Trainspotting.  I read Trainspotting, then Twilight.  I considered the second volume of Twilight, then read Trainspotting twice more while waiting for further reading material.  Reading that book three times in less than a week is . . . interesting.

[6]  Not my usual reading material.  Caitlin Moran (formerly a music journalist) tweeted the link.