Upon Further Reflection

I’ve been kind of sick this week. It’s worse in the mornings, when I’m on the bus, swiping feebly at my nose with my hanky, trying to get into my book but feeling as though all my brain power (yeah, all of it) has gone into snot production and scratchy-throat making. It gets better during the day, which is of course the most annoying kind of sickness because you decide at about eleven that you’re going to go home early but then after lunch you remember about your stupid poster for your stupid conference…by the way, what the hell were you thinking, asking to go to this thing?.. and by three, it’s true, you are banging your head against your desk, but you feel like you should just suck it up for another two hours plus then you’ll get your comp hour which is handy because you have all these trips this year and it would be nice to get paid for some of them. And then the next morning you sit there going “But I’m sick! Why aren’t I at home!” Yeah, that’s me this week. Also, I have a canker sore. I hate those. Ow.

And let me just tell you I cannot concentrate on anything lately. I keep stopping work to read war news, and then I feel sad, and then I feel angry, and then I feel scared, and then I try to distract myself from feeling sad and angry and scared and go back to work, only to repeat the whole cycle again in fifteen minutes. I keep tripping over things and breaking things. I keep trying to read books but get distracted by thoughts like “Hey! What if I were a gourmet chef and had my own cooking show? I’d call it Chiara In The Chitchen! Get it? That would totally rule!” My house isn’t filthy…yet, but it’s at that stage where I have to think carefully about the clothes in the hamper: clean or dirty? (I usually put them on anyway. Feel free to despise me).You know this, right? You feel me?

It’s really almost definitely probably getting to be spring here in COLD RAINY Seattle, (I know I’m going to be saying this for another three months) which is exciting if you like to look at cherry blossoms in the rain and go down to the bus after work during daylight and wear only one sweater instead of three. This is somehow adding to my Mood. I think it’s because for the last couple of years I’ve had a summer vacation…some people would call that “lengthy unemployment” but I prefer to conceptualize that more positively, as if I chose to eat down my savings and bite my fingernails to the quick…not one summer, but two! So relaxing, those summer vacations! Ah! However, one thing about being unemployed is that you don’t have to go to work, and sometimes that can be really nice. I like money, but I like free time too, and I am predicting that it’s going to be rough coming into work this summer. Fortunately for me, between various weddings and graduations and visits, I’m not going to be around much, so I guess it will all work out.

I’m just restless and fidgety yet simultaneously lazy and apathetic. I don’t care about anything unless it’s a source of extreme anxiety. I can’t bring myself to do anything until the very last minute, and then I complain that I suck for doing it at the very last minute. Then I fall asleep for a couple of minutes. Then I start to cry reading The Nation. Then I start fantasizing about my imaginary life where there’s no war and I’m a pretty pretty princess who doesn’t have to work but gets to read books and actually retain some of the information contained therein, who never gets sick and who lives somewhere it’s always spring and that also happens to be near her mom and all her friends. Then I remember I haven’t done the dishes. Then I remember that I’m getting a big tax refund, and I am happy for a couple of minutes because money = happiness, and then I remember that I promised myself I would put that towards my loans this year since I am in fact employed and won’t need it to pay rent. Then I feel glad to be employed. Then I remember that employment means I don’t get to have a summer vacation. Then I read war coverage, and then I fall asleep again.

I was like this right after September 11, too. I don’t know if it was worse then or now. There’s the same sense of uncertainty, I guess, but I have to say it doesn’t feel tempered by that feeling of We Are All Americans. I remember people saying that this was going to bring everyone together and that people were going to be volunteering and that everything was going to get better as a result of having been so bad. Now I’m afraid that my constitutional rights which I have for so long taken for granted are being taken away from me. I keep reading the stats on Pamie’s site, not wanting to read them but forcing myself to read them because I want to bear some sort of witness in some way. I wonder if people are going to try to burn down the mosque near my house again. I wonder if John Ashcroft is going to come to my house and ask me if I’m part of a terrorist organization (“Does Quaker meeting count, Mr. Ashcroft?”) and take me away and no one will be able to tell anyone that I’ve been taken away. And so it’s not surprising, really, that I am fidgety and scared and sick, is it, upon further reflection.

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