December 24th, 2003

Baby and me

My Own Private Festivus - The Airing of Grievances

I wrote the following last night, suddenly at my computer after realizing I couldn't sleep and that I had something to say, if only to myself. I didn't post it here then; I was tired, I was stoned and I was unsuare as to whether or not I actually want to treat my livejournal as a journal. Turns out that I do, no matter that others may read it.

Anyway. This is what I was thinking at 10:30 last night.

And for what it's worth, as the old saw has it, knowing you have a problem is the first step towards dealing with it. I'm feeling quite a lot better now, having written out why I haven't been feeling much good at all.

The Solstice has passed, the New Year is born from the old, and Mr. Sun is on his way back to us.

* * *

I think I'm depressed.

I'm not talking about the blues, or that I'm feeling down; I don't even feel particularly sad, most of the time. What I mean is, is that I am Depressed.

And I think I have been for quite some time. Like maybe for the past year, never really getting back up after falling (being pushed) away from what I thought I had with Siya. Like I've been treading water, going through the motions of life, without quite remembering how to live.

Let's recount the reasons for this conclusion, starting with the blatant surface signs.

My apartment is not only a mess, it is filthy, and has been for weeks. I tell myself, nearly every day, that I will clean up tomorrow; and every day, if by chance I am home and not hunched over the local bar, pointlessly catching-up on the day's paper or a pouring over a paper-pack I already know I enjoy while occasionally jotting down notes, ostensibly for my novel, or - more likely - for some clever post to livejournal that as like as not I finish just as soon as I will the novel, if by chance I am home, I will fill my time with anything but basic domestic hygiene.

What fills my time? Endless rounds of bodies and faces on, endlessly clicking "No" or "Yes" on empty 250 "profiles", vaguely lusting after pixelated shadows of real life. Re-heated food, a bowl of grass, Simpsons reruns, Seinfeld, another bowl ... and then to bed.

Where I lie a few minutes pleasuring myself with fantasies that grow daily more infantily baroque, pornographic more by the paucity of my imagination than by its obscenity. Then, I will toss and turn a while (sometimes more, sometimes less), moving from a static science fiction fantasy I know longer care to invent, so that one situation repeats itself before my eyes each night, to a mini-Festivus of self-loathing admixed with vows to do better in the morrow.

I will exercise before I go to work! I will write for an hour before I go to work!

I almost never do.

Creative inertia.

* * *

I love sex. I haven't had sex in 14 months. And it hardly bothers me.

How can this be?

When I say "I love sex" I don't mean I love sex the way I might say, "I love Hagen Maui Madness Frozen Yogurt. I mean that I really love sex. From slow-heating foreplay over hours to animal rutting against the front door; from exhausting, sweaty passion to those early-morning second rounds in the dark that lead to happy sleep in one another's arms; from electricity across a restaurant table to groping in a dark park. All part of a marvellous world of shared experience, exploration and discovery.

In my happy sexual relationships (sadly, seldom the same as in my happy relationships), we would come together at least two or three times a day and I never tired of it. Each new congress was at once a happy home-coming and a brilliant new adventure - when I've been really lucky, all that, with someone I loved.

How can it be, that I can (apparently) do so easily without something I like - that I love - so much much?

Related to sex, I like being in a relationship. I like the web of complexity two people people with one another; I like the insights that, shared, both change and reinforce the individuals within the partnership. I like having someone to think about and to care about, in ways you don't about or for, "mere" friends. I like cooking meals, or (those this happens rarely) being cooked for; I like those moments when I break character and come home with flowers or some equally inadequate symbol for what I feel. I like feeling loved; even more, I like feel love.

How can it be then, that I am not - seriously - pursuing either sex or love?

* * *

Some of you, if you knew me, might object that I am pursuing at least one of the above objectives.

There is truth to that objection. But I have been pursuing my game in the laziest possible way, in fields where the odds of success are very low indeed. By and large I have localized my hunt on the internet, in sites mostly frequented by much younger women; the average age-gap determines a small initial group of possible partners; the bell curve of human intelligence (not to mention: of mutual interests, of mutual compatibility, of mutual attraction) reduces that even further.

That I have met anyone through such sites as sometimes strikes me as remarkable; that I have become involved in relationships as incredible; that I fell in love as nearly miraculous.

And so, since Siya, I have persevered. But without much hope or enthusiasm. I count myself lucky to have made a friend over the past year (in my darker moments, I wonder how soon that relationship too will pass into the past).

* * *

Ah yes. Friends.

I had some once. Easily a half-dozen people, male and female, who I considered close friends; with a larger group, maybe a dozen or more, with whom I shared a solidarity, a sense of community, of family.

Over the years, they have almost all gone from my life.

Some I have pushed away; others have pushed me away; still others are just ... gone.

With one exception, those who remain I see only a few times a year, at best; some, scattered across the country, less often than that. But even those close to hand, I seldom call, waiting instead for them to make the move, to see that some kind of bond remains between us.

And mostly, I don't seem to really care.

Louella tells me to fuck off after I've made dinner, scanned some photos for her and shared a lot of beers. As best I can tell, she doesn't like the music I had put on. But since she never talked with me again, it's hard to know what caused the offense.

John gets angry because I tried to describe how his son (then 10 or 12) and managed to get under my skin and make me want to hit him. Laughing as I described the incident, I tried to make it clear I was the butt of the story - 30-some odds years old and worked into a near-frenzy by a kid feeling his oats. John heard nothing but that I'd been angry with his son and shunned me for years. Though we talk when we see each other now, we are not close.

Erin tells me to shut up because I disagree with her about the philosophical basis of the scientific method; she is so wrong I am incapable of shutting up. She tells me to fuck off and stalks out of the restaurant where a bunch of us had gathered after work, leaving behind more than fifteen years of what I had thought was friendship.

But yet I did nothing when these people walked out of my life. I did not apologize, or demand apologies; did not call and suggest we get together to talk about what had happened.

In mostly rhetorical anger I wondered if they had ever truly been my friends; in abstract curiosity I wondered the same about myself - had I been theirs?

* * *

All of which leads back to the front. I'm depressed.

Look at the evidence: I don't act as if I care about the people I say I do; I act indifferent to my physical surroundings; I don't do the things - writing, for instance - I say I want to do; I don't pursue either sex or relationships, through I say I want both; I don't like my job but have yet to lift a finger to change it.

And I don't actually feel bad. Mostly, I don't feel much of anything at all - besides animal pleasures and displeasures (a hot shower, an ass-hole who cuts me off while I'm on my bike). I feel like something is missing from me, as if some interior flame has gone out, or one of my vital mental spark-plugs is clogged and can no longer fire. I used to enjoy my own company; now, I tolerate it, the way I imagine a member of an old married couple tolerates his or her spouse - as an inevitability, but seldom a pleasure.