By all rights I should be happy. According to any objective measure, my life is going very well indeed.
- I am in love with an incredible woman, who becomes more important to my me with every touch, every email, every phone-call;
- I like my job and my position there is secure;
- I am happy that my relationship with Helena has shifted from that of Vern's girlfriend to an independent friendship in its own right;
- I will likely start looking for a house to purchase within the coming month; and
- I've even had some positive response to the first piece of writing (fiction, that is) I've put into public view in several years.
So why do I feel like shit?
Subjectively, things don't so much stand, as teeter.
- My gastro-intestinal tract is flaky at best, and has been for a couple of weeks;
- my libido has collapsed from that of a sexual athlete to that of a man one unexpected loud noise away from the grave; and
- my motivation for such basic self-maintaining activities as cooking and cleaning (let alone for writing) has plummeted even lower.
So: What's the problem, Young Pretentious Geoffrey?
Marvellous girlfriend. Interesting job that pays not at all bad. Happier cat(s). Bright future as a home-owner.
What the fuck is the problem?
Why this constant, low-grade sense of anxiety about ... everything?
As of last fall, when I had a full physical, and when my doctor declared me to be in excellent health (she told me I should quit smoking, but her tone suggested she was almost pissed that I was showing more signs of already suffering from it than - apparently - I am), so it seems unlikely the problem is due to disease.
On the assumption that I haven't developed cancer in the past 9 months, and given the good things that have happened to me since then, I am left with only one obvious culprit.
Alcohol. Hootch. Fire water. The demon rum.
Ever since it became (just) warm enough to do so, I have taken to stopping for a pint - or 4, or 5, or 6 - after work, usually followed by a couple more upon my eventual return home.
I've been drinking a lot, in other words. And alcohol is a depressant.
(Why the fuck am I sharing this with you, my Gentle Readers? Oh, to hell with it - this is neither the time nor the place (well, maybe it is the place, but it isn't the time) to debate my decision to put my life on display in Voyeurs' Alley.)
Alcohol is a depressant. I've been drinking a lot. And I am depressed - or very close to it.
So put 2 and 2 together, Young Geoffrey. What does logic tell you?
(My Gentle Readers, you've already guessed, haven't you?)
What does logic tell me?
It's time to stop drinking for a while, that's what it tells me.
Let's say ... for the next 11 days. That sounds reasonable.
I'll take a sabatical from the bottle until the end of the month; force myself to re-open my eyes, to see the world through no glass at all but for the lenses of my spectacles.
If I am unable to eschew the bottle for 11 days, it seems to me, then it is clear that I have a problem, and not just that I have fallen into a rut.
A few excepts from this month's Harper's, presented in hopes that you (especially my Gentle American Readers) will consider picking up a copy of what I believe may be the best magazine in the world.
- "Chance that a member of New York's Army National Guard was in Iraq in Jule: 1 in 4
- "Chance that a member of Texas's Army National Guard was: 1 in 31
- "Words the New York Times devoted last May to examining its own faulty reporting on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction: 3,082
- "Words the Times devoted last year to 'correcting the record' after an investigation of reporter Jayson Blair: 7,102"
Lapham on the Death of Ronald Reagan
"...Never having aquired access either to Mr. Reagan's White House or to the high-randing functionaries within his administration (138 of them convicted, indicted, or investigated for criminal misconduct), I knew the man only by those of his words and deeds that were available to the newspapers and to the television cameras during his eight years in office...
"The president thought that poverty, like homelesness, was voluntary, and he was content to believe that anybody who honestly objected to being poor was free to go to California and there amass a fortune selling real estate or twelve year-old girls.
"'Facts,' Mr. Reagan once said, 'are stupid things,' and as long as the man was quick with the one-line jokes and knew when to strike up the band and smile on parade, why quarrel with his occasional lapses of memory (the whereabouts of Poland, the names of his own Cabinet ministers) or with his winsome flights of fancy - trees responsible for air pollution, nuclear missiles recallable twenty minutes after launch, tomato ketchup a wholesome vegetable, AIDS a punishment for sin.
"Applauding the spectable of his funeral as joyously as they had applauded the romance of his presidency, the media also applauded themselves. They had changed the seriousness of politics into the stuff of trivial entertainment, and of a president they had made celebrity, a more valuable commodity and one matched to the weight of their own moral and intellectual insignificance.
"Reagan at least had sense enough to know that he was an actor, hitting his marks, tipping his cap, milking the script for laughs; George W. Bush thinks the movie is real."