Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Me too.

I had just settled in to write a post – had this idea of talking about my histograms and drawing some sort of hopeful parallel with my current misery. I know it sounds awesome – I can only hope I come back to it tomorrow.

But my cell phone rang, and I was surprised to find myself scampering across the living room, pleased that someone wanted to talk with me. I have, after all, failed to return calls lately and have discouraged any sort of phone contact when offered. I’m just not in the mood to talk – I’m depressing, boring and pretty poor company. Plus, between watching TNT and trips to the office, dealing with my histograms, finishing Son of a Witch (I was outraged by the ending at first, but find myself strangely satisfied the longer I think of it. Thoughts?), worrying over my seminar – I’m quite busy. No time to sit and talk.

But scamper I did, looking briefly at the unfamiliar number on the display, then flipping open the phone to speak. Elle – one of my roommates from college – had moved recently and I hadn’t updated my contact list. She’s one of the easiest people to talk with, actually. So darn chatty, it’s sometimes work to get my turn to share. I call her when I’m sad and need distractions. No questions or obvious worry – she’ll just fill the silence. I love her a great deal, and wasn’t once impatient to be out of her company.

What surprised me – what actually befuddles me a great deal in general, honestly – is how very similar we tend to be. Elle went a different direction after college. Moving home until she found a job in the city, getting a small apartment and working every day. I shook my head over the idea of having to stay in an office for 8 whole hours a day, apparently preferring to work closer to 14 hours each day myself, but in different locations. Good stuff. She dated a wonderful man for several years and got married. I dated quite a bit, had a pretty serious relationship, then ran away. I bought a house while she just moved into a smaller apartment. We seem to be at different places – headed diverging directions.

Yet, perhaps not so much. In much the same way I find myself nodding over some of your posts, smiling when I hear something familiar in passing, giggling when I realize I’m not the only fan of TNT during the day, I sighed in commiseration with dear Elle this evening.

“It’s me.” She sighed. “I know Mr. Elle isn’t home very much lately, which sucks. Then there’s the whole cat situation. Work isn’t great, but it’s not bad… I don’t know why I’m unhappy, Katie. But I am.”

I blinked a couple times as I rolled to my side and tucked myself into the back of the couch.

“I know.” I said softly. “It’s me too. I don’t know where I’m going.”


“I think I’ll want to move in another year or so.”

“Mr. Elle wants to move again already, so we’ll be heading somewhere new sometime next year too.”

I paused, wondering where I’d end up. Then she spoke again.

“I don’t have any friends.”

“I don’t either.” I said, thinking of all the people I still don’t know at work. I’ll smile and say hello, but haven’t gone past that with anyone. Nor do I feel the need to do so, though I reserve the right to whine about being lonely, of course.

“Oh.” I said, another problem occurring to me. “I don’t feel very well lately. Headaches, stomach problems, not sleeping well.”

“I have an appointment next week.” She informed me. “Do you think we’re getting old? I have this weird thing in my back, and I think it’s giving me headaches.”

We talked about her back, and I told her about this strange tight feeling in the back of my left knee.

“You should be careful.” She warned. “That’s the one you always hurt.” And I basked in the knowledge that there are people who love me – who know that I’m more likely to injure my left knee for some reason.

So, dog at my feet here in the south while her cat nestled on her tummy up north, we kept each other company. Pushing the sad loneliness away for a few hours while we realized we’re not at all alone. Full of confused anger about how close the senate vote was – I was sure the defeat would be overwhelming and feel guilty over my previous apathy.

“You’re tired.” Elle soothed. “You care. You vote. You just have a lot going on right now – professional and emotional stuff that’s eating up energy.”

“Things will get better.” I said, and she agreed. Then we sat silently as we wondered if we were right.

She said she’d kept me long enough just as I was thinking I was sleepy. So I wanted to say hello to those of you who are still reading before returning to my histograms. You all help a great deal by being around – showing up on site stats when I remember to check (which is a lot lately, actually), leaving sweet comments or deciding not to leave the one that tells me to grow up. I'm peeking out of my little nest a bit and feel pleased to see people around. Feeling grateful for the support when I was pretty low.

I think I’m starting to do a bit better.


Anonymous said...

Yes we are here, sometimes lurking, sometimes posting.

I guess this is a me-too-too post. I think I'm in a very similar situation, somewhat depressed, but still mostly functional. You've done an excellent job of articulating the what it feels like. Hopefully it will pass...

I do wonder how do you manage to keep working (and posting!)? I keep going in to work, but end up sitting and staring at the screen more than accomplishing anything...

On that note, back to work. Thanks again and I hope you feel better.


post-doc said...

I do a great deal of sitting and staring. Writing to you guys - for me, really - can get difficult, but I think it's been important for me. Plus, there's the chance of getting a lovely, sweet comment - like yours - that makes it overwhelmingly worthwhile.

I'm not sure if it's comforting or heartbreaking that there are so many of us feeling not-so-great right now. Please know I very much appreciate your hope that I get better and that it goes both ways - I hope you start feeling better soon.

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