Sunday, November 1, 2009

Falling Back

Every year its the same. Its Halloween, followed by the aggressive ouch that is the setting back of the clocks.  I don't feel happy about the extra hour; I feel hurt and confused.  You don't know where that hour has been. You don't just pick up an extra sixty minutes and dig in like its an eclair. You have to approach carefully, with suspicion.

It starts in the morning, when 7a.m. is suddenly 6 a.m, a deeply unkind weekend hour.  Am I supposed to feel grateful and go milk a cow?  No one's circadian rhythms are deceived by manually ticking back the clock on the coffee maker the night before.  Least of all my little boy, up in the dark, who whisper-talks directly into my ear like its a walkie-talkie, "Mama is it wake-up time?"  Tch tch, is this thing on?  "Get in here."  I indicate with a throwing back of blankets, revealing the envelope in which he is to mail himself back to sleep. This works for a time, sometimes he sleeps, or sometimes he traces the alphabet on my face with his tiny, tickly fingers. But ultimately his wakeful package is returned to sender, and we have to have Rice Krispies in the gloaming.

Its a weird day for me. Always has been. More than birthdays or Christmas, this day marks a passing of time, and the fucked up way its marked only makes it more potent and absurd, with everyone stumbling around like blind moles, late and wonky and hungry at the wrong time.

Historically I've been stricken with depression, but today was different. Today I wandered around lobotomized, looking for a start to something. I felt a certain emotional riptide pulling me away from the shores of cheer and into the darker, colder waters where the big ugly fish of desperation and loneliness swim and feed. But I felt somewhat more Jacques Cousteau about the experience.

I know that there are things I could change to make this time of year better for me. Maybe if I liked winter sports? Or if I could once again harness the anticipation of Christmas. Perhaps if my winter wardrobe weren't so unforgivably utilitarian and used up. Maybe if it weren't such a feat of will to heat my house. Maybe if I lived in a community where the inhabitants didn't burrow so deeply underground. Maybe if the leaves in front on my bathroom window didn't fall away to reveal my chubby nakedness to the chopped down soy plants and the cars that will never slow down enough to notice the nude, weeping lady, framed by the vinyl replacement window.  Maybe then things would feel different.

But instead we're all hungry for dinner at 4 o'clock and I've forgotten how to cook.  The kids are drawn to the TV like the fruit flies to my rotting bananas. My husband travels, and the darkness falls, close and itchy, like a sweater of the wrong blend.

So today it wasn't depression I felt, for a change, thank you upholstery shoppers and my lovely blog readers, all of you have taught me how to lay back and swim parallel to shore. Pulling me delicately, gracefully out of the scary, futile tide. But though I am not drowning, I am mighty tired and needing a clam roll and a beer.

Its still the day that isn't. And there's an extra hour of it.


  1. Oh Sister, what a sad, lovely post. You've been in the dark three hours already, and here in L.A. the sun is just winking out. Not enough time for that second coat of paint to dry on my used dresser.

  2. I'd give you a virtual hug but that's just the new cornball. Maybe you should take a look at the pix of your gorgeous family you recently posted to Facebook to cheer you up.

  3. goddamn it is hard to type a thank you when you are laughing so hard!

    Im sorry if it is annoying that I always zero in and quote things, but I am energized by themasterful use of English.

    "...envelope to mail himself back to sleep."

    "....the nude, weeping lady framed by the vinyl replacement window."

    Holy shit. Incredible. Thank you.

  4. You tell the truth I skirt around.

    I could stop there. I should stop there. But oh no, I have to talk strategy. Mine. Here it is. THEY taketh and giveth the hours. Well,THEY can stuff it. I, I, decide when I'm going to spend or save that hour - not them. I'm having fun, I linger and add the hour. I'm done with this stupid day, I cut it short an hour - boom!

    I argue (only I am listening) that the sun hasn't left us, we left it, which is technically true. The other half of the planet needs a break. The plants need to rest a minute. Then I bundle up and find what's left of the the sun - lighting a corner somewhere between buildings - and stand there in it until I get my fix. Soon I'll start looking for Spring in February. It's there. I know where they keep it. It's over on York Avenue.

    Another great post from Jessica. I may just add an hour and reread it.