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Archive for the tag “ennui”

I’ve been right here, where were you?

Well, here’s a surprise:  it’s another grey, drizzly overcast day.  I have the heater on and am wearing Uggs, jeans, a sweatshirt and a fleece jacket while I drink moremoremore coffee.

A couple Mondays ago dawned grey, stormy and depressing and I felt the same way.  I’d spent part of the night with Murph T. Dog dug head first under the blankets, crammed between me and hubs, me teetering on the edge of the bed as the poor thing shivered beside me in terror at the thunderstorm, his butt uncomfortably close to my pillow as house vibrated with every nearby CRASH of thunder.  I held him tightly, partly to calm him and partly to keep from sliding off the little sliver of bed left to me.  Doze off BOOOOOM doze off BOOOOOM … repeat.  I finally sort of oozed out of bed and foggily tried making some coffee.  Note to self:  put the K-cup IN the coffee maker if you prefer coffee over a mug of hot water.

The previous Friday hubs had directed the house painters to sever what he thought was a dead DirecTV cable coming into the house and, yep, soon as he sat to watch the news it was sadly discovered the wire had been, in fact, and as you’ve already guessed:  Live.  I’m gonna bet you also know which of us spent 45 minutes on a Friday evening calling customer service numbers only to be told to call a different customer service number only to be told to call a different customer service ad nauseam.  I did finally connect with a charming young man named Andy who was originally from South Dakota and who sounded just like my family; within a minute I was pronouncing it South DahkoatAH and yep you bettin’ all over the place.  It was old home week in a customer service phone center microcosm and I suddenly desired thick black coffee in a china cup and lemon pie with a meringue top sweating slightly where the sugar had been sprinkled, served on a mismatched china dessert plate.

At 7:37 am Monday, while I was still trying to figure out why my coffee tasted like hot water, the phone rang.  What.  The.  Hell?  DirecTV, scheduled for 8am-Noon, was on their way – and actually showed up at 7:59.  I don’t know what kind of business they are running there, hiring nice young men to effectively handle your service call and then sending a nice service man out – on time – to fix your cable – without telling you that he needs something he doesn’t have on his truck and he’ll be back in an hour only to return next month.  They cannot continue to do business like this, it is not the American Way of Truth And Justice and Liberty For All Amen Baby Jeezus In Your Little Wooden Crib Filled With Straw Where Is The Remote.  (You don’t have a remote, Baby Jesus, remember?  It wasn’t invented yet.)

Meanwhile I had a morning appointment scheduled with Dr. K because who actually thought DirecTV would really show up?  So now their promptness and fine customer service have caused me a problem because I’m a cynic.  I do believe it is my right to remain cynical and I do not appreciate them trying to disabuse me of my hard-earned cynicism.   I was forced to read Letters to the Editor twice at lunch just to restore my lack of faith in humanity.  I called and – of course – Dr. K’s fine office staff promptly answered the phone and graciously re-scheduled me for noon, which, for all I know, was Dr. K’s lunch time.  It would be just like them to be really nice like that.  And I bet they don’t read the idiot Letters to the Editor and yell at the newsprint, either.

So two Mondays ago I had a little extra trouble with the whole brain thing.  As you both know, I have a little bit of a daily fight with depression.  Whenever I finally see Little Baby Jesus in His Crib His Daddy Made Him we are going to have a talk about the issue.  However, and until that time, I’m stuck with this damn brain, made of cells and electonicals and neutriniums and chemicals that all function on some scientific level, leaving me to expect it to be rational which, apparently, once filtered through the physical composition of a body, it can no longer be.  Created to be rational, born into irrationality.  Grey rainy cold days don’t help.  More caffeine does.  Social media helps.  People post uplifting crap about being Zen and smelling the roses and putting your best foot forward helps.  They post stupid pictures and videos that make you laugh, which helps.  I can’t prove it, but I have also begun to suspect there are people out there who actually post stuff – on purpose – that will make me either LOL or say dammit.  Dammit.

After a bunch more grey cloudy drizzly days that week, Monday dawned last week:  grey, cloudy, drizzly and miserable.  This time, however, I didn’t even have internet to lift my flagging spirits because, as opposed to the DirecTV people, AT&T was desperately trying to reach new lows in customer service and doing a damn fine job of it with little or no apparent effort whatsoever.  Flushed with success after the TV issue, I decided to call AT&T about the irritating and increasingly loud hum in the phone which also disconnected internet for a couple of minutes every time I answered a call.  Fortunately the only people calling are debt collectors and that guy from prison in the Philippines, but, still.

I knew it was a mistake, I’d known all along not to be expecting this to be a quick fix and sure enough the guy they sent out Thursday, the Invisible Man, who never actually showed up at my house, asked me any questions or checked back after invisibly not fixing the issue: didn’t fix the issue.  What Mr. Invisible Serviceman did, actually, was leave us with no connection whatsoever, as I discovered Friday morning when my internet and phone were dead.   Another 45 minutes of AT&T service call hell YES YOU SORRY @#&^%&!!! PIECE OF @#&^$$$!! THAT YOUR MOTHER CREATED IN A FRYING PAN, AS I’VE SAID 87 TIMES, THAT IS MY CORRECT PHONE NUMBER, do you have trust issues??? (I’d like to point out here that at this time I was yelling at the computer that answered the phone, not a real person from India.)  (I would not yell like that at a live person.  I might say to them, “I’m so incredibly frustrated, here, and I’m kinda mad, but I understand it is not your personal fault.”)  (Then, when I hung up, then I would definitely yell at them.  YOUR MOTHER WAS A HAMSTER AND YOUR FATHER SMELT OF ELDERBERRIES! I would yell, randomly shoving my fists in the air in a slugging motion.)

Picking up the first index card in the pile, the service person read carefully, “Yes, Mrs. Upset Person, your phone line does appear to be dead.”  NO SHIT, SHERLOCK!!!! I screamed silently in my head, my eyeballs bulging.

“Yes, I understand I have no service.  This is why I am calling you, my new favoritest person in the world.”

Looking through their alphabetically ordered index cards, the phone answering person found the Conciliatory Reply index card and replied, reading slowly, “I am sorry you are having this problem.  We here at AT&T value you as a customer and think you are probably a fine upstanding person who does not yell at people inside their mind, and we want to help you because we value you, and we are here to help you. How may I help you?”

If I continue typing the rest of the conversation I will A) have carpel tunnel syndrome B) scare the poop out of Mo again and C) have to beg the doctor for a Zanax which I don’t really have time to wait for since their office is closed on Wednesday, plus driving to the pharmacy is difficult once your head has completely exploded.

It turns out that my valued, cherished, esteemed and highly regarded relationship with AT&T was of such importance that they eventually scheduled a service call – for the internet THEY broke – for Tuesday no later than 6pm.  Five days hence.

And they weren’t kidding.

Henri, Ennui

Not all of you know this  but I suffer with/struggle with/live with (depending on the day) depression.  You don’t need to feel you should know this, it’s not the type of thing where I see you and say, “Hey, love those jeans!  Where did you get them?  I’m depressed.”  I don’t try to avoid talking about it but it’s not something constantly on my mind either.  I seldom go about thinking, “wow, I’m soooo depressed”.  Mostly I just live each day and my life involves a certain amount of frequent and nearly unconscious assessment of where I am mentally and how my thought processes are going.  Over time, with counseling, medication and self awareness I’ve ended up in a pretty good place most of the time.   Of course it’s a bit tougher when life circumstances get challenging, in which case people who aren’t depressed would have some issues feeling OK, too.

A lot of people think depression means you go about feeling sad.  That may be true for some people but for me it’s a problem of no feeling.  When I’m having trouble with depression happy things happen and I try to act happy, but I don’t actually feel it.  Inside I feel flat and rather dead and I’d prefer to be home alone in my bedroom reading a book, which takes up a lot less energy except when I have to turn the page.  It takes a lot of energy out of you, always feeling flat and dead when the people around you appear to be energetic, enthusiastic and basically enjoying what they have going on, even if it’s something simple like watching TV.  This is more particularly true when it’s holidays or something special – times you’re supposed to have a ‘feeling’ of ‘happiness’ and ‘enjoyment’ but mostly you feel vaguely tired and a bit brain dead and once again wish you were alone with a book and the pressure of turning the page.

The fortunate thing, as I mentioned, is that there are good medications now that help a lot, and if you can find a bit of counseling from someone whose approach is not letting you wallow in self-pity every hour you meet but allows you to say what’s on your mind and then promptly asks what you intend to do with it, you can get to a place in your life that’s fairly normal.  This is especially effective once you realize no one is normal and nothing is normal, so as soon as you feel pretty normal you can relax and rest assured you are in the same boat as everyone else, which relieves a lot of pressure, mentally.  Try also to surround yourself with friends who are basically crazy, or a least a brick shy of a load, and you’ll feel even better.  Not that I do that.  I’ve just heard it suggested.

This comes up for two reasons.  First, someone I’ve known a long time once again mentioned the words ‘addictive’ and ‘controlled substance’ in a conversation about anti-depressants, in particular the one I take which is an SNRI (Seratonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor).  This has come up in conversation before and this well-educated upper management individual has, for at least the past 10 years, continued to believe that anti-depressants are addictive, that drug companies put something in them that make people addicted so they’ll always have to take them (ensuring the drug companies a lifetime supply of ready cash, apparently) and which can have value on the Black Market for persons addicted to it.  Perhaps this is true.  Perhaps even now there are people roaming the streets desperately searching for their next hit of Pristiq, in which case I need to find them now and make some money.  NO JUST KIDDING.  In the past, and repeatedly, I have quit taking antidepressants because 1) I hate being labeled ‘dependent’ and seen as someone who simply needs to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and put on a happy face and 2) well, never mind, there isn’t actually a 2, just the first point.  So anyway, I’ve quit taking them.  I’ve never had a problem doing this and I’ve never done it with medical supervision, I simply left them in the drawer and went about my daily life.  The only thing that happened is about 6-8 weeks later I felt exactly like Henri with Ennui and eventually I would go back on the medicine.

Secondly, my friend Lisa O posted a couple vids of poor Henri (who suffers with ennui) on FB; poor Henri whose thumbs are not opposable and yet he opposes everything, who is free to go yet he remains, whose 15 hours a day of sleep have no effect as he wakes to the same tedium.   I think humor makes a good defense, if you can make something funny it loses some of its sting.  So, for instance, if you can make up a story about your Hard Rock Classics-hating cat, and then you can write about it on a blog so all your friends can make jokes about it and laugh with you, it’s even better.  And if you get to 1) watch a funny and well-made video 2) pretending your cat is depressed 3) AND it’s in French, plus 4) you experience depression so you totally identify with the cat and with the humor and 5) when you’re having fun you are not having Ennui and 6) you then get write about that on your blog, you end up with a sixfecta of awesomeness.  Also you get to make up the word sixfecta.

Now all I have to do is get Cat addicted to anti-depressants so I can make some money.

And here’s poor Henri: and part 2:

I am a realist. A pragmatist.

For me, the glass is half full because someone drank part of it.  And left it on the counter.  Where it will sit until the end of time unless I (which I capitalized to emphasize that it’s ME, but I is always capitalized so the emphasis is not visible.  Just pretend.) throw the rest out and put the dirty cup in the invisible dishwasher.

As a realist I have mediocre expectations that I (this time I is just capitalized for being I, I’m not emphasizing it this time.  Just so you know.  In case you wanted to keep track.) or anyone else including the cup leaver behinder will exhibit drastic changes in their personalities and habits.  As a pramatist I have come to this philosophy by observing in my own life that nothing much changes which I express frequently by saying “Oh, well” and sometimes “Oh, well h*ll”.  Exhibit A:  the cup.

Which is why I am confused this morning.

I awoke with a feeling of ennui.  (I had to look up how to spell ennui which was kinda hard to do because I only knew it started with an ‘e’ and somewhere in it has an ‘i’, which is not capitalized.  Thank God google knows me well and immediately offered helpful suggestions.  It did not, however, put the dirty cup in the invisible dishwasher.  Not that I’m bitter.)

Why, I pondered in bed while curled sadly around Mushy Pillow, do I feel vaguely dissatisfied?  Why this feeling of ennui?

Yesterday I woke:  bright world, sunny day, going for a run!  Seeing the peeps!  Hugging the Brettster!  Happy Happy Joy Joy!

This morning: darkness.  Grey, all encompassing black darkness.

Then I remembered I should  turn on the light since it was 5:30am which is almost midnight so that helped a lot.

Yet it followed me like a little grey puppy, nipping at my heels, yip yip yip dissatisfied yip yip sad yip yip something is missing yip.

Pondering.  Sipping coffee and pondering, glassy-eyed staring out the window.  What am I missing?  What did I forget?  I wandered through the house checking that everything was as it should be.  Dog sleeping on bed, cat locked in bathroom until Petco opens, furniture not stolen in the night which the dog, in his 23 hours a day sleep-induced coma would not have heard, hubs awake at oh my god in the morning and already exercising for 13 hours: all check.  What do I have planned for today?  Did I forget something yesterday?

And then…I remembered.  I remembered the joy, the golden glow of potential, the shimmering possibilities of the New Year.  The promise of new beginnings … RESOLUTIONS

A pragmatic realist should know better than to make resolutions.

And this is what happened that shining, promise-filled first day of 2012:

~ I did not run 87 miles

~ I did not lose 12 pounds

~ I did not eat granola with greek yogurt and fruits and berries high in antioxidants followed by a lunch of dark leafy greens and chopped veggies in a low-fat balsamic vinaigrette reduction and a dinner of 4 ounces of skinless chicken breast and oven roasted eggplant.

~ I did not even open the Drawer of Terror, much less attempt to clean it out.

~ I did not leap tall buildings in a single bound

~ I did not win the lottery

~ I did not sprout wings and run a 6 minute mile.  Or 7.  Or 8…or 9…or…10…

~ And while most of you do not know this, the largest disappointment of all:  I failed to trim the cat’s claws.

All of it:  gone.  Dust.  Disillusionment.  Shattered dreams, lost hope.  Deep hole of darkness.

Oh, well h*ll.  At least I can put the cup in the dishwasher.

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