bunt sign

Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Between the battle raging in my gut and the thermometer climbing ominously toward the 100°F mark, I was hard pressed to find inspiration today. I'm sure it was lurking out there somewhere, but it takes more energy than I had to mount a search. It's so much easier to find a cool spot and just sit.

I get to a point every so often where I can't remember why I'm here. Or, more to the point, how I got here, and where I might be headed after this. The more I push the same numbers around (and around and around), the more I wonder if it means anything. I guess it does. It keeps a few people employed and a few dollars circulating through the economy. Some people are happy with the work we do and get what they want out of all this seemingly empty effort.

Somehow I feel as if I'm stopped, stuck. If I ever had a goal, other than getting by and surviving until the next day, I've forgotten it. If I ever had any momentum, I lost it.

I was never ambitious or driven. Once upon a time, though, I had a feeling I would do something people would remember. My ninth grade English teacher asked me to send him an autographed copy of my first novel, and I more than half expected to come through for him.

It took me a long time to realize that whatever writing talent I had would never produce the Great American Novel. It was a tremendous disappointment to discover that I didn't have stories in me. Because I didn't have a fallback plan, I've never been quite the same since the day I trashed the few pathetic pages I'd created.

Still, I expected some other dream to come along, some other talent to reveal itself. Some days, believe it or not, I still do. On those days, I still see a journey ahead of me, and I don't think of my life as a dead end road from nowhere in particular to no place at all.

Most of the time, these days, I see myself as a spectator, standing outside the gym door, peeking through the cracks as the other kids dance. If this place where I find myself is the destination I've been shuffling toward all this time, I'll have to live with that reality. Some of us are stars, and some have supporting parts. If blending into the crowd is my role, at least I've had all the rehearsal I'll ever need.

purple bush

Here's what I'm expecting from my visit to the doctor tomorrow: I expect to find some solution to the intestinal problems that are keeping me from eating and sleeping well. Once I can sleep through the night and not spend half my day in the bathroom, I'll be back in the attack mode, and the borderline depressed mood I've been in so much lately will evaporate.

That's not asking too much, is it? It took me forever to get around to making this appointment, and if I don't get something positive out of it, it'll probably be an even longer time before I try again.

In the past, I've felt dumb going to this doctor. It wasn't anything he said or did, exactly, just that the only thing he could help me with was knowing there was nothing he could do for me. The first time I saw him, I wanted to know if I had high blood pressure. I didn't, and that was that.

The second time was for an ear infection, which his treatment (some kind of a wick deal) made worse. Besides that, he prescribed Vicodin for pain, and that made me the sickest I've ever been in my life (including when I had my appendix out twenty years ago).

Every other time I've seen him, it was to have earwax washed out.

So this is a big deal for me. I know there's something wrong this time. I waited until I was sure, and until I was sure I couldn't handle it without help. The doctor and I both have a lot riding on this.

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