bunt sign

Monday, October 29, 2001

I thought I was coping pretty well, for the first Monday back on standard time. Then at five o'clock I was on the phone with the Boss, leafing through a file folder with my free hand. I suddenly realized I couldn't see a thing! It was dark! At five o'clock! I'm sorry, but it's not supposed to be dark at five o'clock in the afternoon. That's nonnegotiable.

I turned on every light in the house. I have this big airy living space with windows everywhere, high and low, but at five o'clock in the afternoon I still had to run up the electric bill. Ceiling lights, floor lamps, table lamps, click-click-click. It's a poor substitute for sunlight, but at least I could see what I was doing.

Really, though, the rest of the day went smoothly. I was determined to make it so. I didn't let the little traffic jam get to me, even though they've been working on the same street for six months and keep tearing it up and repaving. When it started sprinkling on my windshield, I laughed it off. When I had to walk all the way down the driveway in the rain to get my mail, I didn't care. The first time I didn't care at all, the second time I cared just a little. By the third time I was past caring, except that it was raining a little harder with each trip.

A big storm is on the way, the first one of the season. It makes me think about all the things I should have done, back when the weather was better. (Like yesterday.) The first drop represents all the rain we'll have all winter. It crystallizes in my mind the missed opportunities. The first storm reminds me what winter is all about, the darkness and the mud puddles everywhere and the chill in my bones. It feels like undeserved punishment. It's not fair.

This winter is going to be different, I swear. These dark, damp days won't get me down, because I won't let them. Over the last few weeks, I've seen people deal with far greater problems than I'll ever have. (That's a standard disclaimer I now make every time I complain about anything. If I don't say it, it's understood.)

If all it takes for me is turning on the lights and turning up the heat (and finding the money to pay the utility bills), then I don't have a real problem at all. If it's something that a little effort will help me cope with, I can't make excuses. I have to put forth that effort.

Someone is probably going to have to keep reminding me of that, though.

birch tree

The treetops are getting so thin you can see the clouds through them.

Damn. I was trying to show how upbeat I can be, even when it's not such a nice day, and I don't think I did very well at it. The thing is, all it will take is one warm, sunny day to make me forget all this.

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