Thursday, June 18, 2009

holding on to that knot

You know how they say when you're at the end of your rope, you're supposed to tie a knot and hold on?

Damn, I hope the knot holds.

It's just been a mix of things this week. The heat is only one of them (though now I think I realize how "Southern Gothic" came to be "Southern Gothic" - in the era before air conditioning, or even before people really having much in the way of electric fans, people probably went kind of crazy in the heat. I know I am, and I spend much of the day in an air conditioned building. Sadly, my "crazy" is not the romantic sort - I do not try to develop inappropriate relationships with young men, nor do I communicate from my bedroom by rolling red tennis balls down the hall. It's more the weepy/irritable sort. So I have to make what feels to me like a Herculean effort to be nice and to be agreeable in public, and only melt down when I'm alone. This morning I cursed extensively - and almost cried - because I wanted toast for breakfast and found that the bread had gone moldy. $%*&$# climate. It's hot and it never rains but it's still humid enough that non-refrigerated bread will mold almost overnight)

I think it's also that most of the people I interact with on a daily basis - the ones who keep me grounded - are off doing other things: at conferences, on vacation, out doing fieldwork. So most days I only speak with students, which is fine (my summer classes are going OK) but it's not the same as someone you know well, someone whose judgment you know you can trust.

I think it's also that I have this horrible feeling of waiting for shoes - many shoes - to drop. I have a feeling of something like dread, and I can't tell if it's my reaction to the heat and my allergies or if it's something real that I can trust. I dread what's happening in North Korea. I dread what's happening in Iran - now, granted, a revolution there could improve things, but I can't be optimistic about it. I remember 1979.

On the home front, I'm really concerned about the coming new health-care plan. And in my bleaker moods, I wonder: will I, as a "fat person," be told I MUST lose weight if I want health care? Or will I be sent to "fat camp" to be made to lose the weight? I realize that's being very apocalyptic but it doesn't help when you hear people like MeMe Roth spouting what THEY would do to fat people if THEY ran the circus.

It doesn't help that the whole time/distance/calories burned readout on my new cross-country ski simulator is apparently lying to me. The old one, on the old machine, claimed I was burning 600 calories in an hour of working out. Which I'm sure was inaccurate. But this new one says that after an hour's hard workout (I've been pushing myself), when I am aching and have sweat running over my body from every pore, that I have burned a grand total of 125 calories.

Thanks. Thanks so much. So now I am entitled to eat a slice and a half of bread over and above the baseline number of calories I "should" eat in a day. Hardly seems worth it.

I know both of them lied to me, but I was happier when the old one was lying to me.

(Seriously? 125 calories? Don't some people burn that in an hour just sitting still?)

So if there is some kind of horrible dystopian plan comes in, where BMIs must be below a certain value to qualify as a person for health care, I will have to either starve myself or have a limb amputated. (And don't, for God's sake, suggest the weight-loss surgery. I'd rather have a limb amputated, based on what I've read can be the after effects of it. Even in "good" outcomes it looks like people are at greatly increased risk of osteoporosis: something I have a family history of anyway)

And there are other areas where I see our freedoms being taken away, or increasing restrictions placed on what we can do. And it just makes me sad and scared and wonder what joy will be left in this life.

So I don't know. I come to school and I teach and I work on my research and all of it. And I'm fairly happy while teaching...but I think I'm alone too much right now, and my brain kind of becomes an echo chamber of everything that worries me and bugs me. And I don't know how to fix that, this community really is in some ways pretty closed - outside of church and work I don't have that many contacts.

I'm sure a big part of this is that I feel like every day is the same: it's hot, it's humid, I even see the same damn truck carrying squashed cars from a junkyard pass me as I drive to work. It's like frickin' Groundhog Day, where I'm stuck in some kind of a loop I can't break free from.

No comments: