| February 21, 2000
David and I slept in separate rooms last night, here in The Castle, for the first time ever.
Of course, in an apartment the size of a Winnebago, that isn't saying much. From our lonely bed I could actually hear him scratching his nose in the next room, as he lay tossing and turning on the couch, fifteen feet away.
But it's the principle of the thing.
The argument last night was stoopid, of course. He'd started to giggle during sex and couldn't stop. I was in a much more ... uhhh ... intense frame of mind, at that particular moment, and it blew the mood for me. The next thing I knew I was stomping off to the bathroom in tears, while he shouted beseeching apologies through the door.
(See? I told you it was stoopid.)
The stoopidest/saddest/mostly-stoopidest part? The weekend had started out so promisingly. Saturday morning I felt fine. I felt wonderful, in fact. We'd slept in an extra hour ... downed a little caffeine, showered, dressed ... and then headed across the Bay Bridge in the rental car, with no particular destination in mind. All of the elements were in place for a perfect day. Driving in sunshine! Listening to "Live at Leeds"! Finding the perfect parking spot! Walking around downtown San Francisco, holding hands!
Blowing money on clothes and shoes and CDs and obscure Japanese pop music fanzines!
Later in the afternoon we headed back to Oakland, and while we waited to pick up the Subaru from the repair shop, we had Portabello Mushroom Omelets at a funky little café across the street, where the walls were decorated with vintage 50's kitchenware. We drove back to The Castle and spent a pleasantly domestic evening, playing the guitar (David) and downloading PaintShop Pro Tubes from the Internet (me) and enjoying companionable companionship.
It was the next morning -- Sunday -- that I felt myself beginning to unravel a little around the edges.
I woke up with four new zits on my chin and neck: the kind of big, sore, itchy pimples that are utterly resistant to benzoyl peroxide, Maybelline ... or spackle. My breasts ached, as though I'd been lifting bowling balls in my sleep all night. My face and fingers were puffy. My stomach hurt. I felt vaguely crampy all over.
All I wanted for breakfast was a nice big bowl ... of M&M's.
As the day wore on, I could actually feel my ability to deal rationally with life's minor challenges eroding. A plaintive e-mail from my mother, wanting to know why I "slammed the door in her face" and signed off before she could i.m. me. Another e-mail, from an old pal, wanting to know where I'd moved The Gallery (and then wanting to know why her photo looks "blurry"). David pointing out a mistake on my income tax return (my first-ever attempt to "do it myself"). The new Dean Koontz I'd just bought turning out to be another boring Christopher Snow "adventure." Broken headphones. Ants in the bathtub. Basketballs in the kitchen. Flat 7-Up.
"404 File Not Found" messages.
The snotty woman at the grocery store, who slammed down the plastic divider separating her groceries from mine, simply because I had dared to place our Tropicana Pure Premium a fraction of an inch too close to her Little Friskies (and then because I accidentally bumped her with my purse, as David hastily stepped in between the two of us).
By the end of the evening I was a raggedy emotional mess, on the verge of tears for no reason at all.
But then David turned off "The X-Files," and we turned off all the lights, and he gave me *that* look ... and I figured the evening was about to get a whole lot better.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
During the summer of 1997, our family physician briefly put me on the antidepressant Paxil.
Flash forward once again ... two years, this time, to the here and now.
Ever since I moved to California, I've been feeling great. Probably the best I've ever felt, as a matter of fact, both physically and emotionally. I've been sober for a year and a half. My sleep patterns are returning to normal. Food tastes like food again, and my digestive system appears to have forgiven me for a lifetime of unspeakable abuse. I have more energy, and better concentration, and most of my fingernails. I'm in love. I'm writing. I'm saving money.
Life is good.
I have a little trouble with hay fever, sometimes. (I still haven't figured out precisely what it is I'm allergic to, here in The Land of Sunshine and Cheese. I was hoping it was fax toner cartridges, but now I'm not so sure.) And I could definitely stand to lose a few of the *relationship pounds* I've put on since I moved here. (I don't know who invented It's-It ice cream sandwiches, but they should either be shot ... or knighted.) But otherwise, I'm forty-two years old and I feel at the top of my game.
With one HUGE exception.
For about seventy-two hours every month ... I feel like telling the entire world to fuck off.
For seventy-two hours every month ... I feel like one big, itchy neck-pimple.
For seventy-two hours evevery month ... I have absolutely zero *humor molecules.* (Not even during sex.)
For seventy-two hours every month ... life becomes temporarily unmanageable again.
And considering how good everything else is -- and how much progress I've made in all the other areas that count -- and how short and precious life is, especially for somebody who didn't actually start to feel *alive* until shortly after she hit her forties -- I simply don't have the time or the energy or the desire to waste those seventy-two hours of my life, every damn month.
* Disclaimer * Disclaimer * Disclaimer *
Please don't write to me today and tell me that it sounds like early menopause, or that St. John's Wort is a bunch of hooey, or that it sounds like I need immediate psychiatric attention ... or that anybody who can't laugh during sex doesn't deserve a great guy like David ... or that I misspelled "equilibrium" (I changed it already, anyway), or anything ELSE that smells even remotely like advice or correction or admonition. I will almost certainly respond in cranky fashion, and we'll be pissed off at each other for the next seventy-two hours, and then we'll have to go through the annoyance of apologizing/making up. So let's just avoid that entirely, shall we?
(On the other hand, if you've got a coupon for a free bag of M&M's ... hand it over.