Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Misplace

I think I’m losing my mind. For the past couple of years, I’ve been avidly reading and watching the news, posting on political blogs, and generally feeling engaged with the insane world in which I live. Indeed, except for the blogs, I’ve done this most of my life, with minor exceptions – namely, those occasional periods when I was an emotional wack job. But over the last few months, I’ve noticed that I’m not keeping up. I used to watch The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer faithfully at 7:00 p.m., then relax with Emeril Live at 8:00 p.m. (unless there was a really good old flick on Turner Classic Movies). But awhile back they moved Emeril to 7:00 and without making a conscious decision about it, I gave up world affairs for new things to do with chicken. Bam!

I’m not really reproaching myself; anyone who isn’t going nuts in this day and age is crazy! I want to do what I should to stay in the know: watch the Presidential debates, try to understand WTF is happening on Wall Street, stay current on environmental matters, and keep up with what George W. Numbnuts is doing to destroy America as we know it week by week. But I can’t. I hate the campaign, hate it! I hate that the Democrats are responding to nearly eight years of disastrous, unconscionable idiocy by walking on eggshells and playing it safe. I hate that they’re wasting time dumping on each other when they should be united against that man! I hate that the Republicans are still kissing the Christian Right’s ass instead of saying “Uh, this isn’t working; you people are bonkers and we have to get back to running a conservative secular state.” I am not a conservative – but I would rather contend with real conservatives than the holy rolling psychos we’re dealing with now, including the one in the White House.

I hate that TV news is, for the most part, dedicated to C-list celebrity gossip, unspeakable crimes, and stories about global warming, the economy and the dearth of adequate, affordable healthcare that are all so awful, I can’t watch anymore. I hate that blueberries were $2.99 in July and are $6.99 now (at least in my Manhattan neighborhood supermarket); I need blueberries! I hate that I’m being deluged with telemarketer ghost calls, even though I’m registered on the Do Not Call list. I hate that New Orleans is still a disaster area and southern California looks like a cookout run amok.

And I hate that there is more active slavery today than at the height of the transatlantic slave trade that trafficked in Africans hundreds of years ago. Today it’s a $12 billion international sexual slave industry literally built on the backs of 30 million desperate people, 80% of them women and children – but that’s for another post…

In my defense – which is to say, in defense of my escapism, appalling memory loss, and failure to be busy 24/7 working to right horrendous social wrongs – it’s been a rough few months. I need thousands of dollars worth of dental work and can’t afford a filling. I was recently diagnosed with diabetes and high cholesterol, which turned my world upside down – but that’s for another post, too. My aging body is a mass of aches, pains and alarming symptoms that literally propel me to hide my head under the covers. My house looks like a storage room. I’m not being as helpful to others as I should be. And I’m broke. Stinking broke. I really am grateful to have what I do, but it's not enough and insufficient is exhausting. Broke sucks.

Both my dreams and waking hours are filled with fears about the future: what will become of me? What will become of everything and everyone? I’m so scared most of the time I can hardly breathe. I tell myself to calm down, to not worry about what hasn’t happened (yet), to just dread one day at a time. But I feel like I’m slipping. Sometimes I find myself watching something or listening to someone talk, and I realize I have no idea what they’re saying, even though I recognize that they’re speaking English. (It’s the same feeling I get listening to Shakespeare; I hang in for a spell, then it just fuzzes up like static.) I feel like a character out of one of those movies where someone wakes up hundreds of years in the future (for some supposedly plausible reason) and just can’t adjust. I’m not adjusting. I’m not well adjusted!

I could go on complaining, but I trust you’re getting just as bored as I am with my whining. I wish I could be one of those people who smile and keep a stiff upper lip (as well as their own counsel), never letting others know their tale of woe. But I’m not. I’m me. And I feel like I’m losing my mind.

And you? How are you??

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