Gosh, that title sounds so dramatic, given the content of this post. It’s just something that Tywin Lannister said in Game of Thrones (the show…not sure about the books, it’s been a little while) and I find it pops into my head whenever I’m confronted with…you know, madness and stupidity. Here’s the madness part:
I’ve been in recluse mode for the last few weeks. You could say it was a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder that kicked in late and was handled poorly by the afflicted; I prefer to think of it as a byproduct of my literary genius. You know, like JD Salinger. In that rye, catchin’ shit.
Really, winter is fucking awful. It’s so fucking cold. And there’s nothing you can do about it. We invented civilization, quantum physics and the Internet, and we still can’t completely counter this threat that’s constantly and reliably dogged us ever since there was an us to be dogged. Of all the works humankind has wrought in its attempt to cover its nakedness in new and interesting ways, not a single one avails in keeping that evil goddamned like literally damned by god northern wind from your skin. It doesn’t even stop at your skin either, but penetrates down to your bones and your heart and leeching away both your body heat. Your more figurative and intangible forms of warmth don’t fare so well either.
Not that that means you don’t have to bundle up; you absolutely do have to bundle up. You have to put on and put on and put on to hang onto even an illusion of warmth, literal or otherwise. Thus, your primary recourse against the cold is necessarily, partially an exercise in futility. Even though it doesn’t work, you still have to shut yourself away from the world around you as well as its people. Then, cold and alone as you are, cloistered away no matter who’s around you, you only end up dwelling on the lack of heat. The way heat is a precursor to life and now there’s hardly any to be felt. One only has to look around to see it. The trees drop their leaves and steel themselves against it; the animals sleep, flee, struggle, or simply die. With a little imagination, you can even convince yourself that you can feel the molecules comprising your world grinding to a halt as absolute zero gets closer.
The smoking gun – if only, given that actual smoke would mean heat of some sort – is stepping outside and being taken by that reasonless bleak feeling when you lay eyes on the ubiquitous overcast winter sky. The one that looks like a dirty sheet of immensely thick ice, that even makes you feel as if you’re drowning underneath it in a roundabout sort of way. Between it and the wind, nothing passes the season free of privation.
These days I’ve mostly overcome the troubles I’ve had with depression in years past, but in the winter all my headway goes right out the window. It’s astounding how rapid and complete the regression is, right down to being angered when I see everyone around me just putting on a coat and getting on with it. It’s very familiar, as is the urge to withdraw, which gets stronger and stronger, and it’s not just to get away from all these smiling motherfuckers, but also to keep myself to myself while I’m in such a state. Then, having withdrawn, the urge turns instead to escapism, by whatever means. Likely there’s more chemicals involved in that than is strictly healthy. And pizza. What can I say, alcohol has a warming sensation to it, and when it comes to pizza I am an outright addict.
Anyway, winter. It sucks. Still, the counterpoint to all this is that I can enjoy the first days of spring in a way that almost defies description. You’re miserable, you’re exhausted from being miserable, everyone you know and love is annoyed at you because you won’t hardly reply to emails or answer your phone, you’re feeling bad about not hardly replying to emails or answering your phone, you’re wondering how burnt the bridges are, whether you can rebuild them, if you even have a right to, and then one day it’s not cold. Not only is it not cold, it’s WARM. That pale, colorless, lifeless travesty that passes for the light of the winter sun suddenly has its heat back…you go outside and you can feel it on your skin again. You can lose all those layers, you stop hiding from the world. The animals come back; the squirrels are just there again one day, playing on the second story walkways, the lawn, the trees, chasing each other around, everywhere.
The doves return. You gotta understand, ever since I moved into this apartment like four years ago, every spring those doves have built a nest in the tree branches not six feet from my door. I’ve watched them inspect every single twig that goes into their nest, watched the mother and father switch shifts around 5:15 PM (not sure when they switch in the mornings), watched them work together to feed the hatchlings, watched them teach the baby birds to fly with a bizarre mix of joy, apprehension and sadness. It’s comical, probably, how emotionally invested I am in those birds. Basically, if you’ve ever seen the Sopranos, do you remember Tony and the ducks in his pool? It’s like that, only with no extortion or panic attacks.
In the picture to the right, all I used was a little bit of zoom; I was holding the camera phone up against my chest to steady it. It’s right there. You could reach over the railing and stroke her feathers. Not that I would, and in fact I always take to walking very quietly when I’m out there, but still.
Anyway, that’s, uh, it. Just wanted to explain my absence – again – and maybe try to describe what SAD is like. If, in fact, that’s what it is. It’s not been diagnosed. I probably sound like one of those cyberchondriac (thanks Nina and Tim!) attention whores that are always babbling loudly about the various deleterious acronyms with which they are thoroughly riddled. One also has to consider, however, that I’m from Texas, the land of pridefully, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge medical conditions, but rather insisting that you’re healthy and stalwart no matter how high into the air that your blood happens to be spurting from that severed artery. I’m fine, just give it a minute, it’ll stop.
In other news, I’m very busy; there’s a lot of time to make up for. There’s so many ideas for new articles for the blog that even keeping track of them is tough. One of them is about dark matter, inspired by the recent news that science is possibly very close to definitely confirming its existence. It’s been hypothetical up to now, more of a placeholder to make the math work (if I’m not mistaken), and yet very soon it might be proven to exist. It’s interesting stuff. There’s also a couple things to be written for other people, and an early draft of a friend’s book to read through and take notes on. Lastly, I jokingly suggested wooden Easter eggs to this vegan woman I know and am ridiculously fond of. She in turn suggested that that would be fine and that I should go ahead and get started on making them for her, so I am actually making them; blueinthislight is not out-joked. I actually have a little experience with woodworking, so they could possibly turn out of reasonably high quality, which would of course make it even funnier. It goes without saying that I’m late with them.
Oh, and Game of Thrones tonight. And the long awaited Mad Men too. If you’d told me years ago that I’d be so eagerly looking forward to a show with dragons and another show about ad executives, I’d have laughed. And don’t be telling me that Mad Men is a soap opera. Just because it doesn’t have police, space aliens or cowboys in it doesn’t make it a soap opera. It makes it a highly cerebral drama that relies solely on the strength of its character development and thematic elements rather than genre tropes. As writing goes, working on something like that is akin to going to work naked: if you have the backbone to do it and the goods to get away with it, your awesomeness is pretty much beyond reproach of any sort. And Max Weiner deserves it.
Really, can you imagine trying to pitch that show? “Well, it’s about ad executives.”
“What do you mean ‘and’?”
“What’s the hook? Is one of them like a secret army deserter or something?”
“Oh, uh, yeah, totally! Wow, how did you guess that?”
Plus, I mean, the man’s name is Weiner. Max Weiner. It’s like one of those names they’d give some wimpy nerd character in some awful musical. The kind you’d roll your eyes at every time a cast member said it, thinking to yourself that nobody could ever be named that.
Anyway. Put on a jacket and get on with it, you smiling
motherfuckers nice people!