Madness and Stupidity

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.

Their zeal for sitting on that tiny, tiny nest is truly remarkable.

Their zeal for sitting on that tiny, tiny nest is truly remarkable.

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!


11 thoughts on “Madness and Stupidity

      • LOL! No judgement from over here. Sometimes I think it is a good idea to take a step back and retreat. I don’t blame you one bit. Winter wears on me as well. I live in the North East so I am all too familiar with SAD.

        p.s. I didn’t even know you were a man. Ha-Ha!

      • Wow. Those winters must be quite a bit more pronounced than ours. That would be really rough. I’m hoping that whole mess I wrote might help people understand what it’s like. Nobody else around me seems to experience it.

        And yes, sorry. I think I try too hard to be anonymous sometimes.

  1. YOU ARE the VOICE (and with a photo, the face) of S A D.
    can you migrate every october or so to the suthurn himmissfere for “their summer”? kinda cute, how my new zealand WP buddy and i trade quips on and about our polar-opposite seasons.
    and i thought EVERYONE enjoid my entries with lotsa snowy gloomy doomy photos about hikes in the white stuff. no wundur i ain’t seen you there, much.

    betty (not her real naim, azz, in da saim vain, r.b. ain’t the one the serious mail gets sent to, like correspondence from the IRS (and state dept. of revinoo)) and i ain’t cerebral ’bout the teevee watchin’. rite now it’s just VIKINGS. but she reads, a lot — in two book clubs. i just go once or twice a month to the local runnin’ club’s meetings, where, mostly, we drink beer. and tell lies.

    • Well you know, I did get a picture taken of me recently that I was tempted to post here. If it weren’t my concern that some of the locals could then pin me to this blog, I’d do it. Or maybe I’ll just crop my face out. But then, you know, what’s the point.

      Anyway, I just figured, like, most people thankfully don’t experience winter like I do, and I’ve always been interested in how different people experience the same things, so I tried to get down how it feels for me. And tried not to make it sound whiny, because it absolutely literally is all in my head. Of course, it’s easy to laugh about it now because it’s warmed up and all the animals are unmigrated. I just saw today that the dove’s eggs hatched! Baby doves! Ridiculously pleased with that.

      And it’s not the wintry stuff that kept me from your blog, it’s just that every time I started to check in, it’d just make me feel guilty for neglecting my blog, so. Then I’d start feeling guilty for not keeping up with you and what few others I keep up with, and it was just a vicious circle type thing. I did read your snow cave story in my email though…actually, I think I’ve read most of your postings, I just haven’t “liked” them or commented. Anyway, I logged on just now to get caught up with you, actually.

      I put liked in quotes because, you know, I mean the button. As far as old fashioned liking goes, I always like your posts. And I’m not really all that cerebral either with television…Thrones has its moments, but it also delves into near-softcore porn every now and then. Being that I’ve never been all that fond of porn, I just see it as lost story. And thank you for mentioning Vikings! I’ve seen up to like episode 2, I think, and then I just forgot. That part in the monastery was crazy. They are not sugarcoating these guys for television, are they?

  2. Nice to see you’ve re-entered being ya ole’ cyberchondriac ;).
    Yip, at last we’re trying to bite father frosts toenails, too
    – *urgh* – don’t imagine this too vividly…
    If we’d still live in Hamburg, the Alster Swans would have returned by man’s hand – here it’s just the pigeons and the sparrows.

    By the way, do you know about “Visual Snow”?

    so far,

    • I checked out that link…those are some lucky swans. 400 years is a long, long time for a tradition like that to hold. Awesome. And I do not know about “visual snow”, I’ll check that out too.

      I was just about to ask what delo meant, and then I went “oh, I get it.” Wow.

  3. I hear you. The only cure I found for SAD is Spring Equinox. St. John’s Wort helps me limp through the winter (900 to 1,200 mg / day). That could be placebo effect, but if you feel any better, who the hell cares if it’s “real”?

    • Not me. Placebo me up. I did try the Wort this last winter, and it did seem to help somewhat. Also kept toying with the idea of trying those light box thingies, but they’re expensive and not everyone seems to think the science behind them is sound. But again, placebo, and who cares. Not me.

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