N is for Neville Who Died of Ennui

Mother of God, how I hate the winter!

I have blogged about this so many times that it is pointless to do so again, but it’s all I’ve got.

This time of year creeps up on me like a quiet plague. It infiltrates every part of my being: my sight, my hearing, my perception, the way I feel inside my body and brain. I never notice it’s coming until it’s in my bones and I’m crunching around the grey streets, feeling grey and alternating emotionally between a lazy rage and a sad apathy.

I feel for chronically depressed people in February. In June, I forget about them. It’s all tight dresses and two hour brunches and “Girl, your hair looks FABULOUS!”. But for now, the perpetually sad have my attention and empathy. I know their pain. I was a depressed teenager, not realizing that the 6 months of winter in Northern Michigan were partly to blame for a perpetually bummed out mood which manifested in embarrassing diaries full of flowery and intense longing for I knew not what, and a lifelong attachment to black clothing.

Sigh…the more things change, the more they stay the same, except that with age and experience comes the ability to recognize the symptoms of seasonal ennui. 

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been drinking too much at work when it gets very late into the night. It cheers me up, if only momentarily. And I have to cool it. I haven’t gotten so drunk that people notice, but I am mature enough to desire sobriety when gainfully employed. But instead of reminding myself that I am vulnerable right now and simply have to choose to take a break for the time being, I take it to the emotional and mental extreme. I text apologies to people who have no idea what I’m talking about. I wonder if I’m an alcoholic. I wallow in self-loathing, vague and undefinable guilt and shame lapping at my ankles. I wonder if I should go back to therapy. I wonder if my boyfriend has stopped loving me. Yaaaaayyy…it’s February!

Today I had intended to go to a yoga class, but then it seemed well out of the range of possibility energy-wise. I did get out to run some errands, and that was just as expected. I stood in an empty aisle reading a label in the drug store, and Patty NYU comes and stands directly behind me as close as possible, wanting to look at the same item. The internal monologue starts up immediately. Why can’t she get her other stuff first? Does she have to hover around me like an ill wind? I turn around and give her the look. She ignores me. She just wants what she wants, and I am in her way. I want to kill her. Now we are mortal enemies. There can be only one! In the cash register line I assess her hair. It looks dull and lifeless. Her hair is stupid. I hate her jacket. How dare she stand so close to me in an empty store. She must die. She doesn’t have a Duane Reade club card. She probably doesn’t need one because Daddy pays the credit card bill. I create a whole backstory to justify my rage. Then I realize I actually like her hair, and remember, oh yeah. It’s FEBRUARY.

In the grocery store I get stuck behind an old lady traffic jam. The grocery stores in Manhattan are excruciating: a too-small labyrinth of boxes and bodies. Human movement is impossible without constant struggle, and the elderly love to gum the already gummy works with the largest carts possible. They don’t care, they’re retired, it’s time to hang. So we all stop and wait. I am too depressed to try to get around them, so I just stare at the onions with resentment. I am hot, so hot. Because in February you dress for the outdoors and then as soon as you get inside to shop you boil in your coat and scarf and hat. 

Eventually the tiny, stooped woman at the front of the fray takes a shuffle step. We’re moving now! I sigh audibly and yank at my itchy scarf. They all must die.

At the register line, I choose self-service so I can bag in my eco-friendly cloth bag at my leisure. The machine immediately freaks out at the presence of a non-plastic bag and shouts repeatedly at me: “PLEASE REMOVE THE UNSCANNED ITEM FROM THE BAG.” The girl manning the self-service is wearing the most amazing wig I have ever seen, it sits high on her head with black and white streaks pouring out of the back like a fountain. This cheers me some when she clears my machine, until PLEASE REMOVE THE UNSCANNED ITEM FROM THE BAG starts up again. Fuck you, stupid machine. I will kill you too. The only good thing on this entire planet right now is that goddamn wig.


She is maaaaad. M.A.D. She continues to shout and the cashier walks away to avoid an argument. I finish up my annoying self-service and now I have to get around the shouting lady to exit the store. She moves forward to let me out, and I look down at her. She has lipstick on and I see she’s put some effort into her appearance. The scarf on her head is silk. She’s cute. She looks up at me and says, “I ONLY ASKED HER WHERE TO PUT THE BASKET AND SHE ROLLS HER EYES. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? SO RUDE. SO UNBELIEVABLY RUDE. THIS STORE IS GOING DOWN, IT IS TERRIBLE HERE!”

I have been there. I have. Something sets you off and you can’t stop and everyone else stares at you like you have three heads, which then makes you madder and more vocal about defending your position until you’re causing a major scene in public, which then ends, in my case, in tears at home and the occasional scathing Yelp review. So whenever it’s not me causing the scene, I feel a sense of relief.  

See, I am not crazy.

I put my hand on her arm and said, “Don’t let it ruin your day; she just doesn’t like her job.” 

Her tension lessened visibly and she reciprocated the arm touch. She replied, ‘SHE DOES HATE HER JOB! SHE’S MISERABLE!” The tone of the shout was calmer and it made me happy to be able to help her feel a little better. I felt badly for the cashier. It’s a tedious job and I imagine sometimes you have to roll your eyes at the old ladies or go insane, and no one wants to be screamed at for such a minor offense. But I liked that I was able to assuage the upset a small bit for this cute little woman, who had put on lipstick to go to the grocery store and merely wanted to be treated nicely when she put away her basket. It was a small moment of human connection that eased my own suffering. 

So yeah. Wintertime sucks. But I’m hanging in there. Hope you are too.


It’s February and I’m full of hate…again.

I hate those coffee lids with the pre-made hole that slop coffee all over your hands and gloves while walking no matter how steady you try to hold the cup. What asshole decided these are better?

I hate being swaddled in so many layers that I can’t move my arms and bags just slide off my shoulders while I’m trying to steady my coffee hand.

I hate that in order to find my keys I have to pull off my gloves, find somewhere to temporarily house them (pocket, purse, shopping bag, wherever it is, it’s bound to be annoying), then dig around in my purse for 10 minutes with overswaddled arms, feeling for metal. And then inevitably the keychain hooks onto something else I’ve jammed in the overstuffed bag and it turns into a struggle that involves putting everything down in order to detangle.

I hate that to get food in tiny-aisled New York grocery stores we all have to bang into each other because we’re fat with so many layers.

I hate being cold.

I hate being in the dark all the time.

I hate all the grey people on Hoarders, refusing to get up out of the minutiae of their garbage and fix their lives and relationships. Their dowdy and ignominious choice of self-destructive form tortures me. And then I hate myself for watching it.

I hate that I’ll do things like sit on the couch and watch Hoarders instead of going to the gym, but the mere idea of putting on a ton of clothes to walk 5 blocks shivering to drone away on a treadmill enervates me.

I hate myself for not working out more.

I hate even the most benign requests for assistance at work. Figure it out yourself, goddamn it. You think anyone taught me this shit?

I hate getting up in the morning for work and resent that it cuts into the time I could be sitting on the couch resenting things.

I hate myself for whining when friends of mine have much deeper problems, such as no work at all.

This happens to me every year. I start out knowing that Winter is going to suck the life out of me and drag on well past its welcome, but I approach it with the highest of intentions. The holiday season finds me festive and full of warm thoughts. January, I just want to stay home but there are a lot of good birthdays so I brave the weather for loved ones. February and I just want to punch stuff. But I can’t, because I’m all jammed up in the same fucking coats I’ve been wearing for 4 months.

I hate that this is the only thing I have the energy to write about.

Fuck February!

February really makes me mad. It used to make me really depressed, but now I’ve just moved on to being pissed off every time it hits.
First and foremost, it’s really frigging, stupidly, annoyingly, bullshittingly cold. It’s COLD. I do not do well in cold weather. It’s physically uncomfortable to the point of actual pain to me. It makes me feel weak, tired, and dare I say it, angry. Then you have to pile on a ton of clothing. I hate wearing a lot of clothing (shut it, Denise!), plus it’s nearly impossible to guage the layers for the temperature correctly. You’re either still cold or you get so heated up after walking for a block or two that by the time you get to the grocery store you’re sweaty and damp. 
Then while you’re overheated in cramped NY stores you keep knocking things off the shelves with your big coat elbows trying to avoid the other people in the aisles with their big coats. Then you have to bend over all padded out and try to pick the stuff up with your gloves on, which is impossible. So you pull off the gloves and jam them in your purse (which keeps sliding off your big coat shoulder) and then you can never find them again so you have to spend 5 minutes at the door of the store dodging more people in coats while you dig for the damn things.
And if it snows then you’re really fucked. In Michigan, where I come from, it just snows and snows and snows and it’s all about plowing the driveway and dancing around scraping the car in 0 degrees. Suffice to say I was fairly suicidal every February for the first 20 years of my life. In NYC it’s not quite as relentless but when it snows it looks pretty for a day and then turns into black ice and slush which is difficult to walk on and demands the wearing of ugly shoes. Any situation demanding the wearing of ugly shoes is not one I wish to be heavily involved in.

The whole experience just makes me want to hang like those toddlers who buckle their legs and throw their heads back and bray and dangle there refusing to move while their mothers angrily yank at them to make them stand and walk like normal people.
My brother has dubbed my apartment “Hot Fur” because I keep it at a warm temperature and there are a lot of animals lying about. He’ll walk in and rip off his clothes like he’s dying and say, “Oh my God. It’s horrible in here! It’s 90 degrees! I can’t breathe! And why are there never any color movies on the television? What is wrong with you?”

Nothing. I’m absolutely fine. It’s just retardedly COLD outside and there seems to be no other choice but to turn the radiator up and sit under a blanket surrounded by felines and watching Sunset Boulevard over and over until March hits every year. I see nothing wrong with that plan. Please pass the take-out menus.
Oh, and the whole light thing. Are you depressed in Jan/Feb every year? It’s because you’re not getting enough light. Go get some full spectrum bulbs at the health food store. They’re really expensive and that pisses me off too. I want my sunlight, dammit and I shouldn’t have to pay 9 bucks for it! No wonder I’m wandering around the house chugging bottles of wine and scarfing sesame noodles.
And lastly, I am convinced that Valentine’s Day was something thrown in there to distract us at this the most crappy time of year. All the real holidays are done and warm weather is a distant blip on the horizon. Valentine’s Day is there to get you hopeful that something great will happen with the one you love/lust after, or focused on the fact that you are alone. Either way it’s annoying. I’ve actually got a pretty good Valentine’s history but I still think it’s a stupid holiday.

Soooo…the point of this blog? There is none. And please don’t send me concerned emails, I’m in a good mood. I’m just saying—Fuck February!
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