Thursday, January 13, 2011

the state of things

I have been in a deep funk since New Year's Eve, a depression which I haven't felt like talking about. I don't feel entitled to be depressed: I have a lovely life, truly. My immune system has never gotten back up to par after I had surgery last year, but I'm not in chronic pain any more, like I was before I had surgery. I don't want to whine. But yet I have no energy and no joy.

I have been cooking, though, making food that requires me to grind up four different kinds of seeds with my mortar and pestle and finally opening the dusty bottle of pomegranate molasses I'd bought ages ago. Today I bought a bottle of maraschino liqueur so I can make my own maraschino cherries for Manhattans, a good winter drink. Last week I bought a lovely, expensive whiskey on sale for Manhattans, and I couldn't get the fancy, sealed-in-wax cork out. I ended up running down the block in slippers, Lola trailing behind, seeking out the first gym-toned, gay neighbor I could find to extract the cork for me. "Manhattans? That's what my mom drinks," said my buff across-the-street neighbor. I felt humiliated by the matronly nature of my intended beverage and, trying to get my image restored as a sophisticate, confided that I was going to make my own maraschino cherries, before heading back across the street with the bottle in one hand and Lola's arm in the other.

Contributing to the funk, I hit a bad streak in reading, picking up one terrible, poorly written book after another. The only good book I've read over the past month was a terrifically depressing one, "The Good Soldiers" by David Finkel, telling the story of a particular battalion sent to Iraq. This incredibly engrossing and dark account led to a lot of contemplation about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the price paid by individual service members for our national policy aims, and the bizarre split between what is said in Washington, D.C. about the course of a war and what is said by the people who are waging it. It wasn't a pick-me-up, but I was glad I read it, and I pushed the Sober Husband into reading it as well.

The Sober Husband has been in a funk of his own of late, and Iris is perpetually looking on the dark side. Only Lola remains perky, laughing maniacally. Even so, she has become convinced that there is a yeti living on our block, a yeti which peers in the laundry room windows of an evening. I've taken her out to the yard and shone a light around, demonstrating that clearly no yeti lurks out there, but Lola remains convinced that the yeti is nimble and able to evade the beams of the flashlight.

Adding to our melancholic winter mood, we have a pathetic, undersocialized tortoiseshell cat living here. Iris, Lola and I are supposed to be working our magic on her, turning her into a loving, snuggly lapcat as we've done so many times before, but this cat is intractable. She has been here at least three weeks and still is very difficult to catch. I can't imagine anyone ever adopting this cat, which is a depressing thing to think about. She's sweet and, no matter how terrified, will not scratch, but no one wants a cat who lives under your bed and attempts to live without interacting with you whatsoever.

This cat is such a nonentity that even our own cats have not reacted to her presence. Normally our three resident cats, all former foster kittens themselves, hiss at any foster cat for a few days and then accept the visitor into their tribe, but this cat seems to be below them somehow, not important enough to be noticed. She was abandoned as a kitten in the projects, and I don't know what is going to become of her. For now, she's hiding under my bed, lurking about and avoiding the overtures of the depressed people who live here, and we're trying to have some hope for her.


hughman said...

on the one hand, i'm terribly upset and worried about your feeling sad and the concern for your foster cat.

on the other hand, phrases such as " I ended up running down the block in slippers, Lola trailing behind, seeking out the first gym-toned, gay neighbor I could find to extract the cork for me." brings me immeasurable pleasure and gives me some hope for the fantastical, unimaginable life you live in the heart of SF.

i am, as always, your devoted accolade.

J9 said...

While hughman does heap accolades, he is likely an acolyte.

I love your whole crazy family, and I know you will all emerge from this darkness into the love and light of the city. Besides, it's nearly Lunar New Year AND MArdi Gras!

Claire M. Johnson said...

I am so sorry to hear you are low. I will recommend a book that I'm halfway through that is one of the best reads in the last five years: Life by Keith Richards. Although ghost written by James Fox, this is like that Andre Agassi autobiography that wowed the hell out of me, but this is even *better*. The voice is amazing. How he talks about music and his relationship to his art is how I feel about writing. He articulates it much better than I ever do (bit depressing that), but it's a fascinating book, and I can't recommend it more highly.

Hope you feel better. Maybe the yeti are the "mean reds" taking up residence. I suggest a yeti-hunting party with complete with noise-makers, streamers, and balloons. Or, at the very least, a righteous viewing of funny movies (starting with Some Like It Hot--the funniest movie ever made, IMO).

Anonymous said...

I hope you feel better soon. January has sucked so far for everyone I know.

Carroll said...

"Lola remains convinced that the yeti is nimble..."

A visual that will stay with me for quite a while here.

Claire's suggestion of a wild and riotous yeti hunt, followed by a silly movie marathon sounds like just the right prescription for all concerned.

Rand Careaga said...

May I suggest Wolf Hall as a rollicking good read?

the Drunken Housewife said...

Rand, thank you for the suggestion. i think that is by Hilary Mantel and that I've enjoyed her work before. I will most likely go looking for that.