Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Coming back from Springfield last weekend, I turned the radio off and drove in silence. My thought was that I haven't been meditating lately, and that I might perhaps benefit somewhat from the quiet. It's turned into a bit of a self-dare. How long can I go without turning on the radio? How long can I drive around in silence? I only have a ten-minute commute, so it's really not that hard. In fact, I probably spend more time in line at the drive-thru than I do driving (on the days I hit the drive-thru for lunch, which is, honestly, just about every day).

Like I said, not a big deal.

But music has a way of setting the mood, and when choose a CD for the car, you're encouraging your mood to lean in certain directions. Sure, sometimes your soul rebels, and the CD ends up in the back seat, but most days you can smooth over the rough spots with the tunes you pick. I'm on day three of dealing with the rough spots, and some stuff seems to be seeping up.

For one thing, I'm angry. I'm angry at Carrie for leaving, and I'm angry at all the women out there who stay with men who don't deserve them. I'm angry at Salvation Army bell ringers and people who hang Christmas lights and all of that because I remember when I felt like I had so much to give and a reason to decorate. Once upon a time the snow was pretty, even when it was piled a foot high in the driveway and I was the one to shovel it. My lips might crack and I couldn't feel my feet, but somehow I never really felt cold. Now, now matter what coat I'm wearing, the wind seems to find its way in and I hate, hate, hate the fact that I've let it get to me this much, and that I'm on my second Christmas alone again and still feeling it like this.

I used to love Christmas. I loved the shopping, the music, the lights, the tinsel, the whole nine goddamn yards of it. Now the gifts are just another item on my growing list of things I need to do but don't want to (right up there with raking the yard and cleaning the gutters), the very thought of tinsel puts a picture of her in my head, pulling Hallmark ornaments out of their immaculate little boxes and hanging them around the living room, and every time I hear Silver Bells, even in my head, I either want to cry or hit something.

What I really want is to tell my family that I'll see them sometime in January, and just hole up with some crappy movies where they blow shit up. Maybe Die Hard. That's a Christmas movie, right? How about Lethal Weapon?

I'd love to play Don John for once: "I must be sad when I have cause and smile at no man's jests, eat when I have stomach and wait for no man's leisure, sleep when I am drowsy and tend on no man's business, laugh when I am merry and claw no man in his humour."

But I won't. I'll go. I'll find the energy to shop, and I'll find things that I hope the people I love will like. I'll let the people I love love me back until I absolutely can't take any more, at which point I'll take a long walk in the cold, and maybe have a cigarette. That's my secret to life, if anyone's curious: Do just a little bit more than you think you can. You don't feel like getting out of bed today? Fine. Do it anyway. Now that you're up, you might as well take a shower. Why not go in to work? It beats sitting at home. The first month or so is hard, but it gets easier.

This is the part that sucks about getting over someone. I did my first batch of grieving when I was still holding on to the hope that we might get back together. Now that I've let go of that, it's starting to look like I might have a whole new round of grieving to go through.

Damn it.

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