Unfinished

Boy, did I have a bad day yesterday. I don’t need to tell you that.

Of course I do, I mean. I just like the phrase. Comes from Arthur, funniest screenplay ever, when he’s talking to the moose on the wall in that scene. You know.

Anyway, it was a bad day. Nothing to do with the election, although if something amazing had happened it might have eased some of it. I thought it was fine, some positive stuff, some negative. Politics is messy and this is a troubling time.

But I’m cycling through days now, not in the bipolar sense (I hope not, doubt it) but just in good days, bad days. Sleep is not going well; this is my second morning up at 4:30. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s strange and unusual.

Perspective helps, too. I can see the world from this window, and I also know personal stories of suffering and fear. I know people who are ill, one guy facing a daunting but manageable disease, a few more slowly fading from life at the proper time.

I just don’t feel this is the proper time for me. To be fading away, I mean. That’s what it feels like. And when I have bad days, I start to wonder what the other way feels like.

I’m not trying to alarm anyone. I’ve just had days when the depression is serious, which means I look at the world and don’t see anything fun. It’s not anhedonia, when people don’t have the ability to enjoy anything; it’s a sort of blindness to the possibility of joy.

Although it wasn’t a total loss, yesterday. I made the last batch of cookies (I made a bunch on Sunday) and then tried out yet another recipe for fake Krispy Kreme donuts, which once again are the gold standard as far as I’m concerned. Your basic glazed yeast donut. I did pretty well, too.

Also, I ate nothing but sugar yesterday. I’m not saying that’s the cause of anything. Might have been the cure. But I do know that I couldn’t take the trickling of election news and didn’t really want to, so I headed out into November and took a nice walk, a mist of rain but otherwise dry and mild. Only slightly over 50 degrees F., but it’s November. I wore a coat and gloves, it was fine.

And then, I watched a movie.

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I admired a friend’s boots the other days. I’ve been dreaming of some hiking boots lately, and these looked like something I’d enjoy. Had a little style to them. I looked them up and they’re a bit pricey for me at the moment, but it was fun to look.

And now I see a bunch of ads for them, of course. Eventually we’ll all get sophisticated enough to block our browsing trackers, or else this will be our lives, constantly bombarded by things we just were thinking about.

So that explains why Robert Redford keeps popping up. Wrote a column about him. Wrote a blog. Duh.

And why I watched Lasse Hallström’s 2005 film, An Unfinished Life, last night. Just saw a thing for it, on Netflix. I knew about it, something. Redford, Morgan Freeman. Something about a granddaughter. Sounded a little like that Robert Duvall-Michael Caine movie from a few years ago.

I loved it, such a simple, nothing-much story, set in Wyoming (which, if this is at all accurate, has some stunning scenery). Once again I was impressed by Jennifer Lopez’s acting chops. I enjoyed Freeman’s Greek chorus of a character. The little girl was excellent, as were the other actors.

And Redford. He never convinced me that he was bitter, although that was the point—his son died, in a car accident, years before, way too soon, and that’ll bitter up anyone.

I could have skipped the stuff with the bear. I could have hoped for a more three-dimensional abuser than the guy who haunts Lopez in a pretty conventional way (although I’ll admit to getting some pleasure at seeing the 69-year-old Redford kick his ass, as well as the asses of a couple of other troublemakers).

Whatever it was, it managed to make me feel better. It’s definitely a Hallström film, if that means anything, so the pastoral mingles with the oddities and the symbolism. You could do a lot worse than watch it. I could have, I suppose.

I’m not bitter either. I can be, and I have my moments, but whatever unpleasant I see, I know I own it. My choices, my mistakes. I’m not sure I want sympathy, although I don’t know how that works anyway. Not if you don’t talk to anyone, or have anyone. Wife is too busy, son has his own issues. Daughter has her own life. Other family…you know.

And I feel a little dumb, not recognizing this, really, until this advanced age (I’m not ruling out age as a factor, either; but there’s more here). Sometimes I think I’ve latched onto an excuse to give up, to allow myself to fade out of the picture, but then. There’s nothing particularly exotic about any of this. I have all the signs and symptoms of someone experiencing a moderate form of depression. It happens. I’m not going to harm anyone. I might have trouble sleeping. I might keep losing those two-tenths of a pound every week.

Or I might just make more donuts, and watch movies that make me feel better, and get busy fixing what needs to be fixed. And I might just need to walk more, because that’s all I’ve ever done, and all that’s really ever worked.

Chuck SigarsComment