Saturday, July 23, 2005

Delayed Reactions

One of the worst things to see is a car accident on the highway. I don’t mean passing by one that’s already happened and been processed, but one that’s unfolding before your eyes. I’d already seen a horrible one on I-95 many years ago when I was returning from a stripper shift.

A car was driving like a lunatic and then up ahead I saw it sliding sideways back and forth across the three lanes. We all slammed on our brakes. As I slowed down and held the center lane I saw the sports car flipping and rolling along the median and then I saw a man fall or drop or jump from the passenger window. I remember it all happened in such slow motion.

Tonight, driving home from Connecticut on the Merritt Parkway there was a red mid-size car tailing people with only like inches to spare. The next thing I know, he’s passing a Volvo station wagon on the right and then deliberately steering into the car, hitting it and causing it to swerve out of control and hit the median.

I stopped the car and ran out to the Volvo; the red car took off. The young woman stepped out of her car totally fine and already calling people on her cell phone. We waited with her until the cops came and I told them what I saw. Unfortunately, no one got the license plate number.

It was a scary scene—the whole front end of her car smushed in. She was so lucky to be uninjured. I was just talking to her and making sure she stayed calm. When we were leaving she was finally starting to cry.

I can’t imagine what would have happened if it had been our minivan that this crazy person decided to tail and smash. Genny was secured in her car seat, but still, you never know.

So, Genny went to bed late tonight. And I’ve got a bag of ice on my swollen toe—I think running over to the accident exacerbated it.

I feel very hazy and spacey, like I’ve just seen a dream and I’m trying to remember it so I can analyze it or share it with friends. It’s all cloudy in my mind and I see the screeching tires and the flying smoke, but I don’t hear any sounds at all. It’s very quiet and still, like being underwater.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Minivan Day

I set an official record for length of trip from Bridgeport, CT to Jackson Heights, NY today. Unfortunately, the astonishing feat was on the long side not the short. It took me three hours and twenty minutes to make a drive that usually lasts one hour and ten minutes. Now that’s a lot of traffic.

Genevieve handled the constant stop and go very well though. We’d had a busy day: drive to CT in the morning, swimming in Grandpa’s pool and then a trip to the Beardsley Zoo in the afternoon. Genny saw monkeys, tamarinds (which are orangey, like tangerines), two bears, a momma tiger and three cubs, foxes, and lots of birds. I think Gen’s faves were the ducks and, oh yeah, the ducks. When I asked her what a duck says, she said something like, “duk, duk”.

We went to the zoo with my stepmom, Pat, her daughter, Lisa, and her boys. Genny’s three little cousins, Christopher, Jimmy and John, are so enamored of her and take such good care of her—patting her on the head, rubbing her back and checking in on her in her stroller. It was really a fun day, at least until the drive home.

I even found myself jotting down ideas for poems this morning on the drive there. Of course, it’s not a good idea to write and drive, but sometimes you’ve just got to write whenever the feeling hits. And I don’t know why I’m all poemed up all of a sudden. I’m just feeling like working on my stripper poems for some reason.

It’s not my job to ask why; it’s just my job to write down what comes to me. And to not crash the minivan while I’m busy being creative.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Need to Sleep

Genevieve wasn’t much into her supper of green beans, corn and peas. There was lots of eye and nose rubbing, which is her sign language for sleepy time.

Then something you don’t see very often in baby world—Genny was actually trying to get into her pack-and-play to go to sleep. We’re hoping she’s zonked out enough to sleep in a little tomorrow, you know, like until 5:30.

My brain feels flat tonight. I can’t seem to get my thoughts moving out onto the page. Maybe I’m tired. I suppose that is a distinct possibility. I think I need to honor how I feel and not push myself to write anything else tonight. That’s a new concept for me. I usually get down on myself about not writing, but tonight it just feels right to say, that’s enough, I need to sleep.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Windmill Shaggy

We started the morning rather early—Genny awoke at 4:30 and wouldn’t go back to sleep. Then we had a medical guy come to the apartment at 7:45 am to take blood and urine from us for our new life insurance policy.

It was wretchedly hot out, but the air conditioning feels icy and smooth right now like a Starbucks Mint Mocha-Chip Frappucino.

I’m feeling less depressed. I feel kind of flat though, like a Color Forms person. Someone could just peel me off the page of this apartment and re-stick me down somewhere else. I think I’d be powerless to stop the move.

I see myself as an orange Color Form in the shape of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. I’m hoping this is only because my sister and I had a Scooby-Doo Color Forms set as kids and I’m really only remembering that, not that I actually see myself as Shaggy. Wasn’t he the one who was always drugged out? Or was that all the characters? It’s been a while since I saw the cartoon and I never saw the movie remakes.

So, here I am as an orange Shaggy Color Form and I’m being peeled from my gray swivel chair and pancaked down in a windmill in the middle of a cornfield. There are crows circling overhead. I’m leaning out of a window smack dab in the center of the spinning arms. If there were anyone looking at me from the field, they would see a shiny orange face like the center of a sunflower with flying flower petals swooshing around me.

I feel at peace as Windmill Shaggy. And now I have been joined by a purple Scooby-Doo who is frozen in a running position with little black swirls around his feet representing movement. We are a fine pair of Color Forms. We flutter in the breeze from the window created from our windmill home’s wooden arms.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Day After

I am burnt out tonight. I did not get enough sleep last night and Genevieve didn’t want to take her morning nap, so I decided to go to Connecticut with her to escape the killer heat of the city.

We stopped and saw my mom and grandparents. I drank a soda in the backyard that had just been mowed. Genny pointed at some birds. Then we drove to my dad’s house and played in the den with assorted plastic cars. Genny ate blueberries and freeze-dried apple pieces, and then we went for a float in the pool.

I didn’t feel much like pretending to be happy, but I didn’t want to come across as rude either. I find it hard to explain my depression to family. Their first question about my low feeling is always, “Why are you depressed?” I only wish it was so simple as to say I feel depressed because my dog ran away, but unfortunately, it is rarely the case.

The drive home was hot and I kept dozing off. My eyes were so heavy and my brain was trying to trick me into thinking it was okay to shut my eyes just for a moment. I finally pulled over at a roadside gas station and closed my eyes for two minutes until Genny woke up and started squawking.

So, we’re home and she’s asleep and I have a feeling I will be soon, too.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Banish the Word

Today was a rough day, but I’m feeling better now. Nick and I had one of those deep, late-night conversations where we both realized we’re not motivated. We’re both stuck in a rut.

When Genevieve refused to nap this morning I had a little mini-breakdown. I felt myself losing it, spiraling into a vomiting depression. All I wanted to do was lie down, cover my head with a blanket and sleep, but because Genny wouldn’t let me rest, I was unable to use my sleep-cure.

My brain sort of short-circuited at this point. I spun down into my self-loathing spiral. I looked at myself in the mirror and screamed, “I hate you, Sheila.” I tried screaming into my pillow hoping it would release my steam valve, but it just forced me down deeper. The next thing I knew my mind was contemplating ways to kill myself so it would look like an accident so Nick could collect the insurance money. You know, crazy thoughts that you don’t intend on following through with, but that pummel through your brain anyway.

Next was the search through the apartment for something sharp to drag along the flesh of my arm. Something to relieve the mental pain by feeling real pain. I wanted to feel anything but what I was experiencing. The small scissors in the bathroom opened, ran against my wrist, but barely left a scratch.

I was out of control, almost. I think I was in the kitchen with the big scissors with the black handles, again dragged across my skin in little skips. Not enough to cut. I am not a cutter. Just a tease of, I could hurt myself, I feel that depressed and unable to cope.

I lifted Genny from her pack and play and held her while I cried. She stared at me open-mouthed for a minute before crawling off to play with her magnetic letters, laughing, but looking back to me for reassurance.

I knew that I was losing it, but holding on at the same time. That far away voice in the back of my head was whispering that I was okay and that if I wasn’t, I knew I would get myself to the hospital.

On about the fourth try, Genny fell asleep. I climbed into bed and pulled the sheets across my head and squished my eyes closed. I slept for about a half hour and awoke to Genny’s cries. I got her up, fed her, changed her and took her to the babysitter. It was just luck that I had therapy today.

My therapist reassured me that I wasn’t going to kill myself and that I was going to be okay. A combination of a lot of stressors in my life pushed me over the edge, that’s all. Echoes from the past.

So, here I am and Nick is home and we’ve talked and I’m feeling better.

Depression is a wicked thing. Or is it? In fact, I don’t know what depression is. I hate the word. I wish I could banish it from my existence. And then what would be left?

What would these moods I experience be if there were no word for them?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

No Writing

As the weekend of rest winds down I find myself having done no writing at all. I am very disappointed in myself, but even more so, I am wondering what my problem with motivation is.

I have so little free time away from the baby, you would think that I would fill every one of those seconds with writing. I have so much to say, so much to write, but I find myself paralyzed into a numb fog of non-writing.

I’ve tried setting up a minimum amount of time or pages a day, certain times of day or having a certain amount of queries in action. None of these requirements have kept me working. I flop out. I have excuses.

Once school starts I will be forced into a writing regimen, which will be very beneficial for me, but what do I do until then? What is my problem? Why must I procrastinate all the time?

Potter Pandemonium

Today was unusual for us—a summer Saturday with no plans. We all needed a break from our hectic paced, fun-filled season.

Nick’s Harry Potter book arrived by UPS bright and early and so his day was mapped out. I indulged in two naps and a lot of magazine reading. Neither one of us got anything productive done, except lounging about and relaxing. Genevieve didn’t seem to mind our low-key day either. She kept pointing at the television as if to say, “Hey, it’s my weekend, too. Let’s put on the tellie!”

Gen’s surprise phrase of the day, which both Nick and I heard, was something meant to be “Your welcome”, right at the appropriate time. We had been playing the pass back and forth game with a diaper and I said, “Thank you”, and she clearly said, “Your welc—“.

Nick and I both looked at each other like, “Did you hear that, too?” Of course, she wouldn’t say it again and then we both began questioning what we had actually heard.

I babysat tonight for friends, which was not difficult at all since the wee one never made a peep. And now I am munching on chips and salsa and trying to unwind so I can crash out before our little one wakes up bright and early.

Tomorrow should be quiet. We may just take a run to the baby store to get our baby-proofing materials. I think I should probably go pry the book out of Nick’s hands so he can get some rest, too.