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Thursday, November 8, 2001

When I say I feel okay and I really don't, is that a lie? Or is it just a coping mechanism? Is the composed face I present to the world a false face? Or is that composure part of the real face, and the real person?

Because every time I answered the phone today I felt like a— well, like a phony. Here I am, beating my head against the wall and looking for something to throw across the room. Then the phone chirps, and I say, "Good morning," in a voice that's just a little hoarse from shouting curses at the universe.

Anyway, what I'm getting around to saying is that I had one of those days when nothing hugely bad happens, but all the little inconveniences add up to one big bummer. Nothing by itself is worth complaining about. All of it together makes me want to crawl in a hole.

One of the reasons — maybe the main reason — that I started working at home was that the commute was taking too much out of my day. Not too much time, exactly, although time is what it robbed me of. It was more the time I took to wind down from the frustrations of driving than the time it took me to drive. That's what cut into my productivity, back in the days when I commuted.

I had a little reminder today. On my morning errands I ran into a jammed-up street where the paving never seems to be more than halfway finished. I don't know how they can keep working in the same block for so long. But of course, I don't know why I keep driving that way, either, thinking it'll go smoothly.

By the time I got to the bank, I wasn't fit for human contact. I had to sit in the car for several minutes before I could be sure I wouldn't knock over the posts that hold up the velvet ropes where you wait your ten minutes (no matter how many people are in line or how many teller windows are open, it's always ten minutes).

I don't mean I'd push them over on purpose. I'd never deliberately call attention to myself like that. What I mean is that by sheer nervous energy, I would have had a kind of force field around me, and nothing as wobbly as one of those gold-knobbed posts would stand a chance.

Obviously, it's all on me. It's not my job, it's not the world situation, and it's not even Gray Davis. It's my own inadequate coping responses, which I compensate for by pretending everything is okay. Sometimes that's easier than it was today.

Somehow I got myself under control, but the rest of the day was one challenge after another, with no reward (and no immunity). The saving grace in all this is that tomorrow will be a different day. I don't know if it'll be better, but I now it'll be different, and it helps knowing that.


This creature, seen crawling up the inside of my door, now has a new home in the garden — very far from the door.

Okay, I take back everything negative I said about Survivor: Africa. During tonight's episode, I jumped around and shouted and cackled with glee. It's almost (almost) embarrassing to be so affected by a "reality" television show, especially one full of people I wouldn't want to spend as much as an hour with in "real" life. But oh, how I love to see the producers yank those people's chains. Ha!

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