The Great Depression of ’09

Evidently it’s beginning now.

Not only has the death blow been dealt to this summer’s plans, whatever I may have conceived them to be, but the insomnia has returned with a vengeance. What’s more, sleeping on my left side, once the preferred position, is no longer possible without just-shy-of-excruciating pain. Seek medical assistance? Not in the budget.

I simply cannot function like this. I apparently don’t have the strength to fight these battles anymore. And if all I have to look forward to is more of the same, then the best I can hope for is not having to live through it.

If you’re thinking “Geez, is that all it takes to knock him for a loop?” the answer should be distressingly obvious. It appears that whatever emotional stability I had was faked up from a combination of desperation and pharmaceuticals.

And now — the truth comes out? Maybe. I’m not sure what the truth is anymore. Perhaps I never was. Right now, with my eyes watering and my mouth dry as the surface of Mars, it’s difficult to give much of a damn one way or another.

Which means that at some level, I’ve already conceded defeat; the rest is simply a matter of logistics.

The only question that remains is whether I’m worse off now than I was in 1999 — and whether it makes the slightest bit of difference one way or another.



  1. fillyjonk »

    5 February 2009 · 7:36 am

    Oh, gah.

    I really can’t comment on depression, never having suffered from it myself, but do know there are a lot of folks out here thinking about you and pulling for you. I hope you see some improvement, whatever that may be.

  2. McGehee »

    5 February 2009 · 8:35 am

    Charles, ain’t no way we’re letting WT’09 die in freaking February.

    Put up a PayPal button or something and let the fundraiser begin!

  3. Kirk »

    5 February 2009 · 8:47 am

    I’m with McGehee. So many of us travel vicariously through you (to say nothing about the fact that some of your best writing of the year occurs in response to the fresh stimuli of the trip). It’s clearly a worthy cause, even in these pathetic economic times. Who knows? You might even get enough vig to pay for the meds/treatment you need to get over this hump. Be strong — we’re pulling for you.

  4. Dr. Weevil »

    5 February 2009 · 9:29 am

    Wouldn’t at least half of your usual World Tour expenses be hotel bills? Why not a tour that stops off in various places where people you know have spare rooms? If not all of them have spare beds, no problem: just take along a sleeping bag and some sheets and pillows and a folding cot or air-mattress or futon. Here’s the first map-point to put on your list: the Blackfriars Playhouse. Their Comedy of Errors is particularly amusing: the twin servants are played by a pair of big fat guys dressed like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, but with their hairy bellies showing.

    I live a block and a half away (that’s why I took a job in the area) and have plenty of room and a spare futon. Come on by. There must be someone between Oklahoma City and the Shenandoah Valley who would put you up and show you interesting sights.

  5. Tatyana »

    5 February 2009 · 11:26 am

    What kind of pain, when you lie on your left side? Is it your spine or your heart?
    Spent half a night myself figuring a way to ease my back pain (failed) and engaging in unpleasant inner dialogue (failed/failed).

    We all are walking that deceptively stable line; very easy to misstep into despair. Try to balance yourself – look, you have number of positives on your side. A job. A house. A sympathetic audience. Not bad.

  6. CT »

    5 February 2009 · 11:39 am

    Just know that the ghosts behind the visitor logs are checking in on you, some daily, and that we’re pulling for you.

    To second Dr. Weevil’s suggestion about accommodation expenses, you might want to give Couch Surfing some serious thought. Would lend a whole other texture to the Tour…

  7. Francis W. Porretto »

    5 February 2009 · 3:45 pm

    Charles, you’re welcome at the Fortress of Crankitude, whenever you might deign to show up.

  8. CGHill »

    5 February 2009 · 5:27 pm

    At the moment, I seem to lack both spine and heart.

    It’s a pressure sort of pain, very neatly localized, as though there were a bruise somewhere in the vicinity. (If so, it’s on the inside; I don’t show any traces of it externally.) When this set in, I figured it was a side effect of a statin — they do that sort of thing — so I quit taking it, in the hopes that the condition would improve. It hasn’t as yet.

    Brief summation of financial condition:

    I am not delinquent on anything. However, I am running a slight monthly deficit, owing to higher prices for everything except gasoline (which has helped considerably), and I had judged that if I could hold out until the summer of 2010, I could avoid making any further budget cuts. (I’ve practically quit buying books, even.) Reasons: about $12,000 in unexpected expenses, some medical (but not enough to be deductible), some house-related, and some automotive. (Gwendolyn is very well-behaved these days, though there were some anxious moments early on; one of the reasons she is well-behaved is that I made the necessary investments in maintenance.) This makes for about thirty grand in debt, including the car note; unfortunately, I already had about thirty grand in debt.

    So far, I have managed to avoid tapping house equity — yes, I have some, the house has appreciated about 30 percent since I’ve been here — or what’s left of the 401(k). I will resist these as long as I can. But there aren’t any more easy cuts, and since I’m already working about 50 hours a week, taking on a second job is not going to happen.

    I may do a one-shot two- or three-day trip to somewhere close by, to justify having created the category.

  9. Tatyana »

    5 February 2009 · 7:10 pm

    That could be either heart-related or a pinched nerve; only doctor could tell. Chaz, if you’re already paying health insurance premium every month,you might as well use it for one more doctor visit. Your health is more important than any trips.

    The finances: this sort of thing is one of the reasons I will probably never move out of NY, at least not to a city without decent apartment neighborhoods and a well-developed public transport. It is so uneconomical to invest in a house AND a car, with one income. It’s hard enough to pay off 2 mortgages, but there is always possibility of something breaking, either a car, a pipe, a duct or your own patience – and all of this combined is definitely breaking your bank account! We are not living in the age of farmers; a person can not, simply by level of complexities involved, to be equally proficient in fixing roof, plumbing, car insides and to be a specialist in one’s own profession. That’s insane. So one ends up paying contractors – and that can ruin the best of credits.

    Of course, that tirade coming from a non-driver should tell you something of my bias…On the other hand, I bake, knit and alter my own hems.

  10. CGHill »

    5 February 2009 · 7:28 pm

    I have to see the doctor this month anyway — routine for those of us with blood-sugar issues — so he can deal with it at that time.

    I can’t knit worth a flip, but I have been known to do my own hems.

    The last time I had a car note, it was 60 months, which I whittled down to 53 by judicious timing; the current note is 48, and it’s staying stubbornly at 48. (Thirty-one have been completed.)

    And while this place has its charms, well-developed public transport is not among them, alas.

  11. Donna »

    5 February 2009 · 7:44 pm

    Sending you warm thoughts. Not that it should help but it’s all I can do.


  12. Jeff Brokaw »

    5 February 2009 · 11:16 pm

    Sympathies and prayers, CG. We’re all pulling for you.

    For whatever it may be worth, you do something that not many other people do: help make the Internet seem a little warmer, a little more human.

  13. Jeffro »

    6 February 2009 · 12:15 am

    Everyone has pretty well covered how I feel about ya. I just want to add my thoughts and support to you as well. You really and truly do mean quite a bit to some of us out here on the intertubes.

  14. zigzag »

    6 February 2009 · 2:34 am

    arriving late ! (late shift at work) THIS is just the winter talking. Do not despair ! Have faith in ALL things — please.

  15. fillyjonk »

    6 February 2009 · 7:13 am

    …yeah, but knitting can be a fairly expensive hobby. I know.

    I actually CAN do my own hems….but I’m a lot more likely to direct a feces-eating grin in the direction of my mother, when I’m visiting her, and get HER to do it for me.

    Short trips to various places sounds like a potential solution. Hot Springs, AR, is interesting if you’ve not been there yet. (It can be expensive to stay there, though, if you’re interested in being right down close to the historic area). They also have an “alligator farm and petting zoo,” though I presume one does not pet the alligators.

  16. CGHill »

    6 February 2009 · 6:33 pm

    There are, it is said, three rules to life: never play poker with a man named Doc, never eat at a place called “Mom’s,” and never say “Bite me” in the presence of an alligator.

    I have a diagnosis of sorts: bursitis. And I got to shell out $200 or so for the office visit, lab work and such, because the flaming shitheels who operate CFI Care (not its real initials) have yet to fork over anything resembling an actual insurance card, despite coverage allegedly having commenced on the first of January. Their claim form, when submitted, will be accompanied by verbiage less kindly.

  17. That Broad »

    17 February 2009 · 12:19 am

    I know it’s a simple phrase, much too often over used, but it works to say, hang in there!

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