scientific house of watches

When I was up in Cosmopolis for Easter weekend, Starcat asked me how I was doing lately.

The best descriptive words for my life right now are "crippling" and "anxiety", I answered. He was shocked.

None of that is coming through on your website, he said.

This is a situation in which I must either laugh or cry, I said, and so I am laughing until I cry.

And then I ordered another pint and laughed over the fact that K's mother thought Starcat, the Fiery One, and I were in a three-way relationship. For the sake of photography, I tried to encourage the Fiery One and Starcat to make out so that I could take a close-up photograph of their light and dark whiskers intermingling, but they simply would not comply with my wishes. They rattled off something about it being "weird" because I used to live with one and am now married to the other and how they're both relatively straight. I think that they just don't appreciate my art.

After the wonderful friends and the beer and the hilarity, though, the shit comes home to roost again, and I am beginning to hate the shit. The Shit is a houseguest that refuses to leave. The Shit has been showing up at the office, and just when I am feeling relieved at having managed to dodge it on the way home, I find it sitting on our sofa bitching about our television reception and the fact that we have only two functional channels.

Who is this The Shit, you ask? A little The Shit into every life must come. You've seen it before. It's mocking over your shoulder when you are eyeing your internet bill and trying to work out the budget in your head so that you can keep all of your utilities running without actually paying any of them off. The Shit sniggers in the grocery store when you have to steer your cart away from the shelves of peanut butter, because it seems like mashed peanuts are worth their weight in gold these days. The Shit absolutely loves it when you have to stay at home ruminating over the to-spawn/not-to-spawn dilemma while knitting a baby blanket for a friend eight years younger instead of going out, because going out anywhere costs money and taking the bus to and from work will cost more than what you have left.

The Shit nearly killed itself giggling when I had to shell out $110 for an optometrist appointment that found out my eyesight has improved. The Shit thinks it's extra funny that I will only be reimbursed for approximately half of that and that it will take more than a month for that to happen. I hate The Shit.

Apparently, The Shit thinks we're the best of friends now, because it's made it known that it's not leaving any time soon. It didn't tell me outright, because it's more into non-verbal forms of communication such as:

  1. giving me a bank balance that was a full $100 less than anticipated,
  2. wrecking two whole pairs of black work pants so that I had to pay for a new pair,
  3. having the co-worker in charge of the social fund at the office ask me for the $10 I owe just so that I have to admit that I don't have that kind of money,
  4. springing the death of my favourite bird, Elliott, on me this morning, and, just to keep things extra interesting,
  5. informing us that the Fiery One may be out of a job, nay, will be out of a job, sometime very soon.

That's right. You read me correctly. I found my best little bird ever in the whole world who sang to me every day for the last several years dead this morning and the Fiery One is joining the ranks of the unemployed.

Yes, I think The Shit's feeling right at home here. I think The Shit is nostalgic for the close relationship we had in the mid-1990s when we used to dumpster dive for edible fruit and bread in sealed bags. It's actually kind of pathetic how it's so desperate to resurrect our long afternoon walks to the food bank and dishpan hands from washing my clothing in the kitchen sink with an off-brand dish detergent that made me sneeze. I keep telling it that I am through with our relationship, that it is one-sided and affects me negatively, but The Shit just won't hear it.

I do have some things to do to keep my mind off this financial crunch, though. I have this lovely camera that I bought before I realized how entrenched The Shit was in my life, so I can while away the hours with it and try to forget how much it is still costing me. I bought some yarn before the financial crash, so I may actually complete a knitting project for once. I can also use this time to learn more creative recipes for rice and frozen vegetables or hone my hitchhiking skills.

See? I'm looking on the bright side. I have to, because next month, all the money I get will go into my first new pair of eyeglasses in six years, which should only set me back about, oh, 600 smackeroos, because blindness is an expensive disability to correct, and no, in case you were wondering, none of that expense will be taken care of by my health coverage. And we have to move out at the end of June. And we have yet to get the computer (the one with a lot of my writing locked inside it) fixed. And we both need to finish our degrees. And I am still paying off my old student loans. And how am I supposed to support my peanut butter addiction under these circumstances?! This, in particular, has The Shit in fits. If things keep going its way like this, it might never leave.

None of this is being made any easier by the fact that I have had to give up cigarettes. If you think that I am being gauche with all this financial misery talk, you can go screw yourself, because this smoker isn't smoking, and it's making her brain crazy. Anyone who wants to criticize me for being an ungrateful first-worlder with no sense of perspective can go tell somebody else who is not kicking an addiction unwillingly at the moment.

If crippling anxiety goes on long enough, does it become normalized? Because I might like me some of that normalization in the near future.

"The Lovers of the Poor" by Gwendolyn Brooks