This is completely gratuitous. On their second workday the two senior advisors started pulling kids out of line for brief interviews and by brief I mean maybe ten to fifteen seconds and then right back to work. All that makes perfect sense. I'd already had a good look at my kid with one of her very good friends (the sort of long term friend from your inner circle which is the reason you're here in the first place) painting those long steel beams which will be used to hold up the roof. That was maybe seven or eight seconds of back and forth airtime and I was grateful. She was smiling and industriously slapping paint in all the right places. I'd like very much to understand why her shirt is still white. About thirteen minutes into the recording these guys come around the corner and our girls are already set up in the recording corner. Someone has prepped them. Ninety seconds later we have a commercial for B3. If you clean it up a little. I watch my kid do a little hair flip with her pony tail and I wonder where the hell that came from and realize it's probably been there for years but it's not for me; for me she is serious and then a little bit of silly, and then a lot bit of silly but never that person because I am not those persons and then I feel better because we are all whoever we need to be depending on our environments and I am delighted to have seen this person no matter how briefly. She is not disingenuous; this is just a facet I don't see at home. I think, I am not worthy of the hair flip, and I giggle quietly in the general direction of the dog. I realize she is wearing her friend's name tag as well as her own. More silliness in the style of my own which I would never see but she has witnessed more often than not in me and once again I giggle at the dog and say, see? She rolls her eyes at me but look what she's gone and done anyway. There is a 75% chance that if I point this out she will laugh. Yesterday there was no video. They have either stepped up focus on the work (they've got to finish this week) or their beach day was yesterday. Either way it doesn't really matter, I have far more than I believe I had any right to receive. I am astonishingly grateful. Later I realize that the hysterically funny woman dressed like a mummy (despite the heat almost every square inch of her skin is covered) either to avoid the sun or bugs (probably sun) is her school principal. I was aware she was involved but not to the extent of actually being on this team. She is most often seen digging holes and moving earth or in cement lines. She is very strong.
What I meant to write
For me, lacking structure can be deadly. The first thing I do is isolate. I don't notice right away because there's a good chance the original structure won't come to a screeching halt or I'll find things to do which will require some kind of interaction or forward momentum but if I don't focus, if I don't pay attention in a little while I will stop moving. When it starts, or more accurately stops I don't notice. It takes some key indicators to show up and I have to actually pay attention or I'll end up in deep shit. I'm not really sure about the actual definition of depression because I don't feel depressed. I remember (mostly because I was reminded by reading old posts) having it slammed in my face back in 2007 when they had those really heavy commercials for some sort of pharmaceutical where one family member would be nearly inert. He or she would look drawn inward, would move around the house as if it hurt to do so, head hanging low, eyes downcast and then the camera would pan out to the rest of the family trying desperately to interact with this person and finally, FINALLY, the camera would go to the dog and EVEN THE DOG IS HURT BY YOUR DEPRESSION LADY! In other words, the intent of the ad was to guilt the victim (yeah, it kind of looked that way by the end) into getting help because they were hurting their family. I just felt SO DAMN BAD when those commercials came on because I knew something was wrong but I couldn't figure out what to do about it. I wasn't depressed based on the clinical definition of depressed as I know it. Depressed generally means your serotonin levels are low and they give you a serotonin uptake drug and that's supposed to take care of it. The problem is if your serotonin levels are not low and you start taking those pills some very bad shit can happen. Some very not depressed people with other issues have been known to put a gun to their heads and pull the trigger. Those cases are extreme but you get the picture. Anyway, depressed in terms of serotonin levels, that's not what's happening. I am not sad. I cannot even blame this on my current medication because this is pretty much the way I have always been without structure except now I don't have the pain associated with the bipolar swings that caused the feeling of imminent implosion (probably from trying to control those swings). Now I am oddly content to stand completely still staring at a spot on the wall with a laundry basket of half folded clothes in my hands.
I need a sense of urgency, or more accurately an immediate sense of urgency and the only way I'm going to get it is to cause it to be. In the mean time I do the things you do when you're looking for a job but you can only make that move so fast.
I started making lists and one of the things involved walking the neighborhood stuffing seventy (who knew?!) mailboxes with the fliers for the second annual block party (my driveway again) and the first annual (we hope) neighborhood tag sale (there is power in numbers) which will be in my driveway and yard and my neighbor's driveway and yard across the street (yup, good old Mrs. Kravitz) if we have the turnout we're really looking for). We used last year's flier for the block party with a few edits and I found a tag sale recruiting template with some really cool graphics to invite neighborhood participation. I paper clipped seventy-five sets together, placed them gently into a canvas bag and set out to walk the circle and all three spurs. I've lived here for nearly twelve years. I've walked this circle alone, with company, with dogs, I've run it alone and with David, but I've never been a mail person before and I've got to tell you, this a whole different thing. When you touch every single mailbox and look up or down at every single house, when you are forced to stop, however briefly the neighborhood takes on a slightly different dimension. For example, I finally figured out why our mailboxes are so screwed up. I'm probably the last person in the neighborhood to work this out but I finally got it. If all the mailboxes are on the inside of the circle then the mail truck only has to go around the circle one time. It's extra screwed up because of when and how the houses were built so the numbering is anywhere from slightly off to way the hell off. For example, the two numbers which come one before and one after mine are a tenth of a mile up the circle and side by side. The house to my right is sixteen numbers higher. There is nothing in between us. The house right across from me is eleven numbers lower. So you go by house number fifty-nine to get to house number forty-two and it makes people crazy. On the spurs, because you have to turn around at the cul-de-sacs and come out, the mailboxes are on both sides and in front of the correct driveways. The problem is the street signs are pointed the wrong way so you're never really sure which spur you're pointed at. I think when they put this neighborhood in during the late fifties and early sixties there were a group of people who just didn't want to be found.
So I stuffed every single mailbox with the exception of the four committee members and the one guy at the very bottom of the road where you first pull in because he's been banished from the neighborhood and I've been threatened with death and dismemberment if I invite him. I feel bad about this. Something terribly wrong is going on in that house. It's falling apart. The roof looks like it's going to fall in and the back porch most of our houses have on the second floor is hanging on by not much of anything. There is rumor of a middle or high school age child living in the house but I've never seen one waiting for the bus and Elizabeth has no idea. Late last spring a group of neighborhood men got together and cut down the small meadow in his yard and someone has replaced his mailbox the same way someone replaced mine because I left it on the ground facing up the way the mailman told me to leave it. The neighborhood men also cleaned up and cut the grass on the frontage by the road because that is apparently part of his two acres. They must have expected him to be grateful. They must have expected him to maintain what they'd done. For the life of me I cannot imagine where those expectations came from. I can understand cutting the frontage but go down there quietly early in the morning, just one of you and get it done. You're doing it for the neighborhood. Fine. I've thought about it myself. But they raised money (I don't know for what) and brought an army of men and closed off half the road and made one hell of a racket. If it was me inside that house I'd have been mortified. If it was me in that falling down house because I didn't have the wherewithal for whatever reasons to do a damn thing about it I'd probably be one step closer to the edge.
I wanted to talk to him. Just to talk. I thought maybe putting a flier in his mailbox might do more harm then good so that's the reason I didn't do it. I hoped he couldn't see me at the house just up the hill.
I wanted to talk to him but the one thing I know about being isolated is that a knock on the door, especially from a stranger is not actually helpful. It can throw you into a tailspin. I wish I knew what to do. I don't even know what I need when I'm like this because I've never been like that.
So I stuffed every single mailbox and I did the math and I thought about how isolated we all are back here in the woods with our two acre zoning and our neighborhood bear that goes from yard to yard taking up temporary residence until it decides it's time to move on, our coyotes, and our bobcats, the fisher cats, and apparently the mink which has taken up residence under somebody's deck (don't they want water from which to fish - lady, are you feeding that thing? It is NOT a ferret!). I think about the fox and her kits and how comfortable we've all become with the wildlife coming right out of the forest and into our backyards, which really is forest still, we've just put ourselves right in the middle of it. I don't think so much about the deer and the raccoons and the turkeys because they never really left. The squirrels shouldn't even be mentioned (rat bastards) but the raptors, the field mice, the marsh spiders, and the amazing array of migratory birds should never be taken for granted. Pay attention to the snakes; they are worthy of notice. But the people. We just never see the people. We have photographs of the animals because they are posted in the mom's group on Facebook. So there's that. Oddly enough I know some of the mom's on this street through that group but if I had to pick them out in this neighborhood it would be an epic fail.
If every family brought an average of four people to a block party there would be three hundred people in my driveway, overflowing into the back and front yard. I know that's asking a lot because not every family has two children but some families have more. If just fifty families brought just four people we'd have two hundred. Last year we had sixty-nine. I looked at every one of those houses and opened each of those mailboxes (except the two which were slammed shut by the plows and their fliers were wedged in-between the flag and the box) and wished I'd written a brief note on seventy post-its saying, oh please, won't you come!
Maybe I'll do that next year.
Yesterday I wasn't clear it was my birthday until the Facebook notices started coming in. I'm not entirely sure how I missed this but I did, and that was OK. I remembered that I'd missed the hike up Peaks of Otter and that was OK too because that would have been Sunday and I was already past that which is probably how I'd forgotten. I sent my resume out to a few new recruiters and my phone rang. Not a recruiter. My friend Sharon. I went into isolation mode. I do not feel like talking to anyone. I especially do not feel like talking to an extrovert right now.
I picked up the phone.
Instead of writing on my wall she'd picked up the phone. Of course she did. Do you want to go to dinner? (no) Sure. I'll go to dinner. (just do it, Alecto) What time? I need to take care of the dog at about 6 so I can go just after and then swing by later to make sure she's OK, she's been a little odd lately. OK, just after 6, I'll ping you when I'm done with my last call.
At 4:30 I started to feel tired. I did not want to go to dinner. I wanted to hang out with the dog. I did not cancel dinner. At 5:45 I was getting ready to take care of the dog when the UPS guy showed up with a case of wine from TEFKASM. I considered cancelling dinner and opening the box. I carried the box into the kitchen and walked up the street to the very lonely dog. The dog is on a hunger strike but we played in the back yard for a while. I promised to come back. She looked dubious. I think her serotonin might be low.
In the end, dinner was lovely and making the choice to walk through the wall of isolation was the right choice. I think in most cases it is always the right choice. There is a difference between disengaging from the world to calm yourself and giving in to the narcotic of dead silence and near complete stillness. I don't know what that's all about; I just know I shouldn't do it.
Here are some photographs of the neighbors who do not receive mail on a regular basis and are definitely NOT invited to the block party:
Chicken thieves. I don't dislike them the way I dislike raccoons; I'm actually quite fond of them. I have an intense dislike for raccoons. Not sure what that's all about. I am quite certain these guys are smart enough to avoid block parties.
This is just around the corner from me. I don't know if there's just the one, if it just came in for a visit, or if we're going to have a family. We're still waiting to see. I seem to be the only one thinking this is probably not the best idea in the world. If it comes to the party someone is likely to start feeding it hotdogs. This will not end well.
No one has a really good picture of the bear and I'm thankful for that. This means no one in this neighborhood is insane because there has been plenty of opportunity including the time he was seen walking right up the middle of the road. We're pretty sure we only have this one guy. We don't really know it's a guy but since he or she has been here for at least two years and has not produced cubs we're guessing a bitter, divorced male. He sat in my back marsh for a while this winter just sort of staring up at the house. Like I was going to solve some sort of existential crisis for him. He's not expected at the block party because we don't think he likes large crowds and also Kristen is bringing back that damn karaoke machine.