Wednesday, December 3

"the names of the months sound like threats"

It's the first few days of December. I'm indoors, fighting some organism which has taken lodgings in my throat, fogging my ears and brain. Outside there're a high gray sky and fine snow in the air. People walk past with shrink-wrapped bundles of logs. On the radio, they've been talking about layoffs, mass murder in Mumbai, cutting the tops off of mountains in Appalachia, and building roads through hundreds of thousands of acres of forest in Colorado.

I'm restless. I want to go somewhere, but I can't think of anywhere to go. The movies would be all right, except I'd cough and blow my nose all through the show, driving everyone else to distraction and spreading the contagion all around. The bar has similar issues, and anyway drinking is no good. It would only furthur befog me. Ditto coffeeshops, restaurants, bookstores, and the public library, each in their own way.

You can say this for even a minor and fleeting illness: It serves to reveal the sheer contingency of the emotional life.