Sunday, February 9

Outside, the sky heavy and low, the foothills invisible in fog. Ten or fifteen degrees and a fine mist drifting across the street lights. Frost growing on the branches and utility lines. A thin white dust on the surfaces cleared during yesterday’s thaw.

Inside, the gas fire and three kinds of electric light. Laundry on wooden racks, clean dishes drying in the sink, peppermint tea in a white mug with the mongoDB logo on the side. My material life a cluttered disarray, as ever, but tinged with the illusion of order because it is less scattered than it was when I woke.

I’m sober tonight, and meaning to stay that way until I sleep. Yesterday’s similar determination crumbled well before the sun was down, and by 9:00 I found myself at a pool table in Longmont, deep black currents and eddies and spiraling towers of self loathing crashing through my brain in between table scratches and jukeboxed Bon Jovi songs. (These last: Sonic insects in the amber of shithole America’s eternal bar and grill scene. Creaking relics remembered from the final years of the age of cheap gas, the lyrics always summoning to mind a car full of us trawling gravel roads with a case of something terrible.)

Today I emptied a bottle of gin down the sink, and spoke to another human only long enough to order eggs over medium in a place frequented by no one I know. You can’t decide, in the end, to hold yourself together. Sometimes you can decide not to be in the room where you’ll have to make a choice.