Sunday, July 31, 2005


I'm often blase about my procrastination. I consider it a normal part of the writing process, and furthermore I maintain that sometime during the 7-odd years I taught Freshman English, I read a study somewhere (likely College English) arguing that what gets called procrastination is actually just "latency," and with enough wisdom and the proper research methodology, we can discern Great Cognitive Things going on under the surface of what looks like a pointless, anxiety-driven waste of time.

However, today is a brilliant blue summer day with just a few puffy clouds snagged on the Olympics, and it's 80-some-odd degrees out, and I'm at the office, and the air conditioning is off, and sun is slanting through the floor-to-ceiling unshaded west-facing windows, and the room is becoming increasingly sauna-like, and I really think I should have rewritten this client report sometime last week.

It also feels really decadent to be making a giant office-size pot of coffee just for me...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

This is the most fascinating thing I've ever seen.

Because it simultaneously pushes my home improvement button, my history button, and my (vestigial) dinosaurs-and-fossils button:

Woodweb Discussion Forum: Adhesives

Thursday, July 28, 2005

No one expects to be beaten to death with a yoga mat.

Last night, after the day of medical conflict I relate below, I had yoga class.

I needed yoga class.

Unfortunately, some doofus guy who I've never seen before cleverly set up his mat about 18 inches from mine, invading my personal space and touching my fucking hand while we're lying with our arms extended. Aaaa! Ewwww!

Then, after class, the stairs in the alleyway were blocked by a couple of fratty white dudes and their apparent dates. As I squeezed past them, one of the dudes said something like "Yeah, been doing some Yooooga?" in this kind of southern rap accent I assume he picked up from the MTV. I'm like "What the fuck does it look like?" Out loud.


God damn it.

I had hoped I would be able to do this without letting money become that awful hissing slow-leak sound in the back of my brain, but it's happening again.

Every dollar I spend, on (today) lunch, coffee, frozen pizza, new earpiece for the cell phone--there it is.

Anxiety. That dark old familiar feeling of being unsafe in the world.

And then the lovely cascade that follows: defensiveness, anger, hostility--all those great survivalistic emotions we all come wired with. God.

I've made this decision. I've decided to forego $230,000 in income and spend $45,000 on tuition because I think a different job and a different set of capabilities will be worth >$275,000 to me (in cash, in enjoyment) over the next 25 years of my life. (So, roughly $11,000/year.) And I think it was the right decision, and when I made it, I told myself that I would not let that slow hiss steal the enjoyment out of every day.

But here it is again.

The Logic:

--I'm about to quit work and need to get my next few months' house payment lined up.
--I'm still trying to calculate how much I want or have to work, and whether I will work during the first year. (This is "frowned upon," but like I told my friend B today, I'm 38 years old. I've been frowned on before. I think I can handle it.)
--I still have a few things I want/need to buy before school starts, and I haven't budgeted that out yet.

The Emotions:

The psychological theme of this week has been survival. Monday I found out I can't get one of my thyroid medications because there's a nationwide shortage. This is the one that makes my brain go. Without it, I'm kind of like HAL after they pulled the plug. By calling and wheedling and running around town to four different pharmacies, I was able to scrounge up about 5 weeks' worth. It was like something out of a Lou Reed song.

I also had an appointment with my general practitioner about alternatives. (She insisted on this before she'd write me the scrips for my jaunt around the city.) That did not go well. It has taken me over three years to get a medication mix that works for me, where I feel smart and normal and sane and myself, as opposed to slow and idiotic and cold and achy. She suggested that we basically start over with an entirely different medication.

Commendably, I first responded with reason:

Me: I'm on 10 mcg of T3 and 175 of T4 now. If we switch to 1 pill of this new stuff, which has 9 mcg of T3 and 38 mcg of T4, then cut my T4 pill to 137 mcg (which, believe it or not, is a dosage that actually exists), that should be pretty close.
Her: The pharmacist says we should just put you on 2 pills of the new stuff.
Me: But that's almost twice as much T3 as I'm taking now and my T3 levels are already in the upper half of the normal range. Why won't my plan work?
Her: Well, because that other drug kinda works differently.
Me: How can it work differently? T3 and T4 are the only active ingredients. Those amounts are listed in the prescribing information. Are you telling me they're allowed to fib in there?
Her: Well, it's kind of different. It's not as consistent from dose to dose.
Me: OK, so if that's true, why would it make any sense to put me on more of it, rather than combining it with some of the more stable fomulation of T4 I'm already on?
Her: [Silence]
Her: Well, what do you want to do?
Me: I've told you what I want to do.
Her: I'm willing to put you on two pills of the new stuff.

Then I lost it.

I think what I said was something roughly like "No. Fuck. No. There is no fucking way I'm doing that. You don't get it. I was sick with this shit for three fucking years. I couldn't remember my coworkers' names. I felt like crap. I had my neighbor coming over to my house to ask what was wrong with me because she hadn't seen me in months because I didn't have the energy to do anything after work but sleep. I am not going through that I again. Those were years of my life that I don't get back and I'm not doing it again. You have to do better for me." I was crying. She referred me to the Endocrinologist, who might be willing to prescribe the combination because he does more non-standard treatments. Unfortunately, I can't see the Endo for 7 weeks.

Fortunately, my naturopath was willing to try the combination I want now. Her comment on the whole thing "Seems logical to me. It would definitely be the least disruptive option to try."

I feel like a freak having conflict with my fucking doctor. But then again, when I've been the well-behaved patient and just left the office after not getting what I need, I've ended up sick for three years.

This shit sucks.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Sad Reality

My friend R is also going to be a fellow 1-L. We have the same fear: what if we can't find any sane older people to hang out with and have to spend all of our time with 22 year olds? I joke that maybe some of them have sane divorced dads I could date, but that's not really the point.

Hopeful, I went to the bulletin board for incoming students and sorted the profiles by age. This yielded 5 people who were over 25 and seemed mildly interesting. 5. f i v e.


Friday, July 22, 2005

The Reality

I'm 38 years old, and I'm quitting a well-compensated job to go to a state law school in the city I live in.

So far, this has been a tremendously odd experience. I think that will continue. Deciding to do this seems to have made me some kind of screen on which people (my friends, my dates, my current and future colleagues, my shrink) feel free to project all kinds of meanings, all kinds of narratives about dreams and change and risk and courage, none of which I feel particularly much.

My job was boring me to death. I'm smart, but I'm also kind of confrontational, and I'm not really happy without a fight. I felt like I was wasting my time. This feels mildly insane to me (because of the financial risk, because I don't want to live like a grad student again, because too much of law seems to be set up along a winner-take-all, freakish overachiever model that I've thoroughly bought out of, because I'm too fucking old for this shit, because being in school is, as my undergraduate thesis adviser put it, "an infantilizing condition," and again, I'm *way* too fucking old for this shit), but at the same time, it feels completely inevitable. That's how most of my friends react. "Law school. Of course. Tell me again, why didn't you do this 15 years ago?"

But law school itself is a screen for a lot of weird stories, like those told by the Mother Hen, my 52-year-old fellow 1L, who wrote something like the following to the 1L message board (paraphrased to protect the guilty):
"I just want to give you all some motherly advice. First year is really really hard. A lot of people drop out. It can destroy marriages! It can destroy lives! You won't all get A's! Run! Run for the hills! Slit your wrists now!"

Yeah, thanks Mom. Tell me again--why I don't live at home?

But still. The grain of truth here is that my fellow students, the 22 year olds and Mother Hen alike, seem to simultaneously fear and crave some kind of dramatic, life-shaping, trial-by-fire experience, and I...just...don't.

It's school, people. Have we not all been to school before?

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