Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In which I pick up a Stray...

There are some days that seem like they were made for not getting up. Today is one of them. The temperature is warmer today; it's supposed to reach almost 50 degrees. For Ohio in December, that's rare. It's also welcome because it means the ice will melt, the ground will clear, renewed and ready for the next snowfall. Today, however, it's raining. It's the gloomy kind of rain that is set in for the day. The sky is a charcoal gry, the clouds angry and heavy, the drops falling sporadically but heavily and the ground is soaking wet.

Naturally, I love it. I love the sound of the beating rain against the window. I got to hear that last night. Despite my intentions to go to bed early and get a good night's sleep in hope of kicking this dark Pootle cloud that I've been under since Sunday, I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned and tried to sleep but it wouldn't come. I hate nights like that. On nights like that, it's hard to clear your head whether it's a 'to-do' list, a writing idea, a bad experience you keep replaying over again or just a dejection at the way life is going. It's hard to sleep with that much on your mind.

When my alarm went off this morning, I was already awake. Though burrowing further under my covers would have been most appealing, I finally got up. I keep the heat low at night because I like the room to be cool while I'm cosy in bed. It was chilly though I knew it was warmer outside. I followed my normal routine but somehow managed to leave work a little earlier. The vague thought of Starbucks danced in my head but I wasn't that early. As I was going out to my car, I was stopped by a man I've seen around my building. He was stranded; he was a student at the university for which I work, his car died and his ride hadn't showed.

Though I don't actually work on campus, I drive right by. I felt sorry for him. I hate being stranded. So I gave him a ride. It turns out he recently moved from San Diego, California, had been in the Navy and now was a part-time student. He was friendly and he was nice. I dropped him off.

That was it, really but, in a way, it was much more than that. It was a break from my routine. It not only took me on a different route to work but it actually gave me a chance to interact with a human before I got to the office where, depending on how you see my coworkers, some of them never seem quite human anyway. Sometimes a little human interaction is all you need to give you a little boost. I love living alone but sometimes I get trapped inside my own head and those shadows of doubt that I blogged about last week seem a little deeper. Playing on Facebook doesn't always help, either. I have a lot of friends on Facebook, most of the time I love that. Yet every now and again, I'll receive a suggestion for a friend that takes me by surprise, it's a face I haven't thought about much in years. It's not always a face that comes with fond memories. Most of those faces are on photos that include children, wives and families. And every now and again, I see a former acquaintance and I can't help but think "HE/SHE has kids?" and then the inevitable "What's wrong with me?" starts.

So, I know, sometimes I need to get outside of my own head. But sometimes I have to go there, particularly when I'm writing. It helps to shut out the world and let my story/characters in. Lately, the writing isn't so easy. I can't get a grip on it. I can't settle down and let it flow. My character's voices aren't so clear as usual. That's a strange feeling for me.

I know that it's times like this that make the sunny days and snowfall seem that much brighter and uplifting. After all, you can't have the shadows without the sun which means eventually when the clouds part, the sun will shine brightly and the darkness will fade. Sometimes, all it takes is a good, fluffy, wet snowfall. Sometimes, for me, all it takes is a trip to the post office, a slice of toast and a mug of tea and a little change from routine.

I've already had my change from routine for the day. Tonight, I get to go to the post office. For most people that's not fun; for me, it always makes me feel like I've accomplished something. I love the order of the post office, the stamps, the flat-rate envelopes. Yes, I know I'm weird but we've established that. I'll save my full adoration for the post office for another blog. In the meantime, tonight I'll pick up my package, go home, make some toast, drink some tea and relax, hopefully to the sound of pelting rain against my patio doors. And, if not, it means the clouds are going away and tomorrow the sun might shine.

If that doesn't work, maybe I'll find another way to break the routine, to try something new, to climb out of my shadows on my own. Sometimes, all we can do is ignore the darkness and find our own light. I still have the glow of my two-hundred Christmas lights. I've added more since then. I figure if I keep adding them, maybe I'll drown out the darkness completely. Either way, I'll try to be cheerier in my blog tomorrow. Maybe I'll pick up another stray. I'll keep you posted on that.

Happy Tuesday.

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