March 19th, 2017


Dammit, Ennui

Today is a bright sunny, chilly day with the remnants of this week’s snowstorm all around outside serving as a reminder that although spring may technically start tomorrow, astronomically speaking, Vermont usually has other ideas.

Richmond, Vermont -- Sunday, March 19, 2017 (around 12:15 pm)

Carole is out at a meeting somewhere downtown, and then after that she’s got a symphonic reading with one of her orchestral groups. This means that I have the afternoon to myself, and I’m running hard up against a wall of ennui, depression, boredom, and lassitude.

It should say something that even though I actually just got back from a trip to Hawaii, I’m already paging morosely through itineraries for cruises this time next year. Travel to exotic locations motivates me. Sitting around at home doesn’t.

My imaginary gopherlike being Wally is sitting down in the living room absent-mindedly paging through the collected works of Don DeLillo, and some guy with a strange accent who says he’s Godfrey of Bouillon keeps calling asking if I want to join him on a crusade or something.

There are things I should be doing around the house – minor housekeeping jobs such as hanging my stupidly large collection of baseball caps on hooks on the cap rack I bought a while back, putting away laundry, doing Quicken, but right now I’m just sitting here staring off into space not wanting to do any of those things. Nor am I terribly interested in watching basketball, reading anything, going out and doing something… really, in doing anything at all.

It would be simplest if I just kicked off my shoes and took a nap, but that’s been my answer to this ennui problem for a few years now — spending as much time as possible asleep until it’s time to get up and do something, like going to work or making dinner. Part of this may be seasonal affective disorder — the urge to cocoon when it’s cold outside and I have nothing especially fun to do. In principle, once warm weather comes and the windows are open, I should have more energy, but frankly, over the last few years that hasn’t really been true. I think I got on my bicycle once last year. And it’s a nice bicycle.

Yes, perhaps my medication should be adjusted. I’m taking citalopram and buproprion, and I know from recent experience how absolutely lost and worried and angst-ridden I get if I skip those for a few days, so I assume they’re helping in some fashion. But… I don’t think that there’s a pill that will re-instill in me the motivation and drive of an ordinary human.

I wish there was.




As of this April 16, it'll have been ten years since the horrific events that took place in Blacksburg, Virginia on April 16, 2007.

In the ten years since a mentally ill young man ran amuck with his guns and took the lives of 28 students and four faculty members -- and wounded seventeen others -- members of the Virginia Tech university community have gathered each year on April 16 to stand vigil and to remember those we lost.

I'd like to be there in person for the remembrance (I grew up in Blacksburg and received my masters degree there), but unfortunately, I have to be in Lubbock, Texas for work that day.  In fact, I've never yet managed to be there for the memorial despite my active travel schedule.  I've always hoped that I could route myself through Blacksburg on my way to Seattle or San Francisco or Tucumcari, but it just hasn't worked out.

I wish I could say that the Virginia Tech massacre served as the Pearl Harbor-like wake-up call for the American people that finally got us to realize how out of control our love affair with firearms has become.

I wish I could say that the National Rifle Association realized that there are more important things in life than maximizing gun manufacturers' profits.

I wish I could say that we, as a society, took a look at what happened in West Ambler-Johnston Hall and Norris Hall that awful day and decided "this far, and no further."  That it had to stop.

Unfortunately, I can't say that.   Blacksburg wasn't enough.  Sandy Hook wasn't enough.  Aurora wasn't enough.  Orlando wasn't enough.  Ten thousand gun homicides a year in the United States aren't enough. Nothing's enough.

Nothing's ever going to be enough.

Our society has "addict brain" where our fetish for firearms is concerned, and the only thing that satisfies the craving, however briefly, is...

More guns.