Winter Blues

WARNING: Rant Alert!

Sometimes maintaining the eternal optimist stance is exhausting. Today I feel…depressed. I hate it when people talk about their depression. Everyone is constantly sharing their ever-changing moods on Facebook — along with their plates of food, pet antics and other annoyances — from elation to thoughts of suicide. Instead of making those emotions more immediate (or at least important) it merely minimizes them. How serious can your suicidal thoughts be if you’re broadcasting them to a thousand of your closest friends? Seriously depressed people don’t blather on about it. They just…are.

And yeah, no one wants to hear it. I certainly don’t. I don’t even want to hear about my own depression. Don’t want to feel the feelings or write about them. Yet here I am. So let’s try and turn it around, shall we?

The weather has been depressing. Dark and cold. But I love winter. Rather, I love seasons, as in the changing of. The same old sunny days, day after day, is maddening, which is why I find California so intolerable. But it’s the actual change that I enjoy. When all of a sudden you need to throw on a jacket. Or you can take out that awesome scarf again and rummage around to see if you still have gloves that match. A few weeks into winter and those gloves have gotten grimy. The scarf has been snarling your hair. And you’re ready for the next season. Well, I am. They have. And it has been.

I don’t have a stereo. So I turn on the TV for background noise. After a while the “Tena Twist” ads and the incessant insistence that THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU implied by all these commercials really wears me down. I need a drug to get up and move, another to go to sleep. One to cure my depression and still another to augment that, since those damn antidepressants apparently don’t work all that well. My lack of need for prescription pharmaceuticals is a disadvantage in the random surveys I fill out, hoping that I’ll be called in for a paid focus group. Have I been diagnosed with this, that or the other? No. I am perfectly healthy. And evidently the only 53-year-old in the world who isn’t taking anything for…anything.

OKCupid has become a necessary evil, one populated with smiling, shriveled old men who “are lovin’ life” and “enjoying a good glass of wine” clicking on my profile. And not even emailing me. Is this what it’s come to? The emails that do come? They’re either from a 23-year-old who wants to live out his mommy fantasy, a non-entity with a grey heart where his photo should be or some walrus mustached truck driver from Montana. I. Just. Can’t.

Over the weekend I worked a checkpoint for the Idiotarod. It was the warmest, fuzziest shopping cart race ever, with the added feature of assisting businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy. There were dozens of adorable 20-somethings, possibly a few 30-somethings, all of whom I would’ve been seducing in my younger days. But, uh, yeah. I ran into a gentleman who friends have intimated “has a crush on you” and…nothing. After a few words in line for the toilet, he seemed far more interested in chatting up someone else, someone…younger. A week ago I was speaking with a woman who had spoken to a professional matchmaker. The most depressing part of our conversation? This quote from the matchmaker: “Women in their 40s don’t get many dates because men in their 40s, 50s, even 60s all want to date women in their 30s.” Uh-huh.

I am not happy being old. NOT. HAPPY. I do NOT WANT to be old. I know everyone says it’s better than the alternative but I’m not so sure it is. When I think like this I try to remind myself that I want to be around to see my sister’s kids get older. But do I? The eldest is already distancing himself. Will the next three do the same? What else do I have to look forward to? My High Holy Days? Let’s see: I can’t afford to fly to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Santa Con has become such a nightmare than no one wants to participate anymore. The Mermaid Parade seems to be moving in the same frat-tastic direction. Halloween was cancelled this year. And Burning Man has become nothing more than a job.

I’m working on an event and booking people is so problematic that I’m not sure I even want to bother. All for what? Being a nervous wreck the entire night, worrying about making enough cash to pay people. And maybe making, like, 20 bucks. Bah.

I have a job. One day a week. I barely make $200 for eight hours of work. I was hoping to land a shift at another neighborhood bar but I guess they went with someone else, someone…younger. I go 48 hours without leaving the house on a regular basis. The only thing that’s been saving me is a glue gun and battery operated tiaras. Ack. And fuckety-fuck-fuck.

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One response to “Winter Blues

  1. I don’t know what to say except that the average man, no matter his age but especially around your age would be content to make do with attractive 23 year old women looking to use him to work through their parental fantasies.. And there are lots of women out there who get no interest from any men whatsoever. So from where many men are at, you are in much better shape. socially speaking. than most.

    Another thought that I suppose really is gloomy and one that I have been confronting of late is the whole issue of living in New York City. This has long since become the “premium city” that Mayor Bloomberg once described it. New York is for new immigrants stepping off the plane at JFK who have some close cousins to turn to for that all important first job and cheap apartment in Queens. It is for very successful bankers at Goldman Sachs and the paternally blessed who have wealthy parents and those with successful spouses.. At the level of the outer boroughs it is also suitable for the lucky ones who have tenured jobs with the city, either as teachers or firemen or cops. But otherwise, it isn’t suitable for the rest. Not for those not making big money. Not for those struggling to save for retirement and the days when we are simply too old to work or too old to get hired. Especially not when already one is having a hard time finding work. Those people need to rethink the logic of remaining in New York and explore the possibility of moving on to some other admittedly less desirable but much less expensive part of the country. If you are going to be essentially unemployed here, why stay? Better to be unemployed in some other part of the world where savings and (looking ahead) social security checks go farther. Or to move to someplace else that can readily make use of your skills. (I have my suggestions, if you want them.)

    So the key question is where else might one live? Newark? The 3rd World? It is a question that of millions of retiring Americans are going to have to face fairly soon.

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