August 9, 2006

I Reached Out and Touched The Soul of Douglas Adams

I had a moment of understanding tonight, lying in bed with the CPAP strapped to my bean. The sadly-not-immortal Douglas Adams wrote a book titled The Long Dark Tea-Time Of the Soul, about which title he did in fact offer a bit of an explanation. It never made much visceral sense to me before.

Bear with me, this is from scattered memory and I don't have a copy of his words handy. I am sure I could find them if I asked the miracle of the internet, but this being a daylog, this isn't really about precisely what he said - it's about my understanding of what I thought he said. The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, Adams said, is in many ways exactly like a Sunday afternoon when the weather is somewhat gloomy - not bad enough to be noteworthy, just not good - when one has nothing interesting to read, it's past lunch but not yet time for dinner, there's no good reason to change out of one's pajamas and one has already taken all the baths one can profitably take.

I have been intimately familiar with this form of malaise on a grand scale for quite some time. With the assistance of pharmacology and friends, sometimes more the former and sometimes more the latter, I endeavour to keep on keeping on. It's not always successful, and I think at the moment this is one of those times.

In any case, lying in bed a few minutes ago and realizing that I was (again) exhausted but not tired and hence not going to get to sleep past the artificial overpressure in my airway and generally viola-tuned muscles, I felt something strange happen.

I don't have a very full schedule these days - work, mostly, and that mostly placeholder stuff - but I try doggedly to keep at least three or four personal things in my organizer over any given two week period just so I'll have some form of event to break up the time and anticipate. Movie releases, visits with friends, dinner with relatives, pick up the TR from the upholstery shop where she's getting a new top, etc. If it's something that I can tell myself is fun, extra credit.

Lying in bed, I was thinking about the several things I have coming up over the next few weeks, which include a trip to Vegas for a wedding (i.e. sheer stupid silliness) - and I wached all the psychic buoyancy of those little mental flotation assists evaporate.

That's new. I have often had periods where I've thought about my schedule and realized somewhat dully that there's nothing in my life that I look forward to - and that's how I can usually diagnose myself as 'being in a depressive period.' To the best of my knowledge, though, I don't think I've ever caught myself observing an actual inversion - actually thinking about upcoming things and having their status go in my head from 'anticipated' in a smooth sine curve over to 'who the hell cares.'

As I lay there, I had a sudden and immensely strong image of a Sunday afternoon with clouds and a teacup holding only cooling dregs. The newspaper contained nothing but bad or boring stuff, and I'd finished it (even the crossword) and had bathed for so long that my bathrobe felt like sandpaper. I walked back into my bedroom to lay down for a nap, and the act of assuming a supine position woke aches in my muscles which felt that they hadn't had any exercise since their last recline - and I was in no way tired.

The long, dark, tea-time of the soul.

I'm not going to be able to see the psychopharm for five weeks, and the last three times we tried adjusting the dosages it only made things worse.

Damn it.

Posted by jbz at August 9, 2006 3:48 AM | TrackBack

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