In Which Our Heroine Doesn't Quite Make Rant Mode

6 November 2003

NyQuil is evil, evil stuff. I didn't cough all night. Did I need to cough? Yes, apparently I did. NyQuil is still making it difficult for me to cough. Also the roof of my mouth is numb. Also, I slept nine hours and feel like I slept about three. Is this last the fault of the NyQuil? Hard to tell. Maybe impossible to tell, but I'm not really having a Pinsky moment this morning. Ahh, here comes the cough back. An odd relief. And maybe I'll have a Pinsky interlude after all, and offer you the same.

I wanted to do a rant today, with similar content to what I said here. The anger has gone out of me for the moment. (Maybe it's the NyQuil.) I'm just disappointed now. In case you don't follow the link, what I have there, in addition to my pointed suggestions, is a recipe for failure. Step One: find some large problem with the world, one that really distresses you personally. Find two or three or however many you like. Step Two: decide that any action you take must fix the entire problem or set of problems all at once, or it is worthless. Step Three: sit on your ass, because you can't fix everything, so anything you could possibly do is not enough. Step Four: notice that your chosen problem has not magically improved. Become more convinced of the depressing futility of life.

Shampoo, rinse, repeat....

At my parents' church when I was little, the senior pastor didn't handle complaints well -- or else he handled them perfectly, depending on how you want to look at it. If you came in all ranting and raving about the choice of music in the church service, or books in the church library, or whatever else had you all worked up, he would listen and nod and then say, "I'm sure that the _____ committee will really appreciate your help working on that." Or if there wasn't a committee already, he'd wait until you ran down and then say, "And what are you going to do about that?" He was very good at finding people to help you -- other knitters if you decided to make mittens for poor kids in the winter, other drivers if you wanted to drive the unemployed to their job interviews. People who knew where the cold-fingered children and the unemployed were. People who would help you find money to buy yarn, or wood for cradles, or vaccinations. But Schaff was never the kind of guy to sit around mumbling, "Oh, gee, that's awful" if there was anything at all he could do about the problem. And he never had much patience for those who did.

I can't entirely blame Schaff for my attitude, but I also can't help but think he has something to do with it. And I'm not saying that talking about things you see as political/social problems is a bad idea. I just think they demand of you more than that. And of course, there's a difference -- I should think this would be obvious -- between "I feel strongly about X cause; too bad I'm already busy with activities Y, Z, and Q about which I feel still more strongly" and "I feel strongly about X cause; too bad the world is filled with futility and despair, particularly mine; I think I shall play Nethack now."

If you truly believe that nothing you could possibly do would improve any of the problems you see with the world, I see three possibilities: 1) you are underestimating your own abilities; 2) you are not thinking carefully enough about the problems; 3) you are clinically depressed. If it's option #3, it's a medical problem; please get help as soon as you're able, just as you would for a bum knee or a kidney problem. (Please get help for knees or kidneys or whatever, too.) Otherwise, hey, if you have a cause and can't think of what you could or should do to further it, you can always ask me. Really. I'm full of ideas.

Of course that's what people mean when they say I'm full of it. "It" is ideas. Naturally.

So. Yesterday I read Carney's House Party and Emily of Deep Valley, finishing off the Maud Hart Lovelace segment of my "work reading" pile. (I'll probably go back for the last three Betsy books, but possibly not while I'm doing these articles.) I also read Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague and have started Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Famous Stanley Kidnapping Case. Finished a letter to Liz, wrote some articles, and was "encouraged" to lie down and rest for much of the afternoon. (C.J. made the daddy face at me again.) Also watched the pilot of DS9, since Timprov wants me to see that it can be good.

It looks like Mer and E. Bear are also seeing a dearth of response letters. This may mean that the post office is not hoarding mine for their own nefarious purposes, but rather that the editors are hoarding them for their own nefarious purposes. I had the nefarious purposes right, anyway. I almost always do. I am not one to miss out on nefarious purposes.

Last night, I was halfway minded to spend today running errands if I could. If I get un-dizzy, maybe I still will. I can't tell whether I'm dizzy from being sick or dizzy from the NyQuil, at this point. With all the sidetracks in writing a journal entry, it's now eleven and a half hours since I took the NyQuil. And a trip down the stairs and back up again is still making me go, "Wheeeeeeee...." So driving seems like a bad option. Not such a fabulous idea.

I have just been mugged by a story that is provisionally calling itself "Uncle Flower's Homecoming Waltz." I think this is a silly title, and I'm not sure where it's going. I'm just...following it. It's funny: yesterday C.J. was talking to me about not thinking so much when I'm supposed to be resting, when I'm sick, about having the thoughts but not following them. And sometimes I feel that my job here is the opposite of that, is following the strayish thoughts that seem silly and ridiculous and readily dismissed. The obvious ones -- "I should sort the laundry" are the ones I should at times not follow. If I lose the laundry sorting, it'll come again. But Uncle Flower and Aunt Albert and Zal who is twelve years old and only dreams in centuries, they might not come back again.

Her name is Zal, and she only dreams in centuries. Huh. Who knew? This is what happens when you follow things around: they feed you little bits of gossip about themselves.

The question remains what to do with it. If anything. We'll just see where it goes right this very minute. After that, reading, lunch, I hope less dizziness, coughing (I hope less of that, too), and whatever else I can manage.

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