•  Where ARE you? my ex-brother-in-law writes with politely disguised irritation. Are you depressed? And I email him back, Whenever you don’t hear from me, always assume I am depressed. Don’t even think about it. Just know I’m depressed.

•  But, later, I decided that it’s hardly ever true, my being depressed. Sometimes, yeah, but not all that often.

•  When I descend into my big black unreachable hole, it’s often because I’m working at something that has a deadline and a check a-coming once it’s complete.

•  But if I haven’t dropped my drawers for the money-honey, then I’m sitting in my office with one of my four billion Moleskine notebooks and I’m plotting and scheming and smoking a whole lot of cigarettes. Usually I’m plotting and scheming and smoking tons of cigarettes while trying to decide which mammoth problem I  should be plotting and scheming and smoking over.

•  Either I’m doing that or every tiny fucking thing in the house has become clogged, fried, crudded, stalled, and otherwise screeched to a halt and I am under one desk or other, bent up like a  sideshow freak, holding a paperclip and jury-rigging something electronic into a functional state or I am geeking out over some IT problem, hoping it’s one of the Big Ten I can actually fix.

•  I am watching Law and Order reruns. Hard-core shit. These are the Precambrian ones with a young steamy Chris Noth and a typically baggy Paul Sorvino. I’m eating carbs too. The big bad kind you can only microwave. Make your breath smell like Fritos.

•  I am watching House reruns too, trying to decide if House is really hot or if this is a script canard foisted on us. I opt for B. I just have this gut feeling that House is kinda smelly and then there’s his whole unshaven deal, which does not radiate sex to me. It signals (and quite reliably), I sleep in my clothes.

•  I am not washing my hair because it’s now 3 in the morning. I am kinda smelly my own self.

•  I am sitting in my doctor’s office with a load of abscessed teeth, getting a fistful of prescriptions so I can think clearly enough to fish out a trustworthy dentist amidst a sea of bilingual clinics and the pricier guys who’ll fit you for a Snap On Smile.

•  Now, having sussed out the dental landscape, I am sitting in a trustworthy dentist’s office, my mouth full of tiny tools, spit suckers, and a mirror but even so still able to  squeal like an animal led to slaughter. I’ve just been told it will take $40K to give me that big hungry Hollywood smile.

•  The dentist is a Watergate freak, which seems kind of retro. But he is thrilled out of his cabeza to discover that the break-in was planned in my step-mother’s office at Langley. He’s got a tee-tiny link to History, sitting in his high dollar office, complete with rotting teeth.

•  I am buying applesauce feeling a loony resentment that I have to buy fucking applesauce. Seems like something the government could provide pretty easily. Same goes for pantyhose, except they’d only be issued in Suntan, so scratch that one.

•  I am catching up on chicken-shit, filling out multiple forms for various low-rent health-care systems and plans, and overthinking the whole deal like I did applying for college. I barnacle the forms with thick layers of Post-it Notes tightly written in a dense crabbed hand, all asking confused questions, send them off in dented brown envelopes.

•  I am cleaning the cat boxes.

•  I am buying milk, cat food, Coke Zero and cigarettes because we are truly fucked if we run out of any of that shit.

•  Since I can’t cover up the circles under my eyes, I am dabbing them with brown eyeshadow mixed with a touch of purple. When you can’t be pretty, you go spooky.

•  I am talking to yet another one of the weird guys who wander up to me in grocery stores. “Lauren Hutton, Nico, and Monica Vitti,” I recite like a dork, actually answering this guy who has a high-volt intense and troubling gaze. The guy has just asked me who I’m told I look like and I, having dropped my usual don’t-fuck-with-me protective vibe like a moron, have answered. Answered incorrectly as it turns out. “Nope,” he says  in a crisp executive way, hefting a cabbage. “None a them. You look like Zsa Zsa Gabor. In her much younger days.” So he’s really all out nuts. Zsa Zsa Gabor is at least 90 and, so the tabloids and hag-mags trumpet, is about to have her leg amputated. Plus I look about as much like her as I look like a panda. These weird guys. They’re in your face in an instant, saying insane shit, and both of you wind up getting soaked to the skin while standing, as you are, next to the produce sprayers.

•  I am doing two loads of wash, running the dishwasher through two cycles, fixing five meals a day, calling the pharmacy, doling out meds, sweeping the floors, feeding the cats, misting the plants, and picking up butter and mascara at Walgreens, when I remember I’ve left up the outdoor Christmas decorations. “Not good,” says my guy when I tell him. “Looks mentally ill.” He’s right but so right I can’t help cracking up. “The truth is always funny,” he remarks later in the day. This is stone true, I discover.

•  I am playing with my newest cat, Baby, formerly Suzy-Q, a name tried and stoutly refused. My guy and I are not happy about this since it seems so low-rent. Like we never got around to naming her or something, but we are also old, wise, and treacherous enough to know that you never cross a cat.

•  I am staring at our truly modren house across the way, the in-process ruby being planted our goat’s ass of a neighborhood. It has stalled out in a puzzling fashion. Bob is strangely silent, rarely seen, while the guard dogs still howl from their mini-mountains of dirt and Lurch guards the copper wiring from his trailer, probably making hand loads to while away the hours. Whatever this will be, it will be gray, thanks to a bunch of tireless and reliable Mexican painters. Meanwhile the floorboards, spied through a picture window and stacked against a wall these many months, have turned into darkened corkscrews.

•  I discover I now have the ‘flu, plus my current load of abscessed teeth. Means I sleep a lot, take daunting loads of ammoxycillin, and really can’t comprehend much beyond my faded Precambrian Law and Order reruns. These I stare at with the wondering smile of the badly damaged.

•  My hub and I are caught up in the mad holiday whirl. We go out for dinner on Xmas, have a pal over for sandwiches couple days later. I put up yard decorations and forget I did.