November 1, 2001
Even SecraTerri Gets The Blues

I'm trapped on the uppermost floor of a burning building.

While the office fills with smoke, people are running and screaming and battling for space on the single working elevator ... but somehow I am managing to remain perfectly calm.

"Let's just crawl out the window," I suggest to Cass and Michelle. I point to a window-washer's platform, hanging conveniently outside of our forty-bazillionth-floor window. "We can sit out there where it's safe and wait for the rescue squad to reach us."

We have a little trouble hoisting Cass out the window -- Denny and I both have to push her from behind -- but eventually we all make it onto the platform. As we sit there with our legs dangling over the edge of the platform, waiting to be rescued, I tell John that I've always preferred "Twelve Thirty" over "California Dreaming." ("California Dreaming is overplayed on good-time oldies stations," I say. "It's like the rest of your catalog simply doesn't exist." John says that he agrees, and that he's glad to have a fan who pays so much attention to such things.)

Suddenly Michelle starts screaming. "Look!" she shrieks. "The fire is following us out the window!" And she points to the edge of the platform, where flames have begun licking at the ropes that hold us suspended above the ground.

"Yeah," John says, shaking his head safely. "Nowhere is safe anymore, man."

End of dream.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

I don't like to write *FootNotes* entries when I'm depressed.

I don't like to write them when I'm exhausted, either ... or when I'm painfully premenstrual, or when I'm trying to stay focused on learning something new (but my brain feels like day-old Quaker Oats), or when I don't have enough time to be clever and insightful, or when I'm hungry, or when I'm headachey, or when I'm having computer problems, or when I'm missing my kids, or when I'm simply feeling a little SADD and overwhelmed and bogged-down by life itself.

Which has made writing the past few days a real problem, since that's pretty much my life in a nutshell at the moment.

In the past, I've learned that sometimes the best thing for me to do -- whenever I find myself mired in the sort of malignant black depression that has plagued me all week -- is to just lay low for a while. Don't say much. Don't think much. Don't write much. Let basic motor function take over, as much as possible: get up/go to work/come home/go to sleep. And since I can't just curl up into a nice safe little fetal knot and hide under the comforter all day, then I need to pick one area of my life and stay focused on that, as much as possible, until the internal storm has blown over and my normal, nauseatingly optimistic spirits return. (And they will return. They don't call me the Oprah of Internet Journaling for nothing.)

So this week: I've picked the new job to focus on.

I've thrown all of my (extremely limited/extremely fragile) time, energy and thought *molecules* into learning the ropes at the new office. Not that "the ropes" are all that complicated, mind you. Mostly I'm standing in front of a Xerox machine all day, churning out endless bazillion-page reports about dirt. (Or else standing in front of a cabinet all day, filing endless bazillion-section files about dirt. Or standing in front of the UPS guy, signing for endless bazillion-pound boxes full of dirt.)  But there is also all of the other, new-workplace-related stuff to learn, of course: dress codes, office politics, where they keep the Pilot Pens and the Gummy Bears, how to operate the postage meter/the coffeemaker/the scary electronic hole-puncher ... how early is 'too early' to take a coffee break ... who among my co-workers is worth cultivating as a *resource* of information and support, and who is simply an officious prick, best ignored.

THAT sort of stuff.

It's kept me busy and distracted. It's given me a reason to get up and get dressed in the morning. It's made it easier for me to fall asleep at night. (Exhaustion is a good thing, occasionally.)  And it's prevented me from dwelling too much on stuff I have absolutely no control over ... like time changes. And PMS. And rain. And long dark commutes. And my poor, forlorn, abandoned Internet journal.

And like the fact that no place feels "safe" anymore.

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