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2002-08-08 | 11:40 a.m.

Bit of a wreck lately. Emotions all over the place, playing hide and seek. All of a sudden, a big surge of anger or sadness will leap out at me from behind the couch, and I snap at the kids or burst into tears. Period not due for another couple of weeks.

Tired of playing pharmacist.

Yes, but are you getting things done?

I am more productive than usual, it's true. I have misplaced my personality, I am afraid to talk to anyone on the phone, but I will be able to strip and wax (by hand) the hardwood floors.

Does the house sparkle? No, but I do more, and I am more aware of what needs to be done. The dishes don't pile up. Just doing the dishes takes up small lifetimes. The mayfly only lives for a day, did you know that? They can't eat-- the adults I mean. Their mouths are purely decorative.

Late at night, down in the laundry room, I catch myself thinking about the day when I won't have to keep this up anymore. When I'll be by myself, for better or worse, not trying to keep up appearances. Just doing things the way I do them, in my undisciplined way, and liking it.

The therapist says this idea is unrealistic. But I am unrealistic. He says I have to find the middle ground. I think I am already on the middle ground. But I am drawn to the extreme. It is really the only thing I look forward to.

It used to be a joke with me, a lament. "I'm going to end up in Slab City!" I'd cry. "That'll be me you see, standing in line at the payphone to talk to my grandchildren!" But now I see that there is a kind of happiness for me in this idea of a life lived on the fringes. I know it doesn't sound appealing to most people, but this expectation that I must keep up with the Joneses until the day I die is just...more than disheartening. It's exhausting, it's death by drudgery. I want to be the weird old lady with the home haircut who lives not in Slab City but by the beach, in a rickety old trailer with colored lights outside on the awning. I want to keep all my art supplies stored in the bench seats around my kitchen table, and I will sit there and look out the louvered-glass windows at people walking down to the beach, people stepping gingerly over the crushed white shells in the road. I want a big rope hammock and a picnic table and a sewer hookup that doesn't leak. I'll have to be vigilant about editing my things, of course. But that's okay. I've already started. That's my number one goal right now.

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