Exhausted. Bone weary, brain numbed, body limp.
Thank God for an autonomic nervous system, because quite frankly, I can hardly be bothered to breathe.
A dead lump of poured out flesh.
What am I tired from you ask? Tired from painting the hallway? (25 feet x 2 sides; baseboards, moldings, four doors – 1 entrance, 1 bedroom, 2 closet – 1 coat of primer, 3 of colour, 2 of enamel for trim and doors…)
Enervated by the oppressive heat wave? (Days of high 30’s/early 40’s temperatures, murderous humidity and a clapped-out bedroom air conditioner…)
Worn out from the job search? (Applications, updating resumes, reaching out, making contacts, being ignored…)
Debilitated by the news that the potential lawsuit until recently advanced by the freelance writers who contributed to that ignominious organ formerly known as Toronto Living Luxury Lifestyle Magazine (and dear God, what a stupid name!) will now be remembered exclusively for its potential, as legal redress has now been placed firmly in the negative column by the legal bod we engaged to do the math?
(Frightening fact: all the publisher had to do was change their name and sell the old corporate identity to a bankrupt for a dollar. It’s not that the connection would be difficult to make – after all, they’re still pumping out the similarly stupidly named Calgary Living Luxury Lifestyle Magazine – just that it would cost money, more money than we’re collectively suing for. And this is exactly what the creeps in Calgary counted on. And it worked.)
All of the above might be grounds for a touch of fatigue… a hint of weariness… a smidge of lassitude… but the bedrock bottom reason for my prostration is what I’m not doing.
I’m not making that call. I’m not saying what I’m practically dying to say. I’m not picking up the phone.
Like a dieter who still must eat to survive, I have to use the phone on a daily basis. But the number I want to call – like the cream bun the dieter imagines over and over sinking their teeth into (thick cream, pastry the sole sweet resistance) – is the number that I simply cannot dial.
I feel like a collapsed soufflé, or a slowly deflating balloon. The energy that exists not to perform this call dissipates like a slow leak.
I’m a flat tire.
(And I imagine if only I could reharness this energy I could finally have that flat stomach I’ve been hankering for.)
I think the physical feel of resisting the pull to action must be somewhat like using isometrics to tone the abs: a dull ache accompanied by muscle-twanging tension that makes you sweat and shake with the effort. Fighting yourself for fitness.
Not calling for sanity.
Sorry seems to be the hardest word? How about not calling being the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
I know there are those of you who understand; those who understand that the difference between calling and not calling is simply years of the experience of making the call. The action you can’t take back, the words you cannot erase, the advantage of simply not trying to affect an outcome gone forever and ever. Amen.
If this were an Olympic event, I believe I’ve put in the time and training, mental conditioning and focus to get into the medals. If this were a ditch I was digging, I’d now be eating Peking Duck in Beijing. If world peace could be achieved by the act of not acting, the world would be in permanent ceasefire. If not calling were to be recognized for the back-breaking effort and creative concentration required to keep not doing it, Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, Medals of Honour and keys to cities would be dispatched in my direction posthaste.
Everything is considered as a potential distracter and time waster: jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, solitaire, British newspapers (there’s simply nothing like reading about the humiliations and sexual escapades of either the Royal Family or Reverends, or TV stars you’ve never heard of – but wow, do most of the women ever have big tits! – or ever will again; it’s Zen-like in its faraway fantasy appeal) floor scrubbing, wall washing, under the cushions change collecting, alphabetizing cookbooks, re-reading saved newspapers and magazines from the time surrounding the event of September 28th 2000, emptying the freezer of everything older than September 28th 2000. Sadly, I cannot seem to pay bills or clean the oven. (It must be admitted that there are some things that simply don’t help.)
And so it goes.
I never think of what I would say if my call called me. Here I’d be in my enfeebled state, perhaps lying stretched across the bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to gather the calories necessary to remove the spider webs festooned across the far corner. Trying and failing – frozen in a state of near total catalepsy.
What would I say? Something like, maybe,
Caller: How are you?