Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Salmonberry Mush Kind of Day (Wednesday, 26 May 2010)

Some days you wake up with an empty tank of gas.

I used to confuse days like this with depression, but they're nothing alike. On depression days, it's not just my energy level that shifts but my mood, and the mood is the crucial indicator. If I think I suck, my plans for the day suck, the world sucks, then I'm depressed. If I wake up out of gas, feeling like I just ran a marathon or stayed up twenty-four hours straight, then it's not depression; it's this other thing.

This other thing doesn't happen very often, which is partly why I don't understand it - insufficient data. Also, my cognitive skills are fine (if skewed) when I'm depressed, but when it's this other thing my brain only has brief periods of being fully awake. I had several of them today, but not enough to string together. So much for my plans to make a magic necklace of wakefulness.

Here's what I think causes this other thing: when I have been comparatively inactive for a year or more and I abruptly shift into a high-gear exercise program and drive my way back to fitness, which I've done several times in my life and am doing now, every so often I hit a day like this one.

My hypothesis about them is based on how much they remind me of my adolescent years, when from time to time usually right before or after a growth spurt I would be exhausted and sleep all the time. So my hypothesis is this - this is what happens when my body's rebuilding itself in response to the early stages of an intensive exercise program. My body has more reconstruction work to do, but instead I get up and try to have a day. My body disapproves and chatters to me all day long on my inhibitory nerves, but instead of having the good sense to go back to bed, I press on ineffectually. Eventually, I fall asleep again and my body goes back to finish its interrupted work.

In other words, although it's not pleasant and basically blocked my ability to work or do anything else constructive today, I think it's basically a good thing, a piece of the work I'm demanding my body do in my 2010 overhaul of myself. I'm not committed to this idea, but it's the best guess I have about what happened to my fabulous plans for Wednesday.

So what can you do with a day like this? This is what sick leave is for; I can't do any of my work tasks with my brain half asleep. Instead I slept in, ordered my brother Rob a Greyhound ticket to get to Seattle for Folklife Festival, read (a lot), went to counseling, ate three cups of lentil soup for lunch, walked around Green Lake with Linda in defiance of my grogginess and then promptly passed out asleep in retaliation when I got home, ate vegetable dishes from Genghis Khan restaurant for dinner (the mu shu vegetables in plum sauce are strangely delicious), watched the TV series Parenthood with Beverly, made plans to hang out with my nephews and nieces this weekend, and then discovered I didn't have enough gas in the tank to write about more interesting days like Monday or Tuesday, so I settled for writing about how groggy today has been.

Thrilling, right? No? I didn't think so, but from days like this you make what you can. They say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade, but days like this are far too blah to count as lemons. Lemons are exciting. This is more like life handed you salmonberries, whose flavor your great grandpa Fred aptly described as "insipid" (look it up), from which you get to make a bland, slightly bitter and seedy mush. Yay!

Incidentally, "Yay" is what little Navajo children say when they need to go to the bathroom, an appropriate response to salmonberry mush, which doubtless contains lots of fiber. Clearly, I need a new exclamation of joy. To avoid confusing anyone, I'll be sure to say "Yay" only when the bathroom calls. And perhaps when I'm about to eat a high-fiber meal. I'm sure that won't confuse anyone.

Good night, dear nice!

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