I have to admit that I’ve been in something of a gray funk lately, a mood which I always think can be fixed somehow if only I would Try Harder. You know, apply myself. Join my fellow citizens at the gym. Take up line dancing. Start meditating or eating right. Sign up for a marathon.

That actually may be the very worst part of gray funks, you know–the sinking feeling that if you only had a little bit more ooomph to you, you could manage to pull yourself out of it. So you go about lecturing yourself.

Take it from me: this does not help.

So instead, I have decided to stop trying to make things better and simply give in to complaining. Here’s a list of the things that are currently bugging me.

1/ It’s March. And it’s Connecticut.

Need I say more? As I overheard a guy say today, “March is the month that can break your heart.” I suppose it is possible that I have had my heart broken by March. The weather–at least here in New England–is abominable in March, and not merely because it’s cold and gray. We’re accustomed to cold and gray; hell, we’re four months into cold and gray at this point. For a true full-blown depression, you have to look at January. That’s when it’s not only colder and grayer, but you know you have months and months left of it. But now that it’s March, it knows and you know that things could be so much better. An example: last weekend the sun shone and the temperature struggled into the low 60’s, and people rejoiced in the streets. On Monday, it snowed.

I knew why. Just because it is March and it can.

2/ I have a low-grade cold.

Sore throat, loud coughing fits, sneezes, sinus headaches, sleeplessness. You name it. The house is filled up with crumpled up tissues.

3/ Also: to deal with the low-grade cold, I’ve had to take Nyquil at night before bed. Nyquil tastes sooo bad (and don’t try telling me to take the capsules because we all know the capsules are just a hoax, they have never helped anyone!). So to get myself through the bad-tasting Nyquil, I’ve had to eat a piece of chocolate cake each night after I take the medicine. Trust me: it is the only thing that can kill the taste. And how unfair is it that now I have gained approximately 35 pounds from eating a piece of chocolate cake for five nights in a row!

4/ Therefore, none of my jeans fit without hurting.

5/ We’ve had, in the last few weeks, the following domestic horribilities: a foot of snow, frozen pipes, a broken washer on the water pipes over the furnace which caused water to leak into the motor of the furnace, a blown-out tire, two cars with CHECK ENGINE LIGHTS that will not go off, illnesses, infections, clogged drains, a toilet that wouldn’t stop running water, and a flooded porch.

6/ There are about 6,000 little tiny things I have to do that involve calling up insurance companies, computer anti-virus services, human resource directors, cell phone people, bursars, credit card companies who have charged things automatically to our account, things that we do not want and did not authorize–or didn’t KNOW we were authorizing, and which now will take up four hours on the phone pushing buttons and listening to bad music.

7/ I thought I wanted my hair to grow long, but now I realize my hair is stringy and shapeless. This, even though I just went to have my hair cut two weeks ago. When I was there, I was apparently in a jaunty, I-can-have-long-hair mood and so I only let the hairdresser take 0.00006 of an inch off, but I now need to go back and pay $44 more to have a REAL haircut performed.

8/ I cannot figure out how to get songs I no longer like OFF my iPod and put songs that I really love ON the iPod. Because the iPod is filled up. With many unlistenable songs (what was I thinking??) This makes me feel stupid and inadequate. It’s my iPod. Why can’t I make it work?

9/ Okay, and while I’m grouchy about technology, let me then make this confession: I cannot for the life of me figure out how to watch a simple DVD in my own house if there is not another person present to operate the two remotes. These remotes make no sense to me whatsoever. Okay? I can’t even waste time watching movies!

10/ A new book is whispering to me, yet the part of my brain that feels so overloaded by having just finished the old book is saying, “WHAT?!?! Are you crazy? You can’t start a new book now! You haven’t even cleared the million little scraps of paper off your desk that have to do with the OLD book. You haven’t even returned the phone calls you didn’t return while you were working on the old book. And vacuuming: have you vacuumed since you finished your book? No, you haven’t. SO NO NEW BOOK UNTIL YOU HAVE FULLY CAUGHT UP FROM WRITING THE OLD BOOK!”


Update: I was just rummaging through the piles of paper on the desk, when I came across this quote from Lee Smith, a wonderful Southern writer whose books I adore. It was just written on a piece of paper, waiting for me to discover and re-remember it. It says:

“When stuff in life gets really rough, I would just die if I was not writing a novel. Once you think it up, it’s like a whole other city with a little door, and every time you sit down to write you just open the door and there you are–a wonderful vacation for two hours.” 

That’s what I have been missing: my wonderful two-hour vacations away from March and paperwork and my iPod and my yucky hair.