An eventful drive to Starbucks.


Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. I’ll stay up reading obscure articles on my iPhone or making mental lists of my “to-dos” and “faults” or sometimes I’ll just sit and stare at the wall, thinking about all the other things I ought to be doing instead.

Inevitably, those drawn-out nights turn to day with an early morning Starbucks run. The location just down the street from me is – fun fact! – the only SB drive-thru in Boston, although I personally think that SB drive-thru is the biggest hoax ever foisted on humanity. So today, having slept not very much, it’s 5am, and I’m rolling down 1A South in unusually heavy traffic.  Road work or whatever – like, who closes down a whole LANE right before RUSH HOUR, #god# – and I glance in the rearview and there is this SUV just hurtling at me from behind.

“WOOAHHF” Not the most eloquent of epithets, but it was all I could manage as the wind was knocked out of me. A half-empty can of Diet Coke can went flying across the car. My Yaris stalled out.

The driver of the SUV approached me first, a mild-faced twentysomething with a slight Hispanic accent. “I have a big favor to ask you.” He leaned earnestly near my window.

He didn’t have a license, it turned out, his girlfriend was pregnant. I don’t know the penalty for driving without a license, but I’m sure it’s no joke, and (call me racist) I worried for him if he happened to be undocumented. On the other hand, it really seemed like he slammed into me, my insurance deductible is perilously high (as are the points on my license), and I honestly don’t have the financial freedom to give anyone the benefit of the doubt right now.

It made me think of the time before college graduation where an ex-con driving someone else’s Toyota SUV backed into my Hyundai Excel at a stop sign. The damage to my car seemed innocuous, but it turned out that he’d crushed the radiator into the engine, effectively totaling the vehicle.

That time, I did not involve the police at the scene of the accident. This time, thankfully, the choice was made for me. The collision happened right next to a cadre of state troopers, on detail monitoring the aforementioned roadwork. I handed over my license and registration, and a few moments later the other driver was taken out of his car. There was much waving of flashlights, and I could see his passenger frantically making cell phone calls. I checked the weather. It was snowing.

After some time, the police moved us down the street ~~INTO THE STARBUCKS LOT~~ to finish up paperwork. The mild-faced SUV driver, who was suddenly screwed on a level I don’t wish to imagine, stood outside his vehicle, facing the headlights. Our eyes met awkwardly, and I mouthed “I’m sorry” in that weird way I often do when I’m saying something I know won’t be heard. And he nodded, like, it’s ok.

It turned out that he didn’t get arrested, which I felt good about, but the car was towed and then his pregnant girlfriend showed up, all in a tizzy. We stumbled over one another with apologies before I slunk into Starbucks to get my long-awaited dark roast and morning bun. On a whim, I also bought two small cups of Pike Place, for the unlicensed dudes in the SUV. I figured it was a bad start to a really shitty morning for them, and free coffee sometimes can make things feel a little less bleak. At least, I hope.





Like most people with mood disorders, I’ve always loved reading books about other people with mood disorders. More than one of them have had a bipolar protagonist. And I’ve always thought, while reading: “Huh. That kind of reminds me of… me”. This is not to say that I’m inclined to wear a tutu to the grocery store or buy spur-of-the-moment tickets to Vegas on a newly opened credit card, but the way things tend to cycle inside my head has always made me wonder.

For example.

Syracuse, NY (home of my alma mater) is not known for its fine weather, but the perpetual slate-grey skies mirrored my dysthymic mindset to such an extent that I could only conclude that the pairing was meant to be. I went to class, kept my grades up, and partied like a rockstar, but, behind the scenes, my mind was an abyss. I sought help on more than one occasion, but no amount of talk therapy seemed to lighten my load. And, at the time, I was resistant to medication. The summer before my senior year things got so bad that I had to quit my waitressing job in Boston, bow out of my prizewinning internship at an ad agency, and move back to SU, head in hands. My boyfriend and I had just recently ended our year-plus relationship, and I was terrified of all that lay in store. That first semester was a nightmare. Horrible.

Then, suddenly, it wasn’t.

I remember the moment everything turned roses – it was the screening night for my film class – and finally, to quote the great Sylvia Plath,

“All the heat and fear had purged itself. I felt surprisingly at peace. The bell jar hung suspended a few feet above my head. I was open to the circulating air. ”

It was wondrous.

But, as we all know, the only constant in life is change. And it wasn’t long before my euphoria plunged back to black despair. The moment the switch flipped back is just as clear as the moment it flipped on, and I cried on Katsu’s shoulder, knowing that my reprieve had ended. Not knowing when, or if, it would ever begin again.

Those switches are less clear now, but I’m beginning to think that some have flipped. The first was euphoria – living alone, freewheeling out to my new boyfriend B!, even moving home bothered me less than anyone could have imagined.

The second, of course, is now. The realization that all those good times were on some spectrum of yet another mental malfunction – a symptom of this suspected disease. All the progress I thought I’d made? Nothing but hypomania triggered by my stint in the Bin.

And you know what? That really feels like shit. Seriously.

I am so grossed out right now.


So there’s this bush out front of my house, right, and it’s always covered in flies and spiderwebs. Like, I really think there’s something WRONG with it – maybe there’s a carcass rotting underneath the branches, or maybe there’s a nest of some kind of nastiness buried underneath its roots. There’s a lot of snails out there, I’ll tell you that much, and the webs are tacky little cyclones burying into the shrubbery. It’s absolutely. ABSOLUTELY. Disgusting.

Tonight, after a long evening of emails, editing, and monitoring my Twitter feeds, I stepped out for one last cigarette before calling it quits. I’m enjoying the sound of rain on pavement, the smell of the air, and then, just as I go to flick the burning stub out into the street, it slips from between my fingers and falls between the cement porch and the fly bush. And sure enough, as I stand there contemplating what to do next, I start to smell burning leaves.

Now, this bush is not small. At street level it would probably rise up to my shoulders, and its infested girth runs right up flush with the front stairway, which corners to the porch at a right angle. There is no way to get back there without wedging myself neck-deep into the bracken darkness. Which, you know, sounded as about as appealing as sliding headfirst into a pile of someone else’s vomit.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what I had to do. The wedging, not the puke-slide. I cleared away the cobwebs with my shoe, kicked the bush a few times to shake off any extra creatures, and just bloody dove right in there, bracing myself against the stairs with my arms and flailing my feet at the cigarette like a free diver breaking for the sun. It was probably the most horrifying sixty seconds of my LIFE people, and that’s kind of saying a lot.

I’m out of the bush now, and my apartment is not on fire. These are both good things. But I can’t shake this grimy slimy feeling all over my skin. I think it’s time for another smoke. Maybe a cocktail as well.

Happily Ever After


So we all fall in love. We fall in love with people, with animals, with objects, with dreams. We fall in love with ideas, our ideas about things.

Riddle me this: if I fell in love with a person I barely knew, what would I be loving? A romantic would call it “love at first sight”. A cynic would call it obsession. I’d call it bad goddamn luck, because it’s happened and it sucked and (in the end) it turned out that I was in love with the notion of a new life. A refraction of reality.

So if we take as fact the concept that we can fall in love with refractions, let’s examine the concept of love itself. When we love something, someONE, what are we loving? Of course, we’d like to think that we’re loving their “essence”, their “being”. But personality is mutable, minds can be lost, looks fade and ambitions die. So what is left for us to hold onto? What is left to cherish till death do us part? We fall in love with our idea of someone, we fall in love with a reflection of our own ambition, a different perspective of our own mind. And when that idea that we loved is no longer congruent with reality, staying together is something else entirely.

Just thoughts, thinking. You know.

FML. Really. No, REALLY really.


Imagine we’re on Facebook here.

Erinire A…

Just found out she has a health insurance deductible of $4,000. Good thing she’s not at all dependent on weekly therapy and expensive medication to keep her alive!

… Oh, wait.

Well, at least she’s incredibly wealthy, right?

… She’s not? Shit, OK, well…

At least she hasn’t racked up a lot of service charges, thinking she actually had REAL ACTUAL health insurance!

… oh, so you mean, she DID think she actually had real actual health insurance.

Alright… So then, um, at least she has that tax rebate coming back, huh?

Oh, she OWES.

Wait, what? FIVE GRAND? Get out of here, you can’t be serious.

You are serious. OK. Um…

So, then, like…

Yeah hey, know what, I have this, um, thing… around the corner, so… yeah. Gotta go. Sorry. Here’s my last Miller High Life.

… No, no really, take it. Least I can do, considering.

Oh, come on now, don’t start crying! Oh, man…


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