A Journal of the Plague Year 2022–chapter 273

An 1893 version of “The Scream” by Edvard Munch.

September 3

Here’s how my thoughts have often been going lately:

I think of something that needs doing. I feel that I must go do that thing immediately, but I don’t want to. If it’s food preparation, that means I will have to wash the dishes afterwards—and I really, really don’t want to have to do that. Or maybe it’s something related to the house or the yard. Oh, but that’s so much trouble, maybe even physically taxing. I better just lie down and take a nap.

Yesterday I forced myself to move various clutter—a small spade, a large bag of potting soil, some plant food, and such like—into a living room cabinet or down to the basement. I vacuumed and dusted a bit here and there. All the while I felt headachy and slightly dizzy. Then, afterwards, I lay down for a bit.

Is this depression? There’s also anxiety—if I don’t do such and such a thing, there will be HIGHLY negative consequences.

I DO take lots of naps. Having just written a blog post about my father’s nap-taking, I wonder: perhaps HE was depressed. Or was he just following the habits of the older, more rural society in which he grew up? He was, after all, born in 1908…

The Anglo-Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen, whose novel A World of Love I have just completed, was born in 1899. I turn to the past to get away from the present, so unpleasant largely thanks to Trump and his deluded, fascist followers. I have come to loathe, despise, and fear a lot of the American citizenry. But the past contained the seeds of all that is wrong today. We simply may not have seen those seeds.

One of Trump’s gifts to us: a tendency to exaggerate or inflate things. For him, his “accomplishments” were always “huge” and fantastic. His followers were “very special.” And those who criticized or opposed him were ugly, horrible, evil, etc.

So now everything around us seems so intense, so severe, so huge. Trump, clearly mentally ill, has left many of the rest of us emotionally rattled.

I made a very simple dinner yesterday—pasta e ceci, consisting of ditalini, tomatoes, chickpeas, and chard. It was very simple and took at most an hour to make. But beforehand I worried about how difficult, time-consuming, and stressful this bit of cooking was going to be. 

Will these frequent, pandemic-related episodes of anxiety pass? Who can say?

Dinner: a cheese omelette, baked potato, and green salad.

Entertainment: Masaki Kobayashi’s Kwaidan–a quartet of ghost stories.