Today I’m wallowing in the general mood of the day and the weather. The early (or so it seems) onset of winter is severely affecting my mood. The weather in Vancouver is that of a Melbourne winter. Shitty. But it’s only November and the short days are only getting shorter and the dark days are only getting darker. By 5pm I’m ready to jump into bed, mentally and physically. I’m trying not to freak out so early on, but I began panicking in the middle of summer about how badly I was going to tolerate this winter. There are likely a million things you could say to make me feel better about this time of year, but my mood is such that I need to wallow, I want to wallow. My mood desires to match the weather, to wait out the storm until the sunshine’s back on the horizon.
It’s 7:30pm and I have a group of improvisers in my house playing improv games in the lounge room. I’m highly distracted by random voices and words and scenarios being called out and am too frightened to leave my room until this troop of my housemate’s theatre scene has left. I spend a lot of time cooped up in my bedroom when I’m at home, reading or writing or doing stuff on the Internet. I can lose hours at my laptop, days and weeks just sitting here tapping away. If I’m not working or exercising or socialising, I’m sitting at my desk or in my bed, where I eat and watch shows on Netflix and fall asleep inside my little dungeon that looks like I just moved in with bare walls, overflowing suitcases and a few empty boxes.
A shelf in the bookcase in our living room was recently vacated by our previous housemate and assigned to me. At first I didn’t know what to put there. I haven’t bought anything since I arrived with one suitcase in April except for a comfortable desk chair. I took a few books and propped them onto the lonesome shelf, looking pitiful and out of place. A day later I brought them back to my room, feeling as though my roots had spread too far, as though I was getting too comfortable committing to be here long term. I took the books back to the shelf and added a few more the next day, until the shelf looked half used and respectable. Then the day after I hauled them back to my room again, back to the security of my den and the comfortable host of my existence.
I’m not planning to move anytime soon, but the nomadic part of me won’t allow myself to get too comfortable. I’m already thinking about buying a van so I can be independent and mobile and start a fresh new life again next year. I know it’s not just me, because I had this conversation recently with a close friend who also craves that biyearly reinvention of ones self. The same feeling you get when you read the first page of a new book with endless possibilities, before you get too far in and decide the plot is boring or you’re tired of the characters already. It’s not a quality I’m proud of. Like the endless list of unfinished books I have to my name. There’s a lack of commitment embedded in there somewhere, but there’s also the drive for new experiences, the unknown, the unimaginable. That’s what we nomads crave. And be it an unhealthy addiction, we’re either born with it or picked it up somewhere along the way.
Don’t judge me entirely on what I write this evening, it’s mainly the mood talking, and the endless deluge of water outside my window isn’t helping. On most other days the rain would sound rhythmic, meditative, calming. But right now each droplet is like a dull headache that won’t go away. The kind you slowly forget about until you move your head a fraction and realise it’s still there.
I’ve been reading some pretty depressing novels and watching probably the worst TV series for the human soul in my sombre state. I’m halfway through Viktor E. Frankl’s ‘Man’s search for meaning’ and also started reading Paula Hawkins ‘The girl on the train’. The latter is driving me into a dark tunnel, but I can’t help but discover what’s inside. I’m also watching ‘House of Cards’ on Netflix after my obsession with Kiefer Sutherland and the latest series of 24 recently ended. Kevin Spacey was the next best thing, but it’s darker than dark, dragging me down into its own sea of turmoil and deceit.
It’s 8:30pm now and I’m at a standstill. No desire to read, write emails or watch Netflix. In moments like these walking is the answer, but I feel like a caged rat in a dark cocoon with the rain outside, unable to escape the suffocation of my own bedroom. I actually did pilates in the lounge room this afternoon, before my housemates and the troop of amateur actors invaded my household. But that was short lived; as soon as the doorbell rang I slunk back into my bat cave and bolted the door shut.
Perhaps I just needed some keyboard therapy, because I’m actually feeling a lot better right now. In fact now that it’s out of my system, I’m feeling about ready to get back into my depressing novels again, and perhaps I will watch another episode of Netflix after all.