By all objective standards, it’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Not by mine.
The sky is hazy, perhaps with smoke blowing up from the Soberanes fire near Big Sur. But the temperature is moderate — 72 degrees with clear skies. It’s supposed to warm up to 75 tomorrow before dropping down to 73 for the rest of the week. Weather here is not exciting.
It’s summer. I could be writing about Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, where the family went on vacation. (Geysers! Bison! Big Mountains! Temple Square in Salt Lake City where you could watch tourists wandering around playing Pokemon Go!) I could write about my last job. (It’s also my future job, for that matter.) I am burned out writing about politics — I’m burned out by politics generally. I don’t want to read my news feed or by Facebook feed but I do anyway.
The need for the media to treat the candidates the same is bizarre. I want to write about the Clinton foundation, about some of the more ridiculous things I have read about it, and how it actually does good in the world. Donald Trump’s foundation does good too, but the Clintons give far more of their income (close to ten per cent) than Trump does — looking over his foundation’s tax form, the largest the foundation has been in the past ten years is five million dollars. Not much for a man who claims to be worth billions.
I’m not even writing about the Olympics, about the amazing Simone Biles, and the bizarrely unfair criticisms leveled at Gabby Douglas, or how saddened I am by the swimmers who vandalized a Rio gas station, then lied about it. Most of my friends are outraged, and talk about male privilege and white privilege (and, more rarely, American privilege). I understand all those, and agree with them, but try as I might I am more saddened by the whole sordid affair than infuriated.
It’s just…. summer.
I am glad that it is now recognized that summer can cause depression as much as winter can. Years ago, that wasn’t the case: I had medical professionals tell me that summer SAD didn’t exist. Where some of my friends use light boxes, I stay up late and sleep late to make the days shorter.
In one study, researchers pushed mice out into water to see how long they tried to swim as opposed to just giving up and floating in despair. Aside from the fact that that seems like a crappy thing to do to those poor mice, giving up and just floating seems like an apt analogue to struggling with depression. I can get done what other people ask of me, but things for me, such as writing, don’t happen. I can’t even get up the emotional energy to set up Pokemon Go. (Although that might be passive-aggressive rebellion: everyone else in my family is obsessed, and although I have a pretty good knowledge of first generation Pokemon, I have refused to jump in. I am determined, however, that if I do, I am going to sign up for the red team. Everybody else in the household is blue. I never saw Avatar, either.)
Soon it will be September, which will bring work (always useful) and shorter days. (It won’t bring cooler temperatures: the hottest time around here is September and early October.) And a few months will bring the comforting dark blanket of November nights.
So things will get better. As will I.