Monday, October 31, 2011

these days

It's true that I have been persistently depressed and anxious of late.  It's partly due to the realities of life in the 1%, and probably partly due to inadequate medication.  My long-time primary care doctor is not in my new insurance plan, so I have to pick a new doctor, see him or her ($30 copay) and get a referral to a psychiatrist ($50 copay).  I couldn't figure out how to make that work financially except to wait until mid-December to see the psychiatrist (and had no idea how I'd get any psychiatric meds until then), but I actually got offered a babysitting gig:  five hours at $20 per hour.  Yes, thank you.  It's probably 40 years since I've babysat, but that's actually a higher hourly rate than I make at work.  Yes, thank you very much.  The mom is someone I know casually, but well enough that she knows things are tight for me, and it was a real kindness and offered in a very sensitive way.

Work does keep me busy and that keeps away the worst of the moods for the most part, although I have some days where I feel very sad and cry easily.  But the weekends are terrible.  Way too much unstructured time on my hands.  I rarely make jewelry because I'm so conscious of how expensive the materials are, and how impossible it would be to replace anything I use up.  (Truthfully, I have an insanely huge amount of beads, but the silver findings -- clasps, wire, earring hooks -- do get used up and silver is now wildly expensive.)

So mostly what I end up doing on the weekends is distracting myself.  Occasionally I just do something useless like sleep all day, but mostly it's Media Time.  Barry and I do love our TV and music and movies, but he gravitates to the TV set and I gravitate toward the computer.  The TV set is old and not HD and our DVD player died; even with all the on-demand stuff we get with FIOS, there's way more content and variety online.  Barry doesn't really like watching much online except for relatively short videos, but I love it:  HD screen, headphones with nice sound.  And I like to let him have the TV on weekends because he lets me hog it during the week because I work and he doesn't.  We like a lot of the same things but we do have different preferences.  So on the weekends I'll leave him to martial arts and vampires and the things he likes best.  And I can jump around, stop and start, and be as obsessed as I like.

I watched, I think, five Bollywood movies this past weekend.  And another great thing about the computer is that I can pause a movie and look something up:  how are Sikhs different from Hindus?  do the actors do their own singing?  are all Indian movies like this?

I was not only thoroughly distracted, but very entertained and very educated.  Bollywood movies totally rule.

I watched:  Ra.One.  This movie just opened, around $34 million internationally on its first weekend.  Kind of an Indian Tron.  I watched:  Swades.  Incredibly beautiful.  I watched:  Veer-Zaara.  Also very beautiful; this was the one where Sikhs and Muslims, Indians and Pakistanis were all involved.  I watched:  Deewar.  Wow.  That one was from the 70s, with a very young, brooding Amitabh Bachchan.  Old-school plot about two brothers, one a gangster, one a cop.  Shashi Kapoor was the "good" brother, and incredibly wussy next to Amitabh.  Kind of like Leslie Howard next to Clark Gable: no contest.  Love the bad boys.

These are some long movies, too, generally around three hours, and I started to realize that it wasn't just comedy and drama and music, but also family issues, justice, prejudice, women's rights, government corruption, class, caste...these movies are just plain loaded.  And then everyone sings and dances.  This is definitely my new favorite thing.  I'm also thinking I like Amitabh Bachchan better than I like Shah Rukh Khan, although SRK is certainly handsome and talented.  But Amitabh is like Cary Grant, Clint Eastwood, Fred Astaire, George Clooney...great at drama, great at comedy, great at dancing, handsome young and handsome old.  Visual aids:

I rest my case.  There are a lot of Bollywood actors and actresses I haven't seen yet, and I have yet to say anything about the female stars, but I do love those men.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

here's something that made me feel not sad tonight

I like this number for a lot of different reasons.  I'm on my second viewing of this movie, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, but I've watched this number a gazillion times.  I don't know much of anything about Bollywood, but I suspect this movie is kind of the golden mean of Bollywood movies.  It's really long, has romance and goofy comedy, and awesome musical numbers like this.  There are also some things that make me cringe a little, some supposedly-funny-but-really-dreadful parenting bits, some non-PC stuff.  Lots of NYC locations (!) and every American person acts weird and wacky. 

I've decided that Shah Rukh Khan, who is seen in this video brooding off to the side, is kind of the Bollywood Tom Cruise.  He's kind of cocky and pseudo-tough, and he's highly cute.  Tom Cruise never got to me, but SRK did.  But watching this now, I see that it's Amitabh Bachchan, the older dude in this video, who is the real deal.  He was 64 when this was made (2006).  It seems as if he was at one time the top guy in Bollywood, period, although he had some setbacks during his career.  He is seriously hot in this number.  And what I didn't know the first time I saw this is that the young guy in this number, who plays the son of Amitabh's character, is actually Amitabh's son, Abhishek.  How cool is that?

The colors in these dance scenes hurt my eyes in a good way.  The party at which this number takes place allegedly has a "60s" theme, but those clothes sure doesn't look like the sixties.  It doesn't look like 2006, either.  I don't know what it looks like.  It looks like a parallel universe.  And the dancing certainly comes from a parallel universe, one where things crash together in a bizarre and attractive way.  I would love to be able to dance like that! 

I keep having this vague ugly-American thought that this stuff is so weird and yet so unselfconscious -- but of course they wouldn't feel self-conscious.  It's not weird to them, it's their culture.  But it's really very foreign to me, and very charming and beautiful and cool, just endlessly rocking in a timeless way.

I know that I do strike people as sad and troubled and anxious of late; I walk around anxious about money every hour of every day, and every small increase in expenses makes me feel gut-punched.  And I haven't been posting here too often, and I suspect I've done more posting when I've felt really down than when I've felt really up.  There are a lot of good things in my life, for sure.  It's just that the roller coaster is killing me.  And I'm uncomfortable about people seeing me in pain, and some days it really is pain.  It's just grinding.  I recently had an e-mail from my sister-in-law, and she's having much the same experience.  Neither of them is working, they have a son, and my brother is having some pretty wrenching emotional problems.  There is a lot of not-happy going around, and I guess I'm carrying an additional load of disappointment.  This is not how I thought my life would go, and I'm not too optimistic about things getting better in a big way in the foreseeable future.  I feel like I've been clobbered by my lifetime of underachievement, that I'm paying now for being unfocused and undisciplined and unprofessional.  It took me way too long to become a good worker and to be satisfied by working well; I have that satisfaction now, but missed out on a lot of the benefits by not getting here sooner.  I should have been building a career instead of rebooting into a new line of work every couple of years.

Monday, October 10, 2011

better? worse?

The weekends mostly depress me since I often don't know what to do with myself.  Last weekend, I took four days off -- took two for Rosh Hashonah because I felt I needed the break -- and we went to the Atlantic Antic on Sunday.  That's a huge long street fair down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, which is held on the first Sunday in October.  I try to set aside a little money because there are generally a lot of nice handmade crafts.  I got a beautiful bronze hairclip shaped like a sand dollar ($5) and a tie-dyed swing top ($20).  Barry decided to come with me this year, but he does what I try not not to:  buy food.  To me, an $8 gyro is outrageous, plus, I'm not a fan of eating while on my feet.  Thought I confess (please don't kill me, oh sugar- starch and gluten-free friends) that we split half a dozen deep-fried Oreos, as neither of us had ever had one.  Worth the splurge.

This past weekend was dreadful because it was The Weekend Before Pay -- that is, broke, broke, broke.  This is the kind of weekend where I am trying frantically not to think, because it will plunge me into even deeper depression.  I slept a lot, watched TV, watched things on the computer. 

A week or so ago, I was really feeling the absence of scent (cologne, perfume).  My big bottle of Bellodgia has a clogged sprayer and although it's about 2/3 full, I can't get any out.  This happened about two months after I got it; at some point, just from pumping and pumping, I got it to work for a few days, then it quit again.  There's no way to open it.  I even wrote to Caron, and never heard from them.  I had bought some Gucci rush about a year ago, but the sprayer dropped off, so it will only stream; plus, it's not holding well on me at all.  My Sublime and Escape were down to dregs.  It's the season where I like to wear something a bit heavier, like Coco, but what was really on my mind was Shalimar.  Mind you, I've never worn Shalimar.  But one of my grandmothers did, or else she simply had a bottle on her vanity, and I remembered the smellvividly.  It was wonderful and almost overwhelming.  I recognize it on women who walk by.  So I got myself a fairly small portion (1/4 oz. EDT) on eBay, and it's unbelievably wonderful.  I can't believe how happy it makes me.  I'm also waiting for a bottle of Mitsouko and one of Samsara, both also made by Guerlain.  It seems like time to wear classics.

I may have mentioned The Perfumed Court, a website where you can buy smaller sizes of almost any kind of scent you can imagine -- plus it really has a lot of information about the history and composition of pretty much every scent on the site.  It's tons of information, but it does help you to find other scents of the type you enjoy -- plus you can get small samples (not free) to check them out.  It's not cheap, but fragrance samples are not as easy to come by as they used to be.

My brother is having more and more and more problems.  Not much to be done for him.  He's having more and more flashbacks about some bad things that were done to him as a kid, and although he sees a therapist, this stuff has totally paralyzed him.  Neither he nor my sister-in-law has worked for a very long time, and I'm not sure how they get along, except that I guess public assistance goes a longer way in Providence, RI than it does in New York.

I do have a new insurance plan through my job, which is about as good as it can be.  Unlike Medicaid, there are co-pays, but there are none for generic meds and none for lab tests, which is a life-saver.

Work is basically good.  The beginning of the term was pretty hectic, but now things seem to be rolling nicely.  I hired a nice new intern who seems to be working out well; I've had good luck so far with interns.

Barry is now without insurance (we lost Medicaid September 30), which is terrible, but there's not much we can do.  I don't have a spare cent to add him to my coverage (which would totally about $6,000 per year).  I'm really pushing him hard about looking for work...rather, I am strongly encouraging him.  But we are just not making ends meet. We've already sold CDs and books and Barry's drum kit.  Something has to change.