I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted.
It's not so much a matter of actually working too hard or sleeping too little. No, that would make sense only in the context of the way the world used to function. "Why am I so tired?" you would ask yourself. And the answer would be obvious: "Too much work, not enough rest!" And you would set about to rectify the situation because, in fact, it was actually in your control!
Ah, for the good old days, the days before we were suddenly immersed in the free-floating anxiety of the nanosecond news cycle, of YouTube and Twitter and the frenzy of Facebook and the latest "breaking news" updates that follow us everywhere, from our tv sets to our handhelds to our iPods, all telling us that the sky is falling, which used to be a metaphor for unreasonable panic but now feels all too true and very, very scary.
And just when you think your brain cannot possibly take in one more piece of information, you dare to open your email, where you encounter all those well-meaning friends who want to make sure you've read Eve ("Vagina Monologue") Ensler's essay on Sarah Palin. Not once, but thousands of times.
Just, for the record, I've read it. NO NEED TO SEND IT AGAIN! One of the friends who emailed it to me is an old college pal who included me in a massive list serve that also included her current real estate clients. Only then did she discover that a number of them are actually Republicans who were, in fact, offended that she would breach that professional wall by sending anti-Palin political propaganda their way. Those offended clients felt compelled to respond by hitting the "reply all" button, which meant I was treated to many, many more opinions on the subject than I would have thought humanly possible. It is, perhaps, a sign of the all-out culture war we now find ourselves in that my old pal chose not to apologize to the offended clients but, instead, told them she would rather not have their business if that's the way they felt. Their loss, she said, in a final "so there" email.
That was about the time I realized how much psychic energy it takes to hit the "Delete" button umpteen times an hour. First, you have to worry about whether that particular friend will ask what you thought of that hysterical YouTube video she sent you. It's a tough one: do you watch it, just so you can respond intelligently, or do you delete it and just pretend to respond intelligently? That decision often comes down to the question of what you think of that particular friend's judgment and sense of humor. By the time you get this far, you have really ceased to care and at least four more emails have popped up containing more videos, jokes, rumors, or commentaries by bloggers even more obscure than yours truly.
I may be imagining this, but it seems to me that this past week has been especially wrenching. The email blather has multiplied exponentially with the meltdown on Wall Street and the sudden realization that no one is really in charge and that our retirement savings (I'm talking about my boomer pals here) may be whittled away to the point where we'll have to work until we are eighty or so.
So, yes, I'm exhausted. I suppose one way to restore my psychic energy would be to turn off all electronic devices, put the proverbial tray in the upright position and take a long nap until we arrive at some safe destination.. But then I might miss something. The debate, for example. What's the latest on that, anyway?
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