Ask Ceil – It Was A Bad Week

Today’s Ask Ceil has been pre-empted by an essay by Ceil.

My college roommate and I used to have a saying: “Everything is funny. You just have to look at it in the right way.”

So true. But I have to say, this week I struggled to find the funny.

It started last Wednesday.

Long ago, a friend of mine was murdered, and her birthday was last Wednesday. I have no idea why it hit me this year in particular. Other years had passed without incident–I usually have my fond memories of my friend, and put the horrible details in a small bin, in the back of my brain. But this June will be the 20th anniversary of her death.

Perhaps that milestone was provocative? Perhaps the reminder that she never got out of her 24th year bothered me anew, since I have been re-evaluating a new stage of my own life? I don’t know, but it was all I could do to get through the week.

I take a lot of comfort on Twitter and Facebook. My brain likes to speak to me in quips, I suppose. On Facebook, I have a ready community of friends to give me feedback on whatever tromps through my head.

You can’t post bad feelings on Facebook, though, unless you’re prepared to talk about them. If something is wrong, your friends will want to help, which is lovely. And thank God we have a place to go when we need people to tell us that everything will be alright.

But if you just want to shake your fist at the heavens, Twitter is your place. Because if you post something without detail, that’s just fine with everyone. They get it. Sometimes things have to be said.

But late last week, I wasn’t feeling very good.

Not very good at all.

I made it to Saturday, did some home renovation, hung out at my brother-in-law’s and drank some really good beer, and later I passed out. Plus, it was the Viking Apocalypse, and who doesn’t love that shit? Saturday was a good day.

Sunday, I gave in to the long-resisted Spotify. Adding all the music in the world to my computer totally changed the landscape of my day.

Well…not totally.

But by Monday I was feeling downright optimistic.

Then, sometime after 2pm, I got a phone call. An old dear friend had died unexpectedly. Heart attack.

I called around and got the details. I spent some time feeling kind of numb. And then I decided to just give up for the night.

On Tuesday, I decided I just needed to get the hell out of my house, and going to Bill’s funeral would be a good way to pay my respects, see his family, and take a much-needed road trip. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out for a number of reasons. My travel plans receded into the shadows of Tuesday.

Wednesday ended up being pretty good. I had a rare 2 hours to myself. I visited an art cafe and wrote a blog post. Baseball news stories were beginning to poke their way into the headlines, like early crocuses in Spring. I did the dishes. I did the laundry. I went grocery shopping. A Twitter friend urged me to get myself some flowers, which I did. And there was singing.

The worst was over.

On Thursday, I did some research for another story, explored some databases I hadn’t been on before, and generally screwed around. Throughout the week, I would catch myself just kind of staring and thinking. To be honest, I think I just needed some sleep. All I did Thursday, successfully, was exchange air for CO2, and read magazine and internet articles.

By the evening, I was gearing up to write my column. I did what I usually do for Ask Ceil, which is head to Yahoo Answers and find ridiculous questions. Usually, you only need to go about three pages to find two people looking for meaningless insights.

I got a page or two in, and I saw a post by a 13-year-old who wanted to know if they could be adopted by their cousin, because their parents were making them suicidal.

I got the phone numbers together for the suicide hotline, and for the Teen Crisis Hotline, because you don’t mess with that shit. I urged them to get help, to find a trusted adult, to report anyone that was causing them harm. I looked around Yahoo! for suicide reporting processes, but I found none. (I had once–a year or two ago–used Facebook’s suicide reporting methods, and frankly, I’m not sure it didn’t make things worse. But that’s a story for another day.)

So friends, after that I was having a hard time finding funny. Most days, everything is funny, with few exceptions. You really do need just the right light. This week, I just couldn’t lay my hands on it.

So, I will be funny next week. This week, I would really, really appreciate it if there was no death. If you could do that for me, that would be a real help.

Love, Ceil


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