UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

NEW SPECIMENS OLD SPECIMENS THE SCIENTIST MY LOG CONTACT ME
01/08/2006 - 12:34 p.m.

ISH

Ish. Apparently "ish" is new-teen-speak for "sort of." "Were you happy?" "Ish." "Was it bright blue?" "Ish." "Did you understand?" "Ish" Today I understand "ish."

On Friday, I did not. On Friday, I was desperately jealous of FogieKnight. I was not jealous of his business trip to Chicago. The poor man had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. and catch the 6:00 a.m. train so that he could be harassed by a panel of three Seventh Circuit judges. No, it was what he saw that made me jealous. And it's a little thing, such a little thing. FogieKnight saw the sun.

As of yesterday, the Midwestern gray here had set a new record. It was official. We had gone fifteen days without sun. You could tell by the telephone calls at my office. You could tell by the callers. You could tell by the punchiness of those answering. We all were feeling it. We were going stir-crazy.

Yes, I heard rumors that the sun had come out for fifteen minutes or so during the day. But I did not see it. I have a window at my office but the sun must have come out when I was in our windowless library or when I was in the bathroom. Whatever happened, sight of the sun was just a rumor, nothing more.

I have done my best to cope. I have a full-spectrum light that my parents gave me several years ago. I have sat under that lamp and read. (By the way, "Paula" by Isabel Allende is a fascinating book—depressing but fascinating.) I have sat under that lamp and listened to music. (Warren Zevon's "The Wind" seemed just the thing---depressing but interesting. Do I sense a theme here?) The lamp may have helped—or it may just have seemed as though it helped. Whatever the truth, life remained depressing but interesting. (Yes, I definitely sense a theme here.)

But last night I did what people used to do when sunlight was scarce. Instead of cursing the darkness, I lit candles, two of them. I gave up. I surrendered to darkness.

And then came my reward….

No, it is not sunny today. It is gray, solid gray now, but, for almost an hour this morning, the sun came out. Even Buddy, the birdbrain (even for a bird), noticed and got excited, fluttering around his cage and singing. I sat by the patio doors in the light. That's it, just sat. It wasn't interesting but it certainly wasn't depressing.

FogieKnight, ever practical, suggested that getting dressed and taking a walk would be a good celebration. So I dressed, went outside, and saw a patch of blue sky. Did you know skies could be blue? I was beginning to wonder.

It's probably good that we did not have an entirely sunny day. I don't know if I could have stood the joy. But for now, after such a small change, life is still interesting…and it's not depressing anymore (at least until the end of this week after which, according to the weatherfolk, we will have had even more gray.)

Hip, hip, hooray. There was the sun…..ish.

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