September 5, 2018

this one stumped me

Therapist Gumby:  "What do you do for fun?"

I sat in my puddle of anhedonia and looked at him, and I didn't know how to answer.  So I named things that give me meaning, things that touch me, things I do out of habit, things I wish I could do but can't.

What do I do for fun?

I played online games - Seeker's Notes, Dragon Mania Legends, and hardcore Minecraft (1.8.9 only, because it jumped the shark after that).  But I don't do that now, to speak of.  Just a little.  I've done something to my neck that has gone beyond soreness and now involves tingling and radiculopathy down my right arm, and using my mouse at work is all I can give.  I used to type a lot.  I don't any more.  And I don't game much.  I don't Minecraft.  I don't use an iPad.  That fun is over.  Which is shitty, because the games provided much-needed distraction and a way to fill the hours so that I didn't think nearly as much about how the house needs to be deep-cleaned.

I sing Messiah every year, and that's coming up in November, but the other eleven months are bereft of musical performance because I refuse to join the symphony again.  The rehearsal requirements are something I can't manage.

We used to have friends, and we would spend Friday nights sitting around talking and laughing together.  That was fun.  It was fun for eight years.  But we don't have friends here any more.

Going back even further ... I once belonged to a Bunco group.  I once played volleyball in a local rec league.  I once played bridge with clubs in town - and even out-of-town tournaments, where we won trophies - with my ex-husband.  I couldn't even define a Stayman play now for you, except it occurs somewhere on the "2" level.  I think.  When there was a YWCA, I swam for fitness and for the sensation of floating in warm water.

But in recent years, there were useful things that kept me busy, and that felt like fun, because it kept me out of depression most of the time.  Fun has been defined as what I do to keep afloat.  The Lodge brings peace, tainted by the nagging restlessness of enforced relaxation.  Going to hear live music (Carolina in the Fall in a couple of weeks, already have our VIP tickets because we love the Kruger Brothers) makes me feel alive and soulful, but I don't know if that's "fun" ... it is enjoyment because it awakens things in me for a little while.  It's more of an intense experience than it is fun.

I remember once, at a Doc Watson performance in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, watching people get up and dance in the Appalachian old-time dancing fashion, and being overcome by jealousy because I wished I could participate, the coordination and steps and abandon I saw in their dancing.  But I was not the lady with the long brown hair and calico dress and beaded hippie purse.  She could dance.  I could not, and cannot.  I think I might have cried.

I have forgotten how to play duplicate bridge, and I am a bit older now and too stiff and out of shape for volleyball or any sport.  (I have always sucked at softball.)  I don't know anyone who plays Bunco, and we don't socialize.  I watch Marvel Comics movies with my son and enjoy these, but they are few and far between.

I read Terry Pratchett novels to pass the time.  I enjoy them.  Is this fun?  I don't know.

There is one shining exception, and it is this:  I love laughing with P.J.  Our senses of humor are weird and aligned and we laugh together.  Her laugh is undiluted, unstrained mirth.  It should be collected in a tiny glass bottle with a dropper, taken one potent drop at a time.  We laugh a lot, when we can, when the black dog is not sitting on one or both of our chests.  And it's possible, if not probable, that our laughter together can alone fill my need for fun.

I would like to think this is so.

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