Last night I celebrated the end of 2020 by kissing Dante on the head and eating an edible. Minutes later, after midnight, when all the bombs were going off in the sky, I made myself a cup of coffee and sped off in the car to do a whole lot of aimless driving. Usually it makes me feel at least a little better to do this . . . there is not much else to do here, after all, and hardly anywhere to go on foot, so you can either sit inside and despair or drive around to delay the despairing you will resume once again when you return home. But for some reason it didn’t work on me last night. It is always frightening when my creature comforts and coping mechanisms sputter and begin to fail me. The repetition of the few things I have that bring me any sort of peace is what starts to kill it, and then I’m left on the other side of the thing without any reprieve from a dark world growing darker by the day. And so last night I couldn’t help but feel hollow about all this. What difference did it make if I could escape into the black wilderness in a warm car for a few hours? I still had to go back to the world and get trapped inside my own head again. And when I did finally pull into the lot, round about two in the morning, I didn’t know what else to do other than drink a capful of NyQuil and go to sleep. But before I did sleep, I remembered that my Switch was still set to California time, and that I had precious few minutes to check on my animal friends on Acheron Island before the start of the New Year:

And yeah, I popped a party popper and waved a little yellow glowstick around. If anything, the happiness my villagers seemed to be experiencing only made my real-world sadnesses all the worse. Why couldn’t I just stay there with them? I mean, for god’s sake, look at us! Big-ass celebratory top hats and not a care in the world!

Of course I had to leave them, and so I did. I went to sleep. I had horrible nightmares. Leila was in most of them, probably because I had been talking to her all night New Year’s Eve. In most of my nightmares we were Scooby-Doo’ing around and being chased by phantoms and scary people. I woke up in the late afternoon absolutely terrified, thinking it had all been real, and saw that it was grey and rainy outside. I made coffee and put on my robe and sat on the porch for a little while. It was cold and miserable. I noticed that everyone had unplugged or taken down their Christmas lights, and so the whole neighborhood looked cheerless and sad. I wondered why anyone would take down their lights, or get rid of their tree . . . I would be holding onto these things as long as possible. What else is there to look forward to, or even look at, that doesn’t immediately fill you with absolute sadness? We need the light! That’s what I think, anyway. . . .

Tonight I went driving again. I was out of food and all the grocery stores are closed until tomorrow. So I got a sandwich and a cup of coffee at Wawa and just kind of putzed around until I felt I had seen enough, which happened pretty quickly. The roads were rain-slicked and devoid of cars and, just like back in the old neighborhood, everyone had foolishly taken down their lights and Christmas decorations, or else they lay dark and deflated in the cold wet yards of darkened houses. There was a real grimness out there, is what I decided. Now I ain’t saying I’m clairvoyant or nothing, but you don’t need a fortune teller to know things are going to get worse before they get better, and I sure did and do feel a foreboding . . . something is about to happen, I think, that will compound these miseries we have already experienced. I asked around and am not alone in sensing this. I mean, being alive right now feels like watching my own life on TV. It just doesn’t feel like real life (in a bad way). As my friend Cecelia put it: “Anything that’s happened to me, hasn’t happened to me.” That sums it up!

WELL: It is once again three in the morning, and so in my continuing effort to not stay awake until five in the morning, I am going to try to go to sleep right now. And I’m not going to take anything to aid me in that endeavor. I have to do it unaided! It can’t be good to keep relying on magnesium citrate and melatonin and weed and NyQuil to knock myself out. Maybe the dread I feel for the future will be enough of a sedative. I can’t wait to not be awake anymore. Let us lie down and see what happens. What else can you do, really, here at the end of all things. . . . ?