While grabbing lunch with a friend a few weeks ago, I managed to move a conversation from lunch food to the overwhelming terror of family illness within the span of about ten minutes. She took up the conversational reins and–despite her best efforts–we moved from talking about finals to discussing the prospect of unemployment and destitution post-grad.
Clearly we needed cheering up in the form of obnoxiously-sized, frosted cookies. Cookies procured, we tried to find something nice to talk about. A few sentences later, we were talking about general ennui.
At this point we burst out laughing, because clearly we are broken in the sort of way that turns cookie cake into self-examination.
My friend drew a comparison to a mountain. No matter where our conversation started, we tumbled down the side of Mount Conversation–ricocheting off mountain goats (perhaps listening to the Mountain Goats) and rocky outcrops–and landed in the river of sadness.
In the four or five times I’ve seen her since this realization, we haven’t been able to escape it. It got to the point that a few nights ago I was joking about doing this family coat of arms craft with a crest composed of a mountain, with 40 of cheap malt liquor being poured out, down the mountain, into the river of tears. Perhaps with, “Where I go, sadness follows,” in Latin (for class!). Perhaps a tiny violin could be floating down the river.
At some point, we made the decision to give up trying to avoid our clearly melancholy inclinations. Continue reading