The Winter Depression
By Tony Nightwalker LeTigre
Let us call this the “winter depression,” premature as it may be on our part to count winter’s frigid malice out of the game so early. We could call it “the post-election depression,” but I don’t want to. Why give them such power? I made a comment to a friend a couple weeks back, shortly after its onset, to the effect that “if I’d known Trump was going to win, I wouldn’t have talked so much shit about Hillary.” But it was a throwaway, disingenuous, wasn’t it? Throwing to the audience (of one) what they wanted to hear. And actually, they are legion here in Pdx, which has a large & mobile mass of young radicals, Outside Inners, Rad Fae types sporting shiny new self-entitled gender pronouns that nobody else is ever going to use, Standing Rock-ers, cute young tall slim ba(b)es dressed all in black with black hats & black boots & white or red bandannas around their mouths carrying war mallets (hot!!) & weaponry & paint cans ready to fuck some shit up, & related righteous ragers ready to take to the streets & stir up a public shit storm. As well they should! And I ran with those wolves when I heard their howls & saw them coming, answering the primal call of the hunt—for am I not one of them at bottom, despite my frequent plaints; but by my own choice, & therefore free to come & go at my own wish & not at the beck & call of another?
(He does not try to dominate you, but you cannot dominate him.)
But I wasn’t marching because Hillary lost, I was marching because Trump won… & no, little mind, those two things are not the same!
If only we could have a natural disaster, like an earthquake, & not an unnatural disaster, like an election. A most unnatural election, administered by a minority of maliciously bigoted white men of mitigated intelligence who are entirely capable both technologically & ethically of “fudging the numbers,” iow MASSIVE ELECTION FRAUD—& that’s why the polls seem so off, the exit polls that usually predict voting results accurately, because they ARE off, darlings, the election was stolen! The most obviously stolen election since Bush the Second (worse than the first!) stole the presidency back in the decade before this one!
It will ease Madonna’s pain, we think, to learn that 42 percent of women didn’t really vote for Trump & betray the sister power that was supposed to take hold & spank the morbid balding life out of the putrid patriarchy, the collapse of which hope has wrung hands & broken hearts from one end of Portland, Oregon to the other, & in other places as purportedly “progressive” — for if only we hadn’t missed our chance to kick the capitalist patriarchal figurehead out from behind the phony podium of the corporate oligarchy, & replace him with an equally vile capitalist matriarchal figurehead every bit as ruthless, scheming, power-crazed, & corrupt as he & all his forebrothers, why then we would have made real progress, right?
Such is the extent of partisan political “wisdom,” on either side, when we are left with choices so paltry. Trump vs. Hillary was like “Sophie’s Choice” in reverse: you want them both to die, but you can only choose one!
If you think I’m mocking you & your deepest beliefs, it’s because I totally am. Laugh along, hey! You’re ridiculous, I’m ridiculous, it’s all pretty fucking ridiculous when you get right down to it. This game can be fun. It doesn’t have to hurt.
It is freezing out, & I would be frozen, but for this marvelous mummy bag I got free thanks to Facebook. There are tangible benefits, for all that my former bro-mates razzed me for my rampant Facebooking (during those rare spells when they weren’t glued by the nose to their phone checking out increasingly desperate profiles of potential mates on Tinder, browsing for two-cent skateboards on Instagram, etc)! I got it by saying I intended to go to Standing Rock, which was true… I tried, twice I thought I had a ride & twice it dissolved like a snowflake in my warm palm… & probably for the best, since I wasn’t prepared or psychically strong enough to rise to that challenge, having just undergone a miniature relationship meltdown & housing-removal-by-mutual-consent with my aforementioned all-male housemates, & predictably going off by myself to rot in drug-based rapture alone & subsequently sink into the alarmingly cold arms of rapidly approaching winter, which has fully as of the date of this writing—Saturday, December 10th—wrapped the world in its invernal embrace, transforming our earth into an egg of ice, such that we beg for the bygone bliss of summer, & swear that when she comes singing down the forest path with lilies in hand this next time, we won’t take her golden charms for granted (for such incorrigible self-liars we are)!
I lie in a lonely tent in a cold building not intended for human habitation, alone. Even the opossums or raccoons or nutria or whatever the fuck was living in the attic & walls & floors have left or gone into hibernation, for it is long since I heard (or imagined?) the squeaking chorus of their probably adorable babies in the middle of sleeping midnight, & the rats I thought I saw cooking up shots of dope in the mounds of insulation tubing must be dead of hypothermia, it not heroin overdose, by now, I suppose.
No, I didn’t make it to Standing Rock. Sorry, did not find a ride, wasn’t going to walk. Feel free to judge me a failure, if that sounds enjoyable to you. But it’s all one can do to meet one’s basic needs when one lives in a tent in winter. For now I am inside a former dwelling place, a decrepit structure, absolutely free of utilities, providing at least protection from the wind. And the winds of late have been merciless! Vicious, the fate of anyone forced to endure this frosty onslaught face to face, with not even paper thin walls to protect them! This puffy green mummy bag (“crescent lake, –20”) has kept me alive. I can’t go out, I won’t be seen in public, other people I avoid, only books earn my limited warmth. My one accomplishment over the past inert month has been reading. At least my brain has been busy.
Sorry, folks, I’m not much of an activist. My true calling, I fear, is something of an off-kilter Andy Kaufman-style comedian. Even more off-kilter than an already off-kilter comedian; that’s humor that only a precious will get! But here’s a big idea I’ve just had: to go all of 2017, from the first of January to the last of December, completely sober! (Probably not counting coffee & tea.) What might I accomplish, under such conditions? Will I actually make it the entire year? Will it enable me to finally get my shit together again, for the first time for real, before it’s too late? Or will I fail & crap out & creep back to the very drugs that drove me hither in the first craven place?
There are two ways (at least!) of looking at my six-years-&-counting adventure in paying no rent & having basically no income, you see. On the one hand, I am a parasitic worm of a man devoid of discipline, rendered languid & flaccid with hedonic excess, unwilling to work, afraid to man up, unable to support myself, shamefully pre-declined to a state of abject lassitude & dependence only five decades into my life, sucking food stamps from the bloated carcass of the social welfare state—which old Trump promises to carve up for meat & blubber & oil & promptly dispose of to make room for all those walls we’ve got to put up in order to “make America great again.” (Wait a second… America is a “land of the free” composed entirely of immigrants… how are you going to make it great “again” by deporting immigrants & building walls around it? And if you’re deporting people, by the way, can you please start with members of the Ku Klux Klan? That shit is extremely un-American.)
That’s one way of looking at me: a feeble, futile failure, a bottom feeder, a mere human flea, subsisting on government blood while continuing to skate along on other people’s kindness & largesse & magnanimity & gullibility. “You have a lot to offer, but you’re wasting it,” as one of my former housemates told me. “You’re not doing anything with it.” I should be working, supporting myself, paying rent like all the other suckas, working myself to death early to keep enriching that corporate ogre at the top of the capitalist pyramid scheme! The other way to look at me is the romantic one, the noble view, the Robin Hood delusion, a person who has, with the scrappy ingenuity of a raccoon or opossum (if not the engineering prowess of a beaver or the industry of a lowly ant) managed to survive alone & naked against the elements, & freed myself from the typical rat race to spend my days as I please, doing as much or (more likely) as little as I desire, day in, day out, answerable only to myself! Both versions my former housemates saw, I think, but when the balance tipped from the latter view to the former, I knew it was time to go.
How can I work when my fingers are frozen, I barely have food, I have no phone & only a library computer on those rare occasions I feel bold enough to venture from my flimsy nest, & I haven’t showered in so long I smell like a hamster in a hoarder’s house? You know that smell: wood shavings, urine, etc. I must rise from slumber, shake myself out of this stupor—& in the spring, I will go to Seattle! Or Olympia, if that’s where my wanderlusting soul ends up alighting. Tacoma even speaks its name to me in rumor, at times. Somewhere in Washington state, anyway. This time I’m really going to try to never, ever come back to Portland again. Why? No particular reason. I just need to see more of the rest of the world.
They picked me up thinking I might be treasure, & left me by the roadside like a bag of trash. It’s cold out, for sure. I might as well try this year of total sobriety thing, right? Make my mom happy before she dies (if she isn’t already dead). I asked one of my former housemates—the one with whom I briefly entertained a somewhat hot relationship such that my other housemates joked that he & I would get married (<<<projectile vomit>>>)—if he ever feels as though “you have a kind of psychic bond with your mother that’s unusual & more intense than with anyone else?” He answered swiftly & in the affirmative. You see, I suggest that the reason I seem to have lost my will to live & spend so much time now lying about in an indolent stupor, is because my mom is doing the same thing, in her bed in Minnesota, in a town I have now firmly decided never to visit again. My sister will be relieved. My mother will be saddened. Sorry, mom, can’t do it… wouldn’t be prudent. I am self-protective, as well as self-destructive.
For the meantime, let me write somewhat of the interesting books I have read of late, since that seems all I have to offer at present.