Cabin Fever

November 9, 2007 at 12:16 am (Uncategorized)

I can’t remember the last time it rained like this… I think last Sunday was our only reprieve after days of torrential rain, and it’s rained steadily every day since. Sometimes one or both of us wakes in the middle of the night, and the intensity of the deluge is always a shock, even after so many days. How long can it last? How can it still be raining so heavily? How can there be any precipitation left in the air?

I am a lazy runner, a fair weather friend, so I have cabin fever at the moment because when I look outside and see those palm trees bent over on one side, and the Norfolk pines being lashed by the wind and rain, I think “No thanks,” and hang up my running shoes without a second thought. This caveat to my exercise regime doesn’t usually present too many challenges because there’s invariably a fair day in there somewhere that makes me think of running. Except now. Now there’s no sunshine and no blue sky. Everything is sodden.

Because I work from home, my cabin fever is exaggerated by the fact that I have barely walked out the front door in days. This is a choice, I know, and I hold myself wholly responsible for my by now slightly deranged state of mind. You know those scenes in movies where they distort the picture to attempt to create the effects of, say, LSD? Everything is all warped and amplified? That’s what my world is like right now.

Every time my neighbours so much as move upstairs, I think mean, violent thoughts about them. They’re evidently suffering from cabin fever of their own, playing a game, if you can believe it, where they dangle a hook off a fishing line down the side of our apartment block. I’m still not sure what the object is, only that the hook keeps hitting the security grille outside my office window. I have had to restrain myself several times in the last few days from leaning out the window with a pair of scissors and cutting the fucking thing off. I tell myself they’re just bored and frustrated too, which is why they’re resorting to puerile games whose point still utterly eludes me. All I know is occasionally a cheer goes out among them, and a new round of hook dangling begins.

There are fire drills going off in the apartment block behind. I’d like to see anyone try to start a fire right now. We’re saturated – not even a woman scorned could burn through this. They don’t need an alarm, they need a dam. Perhaps a new swimming pool.

When I try to talk to people from the outside world, my voice sounds alien and sluggish. I was trying to have a telephone conversation with my friend Mark yesterday when I became aware of my own strangeness.

“You’re the first person I’ve spoken to all day,” I finally confessed. “Can you tell?”

I’ll let you guess his answer.

I’ve lived in rainy places before. Vancouver Island, London – drizzle is their middle name. And as such I know I experience cabin fever as something quite like an actual illness. Being confined indoors for the majority of the time is simply not good for me. I don’t like it. There were times in London, looking back, when I’m sure I was depressed, something I can’t remember ever being at any other time anywhere else. Cabin fever at college in Canada was kind of fun in a perverse way – I was a dark and (at least so I was relentlessly told) intimidating, drinking, smoking cynic as a 17-18 year old, so bad weather seemed like my theme song, and my friends and I wrote tortured free verse and read aloud from the more infamous twisted minds whose moods we so delightedly affected. It was fun beyond compare being so miserable.

But that was my stormy adolescence, when all bets were off and I was just trying to find out who I was. At heart I am a sunshine girl, and was never really angry at all, and I very much like being outside. Which is not to say I don’t sometimes love rain, and I thrill to a brilliant storm with the best of ’em, but I’m always going to wake up the next morning with my fingers crossed for the triumphant return of the big blue.

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