The ‘malaise & ennui’ category

Fine, but Not in a Good Way

February 12th, 2022

It was a miserable grey winter day when I nearly walked into traffic in downtown Brattleboro to get away from the creepy anti-abortion protestor who would not stop Godding all over me. Her camp, all in black, was somberly situated directly across the street from Planned Parenthood.

People are very much entitled to their faiths, and I try to be super respectful of (and even interested in!)  the theologies of friends and strangers, but accosting me on a street corner and then saying “God bless” when I have explicitly just told you I am an atheist is aggressive, little miss.


I did take the time to look this girl in the eye. She must have been about the age I was when Planned Parenthood was the only women’s health service I could afford, and one that always had my back. From Northampton, MA, to Oakland, CA, to Washington, DC, as I wandered my way through my twenties, Planned Parenthood was a consistent resource. 

I wondered what happened to this girl to infuse her with this rigid desperation, a passion so strong that she was out on this street corner in progressive Brattleboro in the dead of winter hoping to make at least one person change their mind. Obviously, it’s about abortion for her — although that’s one small fraction of the services Planned Parenthood provides. 

She, pointedly, is not out here petitioning against gun violence or capital punishment or, I don’t know, deaths from COVID that could have been avoided if everyone had gotten vaccinated and worn masks. She has instead hitched her mission to that last gasp of anti-feminism ambigiously referred to as “pro life.”

We are all pro life, my friend.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I thought we were promised that February would be better than January? I want my money back.

Someone recently asked me, “How are you?” and I said “Oh, you know.”

“I get it,” he responded, “We’re fine, but like, not in a good way.”

“Yes,” I said. “That’s what it is.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The way to cope with February ennui is to revel in comfort. We hunker down and get lazy in a state of semi-hibernation. We still have to get up and get the kids to school and work on long involved papers for clients that take more brain cells than we currently have, but we do it wrapped in soft knit fabrics and cozy throws, with essential oils wafting out of our diffusers and endless cups of tea with honey.

There is a word that perfectly describes this coping mechanism:


As a devoted lifelong sybarite, my go-to coping mechanism is to pamper myself with soft fabrics, hot beverages, and good smells. And because I have the great fortune and life circumstances to be able to do this, I am fine. But not in a good way, these days.

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