Last night on the phone to The Green-Eyed Doctor I fell apart, semi-predictably. As in didn't see it coming, 20-20 hindsight. Wandering my alien city cushioned by the weather-smoothed grooves of long friendship and the heartbreaking unseen relief of facility with language I felt ordinary and me-ish. As it turns out, I hadn't felt that way for some time. Which is both duh-worthy and meta-duh-worthy, because duh that I'm not in an emotional place where the Bleeding Fucking Obvious even approaches ... well, bleeding fucking obviousness.
So I'm lying there in the dark with the phone between the pillow and my ear believing that half-truth that it makes a difference to the person listening whether you cry quietly but unmistakably or give in and bawl your eyes out. According to the cracked-out logic attending this theory, quietly-but-unmistakably wins you partial Keeping It Together points; bawling 0 points.
Plus, no doubt, the fact that there's something farcically ego-bruising about the person who is the raison d'étre for your collection of joyously unutilitarian underthings listening to your nose fill with mucus. Which thought is also a gender-political nightmare and just another thing to punish yourself with while you worry vaguely about the phone shorting out because the earpiece is filling with tears. Saline-liquefied mascara climbs under my eyelids and burns gently there while I pretend like Completely Emotionally Together is a line on my CV under "Other Accomplishments".
I can hear The Doctor containing his withering opinion of my lachrimal token economy, incredulous that I thwart him in our mutual desire that my brokenness be unbroke. With hard-won and superbly neurotic mastery I butter on another gratuitous layer of irony by being able simultaneously to endorse his scorn and be humiliated that he is silent about it because I'm crying like a goddamn girl.
After I've dried the phone I read David Foster Wallace on lobsters and the adult movie industry until envious writerly desires take over my damp, dog-eared shame and I fall asleep to blackbirds greeting the dawn with German accents.