Interesting thing... depression seems so widespread recently. And yes, I understand, the economy sucks, nobody has any money except for a few elite scumbags, the politicians are corrupt, yadda yadda... it's a bad, ugly world out there. Or is it?
Ron (who I don't think needs an alias, but if he would like one he should let me know and I'll come up with something cute and edit this post) asked me today how things were going for me lately. I had to admit they've been going pretty good. I mean, lets face it... I've got a job (or three), I've got an apartment, we have food, I am keeping up with my bills... despite the fact that I'm still living below the federal poverty line, I'm actually doing better for myself than I have since my ex-husband left me about six years ago. The budget is tight but doable, we're not going without anything we actually need and we've got some of the stuff we just want. That's doing pretty darn good for the here and now! And as the air gets a bit of bite to it, I'm looking forward to spending my first winter of about the last 8 in a home with both a heating system and insulation. I do not anticipate going into the bathroom this January to find my shampoo has frozen, and I'm looking forward to that not happening. So aside from the fact that I still sleep by myself, pretty much everything is the happiest it has been in Meagan-land in recent memory.
Not so everywhere, however. I know a lot of people are suffering, and the case to hit closest to where I live is a friend of mine... for the purposes of this blog, we shall call him "Emo Steve" (which, incidentally, was also the name we gave to a dinosaur at Prehistoric Gardens this summer... I think it was the ankylosaurus). Despite the fact that I have dubbed him "Emo Steve", I actually do like the guy most of the time... he's one of the few people I know that can hold up his end of a language-based conversation. He does, however, tend to be angsty and agonize a bit more than is strictly necessary and lately he's been more morose than ever... enough to make my defunct emotional antennae start sending out feeble squawks of warning. So I sent him a text asking if he was okay, he sent back what I thought was a rather curt reply (though it's hard to tell over text) thanking me for caring and ending with "Have a good night!" which, besides being rather faux-cheerful, is EmoSteve-ese for "quit talking to me"... I think. "Have a good night!" is his usual text-conversation-ender phrase. (But I usually have to send one more text back just because I am that sort of person.) So I quit talking to him. Some days I curse my social ineptitude. And some days I am just very grateful for Wong, who is less emo and easier to read since I've known him about three years longer. And some days I'm just really glad that I still sleep alone, even though I find that troublesome on some nights. :-) Sleeping alone sucks, but sometimes I think not sleeping alone and then having an extra whiny person around during the day would suck more.
Earlier on I was thinking about el Día de los Muertos, which is a rant/brain dump I visited once many many moons ago on my MySpace blog. For those of you who might be monolingual English speakers or otherwise not in the know, Día de los Muertos means "Day of the Dead", and it's a pretty common celebration in several Latino/Hispanic cultures, though mostly in Mexico. It dates back to an Aztec festival a few thousand years ago dedicated to their goddess Mictecacihuatl (Say that three times fast... or even once!), who was known as "the Lady of the Dead". "Day of the Dead" is a bit of a misnomer, though, because the festival actually lasts two days. November 1st is called Día de los Inocentes or Día de los Ángelitos, and November 2nd is the actual Día de los Muertos (or in some places, Día de los Difuntos, which pretty much means the same thing).
Really I think that the Latin-American cultures in general have a much healthier view of death than we Americans do. Death is seen as the natural endpoint of the life cycle... you're born, you live a while, then you die. No getting around it, no tiptoeing around the subject, no cute euphemisms... death is just part of life. You know... the last part. But they also believe that one night a year, the souls of their departed loved ones come back to visit. On November 1st, the souls of children and babies who have died return, and the souls of deceased adults return on November 2nd. And they celebrate this. I think it's a cool idea, really. (For a cool Día de los Muertos tie in, hop on YouTube and look up Seether's music video for "The Gift". It's set in Oaxaca, Mexico and has a Día de los Muertos theme, complete with a little ghost girl. It also has Shaun Morgan, who is the hotness.) In America, on the other hand, death is scary and we don't like to talk about it. When someone dies, we invent cute little euphemisms like "passed away", "departed this life", "kicked the bucket", "bought the farm", "shuffled off this mortal coil", etc. Really when people do that I'd like to shuffle them off this mortal coil. Making up cute phrases does not change the reality... dead is dead, and if we'd collectively come to grips with that it might make our lives a bit easier. But then, many Americans don't believe in any sort of afterlife either, so I guess death is scary when this is all you've got. I say if this is all we've got, just kill me now, TYVM.