I can't sleep. I took something last night hoping it would allow for sleep but just the same I was up at 3:00 am and here at the desk, not a damned other thing in the world to do. I so want a good night's sleep. I feel like I am infested with leeches. With ugliness. It comes from everywhere.
It is kind of hard to gauge life here sometimes. Life in Belarus has its rhythms just like anywhere else. It is getting cold here now. The winter is coming and we have already had our first snow, a light, wet, drizzly snow that didn't even do its job of covering up how ugly it can be.
Someone threw their garbage in our yard. One of our own people decided to clean his car ashtray by dropping it in the grass in front of the house. Sharek, the old Yellow dog who has been with us for years just disappeared a few days ago. Vera believed that someone took him and kept insisting that he had been given a collar and that this should have meant that he was not free. This sort of thing is a shock. It was for all of us. Suddenly one day he simply wasn't with us.
At the moment we seem to be dropping into a darker, unhappier and uglier side, if this is possible. The prices are all going up. A jar of tomato sauce that used to be fifty cents is now 85 cents and this has happened seemingly over night. The cost of cooking oil went up again as well. They said it wouldn't. The specifically said it wouldn't, but it did. Or maybe this sort of thing should be expected and this dark mood of mine is only from the weather. Maybe yes. Probably it is only the weather. The weather or the changing seasons. We are at the end of the utdoor time and the sunlight is definitely going away a little bit each day.
And of course come New Years, there will be a concrete reason for the prices to go up even more.
It is a very dark time here right now. The money has always been small here, but lately people have been feeling as if they have been had. For a while, especially during the summer, the markets were alive and you could see smiles on the peoples faces. There was enough. Prices have gone up, but the money has not and there are so many payments and so much that is needed for outgo.
I talked to Stepan yesterday while picking up Anya from kindergarten. He is a retiree and spends a ot of his day wandering around trying to find interesting conversations. He has more energy than his time requires I guess. His big news was that he had found new work looking after a new building project which will be finished in a few months. The job will pay 300,000 rubles ($140) a month and will add to his pension which is currently 370,000 ($172). He is very happy but it is not for the money. He is just happy to be useful again. He says that he really doesn't need more money than he has. His clothes are all in good condition. He doesn't travel much. He grows a lot of his own food and goes fishing for the meat. But of course he agrees that the money will help. Of curse this is true. Things are getting so expencive now.
Sometimes I think it is just the money but sometimes I am guilty of simply feeling sorry for myself. I know that how we feel colors our perception of the world around us. It might just be me. I feel terrible these days. I am very depressed. I am also very nervous and unhappy. I am very worried for both my situation and the situation of Tanya and Egor and Anya. I have been thinking about what sorts of mistakes I might have made over the last while and especially if this whole bureaucratic business was a mistake. Would it have been better to take the money and use it for a ticket elsewhere? This choice means running away but also it would have meant more options, more choices and more opportunities. Did I do the right thing, or did I only make it harder on all of us by trying to stay?
So maybe it is me, or maybe it is the people I have been having to deal with. This bureaucratic process has put me in the hands of a lot of obtuse, corrupt and ugly people, all of whom have been given far more authority then they should ever have been allowed. And it is more than stilted, unnatural conversations. I just wonder if I ever really needed this? I am too old to be groveling. And the worst part is that these people have come to expect it. It is their food and they expect to be fed. Profound is the emptiness of the soul after such encounters. Like a daily rape of the senses.
So maybe it was that I am involved in this bureaucratic process, or maybe it is just all of the work I have done on the book that is making me feel so bad. Lately I have been working a lot on the new book. There is a lot of editing to do but I have been writing a lot as well, typing in earnest these last few weeks in the hopes of having something ready relatively soon. Making edits on texts which recall times with horrible memories though is like accentuating nightmares. I remember when I was studying music and found how writing music made that emotional lift you get from music 10 times more powerful. Well, it did when you wrote at night anyway. But to take this enhancement, this deeper bonding with the material and transfer it to the corrupt bureaucrats- and this for what? For the right to do something that needs to be done? Just to do a thanless task that needs to be done? That cries to be done? To simply fulfill a request that was made of me?
I feel that I am getting older. I know this from more things than just from the spreading grey in my beard. Maybe it is not the bureaucrats who have infested my life like rats eating away at my soul. Maybe it is just that I know I am getting older. I feel this these days especially because I can no longer find the good in things. Or maybe better said, I remember when I could bond with the lighter things, the happier things and allow them to lift my soul. But now, I feel as though those sorts of bonds have faded, and the attachment no longer fits. I remember that I could but I can no longer seem to open the door onto a lighter world and believe in a happy moment anymore. And really, if you have nothing to look forward to but more pain, what have you got?
So maybe that is it.