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In a distorting mirror

November 1st, 2000

You Never Know
Well, I started this with a Halloween piece on Tuesday and finally decided Halloween wasn't what I was thinking about. Living on the fourth floor of a condominiumized building, you don't get any trick or treaters. I rarely see my fellow inhabitants. Which is both good and a little weird, particularly since we all have balconies off our living rooms and I can look down on a whole row of patios below me. I never see anyone down there, although there is plenty of furniture and some large nicely tended planters on each and every one. Once in a while the inhabitants of another building will shout it out in a domestic quarrel, but that's about it. My own building is as quiet as a, well, tomb.

I keep my door open for the air and for Wuss when I get home, yet I don't hear the sound of television programs or stereos in the distance. Maybe I'm the only one who opens his door. I wonder if they can hear me? Occasionally I can hear a footfall in the bedroom above and, one evening last month, I could hear the inhabitants making love, perhaps because they'd left the sliding door to their balcony open above mine and the sound carried down. Muffled little moans.

I read today in Lucy's journal that Ginko had taken her life under circumstances I know nothing about. At lunch on Monday in Oakland I exchanged emails with Ginko when I was allowed to join The Mandelbrot Set and she mentioned that she'd been feeling depressed over the last few months and that was why it had taken her so long to respond to my application. I wrote back that I had some experience with low level depression myself and thanked her for letting me join. I obviously have no experience with depression at all after hearing of her suicide. I've known more than one person who has taken his life in the sense they repeatedly put themselves into impossibly dangerous and stupid situations and eventually died as a result. Not the same thing. An artist friend once commented to me about the possibility of a mutual friend committing suicide saying, no, our friend wasn't the kind of person who takes his own life, but we were.

I thought for a moment and dismissed the idea. Suicide, no. I assume everyone has times when the night closes in and the wind is blowing and every thought and action brings sadness. It can come to you when you live alone, as I live alone, or surrounded by friends and family. What if those occasional feelings were with me all the time? I think no, I'd find a way to wake up the next morning clear and ready for living (or at least breakfast). But you never know. You never know.

I'm not sure why I ran the banner photograph taken at the company picnic in a distorting mirror. It isn't very good, but I ran it anyway. The lady in the photograph in another life would have made a great fashion model. She is a techie at the company I work for and I don't think she necessarily appreciates it when I shoot her picture. It's just that I can't stop myself as they always turn out so well. The quotation is from Senor by Bob Dylan.