It's official. I fecking despise the gorram anthrax vaccine. It's not enough that it feels like an injection of some kind of awfully strong salt solution, no... The day after, I'm running a 100-degree fever, I feel like I've gone six rounds with Joe Frazier, and my left shoulder really doesn't quite want to work right. Plus, there's a bruised knot on my left triceps that hurts like the merry old devil. All of this to shield against a bioweapon that there's only the very slimmest chance to ever contact. A chance that dwindles to epsilon squared when you consider that my ship has what amounts to a shipwide gas mask.

On top of that, the seas are just bad enough to make me very glad that I remembered to take meclizine this morning. The last thing I need is nausea in addition to general lousiness. I'd much rather be curled up by a fire in a secluded cabin somewhere in Saskatchewan, with a few kitties and no particular place to go...

I used to think that I had a certain amount of control over my life. That I could somehow extract some sense of stability over the things that were closest to me. Instead, I have discovered that life is nothing more than a string of random events that cannot be anticipated, and that all we do as people is add to the churning chaos that surrounds all of us. In fact, the thoughts that are in my head are nothing more than the intermingling of chemicals in different combinations that I am completely unaware of, and is entirely outside of my control.

I've been having an existential crisis since the birth of my nephew in 2006. Sometimes, it doesn't really bother me all that much, and I can muddle through my days without being weighed down by it. But every few months it pops back up in my brain as a major concern that needs heavy investment. Which is great, because then I can lay awake at night thinking about it and get absolutely nowhere.

I think I'm becoming a nihilist. I am uncomfortable with this.

I want to believe in something right and good. That there are right choices to make, right paths to choose, correct ways to deal with situations. But I'm pretty sure that kind of objectivity and evaluation doesn't exist. There are no good answers. We might as well pull ideas out of a hat and apply them to our surroundings.

Ten years ago today, I was trying to figure out just what the hell happened to my life, now spilled across the floor of an ER waiting room as they whisked her into the back for a battery of tests. A decade of perspective leaves me with no more answers than I had at that very moment. Fundamentally, it was just a mixing of chemicals in the brain that caused all of the issues. The wrong chemicals at the wrong time, for whatever reason or lack of reason, sent her over the edge.

That answer never gave any kind of comfort to me, but I don't think it was supposed to. Simply put, her actions were another touch of chaos that we regularly provide to those around us.

While this was an important and disturbing event in my time living with her, there isn't a lot of relevance for me in that story. My role there was merely as an observer, and if I had been paying attention to the other events going on in our relationship at the time, I might have noticed that 'observer' was going to be my new position permanently. But there was a lot going on back then, so I'm not going to get upset at myself for missing the big picture.

These last few years have been pretty good for me in dealing with the emotions that linger from events such as these. I think most of the pain and confusion is behind me now, as if it was in a movie I saw once but had forgotten all of the little plot points. I'm glad that time has offered a kind of healing that personal evaluation could not provide. On days such as these, I can now take these events out of storage, examine them for a while, and then very carefully tuck them away again. No damage done.

Perhaps there is something to be said for the lack of randomness in the passage of time. Regardless of the situations and feelings of what happened or what will happen, time will begin to sweep them into the pan almost as quickly as we drop them on the floor.

Actually, I don't know if I like that answer either.

I drove through Horseheads two weeks ago on my way back west. I drove past the old apartment building, and nothing appeared to have changed in the passing years. It was so eerily identical that I was tempted to knock on the door to see if I was home. But, I wouldn't know what to say to him anyway. I don't have the information that he's looking for, and I don't know if any advice I would give him would he helpful. So I got back on the highway and simply drove away. And that was all I needed.

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