Things have been rolling up like pieces of string, into a furious ball.

One is the customer service rep who calls me Christina, Christian and Christie all in the space of one phone call. Then tries to sell me roadside service for a phone that doesn't (and apparently won't) work. Who the fuck are these people, I grumble for two days solid, knots forming from muscles I did not know I had.

There is S. not showing up for our comibnation booze date photo shoot. There are the two papers I refused to write this week. There is and is and is. I feel my adolescence has returned with a vengeance. My instinct is to lean into this terrible mood and let it get worse. To ride it like a fabulous wave.

Then I am trying to breathe it all out in the bath tub, and doing fairly well, when I recall the press release S. set down on my desk this afternoon. A 71-year-old man is getting busted for furnishing booze to minors and in the process, they find a 13-year-old boy and 200 tapes of porn, much of it homemade.

Law enforcement types can only say so much on the record but we know it only gets worse.

In the tub my stomach twists, tighter when I try to push it to the back of my head, when I say to myself, You are not to take these things home with you. OK.

For x number of families do not have the luxury of not taking it home; it has followed them through the door. X number of families do not have the luxury of pushing this into the back of their heads.

For a minute or so, I entertain quitting a second time. My reasons this time would rhyme with my reasons last time.

And that is the point of my long-overdue unraveling. Thank fucking God. My tear ducts in fact work.

It's not so much to you, perhaps better fit for my notebook, but it might be something; I don't know.

I've been sleeping and complaining; by and by, eating; even more scarcely, studying.

Sometimes I think our lives are made of moments like that one in the bath tub, and the rest is merely glue. It is optimism searching us out like a flashlight. It is somebody saying (which somebody did), Keep your conscience and you will be OK. Breathe; there is literally nothing else you can do. But breathing in the face of so much stomach-twisting, teeth gritting, evil forces is more than it seems. Good God.