Monday, Jan. 24, began, as most Mondays do, with a monumental effort to haul myself from between nice warm flannel sheets and meet a new week. But I managed.
A nice warm shower and a hot cup of coffee put a bit of perspective on the day and I was pretty much ready to put the finishing touches on our Feb. 3 issue, the one in your hand.
Then, as is my habit most mornings, I turned on Good Morning America. Charlie Gibson usually provides an appropriate transition from sleep to work. He may sometimes report bad news but he does it in a way that makes you feel like he really is sorry to have to break it to you so early in the morning. When he does puff pieces, he shows a silly side that I especially appreciate.
On Jan. 24, Charlie was away and someone else delivered a report that turned my day sour.
Jan. 24, the reporter said, is the most depressing day of the year. Something about a month having transpired since Christmas and the bills still not paid, added to the realization that all those New Year's resolutions folks made less than a month ago have already gone by the wayside puts a little Grinch in our gut.
Then there's the awful realization that winter is no more than a month old and that February (Have I ever told you how much I dislike February? I thought so.) looms ominously over the next little rise in the road.
It's still cold. It's still too dark too early and not light enough too early in the evening. The fish aren't biting. And the last cold snap turned the leaves on the evergreen gardenia a sickly brown.
Outside, the sun was shining. The day promised to bring a warming trend with temperatures reaching the upper 60s in the Dallas area. No rain in the forecast. Most of my deadline work was done, edited and off to the home office. A few tidbits remained. A column to write (hmmmm).
But suddenly I didn't feel so good. I began to second-guess the lead sentences I'd written on at least four stories.
I wondered what on earth I could write a column about. I looked for some notes I'd made several months ago and put away for a future column. Couldn't find them so I cleaned out all my files and threw away scads of outdated press releases and notes, now illegible, scribbled four or five years ago. I found photos of people I couldn't remember. (Of course I could have made those last week.)
The cat knocked over my bottle of black cherry-flavored water. Evil omen, that.
I considered medication. I recalled a nice bottle of red wine in the kitchen, but dismissed the idea quickly, realizing that acute indigestion would do nothing to improve my mood.
I read my e-mail. Bad idea. Too many reminders that I really should shake off these January blues and get to work.
I cleaned out more files, threw away more old stuff, emptied the garbage can. Felt sorry for myself and all mankind for having to endure the most depressing day of the year. I edited some more stuff, communicated with one of my counterparts about an on-line course we've put on our Web site. That cheered me up a bit and got me to 5:30.
I made dinner (my job since Pat commutes an hour to work). She came home and I felt better. She mentioned that she'd been a little moody all day.
“No kidding!” I said. “So has everyone else in universe.”
And I still don't know what to write a column about.