Sit in a coffee shop. Try to be present. Try to feel each moment, each second washing over the self-consciousness, perhaps washing away the self-consciousness, at least to the extent possible. Tune out the upbeat music in the background. Stare at the fire. Watch the improved simulation of real logs with natural gas, watch the emberetic glow of high-temperature metal designed to look like wood. Think. Try not to think. Be present. Try to find some kernel of value in this moment that proves to you that it’s worth sticking around for more of these. Figure out what that is, if applicable. Try not to think about “not applicable”. Come up with something, dammit.

Walk to a coffee shop. Suit up after checking the weather. Pile on more sweatshirts, for the forty now will hopefully be closer to thirty upon return, if only you can stay out longer like you were supposed to the last few times. Try not to picture your teary tearing through the streets of a week before, try not to create a muscle memory of tear ducts connected to misshapen shoes traversing ice-slush-concrete. Try. Try harder. Pick up the crazy striped jacket and try not to think of when it was purchased. Pick up the perfect-green thick jacket and try not to think of when it was purchased. Wonder how long it will be till life doesn’t feel like an empty set of references to something that apparently never existed, or certainly doesn’t any more. Try not to lose the interest in going out altogether. Pick up your shit and just go already.

Decide to take a shower. Showers are often inspiring, remember? Showers are the conduit to a weird kind of thinking-non-thinking, a weird kind of place where muscle memory takes over and replaces detailed thought, let alone memory, washing (get it?) everything away to a place where clarity can swoop in like the natural state it was always supposed to be in the first place. Try not to think about the challenges. The nudity, the mirror, the scale, the anxiety, the memory. Focus on the water. Focus on things being a little too hot, but without doing so too much. Focus on the drowning noise, so unlike most other noise, rhythmic and neutral, what your damn white noise alarm clock tries and fails to be. Focus on anything, something, just get your clothes off already because there’s a chance, however slight, that you will feel just the marginalist bit better after doing this and that will make everything seem worth it for a few minutes or hours and that could create a momentum that will make the whole day tolerable. Maybe. Worth a shot.

Try to eat something. Try not to resort to going out, because it won’t be worth it anyway. Try to wrestle with the need to cook, the ease with which certain meals have become turnkey enough, especially since you still have a little salsa left. Try to not wait it out too long. Fail at that. Feel the pulsing aches of little hungers, literally eating at the sides of your stomach. Feel their echoes in your head, your heart. Question why you do this to yourself. Ignore your own answer. Try to push yourself a little harder, to reconcile the importance of long-term consequences lasting three or six hours with the utter unimportance of actual long-term consequences. Try to convince yourself that it is your low blood sugar talking, that you are not actually this upset. Try to persuade yourself that being full may equate to a little more happy, somehow. Try to push yourself up off the couch, just do it already. Get out oil, tortillas, cheese, salsa, string yourself along with the smell and the promise of anything that will feel a little better than the dull pangs residing in so many physical crevices of your forlorn body.

Tear yourself away from the computer. There is about an hour worth of tolerable material on the Internet and then things will lapse into danger. There will be research after that, there will be wallowing. There will be intractable pitfalls that could ruin everything. It almost happened anyway – there was a mine today – but the mines are not the same as the holes you walk into yourself. You can’t do anything about the mines, or maybe you can, but that remains to be seen and resolved and so in the limbo that remains, you must do everything you can to be smart. It is so fucking hard for you to be smart. Why is that? Don’t answer that question. Try to rebuild a semblance of causality that makes sense. Scrap it. Convince yourself, squinting, that causality is unnecessary. Just breathe. Turn off the monitor. Consider what to replace it with. Remember you have another Netflix still, that it doesn’t interest you but will kill a couple hours. Move from one screen to the next.

Try to get up. Remember that the time of half-asleepness that so many spend so much of their lives savoring or craving, that you used to like when you were not alone, remember that this can ruin the whole day. Remember that your mind will wander in this state, that the dreams that come even if you do manage to return to sleep will be the most devastating. Remember that even if you didn’t want to be up this early, it is, like most everything, up to fate to decide. That the best you can do is to be the limp pliable marionette of destiny until something comes along and scoops you out of the muck. Remember that this is a terrible, if occasionally necessary way to look at life. Remember your resolutions. Remember the hope of being somehow productive today. Remember how full of promise every day felt a year ago. Scrap that. Try to think how silly the margins between then and now feel, but remember how everything you believe in and have ever advocated requires that perspective. Despair. Stop despairing, kick your own ass out of bed. Look around. Put your hands on your knees. Sigh. Try to find a reason. Walk to the computer in the hopes there will be something of interest there. Maybe today there will be hope.