Ten signs that you're suffering from an attack of The Februaries:
It's February. Just like Tuesday is the longest day of the week (Monday was ages ago and Friday is years away), the 4 weeks of February last longer than a giant sea turtle's lifetime and go by twice. As. Slowly. It's like February is the toll booth at the end of January's downhill slalom from Christmas--and not just any toll booth--we're talking Lincoln Tunnel here, folks, where there's no radio reception, the air is filled with soporific fumes, and it takes a week just to go a mile underground.
Self-indulgence masquerading as self-reflection. "Let's take this time to reflect," you say to yourself, which in any other month of the year would result in some kind of spiritual clarity, but in February it's like sliding down Hell's longest firepole face first into a mirror that shows you every zit and blackhead on your nose at ten times its normal size.
Why bother? Is what you're feeling despair? No--despair takes energy. What you're feeling is what Despair rubs off its shoes onto your doormat before it sprawls on your coach and turns on the History Channel.
Massive social hibernation. According to Sartre, Hell is other people. According to me, February is other people covering you with itching powder. If there's fun, it's never where you are or where you're going, but almost always wherever you just were, with someone other than anyone you're with now.
Mister Roboto. Everything is mechanical: responses, activities, and especially what passes for enjoyment, but is only really the flaring of an occasional circuit connection, which flashes with all the warmth of a Christmas Tree light flickering three streets over. Nothing warms or inspires. Creative projects become plodding, workmanlike hulks of dreck which no one will ever want to see, read, or do. February is the artistic equivalent of trying to find a pure rhyme for the word "month."
I'm wrong, the world is right. Your critics are correct, your enemies have God on their side, your supporters are naive and misinformed, and on your happiest February day ever, you are a useless sack of weight-gaining flesh with a January sell-by date stamped on your forehead. The Februaries are to low self-esteem what the Marianas Trench is to a pothole. Especially when it comes to --
Rejection Slip Hell. Every November and December, I send out cleverly-written scripts to a dozen or more contests, workshops, etc. Because they are cleverly written, contain ideas, and actually attempt to build towards a conflict between equals, they do not resemble modern plays at all, and therefore inspire form rejection letters which hit my mailbox on the afternoon of any day in which I leave work feeling halfway decent about myself.
Valentine's Day. I don't know what's worse--having someone, or not having someone, with whom to fall short of this particular day's romantic expectations. On the one hand, feeling alone with someone else is far worse than being alone, period, but since the Februaries rob you of all perspective, the operative words here are "lonely" and "alone," so you get to feel sorry for yourself either way.
Blah blah blah. You want to read something but every book you touch leaves you cold. You want to see a movie but everything playing in theatres makes you say "Meh." Food is tasteless, candy lacks a kick, and drinking incredible amounts of alcohol gives you gas instead of a buzz. If you had a social life, sex would probably feel like parallel parking.
There are actually only nine signs. Because it's February, I'm too why-bother to think of a tenth one.