What is this strange feeling I’m feeling?

How can I change
the way…
if I can’t…
even change…
myself?

How can I change
the way I am?
I don’t know…
I don’t know…

Faithless, “Salve Mea”

WASHINGTON, DC, USA – February 28, 1998 – Midnight between Friday and Saturday. Our company happy-hour is over, and my coworkers have gone out partying. The conference room is strewn with half-eaten brownies, empty tins left with traces of catered barbecue, plates of chip crumbs, and dirty napkins. Lots of carpet stains here in our beautiful Georgetown office, punctuated by the smell of stale food and the bright incandescent office lights burning down on the carnage. Coolers of melted ice and floating, neglected cans of Diet Sprite. Beer bottles and bottle caps EVERYWHERE.

Just outside the office windows, in the darkness broken in places by small halogen lights, I can still hear echoes of laughing, taunting, excited yells and gossip. Plans of outings, cigarette after spent cigarette flicked into space by the smokers outside, “proper” and formal chit-chat with the new folks, and outrageous comments made by tipsy goofballs followed by loud outbursts of group laughter.

The Extrovert in me, the “E” in the ENTP, loves that laughter, that taunting, those comments, being that goofball. Feels energized. Wants more.

I’m entering that time of the night when early-rising friends have already nodded off or gone home to slip into relaxed comfort of sofa and blanket and remote control.

And I have the strangest feeling…

Anxietyexcitementdespairtensionhyperactivelonelylimerance…what is this feeling?

“You’re coming to Sesto tonight, right?” echo the memories of my friends’ requests.

The night creature in me is ready to go. Itching. Anxious. And yet…

There are strange chains holding me back…

Brakes? Depression? I don’t know…

Looking back at the computer, I imagine the T3 connection silently humming and sizzling behind the monitor… a high-speed digital buzz… a constant connection to another world… a world of digital people connections…

My email demands I check it… my computer brrrrrrngs with the chimes of yet another “Instant Message”…

Booming over the speakers, the incessant, insistent, driving beat of Salve Mea thumps through my desk, over and over, tapping me on the arm, as if to say, “go…go…go…go…go…”

Smoky, thumping socialization tonight, Eric? Confrontational drunks, empty conversations, and bathroom lines tonight? Or another night in front of the monitor, making far-flung digital connections and submitting the Unix PUT FILE command until 4am? (Damn, these are the choices?)

“How can I change….the way…. I am? I don’t know…. I don’t know….” she sings.

I stop the CD player, grab my blazer and head for the door.

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