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“A womb.” That was my answer to the question “Where were you born?” posed
by a border inspector, who I had seen many times when entering the USA en route to San Diego. Instead of admonishing me, he
laughed and asked, “How’s the writing going?” What makes this brief cordial exchange notable is, these were
the first words I had spoken in ten days. I suffer from Dysthymia, depression in common vernacular. I used to say that
“I was reclusive”, “a loner”, “shy”, or “just like to keep to myself sometimes”,
but I believe that depression, like any other affliction should be confronted to be managed. My affliction is not a result
of the transition from the dynamic worlds of the military, information technology, and consulting to the relative tranquility
of writing. Depression has been a constant brooding shadow that I neither take nor consider taking prescription medication to
manage. Hereditary? Possibly, as well as sociological influences exacerbated by traumatic incidents with multiple concussions.
How does one spend ten days without speaking when living in a city of two million with affable neighbors?
The first five days were spent indoors during the cold, drizzly, rainy season in Tijuana, an otherwise dry semi-tropical locale
where a temperature less than 60 is considered to be cold by the inhabitants. Agoraphobic? No! Home Internet access was a
source of irritation as well because of an ongoing conflict with the then Internet Service Provider, service being the operative
word. Attempts to implement a wireless system thru two of the major providers had been fruitless, nearly resulting in legal
redress. If I were not already depressed, I would have been after these encounters. I will have to upgrade or replace my laptop
to implement a perpetual wireless system. Meanwhile, I use Internet cafes or the public library in San Ysidro, a Wi Fi hotspot.
I made three trips to San Diego over the next six days; coincidentally the border inspectors were handling more pressing issues;
so my identification was accepted without a minimal challenge. Of course on the third trip I was asked the obligatory, “Where
were you born?”
Depression should not be minimized. The so-called cures that I had used in
more dynamic social environs including, “hanging out in Jazz clubs”, “cigars and cognac”, “meditating/brooding”,
“isolation” are not effective, generally. Listening to “the troubles” of others, though often laborious;
somehow worked for me, even when I was depressed --- go figure! Exercise and proper diet are essential.
Hopefully, my next eMail will not be so depressing; the subjects: Eliminate Black History Month and Alter Martin
Luther King Jr. Day.