My existence used to have content. I know this. I have records, dated, handwritten, typed, printed, organized, shelved, annotated. I have photographs of people whose lives intersected with mine, however briefly, and who I knew, who I loved, who I worried about and cared for. I have a family, I have a hometown, I have a diploma from the high school there, the ugly brick school which stands across the street from the outlet mall where I worked a couple of shit jobs. I have old phone numbers, old addresses, boxes of trinkets given by old lovers. I have walked down the streets of this dirty little town, found snapshots on the sidewalk, guided friends back to my apartment after drunk fights at closing time. I know the people at the diner, I know their families and ask about them as is polite. I try hard to remember the sexes and names of their children. I am getting to know Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn during these long, gray afternoons at the counter, drinking black coffee from tiny mugs. I ride in the passenger seat of my own car and press my face against the window and its the same strip malls and fast food and I know what the right things to do are, but they are too difficult. Besides, at least I have something to struggle against, something against which to define myself until the fog clears and I know how to think again. It is ugly, it is humiliating, it is the last time I will ever allow myself to do this. The bottom is always far, far lower than you can ever imagine.