Going Polar?

January 30, 2004

Uncontrollable Urges

After playing tournament sixteen weekends in a row, I had resolved to save time and money by skipping two weeks and instead studying more heavily for Danbury. I was satisfied that my Atlantic City performance had put me close enough to 1500 that I'd be able to cross the line in Danbury if I didn't start slumping again. I was able to make it through most of the week with only occasional glances at Travelocity and SmarterLiving. But as Friday dragged on, I began to grow anxious. I checked the websites more often, planning possible itineraries. I posted a message to CGP expressing my intensifying itch to continue my streak. I received a few replies encouraging me to take it easy. I managed to hold out past my window of opportunity for the 5:55 flight to Orange County, but as the window to make the 8:00 PM flight to LAX closed, I totally lost it. Even without hearing back from the director Gary Moss about whether I'd still be able to register, I took on faith that he'd be accepting last-minute entires, and I gave in to the urge and booked the flight. I was committed. The race was then on to make it to the airport on time. Once more without a laptop, I had to print out a list of addresses and phone numbers of the Starbucks I needed to visit. There was no time for maps. I made my decision just past 4:00 PM. By 4:30 I had left work, and after a delay gassing up (stupid NJ laws), I was home at 5:00, and on the way to the airport by 5:30. Delays on I-95 around the NJ border had me worried that I wouldn't make it in time, and I sure enough didn't make it by 6:00 or 6:30, but the trip smoothed out, and by 7:00 I was at the gate. In my rush it was inevitable that I would forget to pack something. On the shuttle to the terminal I remembered the first thing, my bottle of acetaminophen. As much coffee as I'd be drinking on Saturday, I knew I would need it. During the drive to the airport, and during my wait to board the plane, I had time to wonder whether my sudden decision represented the impending return of a hypomanic cycle. It had been around seven years since my moods had stabilized, and I had been hoping that my condition had been due to work-related anxiety. If some degree of mania was returning, it wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing the world, because I might accomplish more as long as it lasted. But the low that potentially followed could be disastrous. Lacking medical insurance, and with the recovery of the economy still uncertain, a period of depression could wreck me financially. Shortly after boarding the plane I remembered something else I had forgotten--my map of the LA area. I had packed it in my duffel bag, when I should have broad it on board so I could get a head start in locating the Starbucks I needed to visit and planning my route.

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