I recall a passage from the Journals of John Cheever that speaks to my current condition. It goes something like this I'm sitting in a yellow chair smoking three or four cigarettes. I don't smoke, but the vague agitation of Cheever's entry, the restless paralysis, rings true for me. There is plenty to do: pack for holiday travel to the in-laws, clean the house, meet my son for lunch-- all these tasks and more line up like gates, the passage through which would convey an imprimatur of normalcy. And yet I do nothing. Maybe I'll take up smoking.