Iím crushed by the paranoia fed to me in utero, as deep as my DNA. An assigned value ó in this case systematic second-guessing ó determines the dependent variableís corresponding value, and I canít walk out the door without checking the stove and then returning to check again. I resent considering potential disasters and unforeseeable consequences until Iím paralyzed. Pre-determined flight, real world obligations ó these equations teach me to trust myself. Still the dependent variable is the function of the independent variable, so my mom calls every Sunday to make sure Iím taking my vitamins, not walking alone at night, still breathing.

12 + 13 + 14 + Ö

Iím falling apart at the edges. Thread by thread I unravel ó each promise made, each commitment. I secure one strand, another loosens, I never finish the first. The series diverges and my ends wonít weave back together ó the fringes widening, the intact center shrinking. Like painting an over eight mile bridge, Iím back at the beginning before I get to the end. With fingers cramped into permanent fists, Iím left to increasing terms that extend into namelessness.

a, ar, ar2, ar3Ö

I arrange a contrast between me and the wall, waiting for no one to ask me to dance. Beyond junior high itís called mingling and career advancement, so the dancing has been eliminated. In a progression the terms are different, but the relationship is the same. I intrude on readings, openings, parties and try to attach myself to the clumped conversations. I watch for arrows ó a glance or gesture of inclusion. Secretly I donít want to force my brain into the horrors of small talk and going nowhere.
     I avoid the food table, frightened by the predatory lunges for cheese and chocolate-covered strawberries. Iíd rather settle into the familiar exchanges of four or five friends. Even if the terms are consecutive and Iím supposed to learn from the past, Iím still trying to think of what to say. I edge into a group of minglers, like a tight parallel parking job. Always the last to know, I realize Iíve spoken aloud and my brain has betrayed me with a witticism. Are they rolling their eyes in laughter or pity? Rather than spilling along my tongue, I wish my brain would just stay in my head where it belongs.


Iím left grasping after calendar pages. What I thought was months away is long over. Just as a function changes value at a certain rate, Iím behind again and never was caught up and more keeps piling on. The functionís value depends on the variable.
     I wish for an eight day week and then have to remind myself that I would only commit to more and be left wishing for a nine day week. The rate of the changing function is consistently fickle, technically derivative. Time is not the problem, rather itís not understanding when too much is too much until Iím either immobile or shrieking.

lim/n> arn/1-r = 0

Daily I wait in line, forced to fade away, as one after another Iím shuffled to the end. My diminishing space goes unacknowledged and continues to be invaded ó the terms are getting smaller as the value approaches infinite. I imagine shoving back, even if it is the wrong solution. I consult the pinball ó ping! ó and am left careening around corners and ricocheting off ringers. The inconsideration and self-absorption is nibbling at my tolerance, eating its way toward my limits, and I explode to infinite.