Wednesday, June 17, 2015

In Which Mercury Goes Retrograde

I am perhaps a quasi-believer in astrology.   I am so specifically well described by the interpretations of the arrangement and interactions between the planets at the time of my birth, I don't really have anything in me to say, "nah, I don't believe in it."  I'm not obsessed with it or anything.  If I have a bad day or an excellent day, I'll sometimes check the horoscopes to see what was going on in the solar system.

I have never, ever, noticed Mercury in retrograde before.  I heard people talking about it, and was always like eh, whatever.  Nothing happened to me.

And then it hit me.  And rolled over me a few more times for good measure.

My birthdate is June 10th, 1982.  I was born in Saginaw, Michigan around 9:35 p.m.  Mercury was in retrograde (as were Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto, with Saturn stationary after being in retrograde the day before) in Gemini, which is also what happened this year, May 18th through June 11th.  

When I was born, Mercury was in the fifth house, which is the house of love matterspleasureleisure, children (none of those to worry about), and creations (according to  These would be the areas I am likely to have trouble with while Mercury does its retrograde thing.  Oh?  Yeah?  Is that all? Yeah?  You don't say?

In the last few months, I'd met someone I had this instant interest/connection with, but he was at the moment out of the country for a few weeks, so while I was on vacation and away from my Xbox's party chat, we were often on a messenger service, typing a tremendous amount.  When he got back from his trip, we had plans.  Lots of plans.

I was finally at a point financially where I actually had a bit of money left over in the bank after my bills and everything, and things were finally feeling good in that area.  My three year loan was paid off, so I was able to start applying that extra money towards getting other things paid off--things were looking good.

And then, while I was on vacation, my mom, aunt and I were driving back to Florida from Michigan, and we stopped at a gas station.  I went in to get drinks, and my card was declined.  Oh, spectacular.  I didn't call the bank to let them know I was travelling.  My bad.  Went back to the car, looked up my bank account and found it overdrawn by nearly 100 dollars.  Six hundred dollars, wiped out.  

The department of education had apparently decided it was time to review my loan repayment method, and unbeknownst to me, had adjusted my payments back to the default amount, which is six hundred dollars a month. I had been paying fifty.   

Excellent.  My vacation ended and I went back to normal life.  And then one day while the person for whom I felt affection and I were playing online, he abruptly left the game we were playing and proceeded to stop talking to me entirely.  He didn't respond to my invitations to play or for party chat.  He read my messages, but didn't reply.  Not a word.

It took me a good week (during which he'd said he was to return to our city) or so to actually give up and accept that he wasn't going to talk to me anymore, even though I didn't know why.  I mean... what?  Why?  Why?  How does someone talk to someone for weeks every day for hours and hours and then just poof, wordlessly, especially knowing my feelings and claiming to have some of his own?  Poof.  POOF.  He eventually blocked me on Live when I had the gall to "like" one of his videos doing something in a game he had told me he'd wanted to do and that I'd said I'd wanted to see.  Ouch.  Well... okay.

So, I deleted our chats so I couldn't reread the flood of messages I'd sent that he maybe had read, or perhaps had just opened the window, and stop wondering about that.  I had saved the morning bad hair selfies and random pictures (look at this hideous hotel carpet!) we'd sent each other on my netbook in case my phone died or something, but it was just torture to have them there within looking distance on the device I carry with me all the time.  Deleted.  And then when I scrolled through my texts, I came across those we exchanged before he left the country.  It hurt my heart to see the last thing I'd sent, so I meant to enter a space to have an empty draft.  But that bumped the conversation to the top of the list of my text conversations, so I went to delete the single space... AND PRESSED SEND INSTEAD.  Did I roll a 1 or something?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  Hopefully he got a new number when he came back to the states.

All right, so, I decided to just move on with my life.  It was June, I was about to turn 33, and I caught fire for the story I've been working on for the last year.  I was in the home stretch.  The final two chapters.  I wrote a good thirty to forty pages, and on June tenth, my birthday, I was home from work.  Perfect opportunity.  For my birthday present to myself, I was going to finish my draft.

So there I was, enjoying my morning.  I was sitting on the couch with my netbook (I have a netbook just for writing.  It fits in my work locker and is really the perfect size for bringing with me everywhere), typing away merrily, and then I pressed "save."

The screen went blue.  Ugh, awesome, I thought, hoping my work for the last hour had made it.  If not, no big deal; OpenOffice autosaves and can usually recover the document.  Except this time, when I went to turn the netbook back on, it made this weird click and claimed to be unable to boot.  


No boot device.


The answer, dear reader, was March.  After that, I hadn't really been writing much because my free time was sort of absorbed in something(one) else.

I went from being at the end of my story, +80k words, 110 pages, to being back to 70 pages, ~60k words.  A fourth of my book was gone, along with all the edits I'd done going back and rereading.  It was my own fault for not doing a backup, and I kept thinking "oh, I will at the end of this scene, I'm on a roll right now, I'm rolling so hard!"


The next day, June 11th, was the last day of Mercury in retrograde, and it was as if a horrible, wretched weight was lifted off of my shoulders.  I know it wasn't because of Mercury appearing to be moving counter to its usual motion that so and so stopped talking to me and the Dept of Education wiped out my account or that my hard drive crashed...

But I don't believe in clusters of coincidences either.

Moral of the story:  BACK UP YOUR WORK DAILY.  And don't ignore any gut feelings.  And don't call customer service while driving through mountainous terrain.  And when you feel yourself falling for someone, temper it with the reminder that pain is the result of hope, of expectation, of want.  Even when someone is with you (and claims certainty that you (including your feelings and inherent weirdness) cannot scare them away), don't hope.  Don't look to the future or to the past.  Just be there in the moment with them and enjoy them while it lasts.

And when you miss the sound of their laughter, think of it as a blessing that the only copy of the video they sent of them making fun of you for missing the sound of their voice was on the hard drive that crashed so you can't torture yourself about them anymore, ever again.