I told you how I felt.

It's time to tell you how I feel.


Last Sunday night, I was tossing between my sheets like a man who'd eaten bad mussels. I was hot and annoyed and frightened and dangling at the end of a thin thread. Would I go in Monday and announce that I was out of that place like bad lunchmeat? What would I say, if I said it? Could I do this? Would I?

Finally the dawn approached. Finally the sound of 96.7 The Pulse came over my Sony clock-radio which I bought to replace the Panasonic clock-radio that still worked perfectly fine. I looked at the face in the mirror, into the eyes crusted at the corneres where lurked ... there in those dark holes ... fear. I brushed the salty scum from my teeth, I stepped into the warm shower, and I squirted shampoo into the cup of my palm ­ going through the motions as I had done every other day of my working life like an automaton ­ preprogrammed and debrained.

I dressed. I wrapped my flesh in layers against the Vermont winter. I walked down out of my apartment to the cold coccoon of my car and started it up, plugging Seal into the portable CD player because I know the songs so well and can go on autopilot for the quick 15-minute commute to where I work.

I pulled into the parking lot.

It was empty.

It had not occurred to me that Monday was the redirected celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, placed on this day to allow federal workers and bank clones to sleep another two hours before sitting in their underwear on the couch watching The Price Is Right as our way of honoring the slain civil rights leader.

I got an Egg McMuffin and drove back home.

Yes, I felt like an asshole.

But the ice had broken in my head, and I knew that I was resolved. That I couldn't do this anymore. That, no matter what my current responsibilities, no matter which of the bees left to fan the queen in my absence would be screwed over, no matter if I ended up living in a gutter clutching my last remaining possession ­ a small glass dog that has traveled with me all my life ­ I could not face any more of this life ­ the life I had constructed, freely and of my own volition. I didn't care anymore.

Martin Luther King had set me free.