Earlier this week I was commiserating with a friend who expressed discomfort over an increasing feeling of futility that had made itself manifest only recently and, as something of an expert in the field of not totally being in love with life all the time, it occurred to me that the knowledge I have concerning this condition might be helpful to more than just the people in my social circle, so I will share my message with anyone else out there who is similarly situated from an emotional standpoint. You are not wrong to feel down: This is winter. Real winter. We’re in it now. The holidays are a distant memory, spring seems impossibly far away and even the lengthening of the days is something you observe solely through windows. Whatever flash of light you see in the hours before the evening is a taunting reminder that most of your life is spent indoors, in an artificially brightened environment designed to disguise a darkness that is always with you no matter how you try to convince yourself otherwise. We’re at the point in the calendar year where the pervasive hopelessness of nature sends a signal to your brain to start a steady leak from its carafe of chemicals that more than ever makes you realize just how bleak and pointless life really is and that there is no amount of alcohol or television or sex or expensive noodle dishes and the photos you post thereof that can keep you from confronting just how alone you are no matter how many people you number in your life. You are suffering from a state that can best be described as human existence, the only cure for which comes at its end, and even that eventual promise of blissful oblivion makes it no easier to cope with the shabby scrim of suffering that drapes itself over all that you see in your sad eyes. Normally this is the part where I would offer some hope but I am sorry to tell you that I cannot. It’s all dark. It doesn’t get better. There is a temporary respite come spring and summer but even that you will waste and suddenly you will find yourself back in fall, the days growing shorter and your ability to delude yourself that it will all be okay once again proving wanting. It is an endless cycle of suffering only occasionally interrupted by your brain’s begrudgingly allowing you to pretend things might work out while the weather is warm. That said, I hear flights to L.A. are not super-exorbitant these days; if you can swing it, it might make you okay for a week or two, which is really all you can ask for.