Twenty years ago I was living with my mother. My brother had moved out. My father lived several states away. I was having “Anxiety Attacks” and feeling, as I say below, “trapped.”
from the diary: “Thursday 1/2/86
“I’m starting to read Asimov’s Robot novels starring Lije Bailey. Only a few chapters into the first [The Caves of Steel] and it strikes me as historical fiction – “This is what they thought the futue would be like back in the olden days. But we know better now.” I wonder what the third one [Robots of Dawn] will be like, being as it was only written a couple years ago. Well, science fiction dates, sometimes easier than mainstream fiction. Asimov, though, is always a quick read.”
A few days later: “Finished The Robots of Dawn. That was a good series. I particularly like the titles, The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun.”
The diary goes on, “Slept late. Didn’t wake up till 12:30. Did I already say I decided I’m agoraphobic? That’s ‘fear of the marketplace.’ Asimov uses it as ‘fear of open places/spaces’ in the Bailey books … but my phobia seems more a performance one, except that it relates directly to the marketplace – I’m too terrified to ask anybody for a job.
“A lady was on Donahue some bit ago … defining phobias. [She] gave the profile of a phobic. ‘Bright, creative, perfectionist, etc.’ don’t remember the rest, but it all fit. Yes, yes, amateur diagnoser me. But I’m not a hypochondriac, I don’t tailor diseases to my symptoms. I’d thought about phobias before and thought they didn’t really bother me. But now I’m trapped. I can empathize with the woman on the show who’d been cooped up in her home 30 years. but shit. I wanna get unscrewed up much, much faster than that.”