Posted by: Chelsea Novak | November 14, 2005

N is for Neville who died of ennui

We have this poster on our kitchen door. A macabre little thing called The Gashlycrumb Tinies, all witty and victorian, that wryly details the way 26 little children came to meet their maker. It’s wrong but funny and charming. My favourite is Neville. Mostly because the accompaning image is the top of a head and some dark little eyes peering out a huge bank of windows on what looks to be the rainiest day in all time. That and the idea of actually dying of ennui… well that’s just so decadent and so victorian.

I sometimes look at the poster and poor Neville and have a chuckle. A self-effacing chuckle. I think it’s healthy when you’ve been holding your own pity party for a couple of weeks too long to step back, compare yourself to a little goth cartoon and just laugh at yourself. I think that’s what’s been lacking in my quest to cure this case of ennui I’ve got.

You see, things have not been exactly ideal. I’ve become so tense and uptight in the last few months, I’m concerned that pretty soon my head will just pop right off. And that’s a sign that I’m not dealing.

This week I lost the ability to control what I wasn’t dealing with and, for a moment, the uptight facade lost all stability and the problematic emotion came busting out. Anger. I was so angry I felt like I could spit bile. I achieved the height of misanthropy wherein for a fleeting moment I thought that I really and truly hated everyone. I felt like I was choking on hate. The feeling gave me a terrible headache and made me feel ill.

All of this took place internally. To an outside observer it would have simply appeared that I was just standing there (which furthers my curiosity about what random people I see are thinking about). The event that sparked all the anger is completely insignificant out of context. In context, it was ripe with the kind of irony I’m not big enough to share with the whole world as it was just so very cliche.

It lasted for maybe a minute before I started laughing at myself. Because the reality is, that I don’t hate anyone. Not even the people who really deserve it. The anger had just been making me toxic and clouding everything.

This might be a good place to toss in a metaphor about the passing of dark storms or about how it can’t rain all the time, but I’m trying to keep the cheese at a minimum.

So right now, I feel fine, even good. It could rain for the next week and I’m sure I could fend off any fatal attacks of ennui. At the very least, should I catch myself looking out a bank of windows on a rainy day, I can have a good laugh.

Today’s sing-a-long song: “Only” by Nine Inch Nails




  1. Anger. It seems to be going around. Maybe it’s a Libra thing, but seriously, what is wrong with people? They’re all so annoying and deserving of the hate I know I shouldn’t feel. Is it me? (Don’t answer that.)

  2. I googled “neville ennui” just because I was thinking about the Tinies poster, and Neville is my favorite, too. Your post came up. And was very familiar — I have been feeling the same sort of thing lately, burgeoning internal rage at the talking turnips that I have to deal with, for doing insignificant things that would normally just be frustrating or humorous. So thanks for making me feel less singularly neurotic.

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