I took the only viable option, which was to inform my boss that I wasn't well and come back home, crawl into bed, and pass out, grateful to bid the conscious world goodbye for a while.
Sometime around 2:00 I woke back up again, ears still ringing but at least I didn't hurt all over any more. Now I'm trying to take advantage of the unexpected time to do some mental maintenance and get to some of the things I never get to because I'm too busy-- like the shirts I've got sitting on the ironing board. Simple and straightforward chores can be remarkably comforting.
I'm also trying to work on an exit strategy for my current lifestyle, because I can't keep going this way. I posted the other day about how my current life was unacceptable, and today's meltdown is more evidence of the same. There are many things that need to change, not the least of which is that laurie_robey and I need to get away from the constant shrill stress of our jobs and the Washington DC area generally.
We've talked many times about where our "dream home" might be; my current touchstone is "the town of Nelson as seen in Steve Martin's Roxanne." Nelson B.C. is a real town, actually, and it's apparently fairly well known as a funky artsy town, but I'm not really interested in trying to move to another country if I can avoid it.
Kerry was convinced that Laurie and I should go to Eugene, OR, which is a college town in the Pacific Northwest, and I don't know that she was wrong. We're also eyeing Portland, on the grounds that it has two used bookstores on every corner (not to mention Powell's, the largest used bookstore in the country), which suggests that it's a town that might be filled with our kinds of people.
I will miss our cozy little Hobbit Hole, even if I won't miss the neighborhood it's in. But y'know, there are other cozy houses out there, and there must be at least one that we could afford to live in and have jobs that weren't driving us to early graves. Maybe even (gasp!) one where I could afford to start trying to make a living doing what I should be doing, not what I'm forcing myself to do to earn a big enough paycheck.
Meanwhile... guh. I've got to keep calm and bugger on.