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Proof That Mercury Retrograde Is Real And Terrible

As the latest Mercury Retrograde draws to a close, a look back at whether it was so atrocious after all. (It was.)

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Mercury Retrograde is an astrological phenomenon said to be unusually difficult and frequently confusing for people. It happens three to four times a year. The most recent began Feb. 6 and (finally) ends today.

For the past three weeks of Mercury Retrograde, I kept a daily journal, assigning each day a "Retrograde Rating," with 0 as the least Retrograde-y (i.e., the least terrible) and 10 being the MOST Retrograde-y (i.e., so bad it is almost unbelievable). That journal, with added testimony from co-workers and friends, is below.


Thursday, Feb. 6

All day I feel crazy (LITERALLY CRAZY), and am not sure why. I listen to Nicki Minaj's "Boss Ass Bitch" five to seven times in a row. I'm really annoyed all day, but in a way that borders on hysteria, so I giggle a lot. In the afternoon, the discovery comes to me, via Twitter: Mercury Retrograde has begun. Everything makes sense now.

Retrograde Rating: 7

Friday, Feb. 7

My notes say "sad feelings." Several of the emails I send on this day appear partly in green text. This is a mystery to me, and also a little embarrassing.

Retrograde Rating: 9

Saturday, Feb. 8

Around 2:00, a friend of mine tweets that she is bored and wants to get a tattoo. I reply that I'll go with her sometime soon. Our mutual friend jumps in and says, "You guys should go TODAY." I don't have any other plans (ugh), so I decide to get something permanently drawn on my body that I had no intention of getting earlier the same day. This uncharacteristic bravado feels planetary. We make appointments for 8:00, and I go first, and get a four-inch lighthouse on my back. It doesn't hurt as much as I remember my first tattoo hurting. I text my parents to tell them and my dad suggests that I should have just gotten a T-shirt with a lighthouse on it if I like lighthouses so much.

Retrograde Rating: 3

Sunday, Feb. 9

On Sunday mornings I talk to my best friend on the phone. Toward the end of our 90-minute conversation, after she has told me about this horrible guy she was briefly seeing, I tell her that Mercury is in retrograde. "I didn't know that," she says. "I have been feeling so horrible and I'm not even getting my period."

"It's because of Mercury," I say.

"I guess so," she says. "I am glad I now know who to blame."

Retrograde Rating: 5

Monday, Feb. 10

My mom emails me to say that my tattoo, which she saw on Instagram, is a lot bigger than she thought by how I described it. "I guess you won't be able to cover it up all of the time," she writes, "but I guess you aren't worried about that."

My notes say "General shittiness." Sour Patch Kids consumed: upwards of 30.

I spend half an hour on the phone with Time Warner, who the week previous told me my internet problems weren't their fault, it was the router's fault. Over the weekend the router people said it wasn't their fault, it was Time Warner's fault. Tonight when I call Time Warner, the woman I speak to says it's them. They can send someone out to fix our internet. In a week.

Retrograde Rating: 9

Tuesday, Feb. 11

I order some books online, which is good because the stack of unread books I already have on my floor could be bigger. Both of my friends whom I asked to get lunch with me said no. One of them is leaving for vacation tomorrow and says she "has to go buy bug spray." Sure.

Representative Gchat Dialogue, 11:52 a.m.: "I need to leave the country I think"

Retrograde Rating: 7

Wednesday, Feb. 12

The morning is good because I talk to a friend about nail art. After lunch I feel like falling asleep and also maybe crying. I spend a little bit reading the Wikipedia page for the Majestic 12, which normally cheers me up. Today it does not.


Retrograde Rating: 7


Thursday, Feb. 13

My co-worker Matt offers me a doughnut and I look at him and say, "What is that?" My brain has lost the ability to correctly identify a doughnut. I eat part of whatever the object is that my co-worker Matt has offered me.

A stranger on Twitter corrects me on a grammar issue and I lash out at him.

Representative Gchat Dialogue:

Dan: hi katie

me: hi dan

Dan: you're angry

me: i am

Retrograde Rating: 7

Friday, Feb. 14

What is worse than Valentine's Day? Valentine's Day In Retrograde.

Retrograde Rating: 6

Saturday, Feb. 15 – Sunday, Feb. 16

I WORK THIS WHOLE WEEKEND. Outside, a sea of interminable slush.

Retrograde Rating: 6

Monday, Feb. 17

On this day, which I have off work because of the presidents' birthdays, I pay an astronomical (get it) price to get UFOs and aliens and glitter painted onto my nails. In the salon with me are my friend Silvia and two supermodels, who say things like, "I just got back from Aruba." The salon soundtrack is girl power hip-hop and it feels like a space that Mercury Retrograde cannot enter.

Retrograde Rating: 1

Tuesday, Feb. 18

After work I pay $18 to see The Lego Movie by myself. I eat popcorn for dinner and that plus the Diet Coke are another $12. The movie is in 3D and it's weird to wear the glasses ever, let alone…alone. I don't know if this has anything to do with my Mercury-induced emotional state, but I love this film. I cried.

On the way home I get in a text fight with my roommate about whether I saw the movie in Union Square or merely near Union Square.

Retrograde Rating: 6

Wednesday, Feb. 19

I spend this entire day making a quiz about witches, whose career I am finding increasingly appealing.

Retrograde Rating: 5


Thursday, Feb. 20

My notes say only: "BAD MOOD IT'S BAD"

Retrograde Rating: 10

Friday, Feb. 21

A psychic whom I pay to tell me about myself, because I feel bad, tells me I am feeling pretty bad right now.

Retrograde Rating: 6

Saturday, Feb. 22 – Sunday, Feb. 23

I have a lot of existential despair today re: my career, my future, my relationships.

I spend a lot of time trying to work and a little time working. On Sunday I decide I need a Shamrock Shake, and I go to two different McDonald's looking for one without success. "It's broken," the cashier at the first one tells me. "Is it broken?" I ask the cashier at the second one. "No," she says, staring me down. "We just don't have them today." I don't understand.

Retrograde Rating: 6

Monday, Feb. 24

A boring nothing of a Monday. Everyone is like, "Isn't it SUCH a Monday today?" and everyone else is like, "Yeah."

Representative Gchat Dialogue:

Chiara: we have wine, yeah?

we have like two bottles

me: yes

Chiara: yesssss


Retrograde Rating: 5

Tuesday, Feb. 25

Someone who sits near me is like, "Fuck Tuesdays," and I'm like, "Ugh, I know."

Retrograde Rating: 5

Wednesday, Feb. 26

Partway through the morning I become convinced I have pink eye, I think because of Bob Costas. I spend a little bit of time on WebMD. "Look at my eye," I tell a few people, and they lean in closer. "Do you think I have pink eye?" I ask them, and they back away.

The redness goes away. I don't have pink eye. My eyes, like me, are merely angry.

When I get home from work, I chip a tooth on my fork, doing nothing but eating. This seems like an overreaction on the part of my tooth. In the middle of the night I wake up, turn over, and scratch one of my eyeballs (the one I thought had pink eye) on a pillowcase, which makes my eye pretty red again.

Retrograde Rating: 10

Thursday, Feb. 27

There is a light at end of the tunnel, because Mercury Retrograde ends tomorrow, but at the same time, I am not sure I will actually get there. That is the thing about that saying: What if something (like a monster, or some spiders) gets you on your WAY to the end of the tunnel. What then.

Retrograde Rating: 6

Friday, Feb. 28

It is over. Everything is going to be OK now. Until June 7 when it happens again! I am going to build myself a dungeon, lol I am NOT joking.

Mercury, very soon, hopefully.

Mercury, very soon, hopefully.