Thursday, April 16, 2009

Paranoid Much?

I've mentioned before that I have a little anxiety problem. And by "little" I mean "crippling and completely irrational". Every morning when I park my car at work, I have a mini panic attack over where my keys are located. I'm completely paranoid that I'm going to lose them. So each morning when I arrive at work, I have this completely psychotic ritual I have to go through before I can walk into the building.

First I open my car door and before I get out, I lock the car and put my keys in my purse. Then I gather up everything else I'm taking in with me - lunch, book, etc. - and then I have to put it all down again and search my purse to make sure my keys are actually in there. And because I have one of those bottomless pit mom purses, the keys always fall to the bottom and I spend about a minute freaking out while I frantically search for them. I pull out mints and gum and old receipts and throw them on the passenger seat. So at this point, I'm sitting in my car with one leg hanging out the door and screaming "where the fuck are you, motherfuckers???" . Luckily for me, I get to work early and most of the time there's no one around to hear me. When I finally locate them, I take a second to close my eyes and take a deep breathe and then I usually say to my keys "I'm going to kill you" in my best Clint Eastwood voice because I figure intimidation is the only way to keep my keys in line. Finally, I gather up all my things again, get out of the car and shut the door. I can usually make it the rest of the day without checking for the keys again, but some days are worse than others and on those days I check several times.

So obviously I have a problem. I know this. Most days it's under control and I feel normal. But then there are some days when I think it would be a good idea to have a psychiatrist on speed dial and a prescription for xanax ready and waiting for me at the pharmacy. Yesterday was one of those days.

The Kiddo got his driver's license. He's 17, we made him wait a whole extra year to get it and I'm glad we did. I just don't think he would have been ready to be driving on his own at 16. But we couldn't hold out any longer and Captain Carl took him yesterday to get his license. So last night I got home from work and the Kiddo is putting his key to our car on his new key chain. I know this is a big moment in his life, so I try to forget that our monthly insurance payment just doubled and ask him if he's excited. Of course he says yes and then he sits there watching tv and jangling his keys in his pocket and twirling them on his finger and generally looking happy.

Then the Captain walks in, hands the Kiddo some cash and says "Why don't you take a drive and get yourself something to eat?" My ears start ringing and I stare at the Captain like he's just grown a third eye on his forehead and I feel the anxiety rushing through my body. The Kiddo looks startled, like he can't believe what his dad just said to him. The Captain turns to me and he's all "Is that okay with you?" and I'm all "Ummmm" and he's all "Yes or no" and I'm all "ummm okay" and he's all "Just tell me yes or no" and I'm all "okay" and he's all "Is that a yes?" and I'm all "It's an okay" and he's all "What the hell does that mean?" and I'm all "It means that's as close to me saying yes as you are gonna get right now".

And so the Kiddo happily bounces out the door as I yell after him "Wear your seat belt!" and "Don't forget to check the speed limits!" and "Please don't kill anyone!". Then the Captain and I decide to order chinese and it takes us five tries to dial the number correctly and after we do, the Captain tells me to stand there with him while he orders to make sure he doesn't order the wrong thing. Then he hangs up and we stare at each other for about 2 minutes and contemplate the fact that our child is driving our car somewhere all by himself. Then we both wander off in a daze.

So while he's gone, I pretty much just sit on the couch and listen. I have supersonic hearing and can usually hear when someone on our street slams a car door or when someone is walking up our sidewalk. So for 45 minutes, I'm listening for the boy. 30 minutes into my listening, the chinese food is delivered so I spend the next 15 minutes listening and chewing. Then I hear a car door and I wait for the Kiddo to walk in. He doesn't. But because of my mad hearing skills, I know the car door was slammed in our driveway. So I start freaking out....I think maybe he hit our Jeep or worse, the renters car, and he's standing out there trying to decide how he's going to tell us. Or maybe he had an accident and he's out there assessing the damage and figuring out a way to hide it from us with maybe a tree limb or some dirt. What I don't realize is that while I'm thinking this, I had a spoonful of chicken fried rice halfway to my mouth and my head is cocked to the side. The Captain asks me "Are you okay?" and I try to fake it and say "Yeah, why?" and he just rolls his eyes and that's when I notice my spoon and my head tilt.

Then the Kiddo finally walks in all casual and twirling his keys and I ask him if everything went okay and he says yeah, it's cool. And that should have been the end of my anxiety, but I held on to it the rest of the night and then I woke up early this morning and thought there was a midget standing in the corner of our bedroom but then I realized it was just the vacuum.

I know...I'm working on it, okay?


Mona Lott said...

You wear it well, darling:D Bwahahahahahahaha, I don't think it would be so funny if I wasn't a tiny bit neurotic too... With super hearing, no less. (I consider stabbing out my ear drums at least once a day.)

I might have a good solution for the keys thing! Ya know those big 'ol D clips that janitors keep their keys on? I put one in my purse, in a stationary location- but mine is a butterfly, not a D- (Target') on the side that's clipped to the inner bag, I have a house key, car key, and the clicker for the car. On the other side I have a regular key ring I take off to actually drive, and then clip back on. That way, even if I lose the regs for a minute, I'm still safe:D

Now if I could just stop freaking out over leaving my purse in the car, everything would be awesome.

Lana said...

awww, i think that was such a cute story! you know, the kiddo was probably just checking to make sure he didn't lock the keys in the car. and i'm sure there's far worse things out there that a child could inherit from a parent than a little anxiety :)

Betsey Booms said...

Yeah, all of this - is painfully recognizable for me.

I hold my keys in my hand, all the way to my desk.

Like a freak.

A big, freaky freak.

Fucking keys.

I'm avoiding the kid driving thing, for both of our sakes.

Traceytreasure said...

I wonder who taught the Kiddo how to drive. Was it you? Because teaching our son how to drive cleaned any gunk I had out of my arteries. I swore to my God (hubby) that I was retired from teaching anyone how to drive. #1 Son or hubby can teach the girls. Then when he was at work and his car was gone it was so sad that I'd cry.
I'm the same way with the keys. Hubby has had to come to my rescue with his keys after I'd locked mine in the car several times.
I'm crazy about thinking I left something on in the house. We've had to come back and check burners, curling irons, coffee pots, etc. etc. That's where I'm paranoid! Ask anyone I live with. They'd confirm it!

Big Jugs!!

C Lo said...


on a very tiny tiny trying to help note, maybe you should get one of those key dangler things they sell for ladies to, well, hang their keys on in their purse. Like this:

I do the same thing........throw my keys in and then they are lost in the abyss of my purse and the lady at my salon keeps trying to sell me one of these.

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

I have a single car key, no keychain, no other keys, because I have to keep it in my back pocket now or else I feel itchy and wrong. I'm always reaching back to feel my ass and make sure I can feel the outline of the key under the fabric, and several times a day I reach back and gasp because I think I can feel it.

So, what I'm saying is that I feel happy that you would understand and not judge me for grabbing my own ass and gasping all the damn time.

spitandvinegar said...

I thought when I was digging like a madman through my purse and threatening my keys' lives I had O.C.D. Thanks for making me feel normal.

Aimee said...

sometimes we all have have to show our crazy. :) My OCD ritual is making sure the stove is off and doors are locked. Check the stove, the toaster oven, touch the sliding glass door lock, tough the front door lock, start to walk down the hall, stop, turn the light on - look at the sliding door lock, look at the front door lock, finally shut off the light and go to bed already! and if I have to get a glass of water later - I have to start the process over. ack!

erin said...

Well I don't have a teenager driving, but I'm a wreck all day while my kids are at school. I jump everytime the phone rings thinking that one of them has been involved in some sort of freak playground accident...
But the midget thing!?!? I didn't know anyone else was as crazy as me on that one. I see demon midgets or creepy ghost thingies in my room at night all the time! Then I get a little crazy and jump up to turn on the light...that's when I realize it's pillows, the crib, the sleeping baby, the sweeper, my robe...

rachie! said...

I had a friend in college who would freak out over all these things when she left the house - did she turn off the stove? close the windows? feed the animals? lock the door? etc. etc. so she made herself a list and the list was like 20 items long and she would check things off the list each morning as she did them. BUT THEN she was worried that something had changed between checking things off or she accidentally checked the wrong thing off so she'd have to check off TWO LISTS every morning.

Vic said...

I have to set and reset my alarm clock night, several times. I have never once set the clock wrong, but I'm sure if I don't check it and check it the Apocalypse will finally arrive.

I am terrified about the driving thing. You wrote about that so well (my daughter is going to be fifteen soon. I have little mini panic attacks just thinking about it...)

Lea said...

I take my keys out of the ignition and hook, yep, HOOK them onto my purse, so they are in plain sight... then I open the door, put a foot out and make sure that 5 seconds ago, I hooked them to my purse, in plain sight, but can never see them. Then I step out of the car, lock the doors from the door lock and not my key,and before I shut the door, I look around again for my keys, which are hooked in plain sight to my purse, but takes me another 10 or more seconds to see them. Then I shut the door, but right before it latches, I make sure the keys are hooked in plain sight to my purse, which I don't see right away and my tummy does a little flip. Then I shut the door and begin to walk away, but take only a few steps and have to check again to make sure I have my keys. By that time, I'm usually good with the knowledge that my keys are hooked to my purse, in plain sight.

Yeah, I know. Tell me about it.

Lulu said...

I love new socks and will only eat dinner if it's served on yellow plates. No key issues.

Don't care about the keys - one of the cars has keyless entry and driving, and the keys just stay all snuggy in the bottom of the purse.

Brian said...

Early morning 'work-parking-lot-people-watching' is the best. I got some dude who is so anal, he actually uses 'the Club' when locking his old piece of dump car. Like, we work in an office park, where people are likely to return your wallet if they find it laying around...yet this guy feels compelled to lock his dented, rusted, no hub cap having, two-decade-old-wreck up tighter than freaking Fort Knox man.

I'm following you now.

Miss Yvonne said...

Wow, y'all are freaks. I love you guys!

Sacred Yoli said...

I'd say get a "medicinal" card, but then again, I "heard" dank can get you hella paranoid, so never mind.

You are brave! My youngest kid is going on 19 and he is barely taking his driver's test.