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?
A Lifetime Sentence
2 months ago