Thursday, December 14, 2006

a fertile imagination for disaster

I'm one of those people who is very creative in my worrying. Some people are really inventive cooks, or have a brilliantly original fashion sense. One of my great creative talents is my ability to concoct elaborate and often irrational scenarios for disaster.

In no particular order.

I'm worried that the company that is installing the adaptive driving devices is going to cut huge holes in our car. This is not entirely unfounded, because for some reason the plan for our car had been something along the lines of: chop a huge hole, install an un-needed instructor's brake, neglect to install the needed equipment, remove the instructor's brake, and leave a gaping hole in the nicest car we've ever owned.

Lately, I've been feeling like a parent of a fifteen year old, who is about to start driving. I'm totally convinced that Robb is going to crash our new car, and we won't be able to afford to replace it. In really creatively destructive moments, I convince myself that Robb will crash the car, and will suffer a horrible injury, and this whole nightmare of sitting in the hospital, next to his unconscious body will begin again.

I'm worried about our growing collection of cars that we need to sell, and the fact that we've broken several California laws by leaving one (Toyota) sitting in the garage with an expired New York registration and the other (Subaru) parked on the street without a current smog certificate. Leaving the Subaru sitting on the street somehow drained the battery, and it took three different jump starts (Kristen, me and finally AAA) to get the car started again.

I worry that I'm not going to be able to get all the scenery painted on time, and that the choices I've made have all been horrible ones. I'll anger the set designer, disappoint everyone at the theater, and get fired. With no gainfully employed member of the household, we'll rack up gigantic bills, and end up out on the street.

I'm convinced that I'll never be able to invite people over again as long as we live. I feel like the house is falling apart around us. I've never in my life seen an apartment get so messy so quickly. Whoever re-finished our floors before we moved in must have used a flooring product that was made of one part polyurethane, and twenty-seven parts water. All the sealer has worn off the wood in high traffic areas. The floors in our apartment look dreadful, and despite the fact that I am an expert at sealing floors for theaters, I can't figure how to refinish a floor under the feet of three hyperactive pussycats. (The landlords offered to wax the floor, which would actually make re-finishing the floors a more difficult job.)

I'm convinced that I'm going to lose all my friends, because I've been so weird about social plans. Everything is so touch-and-go with Robb's energy levels, that I've been unable to make definite plans with anyone, and I fear that everyone is losing patience with us. I worry that friends are no longer going to think of us as plucky and brave, but rather undependable and not worth hanging out with.

I'm terrified about my dad's health.

I'm convinced that I'm going to disappoint everyone who has been so kind to us in the last year, by not sending out elaborate handmade Christmas presents.

I fret about what Robb's ultimate recovery will be, and if we will be emotionally and economically prepared to deal with this for the rest of our lives. I don't need to go into the particulars. Even the most uncreative worrier can imagine the thoughts I torment myself with.

But somehow, when the end of the work day rolled around today, and all the painters had finished their last tasks, I actually managed to start breathing again. We had a huge room full of painted scenery, which was going on a truck at 8am the following morning. Sure, I was going to be painting a massive project over the weekend, but I would be working quietly, and by myself. I wouldn't have to supervise a crew of painters and answer phone calls. I could figure it out on my own, with no distractions.

And, maybe I could even think about making a few tiny Christmas presents, as I waited for paint to dry.

And maybe, maybe, maybe, I could un-spin the Spiral of Worry, and find my way back to the place where I can accept (and respond positively to) the things that life throws in my path, instead of worrying about the things that aren't going to happen, anyway.


Susie of Grumpy Grinch said...

You are also very creative at expressing yourself and helping us laugh with you about your emotional ups and downs. Laughter IS the best medicine!

Hang in there, O Plucky One! By the way, are you related to my Mother-In-Law. We mentioned a mild cold to her one day last week. When that person didn't call her for one day, she asked if they were in the hospital.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God, you're just like me. You even worry about worrying too! Is there a support group for people like us? The meetings could begin at 3 am since we'd all be wide awake worrying anyways..

Anonymous said...

My grandmom was a complusive worrier also. I just picture the worst thing that could happen and then plan my response. Then the next worst thing, and so on. Most of the time, what you imagine won't happen and when it does, you'll be prepared. It also can put you to sleep!


Dale End Farm said...


I don't know if you ever read the bible, but I have found these verses very comforting when I feel that life is out of control

Do Not Worry
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Lisa and Robb said...

Fretters Anonymous meetings at 3am, now THAT'S funny!

Gramatrick said...

Haven't posted to say hi in a while, although I always read the blog.

I am a "worst case scenario" worrier myself.

However, I find that this prepares one very well for reality, which is almost always not quite so bad and then makes the situation much easier to handle.

It is also better if there is only one designated worrier in the family.

You need a worry stone!


Gina said...

Uhm. . .can I come to the Fretters Anonymous meeting? I mean, is it o.k.? Or was there some sort of test I was suppossed to pass first? You need to let me know well in advance if there is one because I'll need plenty of time to obssess about it first.

3 p.m.? I THINK I can be there. . . I' may be late though, because I need to get an oil change - hopefully that's what's making my car act up - though maybe I've blown the seals. Actually I'm not sure how much farther I can drive on these tires before one of them blows and we slide into a ditch and explode in flames. Course maybe the white stuff on the air vents is actually mold - and that might put out the flames.

Oh, wait, hold on, I take it back. I can't come. I forgot I have a work meeting. . . I'm sooooo unprepared for it! Everyone will be able to tell, I'm sure. Can I leave Liam alone in my room while I meet? Will he set the place on fire or drink lysol or something? They're going to report me to child protective services, I just know it.

Anyway, Sorry about the meeting. . . Uhm, raincheck?

Do you hate me now?

Yours in glorious and richly colored paranoid-imagination,

Anonymous said...

Hang in put things lightly but that worrying can make you sick! (literally) Staying positive all the time is a tough thing and I think some worrying is good, but don't let it consume you....what helps me? In a word: Therapy. In another word: Chocolate. Two great tastes that go great together!


Anonymous said...

You are Great...and have a real talent with words....expressing what most of us feel on a very regular basis if the truth be told. Thanks for the out-loud giggle!!!! I needed it.

shiloh said...

Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew. :)

Anonymous said...

“Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.”

Anonymous said...

"Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.”

Anonymous said...

Oh gee, must run in the family. I call these elaborate creative worried thoughts my "morbid thoughts." They just spring into my mind uninvited. It's not enough to think, "Hey, that taxi almost hit me." No no no. That would be too mundane. I have to think, "Wow that taxi almost hit me. Gee, it's bumper came right up to my pants leg. It could have caught my pants leg and dragged me down the street, etc. etc." You get the idea.

You guys are amazing. Anyone who is losing patience with you isn't worth being friends with anyhow. So there!


Anonymous said...

Living in the Middle East for a year and a half changes my standards for worrying- if I ain't getting shot at- It don't worry me none. It makes me think I'm in the wrong place, with nothing happening. How boring is that!

But a gentle word of advice for you here, and something NEW to worry about! Please dont post online you have expired legal anything- this is a public forum- the next thing you know you'll have NY cops knocking at your door. Just make sure you put up a good fight and throw the cats at them before they drag you kicking and screaming out of your building and into the county clink for having expired whatsits. Be sure you have your hair done up nicely when this happens, because you never know when you might end up on an episode of "COPS".

Just Kidding- everything is gonna be fine.
Keep repeating this--"No bullets- no worries, Mate!"


Anonymous said...

You must be spending time with my wife, she just spent her whole pregnany thinking the worst, until she adopted my, it'll be allright, and if it isn't we'll deal when it happens philosophy.
You'll find that true friends will always be there no matter what happens. If they have stuck with you this long they aren't going anywhere. I am sure that people understand why all social plans are "loose".
Keep on truckin' everythings gonna be O.K.

The Cottontails


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