I had one of those moments the other night. You know, when you feel completely crazy but try really hard to NOT feel totally crazy, but trying to avoid it makes you feel crazy-er, and thus you feel forced (and a bit justified) to totally lose it.
It really came out of nowhere. One minute, I'm standing there scrubbing yet another dirty dish (note to self: next place of residence must.have.dishwasher!!!) zoning out about who knows what--probably replaying my day or thinking about what kind of pie I should make for family dinner or how I'm pretty sure that magazine I picked up from a coworker was marketed towards retired women, etc--when BAM!
I'm in the middle of a panic attack convinced, convinced! that something terrible, awful, dreadful has happened to my husband. Because why is he not home? And he hasn't called! And OH MY GOSH I am going to get that phone call and don't even ask me what that phone call entails because I can't handle even thinking about it.
And I try to rationalize with myself: You didn't call him either! It's not even that late! You're being a TOTAL CRAZY PERSON and don't even THINK about picking up a phone!
...at least not for 10 more minutes.
So I force myself to keep washing dishes, trying now to forcibly distract myself. I wonder if Tina Fey's new book is any good. (where is he where is he where is he) I can't wait for a weekend getaway! (something's wrong something's wrong you're crazy something's wrong). What will I get Dad for his birthday? (PANIC)
I dry my shaking hands and pick up my phone. I put it down. I pick it up.
I put it down and walk away. Don't be that person. Why are you jumping to horrible conclusions? ...Why is my stomach in such a knot? Is that a sign?...Don't be stupid.
Back in the kitchen I hear what sounds like keys jingling. My heart leaps. It's the neighbor.
I recall being seven and staying up all night (okay, until 10 p.m.) waiting for Mom's reassuring headlights which meant she was home from her volleyball game and that yes, indeed, I would see her again.
So, see? See? Everything is fine.
I pause in the doorway, and without thinking pick up the unopened bag of candy on our shelf.
I wonder if those SweeTarts are any good...
I can't beLIEVE I am thinking about CANDY at a time like this!...like what if something is wrong and here I am eating sour gummy bunnies like an idiot!
I mean I would hope if I got horrible news I would be doing something more...I don't know...dignified! Or something! Like...well...I mean...well, I guess there just isn't a good time. Ever. And sometimes life just hits with no warning.
I call again.
I respond nonchalantly and quickly hang up.
Feeling the whoosh of relief, the tinge of embarrassment and the unmistakable reminder that I am so, so small, in the scheme of things.