A tiny sliver of the neurosis that enchants my husband daily

Yesterday, I had to travel across town for some work related training. I couldn't fall asleep the night before because I was trying to decide whether I should ride with a co-worker or drive myself. Riding along with the co-worker could potentially lead to schedule problems. I was concerned that those schedule problems could be a problem for my boss. Driving myself involved concerns about not knowing where to go and horrific traffic. I went back and forth. I even contemplated calling the aforementioned boss and just asking what I should do. Only that makes me seem nitpicky and unable to make decisions for myself. To describe these issues as trivial concerns is putting it mildly.

So then why did I lay in bed the night before unable to sleep while I pondered them? I never lose sleep over important matters. I never once in all my single girl days laid in bed fretting about finding a nice guy. I don't fret about paying for my kid's college education or what they'll be when they grow up. Those issues are just so big and huge. Worry does no good. So I never bother to waste my time. I'm nothing if not practical. But tiny little things can haunt me. Especially when they are up in the air. Because I'm not up in the air. I'm two feet planted on the ground. Head in the clouds occasionally. Head not watching where I'm going sometimes. But feet always on the ground.

Before going on trips, I make lists. Two of them. The first is all the stuff I absolutely think I'll need and can't possibly forget. Like a swimsuit when I'm going to the beach. The other list is all the stuff I absolutely have to do before I leave. Even stupid stuff like turn the alarm clock off. Because I once went out of town for a week and left my alarm clock on. It went off every morning at 5 am and my apartment had paper thin walls. I'm fairly certain my former neighbors agree the alarm clock should go on the list.

These lists let me go right to sleep. Because I know I've got things covered. I like to start the list a few days before the trip. Because if you make the list the night before the trip, you might just repeatedly startle yourself awake thinking up new stuff to add to the list. But if you start early that list will practically compile itself and there's no worries the night before.

But there was no list to make Sunday night. No list that would have worked out a solution to the world's stupidest conundrum. And besides, the only thing stupider than losing sleep over the world's stupidest conundrum is actually compiling some sort of list to try to sort it out. Because, seriously, what would I put on the list? How about, "#1 Read boss' mind. #2 Devise solution that does not make me look like a freak. #3 Put on deodorant." Maybe I could even alot time for each task. Although at this point I'd need roughly nine hours just to figure out how to cease and desist looking like a freak.

Updated 9/26/07 - In case anyone is wondering, I ended up riding with the co-worker. All the potential scheduling issues magically worked themselves out on their own. Further proof that it was never worth losing sleep over.


Kellan Rhodes said...

I really liked this post. It described you (you say) and it also described me - EXACTLY! I, however, ponder such things like how I will save all my children (4 of them), myself, my pets, my husband and my jewelry, if our house should catch on fire or our car should go off the road into the water. I ponder BIG stuff, when I can't sleep. You can't really make a list for the BIG stuff either - it would go on for pages - so no list. But ... I make lists for all the other stuff in between. I'm a list maker - like you. Lists are good - sleepless nights are not. So .... what did you do - drive or go with the co-worker?

a happier girl said...

I've totally thought about that too! And when I watch too much Law and Order I start figuring out what I'd do if someone broke into the house and tried to hurt us. When my husband was out of town I tortured myself trying to figure out if I should grab my daughter or son first. Clearly, not a recipe for a good night's sleep.

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