Because my body is mostly made up of Diet Coke and anxiety, one way that I have learned to cope with things is by making plans for everything. Not just primary plans, but also secondary plans in case those primary plans don’t work out, and tertiary plans in case something in the secondary plan falls through. It’s a little exhausting, but it brings me temporary peace of mind and can stave off a certain percentage of anxiety attacks. BECAUSE I WILL BE PREPARED FOR EVERYTHING. Sometimes it is more calming just to “wing it”, but I can’t ditch plans to wing it, I have to plan on winging it. Ian and I went camping a few weekends ago, and I told him about how we were just going to wing it at least five times throughout the day.
Except sometimes that technique backfires, in a couple different ways. First of all, if a part of the event or situation changes–not like, oh this place is closed, or what’s her face can’t come to the throw rocks at statues, but more like–well, for example, if Ian comes to me and says, “Oh, we are actually meeting so and so at 8:00, not 6:00″ I am thrown into a temporary panic and I have to withdraw inside for a few minutes so I can recalibrate all the plans. It takes time. Watching me, it looks like I am some butt-crazy person who just died because her plans changed, but I am actually just a butt-crazy person who is trying to sort things out. SO SUE ME. I HAVE PLANS FOR YOU SUEING ME.
The other problem with my excessive planning is that I also plan out scenarios if some unexpected event happens. Example: the store has no doughnuts. Maybe someone had a party and bought them all. Maybe the employees are hoarding them (I say this from the perspective of a former cashier who used to hoard the doughnuts)(I bought them, don’t judge). Maybe a few of the employees that make the doughnuts got food poisoning so they weren’t able to get as many doughnuts out before the store opened. Maybe the shipment of dough was stolen by some well-dressed thieves.
Okay, so that doesn’t seem so bad. But I will give a another example of my scenario planning, a real life one.
I was cat sitting no less than four cats for a few days. My family loves animals as much as I do, so cat-sitting is not just a show up, fill the bowl, get out of there. They need tenderness and love. I need to play with them, make them feel happy, reassure them. And since all the cats do not usually get along, even feeding them requires me to tackle cats and put them in rooms while I feed the others, put them back, let out the others…and then repeat.
Anyway, my mom wanted me to sleep over at the house to keep an eye on them, so I did, but Ian decided to sleep at our house. No big deal. But I decide to give him a call, and I hear a quiet “hallo…” from a man in a non-standard accent. Kind of Chinese sounding, but it was hard to tell.
WHAT. Was he messing with me? Who was talking on the phone? Why was he saying “hallo” instead of “hello”? I started to get suspicious that Ian was playing a little trick on me. “Hello? Ian? Ian? Why are you talking weird? Ian?”
No answer for about a full minute. Then–”Hallo…”
WHAT WAS HAPPENING. I hung up. Checked that I was calling Ian’s number. His face was on the phone. Called back.
This time I said nothing, and listened to the man say “hallo…” a few times and then hung up.
“WHAT IS HAPPENING?” I screamed. “IS MY HUSBAND DEAD?!”
Adrenaline rushed through my body. Realizing this may not be the only option, I sat and evaluated several more scenarios. I became sure that Ian had been kidnapped and the kidnapper answered his phone to pretend to be Ian, so that I would not be suspicious. Nice try, kidnapper. You do a terrible Ian impression. Ian is more likely to answer the phone saying “holo!” than “hallo…” C’mon! Do your research!
I was terrified. What should I do? Should I go over to my apartment and confront the kidnapper? Should I call my mom? Why do I always think I should call my mom?
I took a look at the number again, not really believing that I had called the wrong person. I was pretty convinced I had a kidnapped husband on my hands. Despite Ian not being a person of any political power, and us not having any money for ransom, and that now, in the cold harsh light of day, I realize that it is more likely he would be killed than kidnapped, unless somebody wanted him to make a website and not have to pay or maybe if they wanted him to teach them spanish?
Anyway, of course I found out that I had been calling his old number that had been reassigned to the “hallo…” man, otherwise this story would me much more sad, and I called his current number and he answered, and I said “Oh my gosh, thank goodness you are not kidnapped. I was so scared you had been kidnapped.” All was well.
This is not the first time this has happened, where I’ve called a person’s old number that has been reassigned. In a Walmart once I was calling Sister #2 and instead I called a man and demanded that he tell me his identity, because I assumed I was being tricked. “Why would I tell you who I am? You called me.” He left off the “you freak”, but I could hear it in his voice. I realized he had a fair point, so I let him off the hook.
In unrelated news, a while back I was looking through a list where I record things I might later want to write about, and one of the things on my list was “meth?please” and I’m going to tell you straight up, I have no memory of writing this. Everything else on the list? All made sense. All solid ideas. Why was I talking about meth? Why was I being so polite about it? Why did I not put a space between meth and please? That is by far the most disturbing part.
So I guess I’m pretty confused about that. I’ve never had meth. I don’t know how to get meth. I am an anxious freak so I’m definitely not interested in meth (among other reasons). I’ve mulled over that line for several months, and I still have no idea. Does meth make you forget things? Maybe I was drugged. Maybe I was drugged so someone could kidnap me and then try to impersonate me on the phone, but Ian saw through them and rescued me, but never brought it up because he knew it would freak me out. But that makes me kind of mad, because I am not a child, I can handle it. That was a pretty rude thing to do, Ian. GEEZ.