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Author Archives: ianmdudley

About ianmdudley

Writer, lover, reader, father, taxpayer, husband, and son, though not necessarily in that order.

If you cut down a tree in a forest while on Ambien and don’t remember, did you make any noise when it landed on you?

Black hole phobias and baggage retrieval concerns aside, 2019 has provided plenty of material for me to stew over. And when your D&D alignment is Lawful Worrier, you don’t really need a large portion of angst to get a good ol’ knot in the stomach rolling (or is that roiling?).

But 2019 has definitely been the year that giveth when it comes to bad news, and halfway into the year it has started to take its toll.

In particular, the irrational fears gnawing away at me have made it difficult to sleep. Difficult enough that I ended up with a prescription for Ambien.

The doctor’s thinking went something like this:

Worries prevent sleep → Lack of sleep inhibits ability to deal with worries → Worries prevent sleep

Robert Jordan’s less famous Wheel of Fear concept, which he eventually cast aside for the Wheel of Time concept. Would have been a very different series had he stuck with his original idea.

Basically, the expectation is if I can finally manage to get a decent night’s sleep, I might be able to snap out of it.

Why am I blathering on about this? Because it’s important to convey to you that I’ve been prescribed sleeping pills to help with my anxiety.

Remember that.

Which leads us to the side effects of Ambien, or, in my case, the generic version called zolpidem tartrate. This is all straight from the information sheet provided to me by the pharmacist along with the pills themselves:

After taking zolpidem tartrate tablets, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the night. (Emphasis theirs, and it case you can’t tell, that whole thing is in bold!). Reported activities include:

  • driving a car (“sleep-driving”) Holy F*ck! And come to think of it, I had a friend who sleep-drove naked while on this! I weep for my neighbors.
  • making and eating food OK, that doesn’t seem so bad…unless I’ve sleep-driven to the drive-thru and didn’t bring enough cash (BECAUSE I’M NAKED!!!!).
  • talking on the phone Hello there, Mom. It’s 2am. Do you know where your kids are? Besides me, obviously, since I’m on the phone with you.
  • having sex Also doesn’t sound so bad, except bummer that I won’t remember. Wait, who am I having sex with? That’s an important detail!
  • sleep-walking Compared to the rest of this crap, that seems downright tame. It’s not like I’m apt to start using trapezes without a net…right?

So there I am, having gotten through the side effects list, feeling understandably…anxious. But hey, no problem, I tell myself. Just hide the car keys, my cell phone, warn the Missus about surprise conjugal efforts, maybe barricade the bedroom and/or refrigerator door. And strap on a parachute, in case I find my way into a Cirque du Soleil show.

But then I kept reading the info sheet, more out of curiosity than anything else since I’d understandably, having read to the end of the list, thought I’d gotten through the side effects section.

Expect it turns out I hadn’t. The initial list of side effects was on page one. The continuing list of side effects was on page three. And in between? A lot of dry material about calling your doctor if anything weird happens, how to safely use the medicine, etc. You know, standard boiler plate: don’t take with alcohol or while operating heavy machinery and the like. So I can be forgiven thinking I was done with things that might go wrong and kill me.

Buried on page three is where the manufacturer listed the “most common” side effects (shouldn’t the most common stuff be on the first page???), and at this point things got a little surreal. Either that or Big Pharma is screwing with me.

So what are the most common side effects of Ambien née zolpidem tartrate? Allow me to enlighten you:

  • drowsiness Um…OK? Are you sure that isn’t a primary effect of a…sleeping pill?
  • dizziness I suppose that isn’t too shocking. You’re really tired after taking the pill, probably gonna have a balance issue…
  • diarrhea Will I, should the urgent need arise, go to the bathroom in my sleep to prevent an unpleasant mess/embarrassing episode, or will drowsiness and dizziness prevent me from preventing a horrible incident?
  • grogginess or feeling as if you have been drugged What the actual f*ck! Are you trying to tell me that if I take a drug designed to make me sleep, I will feel tired and drugged? No way! How is that possible? How on Earth could the FDA possibly let you market a sleep aid drug that makes you…GULP…sleep, but at the same time have a distance suspicion that maybe, just maybe, you took a drug to get that way?

So at this point I honestly don’t know whether to feel worried about this drug or be looking around for the hidden cameras capturing my reaction to the absurdity of this moment.

The only thing I do know is that the thought of taking this pill to help me deal with my anxiety is making me…anxious.

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Posted by on 9 June 2019 in Angst, Life

 

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Talk about a phobia that really sucks

The way things have been going in my life lately (dark, generally unpleasant, pulling me inexorably downward, outright terrifying), I suppose it’s only reasonable to talk about my biggest phobia (which is second only to my abject terror of Cuisinarts).

I’m deathly afraid of black holes.

I know it’s irrational. We aren’t near any black holes. I’m not in any danger of enduring extreme time dilatation and coming back to see my kids old and dying. I’m not about to get thrown into one and experience that latest slimming fad, spaghettification,

Though I could stand to lose an inch or two from my waistline…

But phobias aren’t rational now, are they?

A movie about extreme sucking that sucked extremely

Not visible: the heart of the black hole. According to my nightmares it’s a spinning Cuisinart blade.

Two space movies that sucked came out at the same time. Who woulda thunk it?

Dad eventually took us to both. Could have been worse: it could’ve been Star Trek: Generations.

It all started when my dad couldn’t decide which movie to take us to, The Black Hole or Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Ultimately, there was no good choice on this front, but still he rolled the dice and took my sibling and I to see Disney’s The Black Hole.

He must have thought it was a safe bet. I mean, it’s a Disney movie. How could it traumatize a young child?

In a Disney movie, it’s not like you have to worry about things like a momma deer getting killed by a hunter, thereby orphaning an adorable baby deer which then has to fight off a pack of hungry rabbits that announce their imminent attack via ominous thumping sounds, right?

So we saw it in the theater and, quite predictably, I cried when Old B.O.B. died.

But that’s not what launched my ignorant, child’s-eye view of terror when it came to black holes.

It was when Maximilian, the evil red hovering Cuisinart, killed Dr. Alex Durant (played by Anthony Perkins), slowly advancing on him with that rotary weed-whacker on steroids.

(I mean, what the hell does a robot in space even need with a built-in food processor unless it is a chef bot, which Maximilian definitely was not? Thanks again, Disney, for feeding my childhood nightmares so lavishly! I guess Bambi wasn’t enough, huh?)

So I forever associated that swirling black hole image from the movie with a whirring, shaky, shredded-paper-flying-everywhere death.

Later, I got older and in the arrogant manner of a teenager, tried to conquer my fear by knowing everything about it. Now, if you’ve read even a tenth of what is out there about what black holes can do, you know that further education, in this particular case, is a doozy of a mistake! The more I learned, the stronger and denser my fear became until nothing, not even cool rational thought, could escape it.

So I did what anyone else in my place would do: Avoided all references to Soundgarden and then went to a hypnotherapist who, after months of intense sessions, erased all awareness of black holes from my conscious mind.

(Apparently I also lost some of the details from Bambi, but to be honest, I’m not really sweating that.)

Flash forward a few years and, not knowing much about the plot, I went to see Interstellar (in IMAX, no less!!). All those hours of expensive hypnotherapy? Flushed down a black-hole powered toilet.

And, considering the (somewhat) more scientific accuracy of Interstellar, my nightmares were now even worse.

But with the help of an understanding wife who brought me a steady supply of food, I found solace in an extended stay in an isolation tank. An isolation tank, I should add, with one minor addition: it had a light.

When I first went in, I wasn’t thinking clearly and hadn’t added a light. It took me a week to claw through the sound-proof door of that chamber and make the necessary modifications. A week that felt like years. Or a different sort of relativity than what Einstein came up with. I call it the Not So Special Relativity. The closest way to experience Not So Special Relativity if you don’t have an isolation tank and a fear of black holes? Watch all of Carrot Top’s movies at full volume but half speed, twice.

I was forced to come out of my warm, brightly lit, comfy tank once my Medical Leave of Absence expired, but fortunately the respite served me well and I was mostly recovered. I was certainly well enough to resume a useful, productive life. Dark stars were a fleeting thought bubbling far back and in the depths of my psyche, only really bothering me in an occasional recurring nightmare (that also, for some reason, featured Carrot Top).

And then, this. This image exploded on the internet and I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing it:

Think you're having a bad day? Try waking up one morning, pulling open the blinds, and being greeted by this.

Objects in mirror are larger than they appear. Image credit: NSF

I used to think of science as a friend, but now that friend has shown its true colors: black and orange and oh so cruel.

These days I find myself staying clear of open spaces, lest I find myself plucked up off the Earth and dragged into relativistic hell, and strapping myself into my chair every time I sit down at my desk (the seat was…recently…bolted to the floor). That, a steady diet of the Twilight books on audio (as read by David Hyde Pierce, of course!), and a root canal or two should have my brain numb enough to cope with existence soon enough.

 

 
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Posted by on 18 May 2019 in Angst, Astronomy!, Life, Science!

 

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It’s really a shame I don’t like coffee

I’m tired. Are you tired? Me, I’m tired.

It’s strange to think we’re only three months into the new year and I am already flat-out exhausted.

Maybe it’s something to do with getting old. Or being a parent. Or the current political climate. Or suffering from high levels of stress. Or anxiety.

Maybe it’s a little bit of all those things and then the concerning stuff I know is out there but have yet to identify.

(Or does that last one just fall under anxiety?)

Whatever the cause, I am done tuckered out.

Out of gas.

Kaput.

I’m so lethargic even my fitbit is starting to worry about me.

Fitbit: Hey, you OK? You haven’t moved much lately. Have you fallen down and you can’t get up?

Me: Urggggh. So tired…

Fitbit: If you let me Bluetooth into your phone, I can call 911 for you.

Me: No way in hell! I’d rather die that reveal my private health data to your master’s servers!

Now the conventional wisdom is I should take some time off, find a quiet place, and relax.

Soak in a hot bath.

Sleep in a bit.

Meditate.

Conventional wisdom is a cruel harpy, jabbing me hard in the side every night just as I’m about to nod off.

(Though that might be one of the kiddos, scared awake yet again in the wee hours by a nightmare and seeking comfort in the most inconvenient of places. I mean, their mom is right next to me! Bug her instead!)

In other words, conventional wisdom is useless.

Why do I say that?

Aside from the fact that being a parent and a full-time employee and having bills to pay doesn’t lend itself to such an exercise, it’s because I spent most of the last weekend in bed, sleeping.

And all it got me was a boat-load of dreams where I was so utterly spent I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

In. The. Dreams.

And not the pleasant, relaxing sort of dreams where you can keep your eyes closed and just lazily drift off, calm and content and filled with inner peace.

Nope.

I’m talking one-on-one meetings with my boss sorts of dreams.

Trying to cross busy streets sorts of dreams.

Biking on winding, downhill trails with no helmet sorts of dreams.

Driving on twisty roads with sheer drops to either side sorts of dreams.

Dreams where, even in the confused logic of the dream state, you know you really ought to have your eyes open.

Despite feeling like there’s wet cement pushing down on your eyelids.

So yeah, conventional wisdom’s approach to getting re-energized ain’t working for me.

I’m kinda at a loss what to do now. Clearly staying awake isn’t helping, and equally clearly, sleeping isn’t helping.

So what can I do?

It seems like I have two options, neither of which appeals all that much.

1) Double down on the coffee intake and damn the eventual withdrawal when I’m through this tough patch!

2) Keep pushing through until I have a physical collapse and then hope I get lots of happy, sleepy drugs while I’m in the hospital that will help me forget that the co-pay is really high and oh, there I go again, getting stressed about bills. Crap.

Come to think of it, those two options don’t sound all that different.

So coffee it is. I hope.

 
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Posted by on 25 March 2019 in Angst, Life

 

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The Mueller Report Release, Or Why I Finally Have A Reason To Keep On Living (For A While, Anyway)

He sees and knows all

Those eyes. Those dreamy, dreamy eyes!

I recently heard a news report about elderly and terminally ill people trying to hang on long enough to see the Mueller Report come out.

My first reaction was to feel sorry for the folks who have (and who will) die before getting that wish granted. I can understand their desire to see how this pans out and where it leads next.

Getting old doesn’t just suck, it is sometimes incredibly unfair!

This reaction lasted less than a split second. In fact, if you take the smallest amount of time that we can accurately measure with today’s technology, my first reaction came and went in less time than that.

Maybe half a Planck Unit? The point is, I didn’t dwell on the old fogies that long. I had something more important to dwell on.

My second reaction was more visceral, and in all honesty, more meaningful to me. While I am not, by most definitions, ‘elderly’ and while I am not, as far as I know, suffering from any fatal illnesses (beyond the aging process itself), I too could die before the Mueller Report comes out!

This worries me.

A lot, it turns out.

First of all, we don’t know when the report is coming. Could be this month, could be next year. Who knows? I sure don’t. If I did know, I’d probably be less worried.

But now every action I take is fraught with unimaginable peril because of the chance, no matter how slim, that I could get offed before seeing the outcome of Mueller’s investigation.

Driving to work, a spider could drop down in front of me, causing me to shriek, jump back, lose control of my vehicle, shoot off the overpass, and fall to the train tracks below said overpass where an oncoming train strikes me dead.

Before the Mueller Report comes out.

Eating my lunch, a spasm of pain in my arm due to carpal tunnel syndrome could result in me shoving my sandwich unexpectedly hard into my mouth, which causes me to choke, and seeing this, a well-meaning coworker who is actually shockingly clumsy attempts the Heimlich Maneuver, screws up and shatters a rib, a fragment of which rips into my heart and kills me.

Before the Mueller Report comes out.

North Korea launches an intercontinental ballistic missile as part of a test for its nuclear program, but an error causes the missile to fly over the ocean all the way to the continental United States where, fuel finally spent, it falls down on my house and crushes me.

Before the Mueller Report comes out.

Lying in bed, reading the long-awaited and just released Mueller Report, the freshly printed paper still warm to the touch, I turn the title page but my hands, shaky from excitement and anticipation, drop the (no doubt incredibly thick) packet and a page edge brushes against my wrist, slicing a paper cut that opens an artery and leads to me bleeding out.

Before I can read the Mueller Report.

I think you get my drift. Suddenly, everything is out to kill me.

Crossing the street? Are you paying attention to the idiots on the roads these days?? Totally unacceptable risk.

Eating dinner? Have you seen the recent reports of tainted food??? Even lettuce can kill you now!

Tying my shoes? I can’t risk shoe laces – they could come undone and trip me at the worst possible moment! Nope, I’m off to the shoe store to get Velcro shoes.

Shopping at a shoe store or anywhere else? There’s the risk of stampedes, a mass shooting, a gas leak, a roof collapse, skin cancer from sun exposure, catching some nasty disease from the crowd because an anti-vaxxer just triggered an epidemic, slipping on a freshly mopped floor in the mall bathroom and cracking my head open, and I shudder to think what else is lurking out there, lying in wait, eager to deny me the satisfaction and relief of seeing that report come out.

So yeah, now I’ve finally got a compelling reason to be careful so I can keep on breathing.

At least until the report finally comes out.

And, assuming it isn’t too long, I actually bother to read it.

If I make it to that promised day, if I survive to see the final outcome, after that I guess I’ll need to find another reason to go on living.

If I’m smart, it will be something more long-term than the popcorn show of an impeachment.

Like my wife and kids.

Or something.

 
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Posted by on 9 March 2019 in Angst, Life

 

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Scheduling Success? Over My Dead Body (Seriously, Your Plan Will Kill Me)

It’s a new day, and I’m going to make some changes.

OK, more accurately, it’s two months in from the new day specifically known as New Year’s Day, and I’ve been thinking about all the changes I should have made then to ensure a successful new year by now.

Here are the goals:

  • Stop being so tired all the time
  • Get back into writing
  • Exercise the doggos with regular walks so the backyard doesn’t look like a poorly planned out but nonetheless enthusiastic reenactment of World War I trench warfare
  • Spend more quality time with the kiddos and Missus before they grow up/old and hate me

Note: goals not necessarily in order of priority.

So I chugged down a few (iced!) espressos and turned the ol’ noodle loose on the problem of how to make my dreams come true.

Here’s what’s gonna happen:

Every night, kiddos in bed by 8, me by 8:30.

Get my minimum eight hours sleep in, wake at 4:30am. Shower, breakfast, and the like.

5am: Write for two hours.

7am: Scream at kiddos to wake up and get ready for school. Leave for work, dumping aftermath of screaming on the Missus.

5pm: Leave from work.

6pm: Arrive home.

6:30pm: Dinner. Missus, strangely enough, still annoyed about the morning scream despite the passage of nearly twelve hours. Dinner is cold and moderately poisoned.

7:00pm: Still apologizing to Missus, trying to smooth things over with now-terrified-of-me kiddos.

7:30pm: Dogs, picking up on the others’ feelings, may be turning on me. Take them for a walk in attempt to win them back over / tire them out so they can’t dig up the yard tomorrow.

Note to self: Walk in the front yard, not the back. Too many trip hazards in the backyard due to last two months of not properly exercising the muddy mutts.

8:00pm: Kiddos in bed, each clutching an improvised weapon as they are concerned I will snap in the middle of the night.

Repeat daily.

By following this simple formula, I will not only be refreshed, productive, able to mow the lawn without taking my life in my hands, and a better father/husband, but I will also set a shining example for my family, friends, and you, dear readers, on how to succeed.

It’s a good plan. Too bad it’s also a load of crap.

Even if I cajole the kiddos into their beds by 8, they won’t be quiet, let alone asleep, by 8:30. The whining at the announcement of bedtime alone has triggered multiple complaints from the neighbors and two, yes two! welfare checks by the police.

On top of that, I’m a night person, so even if I was in bed by 8:30, no way I’m asleep before 11.

And sure as shooting I ain’t getting up at 4:30 (at least, not 4:30 in the AM). Oh, I might wake up for a moment, but then I’m rolling over and going back to sleep. Not to mention the beating the Missus might inflict on me when my alarm wakes her at 4:30.

That’s not the least of the problems with this ‘brilliant’ scheme. I wish I could plan regularly scheduled quality family time, but that’s not how it works. People have bad days, freak out, need to be hugged / restrained, all unscheduled.

And that’s just me!

The rest of the family (and those bloody, digging dogs) will need me for indeterminate periods at random times as well plus help with homework and listening patiently to the terrible things that happened at school and the horrible things the kiddos did when they got home from school not to mention the most minute details about how the latest Minecraft mini-game works and why it’s hilarious kill me now the kiddos alone can go off for hours on video games and [INSERT YOUR DEITY HERE] help me if I’m not paying attention and can’t answer a spot check question failure to do so triggering another hours long lecture about the importance of listening to your kids. Ugh.

So really, I don’t just not have a plan for a successful new year, I can’t possibly come up with one.

Instead, I have a plan to survive the new year:

Do the best I can. Be there for my family. Squeeze in fun and writing and relaxation where I can. Nap in the car at lunch if need be.

And, most importantly, drink a lot of coffee.

 
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Posted by on 3 March 2019 in Angst, Life, Parenting

 

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You Want Me To Be Funny? Then Tell Me Where My ‘Effin Pajama Pants Are!

So I’ve been taking improv classes for the last several months. I’m in my third class now, and we’re doing a show in two weeks.

Three rounds of classes, and I still suck at it.

One of the things I’ve learned from the class is that it’s hard to be funny when you’re tired.

Another is it’s hard to be energetic when you can’t sleep.

Finally, I’ve figured out that it’s hard to sleep when you’re dealing with anxiety.

This anxiety thing is fairly new for me. I’ve touched on it here in recent posts, but touching on it hasn’t really done squat to help.

At first the anxiety was over finances. I used to think I was brilliant and lucky to be a homeowner rather than a renter, especially since my mortgage is less than half what it costs to rent small apartments here.

But then pipes started bursting. And toilets leaking. And of course, right after blowing the Xmas gift budget on the kiddos, the first installment on our crazy high property taxes came due.

Suddenly I had moments when I wished I was renting.

(They don’t last long – rents here are worse than the property tax bills.)

That was the start of the anxiety.

But then the dog got sick and triggered an expensive vet bill.

The car needed some repairs. Expensive repairs.

After the repairs, the car still needs repairs. Because apparently the first round of repairs weren’t expensive enough.

Oh, and the dryer sounds like someone has taken a power grinder to a bald eagle. Which is not only seriously unpatriotic, but means I need to buy a new one of those too.

(New dryer, that is, not a new bald eagle. One bald eagle is expensive enough to keep as a pet.)

The water and sewer lines to quite a few of the houses on my street, which were all built at the same time as my house, have over the last few months started failing in spectacular ways that require digging up lawns and jack-hammering sidewalks. And, no doubt, shelling out lots of dough.

To add to my potential cash flow problems, I’m now haunted by the fear that the changes to the tax code mean I will end up owing money I don’t have this April instead of getting a much-needed cash infusion in the form of a refund that will allow me to (partially) cover the second property tax installment that, of course, is also due in April.

But that’s just the worst stuff that’s keeping me up at night. The thing with anxiety is, you also start being kept up by stupid things.

Is that weird intermittent smell that I may or may not be imagining a gas leak?

Does the dog’s constant farting mean the latest batch of dog food is tainted and we somehow missed the recall notice?

Is my boss going to suddenly realize I have no idea what I’m doing and fire me, which would, of course, make it impossible to pay my income taxes, property taxes, and oh-so-many bills (insurance, car repairs, vet, plumber, etc., etc., etc. to name but a few!)

Once I lose the house after being unable to pay my mortgage, where will I live? It can’t be my car – the mechanic is still working on it. Will I lose custody of the kids? Will I get saddled with an impossible alimony payment when my wife decides I’m a loser who can’t provide for his family?

Yes, that’s right. Now I’m anxious my wife going to leave me. Is it a realistic fear? I don’t think so, but realism has nothing to do with anxiety.

In a similarly unrealistic vein, is that bump on my hand cancer? Are the tiles in my shower on the verge of popping off the wall, forcing me into a remodel I can’t afford? Will the screeching sound that dryer/bald eagle torture device is making cause a fire? Is the toilet seal I spent half my weekend installing actually leaking even though I don’t see any water on the floor and eventually going to soften the ground under the house so much the foundation settles and cracks, inevitably leading to a partial collapse of the house?

Speaking of collapses, what about those trees in the front and back yards? We’ve had some windy weather lately – is one or more on the verge of toppling over into the house?

And where the hell did my ‘effin pajama pants go? I can’t find them. Anywhere. I need them to sleep!

I mean, what am I going to do? Sleep in the nude? What would the Missus, who is, in all honesty, almost certainly contemplating divorce at this point, think about that? Would it push her over the edge and into the sweet, tender arms of a divorce lawyer?

And when that tree does fall into the house in the middle of the night and I run out front to see what happened, forgetting I’m naked, will the neighbors point and laugh? And post a video of the whole thing on YouTube?

But then again, the pattern on those pajama pants is pretty bright and wild. If I do find them and put them on, would they be so distracting they keep the Missus up at night, predisposing her more towards dumping me just so she can get some damn sleep???

Because right now I’d consider divorcing her if it meant I could fall asleep at a reasonable hour and stay asleep through the night.

Damn those pajama pants!

Any now you know why I’m struggling with the improv class. And life in general. I’m tired, I’m vacillating between the edge of and deep in the throes of panic, and just not focused or relaxed enough to be funny and entertaining.

The icing on that anxiety cake? I have a show in two freakin’ weeks!

Not that I’m stressing out about that or anything.

 

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I Kept Screaming For Peace And Quiet, And Now I’m Deaf In One Ear

When you’re dealing with a high stress job, kiddos at that certain age where they are loud and boisterous (approximately 0 to 21-years old), dealing with a dog suffering from the canine equivalent of Tourette’s Syndrome (bark bark BARK nonstop!!!), and abnormally high levels of anxiety, you tend to find yourself wishing you couldn’t be found.

Wanting some solitude, that is.

Peace.

Quiet.

Freedom from ominous crashing sounds in the next room.

A distinct lack of audible vibrations and sudden movement.

But it never works out that way, and you (and by you, I mean me) start yelling and screaming every time someone generates a sound louder than a matchstick slowly settling to the bottom of a glass of water.

A glass that’s actually made from wax-coated paper.

Soft, flexible, sound-absorbing wax-coated paper.

(You know what also doesn’t help? The computer you’re using crashing three times while you attempt to write this blog post, requiring you to disassemble it, vacuum out all the dust inside, reassemble it, turn it on, then wait ten minutes for the OS to scan and repair the disk. Seriously doesn’t help.)

Eventually, the people (and dog) around you figure out they better turn it down to -11 if they want to keep their skins attached to their bodies and you can finally relax a bit.

Ha ha, just kidding. They never figure this out.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

People (and this particular dog) are stupid.

So you yell and scream some more and then that pesky ear infection gets worse and after waiting a week and a half for an appointment the doctor looks in your ear, makes a very disquieting “Hmm, that’s interesting” sound, followed by him squeezing a thick ointment into said misbehaving ear canal.

An ointment that effectively leaves you deaf on one side for two weeks while your body slowly absorbs the infection-killing goo that’s all up in your ears.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this would reduce your wall-of-noise-that-won’t-go-away problem by 50%.

Forgiven, but still wrong.

Because now you can’t hear people when they’re talking to you (and you want/need to hear them), you can still hear the unwanted noise through the other ear, you can no longer accurately gauge the direction said annoying noise is coming from¹, and on top of that, your brain decides, “Hey, it’s waaay too quiet on that side of my head. Far more quiet than I’m accustomed to. I better generate a never-ending ringing sound to compensate. Ah yeah, that’s it. That’s the stuff. Oh yeah. Ring-a-ding-ding.”

Because, and I’ve said this before, many times, my brain is a jerk.

So if you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s because I’ve gotten over my financial anxiety long enough to buy an isolation tank with built-in white noise generator.

Or I’ve filled both ears with caulk and then super-glued noise-canceling headphones over that sticky mess.

Either way, I’m probably miserable and, unable to hear my phone, won’t be returning your calls.

¹ This is a seriously disturbing side effect of being deaf in one ear. At night, I can still hear the Missus breathing (and snoring…ahem), but because the ear closest to her is blocked, it sounds like someone is breathing on the other side of me! Yes, I bought the larger isolation tank, but after that first night, I had to kick her out.

 
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Posted by on 21 January 2019 in 3D sound, Angst, Life

 

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