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.