It’s been a long slog of late, with lots for me to obsessively worry about.
In addition to the usual pandemic-related concerns, I’ve had to deal with a rat infestation, a heater ducting collapse, a major plumbing replacement, rising gas prices, tiered power consumption rates, burgeoning grocery costs, and just where to get the money to pay for all of it.
At one point, while I was patching the holes the rats used to get into my home, I looked up at another, as-yet-unpatched hole to see a rat staring at me, its cold, unfeeling gaze challenging me, laughing at my hope of ever banishing it and its brethren from my abode.
It freaked me out.
It also made me wonder, do rats suffer from anxiety too?
Normally, such a question would make me more likely to empathize with the rats, but as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, their squealing, scritch-scratching antics in my walls ensured no degree of empathy would ever be achieved.
And now the question is moot – all those rats are dead.
(That’s right, baby, you didn’t see the “bone crusher” traps coming, did ya!?)
Surprisingly, instead of this genocide causing guilt-ridden insomnia, I now sleep soundly through the at-long-last silent nights.
But I wake up every morning flooded with worries about what can and probably will go wrong during the coming day, first and foremost being, “Will the rats come back? And if they do, just how angry and vengeful will they be?”
After the rat question asserts itself, other terrors manifest. War in Europe, ongoing shortages, raging inflation, drought-induced water restrictions. It seems there is no end to the sources of ennui I find in my life.
I try to be creative, find ways to save money and stretch how far the flagging value of the dollar will carry me and my family. But I am thwarted at every step.
With the drought, for example, I first tried to save water by taking Navy showers, letting the lawn die, and only flushing the toilet when the contents were solid.
But that wasn’t enough to curb the size of the water bill.
So then I switched the toilets over from water to oil, thinking, “Ha! That should save some precious H2O!” But then oil and gas prices shot up, leaving me with an expensive and now utterly useless sewage conversion.
Even worse, the toilets are extremely difficult to clean now. That oil sticks to everything!
I try to remind myself that it’s not all end of the world, even if it feels that way every morning when I wake up.
I’m still gainfully employed and can work from home most days, so that helps with the gas expenses. Sure, I’m terrified the company might be teetering on the edge of insolvency, and I’ve been called to deal with separate crises over the last two weekends, denying me any sense of time off, but the checks haven’t bounced!
The new plumbing is working, except for a mistake where the hot and cold hookups got mixed up in one bathroom and so the plumbers have to come back to fix that. But hey, at least I don’t dread the pipes will burst every time one of us gets in the shower!
I’m still hyper sensitive to the sound of dripping and rattling, but I am getting better about that.
And usually by the time I’ve had that first cup of coffee, the fears have receded and I can recognize that they are (mostly) irrational.
But post-coffee, it’s time to check the news. Sure, COVID seems to be going in the right direction, but apparently that was all the excuse Putin needed to stop social distancing and invade Ukraine. Now I’m left wondering how long until WWIII.
And that fear, unfortunately, doesn’t strike me as terribly irrational.
But maybe gas will get so expensive no one will be able to afford to fuel their tanks and fighter jets and this will all peter out.
I mean, can you really see plant-based munitions and an all-electric armored column taking the place of lead (and depleted uranium) bullets and fossil fuel engines of war?
Sorry, Tesla, there just aren’t enough charging stations for that work.
At least, not yet.
Great, something else to worry about.