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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Grounded


It's funny that I can be anxious about little things like going to a crowded place by myself on certain days. Or that checking the mail can cause so much stress that I only check it twice a month on paydays. I have done so many things in my life that were so much scarier than that. I have traveled across country by myself, camped in 30 states, lived in not so great neighborhoods in big cities where I learned the faces of the prostitutes on my street. Hell, I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge in the fog while on acid, that has to be some kind of 'not anxious' record.

So why am I worried about having to leave the house today? Probably because I am in the last days of this cycle before I go back to being my 'normal' self. An odd feeling, really. My reflexes and reactions are slowed. My brain is so foggy that I can't imagine trying to focus on anything. Even driving is intimidating because I am more likely to make mistakes. It's like my head is full of thoughts that are wispy clouds floating around and I can't grasp any one of them. They slip through my fingers every time. I am normally quite quick and this is one of the worst symptoms for me. I feel stupid. I happen to hate feeling stupid. The end result of trying to accomplish anything today would inevitably be disappointment and anger with myself for failing and for trying anyway when I know what will happen.

I am also quarantining my frustration from the rest of the world. Driving to work yesterday I had to restrain myself from chasing down a woman for throwing a cigarette out her window whilst driving like her car was powered by squirrels in a wheel. The slow thing was just irritating but we live in a tinderbox, it has been dry and windy for weeks and there is a big risk of fire. Throwing a cigarette out is not just littering, it is putting me, my home and my community at risk. I resisted the urge to corner her in the parking lot and give her the same speech. Instead I went directly to work and ate several donuts. Not the best response but less likely to get me or anyone else arrested. I learned that lesson after the Lake Mead beer can incident. Now that's a story! Should I take a little side road here and tell you about it? Yes? Ok.

It was sometime in the mid 90s, I was visiting Lake Mead outside of Las Vegas. I was swimming in the beach area where it is marked no wake with buoys. This big greasy guy with no shirt and a hairy chest with gold chains just runs his big boat right into the beach! Narrowly missing some families with kids. He proceeds to throw about 12 empty beer cans onto the sand and start to pull his boat back out. It was one of those days for me and I went over and picked up the cans and threw them onto his boat. He started yelling at me in some other language. I yelled back at him about endangering lives, littering and boating laws. He threw the cans back at me. I threw them back at him. You get the picture. He took the boat back out to open water and I was pissed. The only law enforcement was about 100 yards out into the deep water but I swam my heart out and got to them. I told them about the drunken boater, the cans and gave them the number on the side of his boat. The last time I saw the guy he was speeding away from them and they were not giving up. Someone probably went to jail that day and it wasn't me. But I was lucky. I was lucky he didn't have a gun or jump off the boat and grab me. I was lucky I made it back to shore after such a long-assed swim.

After that day I have tried very hard to keep my environmentalist rage under control and not get myself in trouble. It would be great to be an Earth saving vigilante who lets her rage out on the bad guys without risk of personal harm but that is not the case in this life. Maybe next time around.

For now I will use my words like we teach our children. And if I can't play nicely with others I will stay in my room and entertain myself.







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