“Don’t ever become a pessimist, Ira; a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun–and neither can stop the march of events.” –Robert Heinlein
I aspire to be an optimist, but I have my Chicken Little moments. You remember her? She’s the chick who had an acorn fall on her head and decided that the firmament was crashing down on the world. “The sky is falling,” she kept crying. And convinced all the animals to go with her to the King to pass along the disastrous news. They ran into the inevitable sly fox and the ending depends on the version you prefer.
I woke up Monday with an ear-ache in my left ear. As one who likes pulling out her Jr. Doctor bag and treating her own ailments, my first response was to go to Dr. Google and Nurse You Tube to avert a doctor’s visit. They diagnosed my ailment as a clogged Eustachian tube and recommended taking a decongestant. I got a 2nd opinion from Dr. Bing who concurred with the diagnosis and recommended an antihistamine and rinsing my sinuses with a Netipot. Further reading with Dr. Yahoo (whom many believe is a quack) suggested adding 1/8 t. of nasal decongestant (4 Way Nasal Spray to be exact) to the rinse.
For most of Monday, my ear hurt and roared and I wanted to go to the Deaf Community Center and sign up for sign language class. I was sure that it wasn’t sinus trouble at all but permanent hearing loss. My friend Glenda’s brother lost hearing in his ear overnight and I was certain that was my fate.
Tuesday afternoon, I came home to a hot house. The A/C wasn’t running and the thermostat read 83. Both of my old girl dogs were sprawled on the kitchen floor looking like I look after an aerobics class. After I watered the dogs, I checked the air conditioner.
“This isn’t so bad,” I thought. “I have a 5 year parts/labor warranty on the air conditioner.” Since it’s only 2 years old, I figured this was going to be a cheap fix.
That was until I went into the laundry room and saw that a circuit breaker was flipped off. I flipped the switch on. It wouldn’t stay flipped. Flipped it on. Flipped back off. On/Off. On/Off. I was obsessed with the idea that it WOULD stay on. It didn’t. ELECTRICAL TROUBLES!!! Whyohwhyohwhyohwhy!
I did what I do when things go wrong. I ran around the kitchen, flapping my arms like a coot trying to fly. That’s the bird, not the old guy.
The dogs and I went to Bob’s; he said he’d look at the problem on Wednesday with another friend who knows electricity. Late at night while Bob was sleeping, I slipped out of bed, crept to the computer where the dogs and I checked all three electrical contractors on the Internet (Google, Bing and Yahoo). Best case scenario: weak switch. Worst case scenario: whole circuit needs to be replaced.
I picked worst case scenario, tossed and fretted the rest of the night. By morning, I was in a dither, but the pain and roaring were out of my ear and sound was only slightly muffled. I thought about cancelling my vacation. I was convinced that the whole house was going to need to be rewired. I was sure that the savings I’d made when I bought the house and had the electrical work done on the cheap would bite me in the bum.
Guilty secret: I used 2 pipelayers off a wastewater crew on a project that I was inspecting for the City when I was trying to get my house fixed before closing. One of the pipelayers had worked as an electrician’s helper for a couple of years in Mexico so he was experienced, right? And their price fit my budget.
Wednesday night, Bob and our friend checked the A/C just in case and all the electrical circuits. It was the switch. Best case scenario. The cost? A batch of brownies.
It’s Thursday morning and my hearing’s almost normal. My house has full electrical service and my dogs are sleeping in 79 degree cool. (They want 76 degrees and I want 82 degrees so we compromise on 79 during the day.)
The Chicken Little story has three possible endings: (1) Foxy Locksey lures all the animals into his den and eats them; (2) Foxy Locksey eats all the animals except Chicken Little who escapes and goes to the King; and, (3) All the animals escape Foxy Locksey by trickery and everyone lives happily ever after.
I pick the happily ever after ending every time that I have a choice. Who doesn’t? In real life, sometimes I get happy endings and sometimes I get tragedy and mostly I get something in between. Reality is in this moment, and whether I predict with optimism or pessimism I’ve entered Fantasyland when I predict at all. And a move to Fantasyland is a setup for my emotional sobriety to go out the window.
Today, having had that lesson, I’m doing my best to not project the BEST TIME EVER on my vacation or dread the sadness when Georgie and family go back home. I’m just doing my job because that’s what is here to do at this time and in this place. That’s a lie. But I’m trying to do my job and not move 5 days ahead.