It is weird. I am less afraid to write about things than talk about them. I am the kind of person who would break off an engagement with a text. If I really felt bad, I’d break it off with an email. Face to face is much more daunting to me than the sly note. Not much on confrontation. The problem with writing about things is that I have to sit with the thought, turn it over, and see if it still goes bump in the night.
Here are my top five fears.
5. The economy—I know. It’s only money but that’s the currency that I use to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly. It will get better. That’s a for sure. Eventually. For somebody. For now, I’m getting a little shivery thinking about it.
4. Car noises—Writing and thinking about my car breaking down is chilling. The yellow “check engine” light came on a few weeks ago. I started breathing rapidly as my heart rate increased, turned off the radio, listened for any strange engine noise, drove to the office with the intention of taking it next door to Carmody Auto Repair. The light went off. Did the car heal itself? It has come on a couple of more times, but it goes back off. I get so tense when it happens, I could open a twist off bottle cap with my cheeks (not the ones under my eyes). I live in Texas. South Texas. Home of I Can’t Rely on Public Transportation or I’ll Die. No car, no travel. At least not easily. With a 7-year-old vehicle that sports 125,000 miles, a breakdown is a possibility. (I had to stop and say a prayer to the car gods.)
3. Rodents—Rats, really. I think I can endure the odd, stray mouse that might skitter through my house. I live in an old neighborhood and it isn’t strange to see a rat on the electric lines. Not a squirrel and not a mouse although they also use the powerline railroad. A rat. I’m getting that creepy feeling down my back with the thought.
When I moved into my little house, it had been a Rat Halfway House. There was a herd of them in my attic. I threw so much poison into the attic that the acoustic tile in the hallway sagged. And then I waited. It wasn’t long before the house smelled like a morgue that had lost its electrical power. Gross, gross, gross. We had plug ins in every electric outlet and gobbed Vicks VapoRub under the nose. Jack had read that suggestion in a Dresden Files murder mystery.
2. Getting old or, more specifically, becoming a crazy old coot—I wouldn’t mind being a cognizant old woman, but what if I get Alzheimer’s or any one of the incurable mental illnesses that beset people as they get older? Will I care that I start talking to the cardboard display at Walmart? Will I mistake the toilet bowl for a bathtub, step into it and wonder why the water’s not hot?
Cootism is funny when it’s in on the joke. It’s pitiful when it has no idea that it IS the joke. If it comes to that, I hope I’ll be living in whatever alternate reality my mind has created. I hope. Is it ego and vanity that makes this such a real fear? Probably, but that doesn’t lessen it.
1. Losing someone I love—Not just losing someone I love. Having my kids lose a kid. I’ve lost a child and I know the brain chilling, bone deep pain from that loss. I would have given my life to keep my son alive. The same goes double for my grand-kids. It would be impossibly painful to watch Mary Helen and Georgie endure the loss of one of their children. I can’t stand the thought and writing about it nearly paralyzes me.
Those are fears that seem to become more real when they run from my head to the tips of my fingers to monitor to eyes and back to brain. For some reason the written word is more powerful to me than the spoken word. Hearing is subjective and can shave off meaning after a while. Reading lingers and haunts my thoughts.
Here’s the good news though. I am safe now. Right now. Working at a job. Bills current. No nuclear sub parked outside my house. No socks on my ears. I learned in sobriety that I’m not going to be okay. IT might not be okay, but I am.
(I think. Okay, okay. I know I am.) It’s times like these that one day at a time is relevent.