Today, I brought C to the airport for his flight north. We joked about what we have come to call my “departure anxiety”. I fret the comings and goings. Do I have my keys? My license? Credit cards? Gym card? Cash? Kleenex? Have I applied enough sunblock? Is the cell phone charged? Should I bring the camera? Where are my sunglasses? Coupons? Directions? Are we leaving with enough time to get to the destination? Do you think I’ll need a hat? Is there an umbrella in the car? Is there a clean towel in the gym bag? Chapstick? Tickets? Should I drink more water to keep from dehydrating? Keys? Right. Already in my pocket. I run through the list again. And when the trip is longer than local, there are the additional matters of clothing, extra contact lenses, vitamins distributed into the compartments of a seven-day container, and on and on.
As if my own meticulous efforts to manage my own simple movements are not enough, I run all those questions past C to make sure he hasn’t forgotten to assemble those articles for his own person. He rolls his eyes, and I am saved by our ability to laugh at this little neurosis.
But what is behind it?
What cosmic upset, what irreparable inconvenience, what blinking red failure am I so afraid of?
Here are the possibilities:
a) My life is so complicated that without the strenuous attention to detail, the entire fabric unravels beginning with some small frayed edge that had escaped my attention.
b) My life is so uncomplicated that I magnify the simplest of things to fill the vacancies left by bigger problems.
c) I am so enamoured of my current life that I fear the dropping of a shoe, first one and then the other because, as we all know, nobody has the right to real and durable happiness to the likes of which I now cling suspiciously.
d) I am the laziest bum on the planet, convinced that someone else (maybe the man on the jet going north) ought to be handling all these details so that I can serenely enter and exit any given room with nothing in hand and no obligation beyond charm, a land in which I have already carved my Rushmores.
e) I am a natural worrier who derives some sort of healthy endorphin release by this activity.
And then there is the fact that despite my Herculean efforts to accomplish laundry without disaster, why is a sock missing? I retrace my steps and inspect the three simple and accessible vehicles involved: a hamper, a washer and a dryer. The distance among them might be measured in inches. How can such a thing happen? What fresh hell, what godly interference, what manipulative unseen force, what obvious conspiracy is at play here?
Answers. I will have them, and drive everybody crazy in the getting.
And then, there are the typos.