What does the world matter if I can’t even control this one thing? Here I am standing in front of my car. It’s a beautiful Sunday morning. Birds are chirping, a light breeze is softly cascading colored leaves everywhere I look….all is calm. Except me. The world takes no note of the maelstrom of tension swirling ravenously through my gut. It simply is. I, however, am not. Not in this moment.
Here I am on a Sunday morning with all the love and light a person can want around them. My two beautiful children are smiling and playing, my wife is looking on brimming with joy, and then there’s me. The Angel of Death photo shopped into a Norman Rockwell painting. Pacing like a wild animal, cursing under my breath, spewing lava, fist fighting the air. And why do I sacrifice my sanity on the altar of rage on this lovely day? Am I reacting to some dreadful piece of life shattering news? Is this childish paroxysm my way of protesting some grave, callous injustice the world has decided to pay towards a friend or loved one? Of course not. I have decided to transform into a human blowtorch because I have lost my keys.
Me: Where are they? Where are they! Where are they????? WHERE are they?
Shannon: Where did you have them last?
Me: If I knew that, I’d know where they are.
Shannon: (calmly responding with compassion and understanding to my state of determined stupidity) Well, have you checked you pants from yesterday?
Me: Yes. And the dresser. And the coffee table. And inside my pants from two days ago. And in the closet! And on the book shelf!!! And in the oven!!!! And in my shoes!!!!! And in an elephant’s pajamas!!!!!!!! And on the moon!!!! And in the entire state of Wyoming!!!!!
Shannon: (channeling a level of patience that would have made Job look neurotic) Keith, breathe. It’s not a big deal. We always find them.
Me: But why do I have to lose them! It’s ridiculous! I must spend half of my life losing my keys!!!! I don’t even need to go anywhere! I just have to get inside the car!!!! My work is in there. I need to get to my work so I can finish my work so I don’t have to worry about my work! That way I can stay calm!!!!!! Don’t you see!?!!?!
Shannon: It’s fine. We’ll get in there today. Don’t worry about it.
Me: You don’t understand! If I don’t finish my work, I’ll fall behind. If I fall behind, I won’t be able to get the things I need done for next week done! Then, I’ll fall further behind. It’ll create a nearly endless chain of events that cannot be stopped. Like a runaway train!!!! Eventually, I will collapse under the weight of all these things that I haven’t done! I’ll lose my ability to function. I’ll start walking around parking lots at 2 o’clock in the morning humming the theme from Bonanza. I’ll lose the ability to enjoy meals!!! I’ll become one of those George Romero looking zombie like creatures that only shaves one half of his face and quotes Finnegan’s Wake all the time!!! I won’t be able to hold down a steady job!!! I’ll be an outcast! A social parasite! (In a tone of self-mockery) “Hey look, there’s Keith Spillett. Nice fellow, then one day he couldn’t get into his car. Now he’s a penniless loser who spends most of his time collecting rocks that are shaped like former Presidents. Too bad, huh!”
Shannon: Whoa. Slow down. It doesn’t mean all that honey. We’ll get in your car.
Me: Sure it does! If I cannot complete a simple task like finding my keys, what does that say about me as a person? What sort of idiot can’t even find a set of keys! I can’t even….Maybe I should smash the window? Like in one of those movies. I’ll wrap a towel around my hand. That’s it!
Shannon: That’s really not a good idea. Just breathe for a minute.
Me: I don’t want to breathe! Not without my keys! I am sick of not being able to control things! I hate the feeling of constant confusion, constant disorganization, and constant waiting for something else to go missing! ARGGGGGGGH!!!!
Shannon: Well, have you tried the door?
Me: Tried the door! Tried the door? You mean just tried to open it! I have locked my door every time I have left my car since I was 15 years old. The chances of the car door being open are somewhere in the order of 12 billion to 1. I’d be better off taking all of our savings and betting it on the Cubs to win the World Series next year! Or buying a Dippin’ Dots franchise! Or buying Greek government bonds! There is not even an infinitesimal chance in the universe that the door is unlocked. SEE!!(I quickly snatch at the door handle. The car door opens with as much sarcasm as an inanimate object is capable of)
Shannon: (smiling without a trace of “I told you so” on her face) Well…good.
Me: Yeah. (relief floods my body) Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
Shannon: See, it’s never as bad as you think.
Me: You’re right. You’re totally right. Thank you so much for your patience. (I stop and hug Shannon filled with gratefulness) Now, have you seen my wallet?