Talking to my psychiatrist sometimes is like ripping my teeth out one by one, soaking them in gasoline and then putting them back in my mouth. Needless to say it’s uncomfortable and borders on excruciating every time he says “And why do you think that is the case?” Why go, you ask? Yeah, good point, fuck that. I have not found “talking to someone” to be particularly helpful, although it is a good and efficient way to waste your money and feel absolutely horrible about yourself. I only went on the advice of friends who said it was more accessible and legitimate than drugs. As if. OK, well maybe more accessible.
I go because I suffer from what some people call anxiety; others call it “you’re absolutely insane just shut up about the oven being on!” Whatever it is, exactly, I can’t quite wrap my head around it, nor can those who are unfortunate enough to be around me when I’m walking out the door on a trip.
Me to my ride: “OK, I’m ready to go, let me just double check that I have everything. Thanks again for the ride to the airport!”
Move to the kitchen: OK, oven is off, open door to verify, no heat, good. Range is off, put hand on each burner to check, yep, we’re good. Light is off in the cupboard, shut door. Are the lower-level cabinets shut? Yes, but what if the cat gets stuck in one of those? He can open them. OK, duct tape should work to keep them shut. Duct tape. Test. Duct tape. That should do it. Test. Duct tape. Microwave door is shut, yes? Yes, re-check oven. I might as well duct tape that too.
Move to bedroom: Window cracked. Wait, is this open too much? I once heard about a cat jumping through the screen and falling down. Measure crack, measure cat, measure crack vs. cat ratio. Adjust crack. Should I shut the blinds? The cat needs light. What if the neighbors across the way notice I’m gone? Not good, they could come break in. Shut blinds, but leave room. Adjust. Now that I’ve shut the blinds, I should open the window crack. What if it rains? What if it snows? What if it gets windy? I hate that sound of the blinds banging in the wind. Open blinds, re-adjust crack. Double-check size of cat. Big cat, small crack, OK.
Move to bathroom: Hairdrier unplugged, toothbrush unplugged, faucet off, toilet seat down. That was easy. Wait, is the shower off? Pull the shower curtain across so the cat doesn’t get in the shower. Should I pick up the hairdrier off the floor? It’s unplugged so it doesn’t matter. What if the maintenance crew comes in, I don’t want them seeing this mess. Clean bathroom, OK.
Back to kitchen: Shoot, I just used the toilet, did I put the seat down?
Back to bathroom: Toilet seat down. OK, hairdrier unplugged, toothbrush unplugged, shower off, sink faucet off.
Back to kitchen: Range off, oven off–test both. Microwave light off, clear blinking light. Push “clear” on oven, just in case. Same to microwave, again. Coffee maker unplugged, toaster unplugged. Dishwasher locked? Fuck, I forgot to unload the dishes. Dishes unloaded. Re-tape and re-test.
Move to living room: Light on. Or should I leave it off? Could leaving it on start a fire? How did that fire in Fight Club start? Shoot, was that the oven or the refrigerator? That was a life-changing event for Tyler Durden.
Back to kitchen: Fridge door shut. Freezer door shut. Oven definitely off, but double-check. Is there anything I could do to prevent an explosion coming from one of these appliances? Shit, I just don’t know.
Back to living room: Panic attack.
Move to hallway: Stare at carbon monoxide detector. Blinking green, OK, battery is good. Test it. Stare to make sure the test didn’t drain the battery. Stare at fire alarm. Blinking green, OK, battery is OK. But wait, should I replace the batteries in case they go bad while I’m gone? Boy that beep would be annoying. Um, no, it’s OK. Green light, good.
Move to bedroom: Stare at fire alarm, blinking green. When did I last replace these batteries? One of them was recently. Shoot, which one? Do I even have batteries?
Move to kitchen: Un-tape drawer, no batteries. Shoot, OK, well I’m sure it will be fine. Re-tape, re-test. Oven off. Microwave door shut. Stove range off.
Back to hallway: I better shut this door so the cat doesn’t get in there while I’m gone. But he sometimes likes to get in there. I wonder if he’ll be lonely, I’m such a bad owner. Leaving it open will make him feel less lonely, I’m sure. I just better move everything to the top shelf so he can’t get to it. I’m such a bad owner.
Move to living room: Panic attack.
Me to my ride: “OK, I’m sorry, I’m really ready to go this time. Just gotta walk out the door and trust things are fine, right?! Besides, the neighbors would call the property manager or the police if anything bad happened, right? I mean, unless they started the fire and couldn’t call. OK, no doomsday shit, I’m … Wait, what?”
My ride to me: “You just missed your flight.”
Move to kitchen: Panic attack. Oven off. Stove off. Microwave door shut.