I have “generalized anxiety”
At least that’s what the diagnosis said.
This means I’m a member of a very large club that will likely increase considerably as we stare down the realities of global economic collapse, devastating climate change, AI-driven job loss, killer robots, and everything else we have to look forward to as a species in the years and decades to come.
Those who know me probably wouldn’t even know that I have “generalized anxiety.” Let’s not confuse this with plain and simple weirdness, after all. And to be honest, I don’t have symptoms of this “generalized anxiety” all that often.
I’ll tell you when it really flares up, though: when I’m traveling. As a remote worker whose regular commute necessitates a United flight, I travel a fair amount.
Here’s what preparing for each trip looks like in my house.
Assessment of Kitchen
OK, oven is off. Opens door to verify — no heat: good. Cooking range is off. Puts hand on each burner to check — no heat: good. Yep, we’re good there.
Light off in the cupboard? Check. Kitchen cabinet doors shut? Check. But wait, what if the cat gets stuck in one of those? He can open the lower cabinets, after all. I should probably tape them. Where is that duct tape? Tapes cabinetry.
I guess I should probably tape all of them, huh, not just the lower ones. Tapes more cabinetry. Yeah, great, that should work. Tests twice. The cat will never get into that. Tests again.
Microwave door shut? Check. Might as well re-check the oven. And … shoot … might as well duct tape those, too. Just to be safe. Tapes appliances.
Assessment of Bedroom
I should leave a window cracked. But wait, is this too much? I once heard about a cat jumping through the screen and falling several stories down. The crack needs to be so small that he can’t slip through it. Measures crack. Measures cat. Measures crack vs. cat ratio. Adjusts crack. That should do it.
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. Probably best to shut them. But wait, what if the cat climbs them and gets stuck in them? It’s been known to happen.
Assessment of Bathroom
Window shut? Check. As I think about windows, though, now that I’ve shut the blinds in the bedroom, should I close the window I left cracked?
Final Assessment of Bedroom
I really should leave the window open, just a crack. But what if it rains? Or snows? Or gets windy? I hate the sound of the blinds banging around in the wind. Does that drive the cat crazy, too? Open blinds. Re-adjusts crack. Double-checks size of cat. Small cat, smaller crack. OK.
Assessment of Bathroom (Resumed)
Hairdryer unplugged? Check. Toothbrush unplugged? Shit, I needed to pack that.
Sink faucet off? Check. Jiggles handle. Waves hand under faucet to verify lack of dripping water. Toilet seat down? Check. That was easy. Wait, is the shower faucet off? Jiggles handle. Waves hand under faucet.
Should I pick the hairdryer up off the floor? It’s unplugged, so it doesn’t really matter. I guess it’s down there in the first place so the cat doesn’t knock it down. OK, I’ll leave it.
But what if there’s a maintenance issue and the crew comes in? I don’t want them seeing this mess; it’s embarrassing. Cleans bathroom.
Final Assessment of Kitchen
Range is off. Oven is off. Tests both.
Shoot, I just used the toilet, did I put the seat down?
Final Assessment of Bathroom
Toilet seat is down. Hairdryer is unplugged. Toothbrush — shit, I still need to pack that. Shower faucet is off. Sink faucet is off. OK, I really need to get going … I’ll call the Uber now.
Final Assessment of Kitchen (Resumed)
Range is off. Oven is off. Tests both. Pushes “Cancel” button, just in case. Coffee maker is unplugged. Toaster is unplugged. Is the dishwasher door shut? Ugh, I forgot to unload the dishes. Removes duct tape from cabinets. Puts dishes away. Re-tapes entire kitchen.
Assessment of Living Room
Should I leave the light on or turn it off? Could leaving it on start a fire? How did that fire in Fight Club start? Was that the oven or the refrigerator?
That was a life-changing event for Tyler Durden.
Final Assessment of Kitchen (Again)
Fridge door shut? Check. Freezer door shut? Check. The oven is definitely off. Double-checks. Is there anything I could do to prevent an explosion coming from one of these appliances? I don’t know. I just don’t know!
Has panic attack.
Final Assessment of Living Room
Stares at carbon monoxide detector. It’s blinking green, OK, so that means the battery is good. Tests it. Stares at it, to make sure the test didn’t drain the battery.
Stares at smoke detector. Blinking green, OK, battery is OK. But wait, should I replace the batteries in case they go bad while I’m gone? Boy that low-battery beep would be annoying. Um, no, it’s OK. Green light, good.
I’ve got to go!
Front Door Assessment
Locks door. Runs down hallway with suitcase. OK, let’s go!
Runs back to double-check the lock.
In the Uber to the airport
“Hey, how’s it going? Great.”
“Shoot, you know what? I think I left a light on, can we turn around? I’ll just be a minute, thanks.”
Originally published on Medium @natalallayecat