UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

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09/14/2006 - 7:20 p.m.

STORMY WEATHER

I hate days like today. Nothing has gone wrong today—externally. I woke before 5:30 a.m. as I had to do got Day to school by 6:15 a.m. for Chambers Choir. The ride to work was uneventful. I seemed to be in good shape. And then, for no apparent reason, it descended. The cloud of floating anxiety was upon me and it was raining hard.

I first noticed it as I pulled into the parking garage, the same garage I park in almost every work day. I drove up to the second floor where I usually park. I saw a spot just up the ramp, next to the wall---and I could not bring myself to park in it. Last year, with the Camry, I had a little trouble pulling out from that spot and scraped the bumper. I have parked there since and I had the Corolla, not the Camry, but I just could not park in it. If I parked in it, how would I get out? What if I scraped the bumper of the Corolla too (and never mind, the cloud told me, that your husband long ago dented in the side of the Corolla. A scrape would be tragedy. I was sure of it.) So annoyed with myself, I passed up the spot and took another on the third floor.

I got into the office long before anyone else. I went in the back door because my key got stuck in the front door for ten minutes yesterday morning. True, they supposedly fixed it but a girl cannot be too careful. It would be embarrassing to have to run for help from the security guard downstairs if the lock ate my key again.

I thought immersing myself at work would help. I do not have an immediate deadline but I have a Petition for Review to write. A Petition for Review asks our state supreme court to agree to hear a case. I have written lots and lots of them, probably approximately eight to nine a year for the past fifteen years. Some of been granted. More of them have not. But the writing is not new to me and I usually enjoy it. Not today. It was hard to write over the noise of that stupid cloud. "They might take this case," I heard it say, "Unless, of course, you mess this up. You could mess this up, you know." So much for the flow of writing. It's hard to flow while you're talking to a cloud.

Luckily, although I wanted to get the document done, I have some time to do it. My self-imposed schedule does not require it to be done until tomorrow. I forced the writing until my boss walked in and then I tried to chat off the writer's block—and partially succeeded.

I worked in fits and starts until lunch. FogieKnight, who is off running a stamp show for the next four days, called and suggested we go to lunch together. "Perfect," I thought. "Time with him will snap me out of it." The thought held me together while I waited for him to swing by in his car to pick me up—almost. When he was not there exactly the moment I expected him, I wondered whether he had had an accident. He showed up a minute later and we had a nice lunch. I didn't say anything to him about the cloud. Even if he saw it, there was nothing he could do about it. It's my cloud. All mine.

After lunch, writing the petition went a bit better. I knew what I wanted to say. I began to say it. I used too many words but I'll be able to edit them out tomorrow. Things were rolling. The internal weather looked sunnier. I began to relax and count on the highly changeable nature of my moods. Things definitely were looking better.

And then I was jinxed. A co-worker commented on how calm I always am—and I began to fret that there was something seriously wrong if no one recognized my distress. Had I not been anxious? Was I crazy? The cloud was back and it was a cumulonimbus one. It was a whole squall line of them.

After work, I went out to the parking garage and figured out what I really should have worried about. All that thinking about the space near the wall made me think I had parked near the wall. For a moment, I thought the car had been stolen. Then I thought again and sheepishly walked to the car.

But I think my anxiety storm is over. The storm caused me to hover and wonder whether Kat had remembered to do the online check-in her college requires. Last year she forgot and was charged $30. It would not happen if Kat read all her email but she only reads some of her email. (I feel lucky. She reads email from me and, of late, even answers.) I tried to hold myself back but I just couldn't. I emailed her to remind her—and she emailed back.

There's something about having what seems like a silly anxiety come true. It seems to be a cure. Kat did forget to check in and it's going to cost her. She has a problem and I'm feeling much better.

The cloud of floating anxiety has evaporated. I wonder what tomorrow's internal weather will bring.

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