Thursday, December 9, 2010
I Forgot What I Was Worrying About
I was worrying about something really important, but I forgot what it was.
Sometimes I worry about Item A as if it’s the end of the world, until Item B comes up. Then I forget about Item A, and Item B becomes the new end of the world -- as if Item A wasn’t anything to worry about in the first place. Then, once I resolve Item B, I go back to worrying about Item A, and Item A becomes the end of the world again.
But that’s not the case here. The case here is: I simply forgot what I was worrying about. And now I’m worrying about what I forgot because what if it was important?
I’m retracing my steps, hoping a little déjà vu will help me remember what I was worrying about. I bump into my 6-year-old son. I ask if I forgot to do anything for him. He says I’m supposed to make dinner.
“I can’t do that right now,” I reply. “I’m busy worrying about trying to remember what I was worrying about.”
My wife returns from a late night meeting and I feel relieved -- she usually helps me remember what I forget. I ask her, “Did you ask me to do something? I can’t remember.”
She’s crying. She says something about “worst day of her professional life.”
“No, that’s not it,” I tell her. Before I can get back to retracing my steps, my wife attacks me.
“I just told you I had a terrible day,” she says, “and all you care about is what you forgot? How about you forgot to think about your wife?”
My wife and I have an understanding that if we get into a tiff, we have to resolve the issue right then and right there -- we can’t walk away and let it boil.
So I drop everything. And I tell her we’ll argue soon.
Now back to retracing my steps.
“You broke our rule,” my wife says, following me around the house.
The problem: When I can’t remember something, I go mad and I do things that are out of character. I go even madder if I’m digging deep for something and I can’t pull anything up.
But somehow I’m sane enough to realize I’m being insensitive. I apologize to my wife and kid and tell my wife I’m ready to hear what happened at work.
I’m not catching a single word of her story. The more she talks, the more it bugs me that I can’t remember what I was worrying about.
Maybe I was worrying about writing thank-you letters for Christmas gifts I received. No, I have another six months before that’s a problem.
Maybe I was worrying about calling someone or meeting someone or paying someone. I go through my address book, looking for names, hoping that’ll refresh my memory. Who the heck is Benji Biffer? Why’s his contact information in my address book? Geez, my grandparents are still in my book? They passed away over five years ago.
“Dad, I’m so hungry,” my kid says.
“Mike, you’re ignoring us,” my wife says.
I try to tune out my family and think: I got home, put my bag here, was gonna turn on my computer, went to the bathroom instead, was thinking about the thing I was worrying about when I went to the bathroom. What if I flush the toilet? Maybe the sound will trigger the thoughts I had when I previously flushed.
I had no engagements, no late bills, nothing to do for work. Did I miss a doctor’s appointment?
My kid: “Dad, we need dinner.”
My wife: “Daddy’s not making dinner.”
My thoughts: Maybe I was supposed to make dinner.
“Ahhhh!” I scream. “Will you people leave me alone?” My wife and kid freeze out of fear.
I finally remember what I forgot! I wanted to get the mail.
I noticed my wife brought it in.