“Twenty-twenty-twenty-four hours to go, I want to be sedated,” sang Jordan Catalano with his band Frozen Embryos, covering the Ramone’s classic.
It’s all that keeps looping through my brain. I don’t want to do anymore. I don’t want to process anymore. I don’t want to take in any more information. I just want to numb out.
I’m filled to the brim with tasks and deadlines and activities. I want to empty the bucket and start afresh, as I know there’s no way humanly possible to finish all the things I have on my self-created plate.
Finish unpacking, repair the damage the movers made to the building, congratulate the neighbor on her new baby, take out the window AC for the season, trim the hedges, coordinate new day for piano lessons, shred the outdated documents, unload the dishwasher, pay the bills, coordinate the repairs to the upstairs apartment, finish cleaning the basement, paint the dining room, write, find the holiday decorations, do bookwork, catch up on my class assignments, find a new stereo that still plays CD’s, fix the old stereo that plays LP’s, prepare for dinner with friends tomorrow, try on the new clothes I had my partner buy for me because I didn’t have time to look on my own, send out birthday cards, workout, finish my craft project, work a few hours for my actual job, and extend my support to an acquaintance recently diagnosed with cancer.
I have a habit of continually listing off all of the tasks I need to complete in my head, and sometimes aloud, every day, all day, and sometimes before I go to bed. Inevitably the tasks work their way into my dreams as well. I am in a constant state of agitation. I can’t ever seem to just be in the moment these days. I’m always leaning toward that next thing that needs to be done. It’s a constant state of motion that keeps me from fully experiencing the information that I meet on a daily basis. My daughter told me 2 days ago that she got a poem she was really proud of published on the school website. I just remembered this moment that I never looked at it. That same velocity pushes me towards making mistakes because I’m going too fast and physically failing and falling because I’m not even focusing on where I’m going. I just know I have to get there. The scrapes and bruises on my knees and shins never heal, as I keep re-injuring myself every few days when I trip or fall.
“Hurry, hurry, hurry before I go insane. I can’t control my fingers and I can’t control my brain.”
Why can’t I make it stop? Why can’t I just sit and read the newspaper and drink a cup of coffee without thinking that if I get a subscription to the Trib, which I so enjoy reading, it will turn into an obligation to read it every day? Why do I look at my steaming cup and think that I need to add coffee to my grocery list? I don’t know if it’s sedation that I really want, or just for the spinning to stop. I just want to slow the hell down.
So why not? Why can’t I slow down? Who says I have to do all this and work so hard and efficiently to successfully function? Is it my family? My partner? My boss? My friends?
No one or thing puts any more pressure on me than I do. I’ve been a list-maker since I was a kid, but the pressure I put on myself to actually cross of those tasks ebbs and flows not only with the seasons, but also with the situations I’m currently experiencing. Every now and then, I can take a whole day and just do whatever comes my way. Other days, when I’m behind the 8-ball, the pressure I put upon myself spills over to added pressure of my kids to do their “tasks.” The crazy part is, everything that really needs done, always gets completed, whether by me or someone else. The world doesn’t come to an end when some timeline is blown.
The birthday card didn’t get mailed and a month passes. It’s too late to send a belated card, so I pick up the phone to call. I haven’t physically spoken to my aunt in years, and we have a lovely 20-minute conversation that never would have been happened had I sent the card.
The packed boxes accumulate dust and when I return home on day from errands, they’ve miraculously been unpacked and cleared by my partner and the kids, who all feel great not only for being able to choose where stuff goes, but also for being able to help me.
The reading doesn’t get done before class, but the class covers the material so well, that when I do get around to reading the words on the page, they have a deeper meaning.
Enough is enough. I don’t need sedation. I just need to be Brian Krackow and just look in from the outside every now and then. Maybe I should just sit down and watch a whole season of My So Called Life. Maybe I’ll pencil that in for a week from Tuesday.