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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

It’s Tuesday. Why is it Tuesday? How is it Tuesday? How is it almost halfway through December? What has happened to the space-time continuum!

The word of the day is harried.

It isn’t one that crosses my mental membrane often, but it flung itself into my head today as I tried to figure out what had happened to my kitchen counter, where last week’s mail went, and why there were enough cardboard boxes in the hallway to build an entirely new apartment.

I don’t know how I could have done all my client work and still feel so completely stressed.

No, not stressed. That implies some sort of pressure or angst. Not even busy, because that implies I actually have something of import to do.

I feel harried. Like I am always in a rush, under the gun, running here going there catching up figuring out making decisions fixing planning arranging attending.

Like my hair is sticking out in every direction in giant grey clumps, a walking cartoon.



It really has nothing to do with what you have to do. It has everything to do with how, more or less, you are being assaulted on all sides.

It is some combination of incessant noise, perpetual clutter, persistent requests, and a tome of details that don’t really have to be dealt with right now, but still hover there like evil alien wasps.

I had a full-fledged panic attack last night, not for any reason but because I am constantly harried.

I woke up at a convenient hour, like 1AM, feeling short of breath. You know how these things go. You’re fine and you tell yourself you’re fine. Nothing is wrong and you tell yourself nothing is wrong. Your logical brain knows this but your lizard brain is staring frantically into the night, thinking, LION!!!!!!!

I didn’t want to wake Ralph so I just made enough noise that he woke up on his own. Because if a lion is going to come out of the woodwork and eat you, it’s best to have company.

He asked me what he always asks me when these things happen. What’s on your mind?

And I say the same thing I always say when these things happen. Nothing at all. I was sleeping and want to return to doing so.

The truth is, there is really nothing on my mind. I mean, nothing more than the usual flotsam and jetsam, the concern for the people I have concern for, the irritation about the things I feel irritated about. In other words: life.

But no more than usual.

In fact, since I have a relatively client-free month, I have even less to think about than usual. Which, I’m starting to think, is the problem. I have too much mental space to fill and my brain cells are having a field day.

So Ralph and I walked around the apartment. And we played a phone game or two. And we watched a cat video. And when I thought I was going to faint he asked if I wanted to go to urgent care.

That helped, because the thought of sitting in an emergency room for three or four or six hours and then coughing up several thousand dollars for the privilege is like nothing else in its ability to walk a person off the ledge.

Ralph, apt as ever, made an assessment. He said I had two full days of fun this weekend and my body didn’t even know what to do with it.

He has a point. It’s like I said, too much mental space.

Today was no less harried, however. At some point, as I stood in the middle of a kitchen in which not a single surface was visible, Ralph asked me what was happening. I think I said something brilliant, like, I’m making a sandwich. Which was true. I just happened to be doing it on top of an empty pizza box which was on top of a soup pot because the counters were covered in groceries and Christmas presents and the still shockingly full bag of peppermint malted milk balls and the two new Alices I’m rooting and [insert whatever ridiculous thing comes to your imagination here.]

And the trucks beeped in the background and the buzzsaws droned away and Guy With Leaf Blower strolled up and down outside my window moving one leaf from here to there.

Then my wrist buzzed because some spam call was coming in and then it buzzed again with a text from a client who was having some sort of Facebook crisis.

This evening, I checked under the cabinets to be sure there was no lion lurking there. If there had been, they would surely have eaten the meatloaf that had fallen.

As there were none, I took my peppermint malted milk balls to my crater, left everything else behind me, and called it a day.

Photo: oh, that’s AFTER I cleaned!