I have noticed a strange thing about myself. When I awaken at 3 a.m., heart pounding, stomach churning over worries about things that probably aren’t going to happen such as “What if after I quit I get bitten by a giant rattler and I have no insurance?” or “What if I get West Nile Virus and am hospitalized for weeks (and I have no insurance)?” or “What if I cut my fingers off on a bandsaw (again with the insurance)?”, I haven’t an ounce of optimism anywhere in my body. I’m consumed by fear and anxiety. I just KNOW that these things are going to happen even though they have never happened in the past 50 years.
I try to talk myself into optimism so I can go back to sleep. “Relax!” I say to myself. “My brother has already cut several fingers off and had them sewed back on. I’ll just let him use the bandsaw. Or SwampMan can do it because he’ll still have insurance! As for the rattlesnakes, remind me again when I’m awake, and I’ll order a pair of snakeboots. Maybe some kevlar gloves, too. And if I ain’t got West Nile virus after this year, then my strategy of exposing myself to mosquitos at dawn and dusk every damn day when it first arrived in America has been successful.” Plus, what’s the worst that could happen? Oh, right, I might live through it and have to pay the damn medical bills.
I find it a very, very sad commentary on my psyche that I never wake up at 3 a.m. shouting “I just won the Mega Million $ Lottery and I’m just devastated because I no longer have the name of a good accountant and attorney and the ability to shelter my money in Swiss Banks!”
I also never wake at 3 a.m. with the urge to sanitize the kitchen.
Maybe, when I awaken myself at 3 a.m. with stupid fears, I should treat it like a surly 6th grader who disrupts the class and doesn’t get any of his work accomplished. “Okay, buddy, you wanna mess me with me? You wanna get my attention? Here’s your detention. You can start by scrubbing down the bathrooms before school, then I’ve got a few extra projects for you to do at home to turn in.” In a couple weeks, my house could be all scrubbed and shiny, my body would fall into an exhausted sleep whenever I sit down, and my brain would say “Aw, screw it, it ain’t worth it.”