So, I’m a micro-manager. I’ve known this for years, but I’ve come to terms with my neurosis, so it’s OK. It made me an excellent copy/managing editor at my college newspaper, so why complain? Because of this, however, I tend to sweat the small stuff. Remember that post about obsessively cleaning my apartment? When I told you how vaccuming the carpets and mopping the bathroom helped calm my frazzled mind? When I described my OCD-like routines, and how they stave off that “unhinged” feeling?
Well, this whole “not-having-a-refrigerator-thing” has completely set me off my rocker. The rental company AND the maintenance men told us a new one would be arriving before noon today…that definitely didn’t happen. Now we have no idea if one has even been ordered for us. Most of our food is safe: our freezer-ables are stored at the neighbors’, and other sundry goods are at my parents’ house. We’ve had to throw away quite a bit, though, including half a jug of orange juice, without which I’m definitely going to feel lost tomorrow morning (I’m not a coffee drinker, so I cling to other morning rituals). Not having a working refrigerator, though, has made me feel more than a little lost–at times, I feel like I’m coming unglued. We can’t cook with all our fresh food, none of our drinks are cold, and HOW in the hell am I going to make my lunch for work tomorrow? Add to this at least three medications for my wisdom teeth, and I’ve found myself in the dumps. What’s the point of my routines, if this one tiny–but crucial!–detail is thrown off?
Then, I smacked myself around a bit and WOKE UP. Maybe it was reading Reading Lolita in Tehran that gave me some much-needed perspective: how bad can my situation really be, compared to these Iranian women who risked their lives to read western literature? These women were beaten if one strand of hair escaped their chador. These women listened as bombs destroyed their neighbors’ homes. These women held their breaths as guns shot off every night, hoping the ones being executed weren’t family or friends. At least our spoiling food isn’t due to a city-wide power outage, when not only the refrigerator isn’t working, but the lights, heat, water… At least we’re not living in the midst of a battlefield.
So yeah, some perspective helps. It also helps to remember why I instate these routines in the first place: to lend a sense of calm decorum to my life. Isn’t that why I’m getting up early to do yoga (again) every other morning? Isn’t this lifestyle supposed to free me of stress, and allow me to focus on what’s really important in life–soft music, the sound of birds, loving relationships, a good book?
So, instead of worrying about when I should clean (before or after the delivery guys show up?), I cleaned anyway. And you know what? It felt really good. Instead of dwelling on our empty refrigerator and starving myself in the process, I looked in our pantry for food that didn’t need to be chilled. And you know? We have plenty. And instead of moping around the apartment by myself all day, I’m going to take a walk. It seems that every nice day I have to work, I and my fellow co-workers piss and moan about how we have to be inside all day. Well, it’s a nice day in Cincinnati and I’m going outside.
I’m also not going to allow myself to grow despondent about reading “too much.” Yes, this sounds incredibly silly of me. But all this free time has really accelerated my reading schedule, and I’m now alarmingly ahead. What’s the problem, you say? The thing is, I make these book lists and think to myself, “In between work and all the other cool things going on in my life, I should only have time to read *this* many books.” Then, I read four books in a short two weeks. Oh my! This list was supposed to last me three months…oh, what will I ever do? God, I sound like such a neurotic. Reading Lolita in Tehran has showed me that I’ll never be able to read all the books I want, and so devouring a couple dozen at insatiable speeds during a life-lull shouldn’t worry me. God knows I’ll have no time to read once I land a REAL job, get married, buy a house and have children.
Yeah, it’s definitely time to take a walk. I think some fresh air will do me good.