Thursday, August 16, 2012

Reflections on Poison and Perfectionism

I live in Dallas, Texas, where cases of West Nile have been unusually high and (last I could tell) ten people have died. That's ten people in the city of Dallas. Sometimes they tell you how many people in Dallas COUNTY have died; I think they do this to up the drama. So about two hours from now they will spray poisonous insecticide from the sky, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

I mean, I tried to do something about it. I wrote my councilman -- TWICE -- and when I found out he doesn't read his emails, I emailed his assistant. I emailed the mayor. I emailed the district judge. I also posted a comment on his Facebook page. Everywhere I looked people appeared upset about the spraying. And every story I saw made it obvious that they were being ignored. Threads of comments on articles 10 or 15 posts deep with variations on, "PLEASE DON'T SPRAY US WITH YOUR POISON!" and nary a dissenting opinion in the bunch. But it all started to feel like a bunch of tiny people screaming and shaking their fists as a giant put the lid on their box. The case, it would appear, was not up for debate. The scariest part is that there's pretty much nothing we can do about it. I considered driving the hour to my parents' house in Sherman for the night, but I have to go to work in the morning. It still feels like a tough call. 

It's petrifying, really.

I'm sitting on my couch at 8:30, one hour and 30 minutes from the commencement of the spraying. I look down, and I see a mosquito quietly sucking on my wrist. I chase it away to find that it has left two bites on my wrist, and I think, "Awesome. I might get West Nile AN HOUR AND A HALF before the spraying that supposed to kill the mosquitos and protect me from the West Nile while damaging my endocrine system!" It's moments like these when one really gets in touch with the feeling of powerlessness. At this point, all I can do is sit back and wait, watching to see which side is going to get me first. 

I'm already wondering if my slight sense of fatigue is the early onslaught of West Nile. It couldn't possibly be my poor sleep habits...

So here I am, sitting on my couch, pondering the complete futility of life because of two mosquito bites and a little insecticide. Earlier, Sean asked me if I ever feel like life is an endurance test. He asked if I ever felt like I was failing that test miserably. I said I don't usually feel like I'm failing it miserably, but that's because I did A LOT of work on my perfectionism in therapy years ago. I realized it's a complete waste of time to worry about perfecting things that will seem as if to have never existed (namely myself) within 10 years of my death. I do, however, often feel like I'm not sure why I do half the shit I do. I'm not trying to be perfect, but I do schedule myself to death trying to cram as much FUN and MEANINGFULNESS into my life as possible. Then I'm faced with a moment wherein I could possibly be about to simultaneously suffer from a serious disease and the side effects of a dangerous chemical and I think, "I NEVER SHOULD'VE QUIT SMOKING!"

Apparently when faced with my own mortality, I have exactly the opposite reaction from the one you're supposed to have. I'm supposed to be sitting here wondering if I smelled enough roses or some shit. Instead, I'm lamenting all the cigarettes I did not smoke. 

Although I suppose that one man's rose is another man's Camel Light.

1 comment:

  1. How do you feel about fluoride?