Pencil Me In


So I mentioned last week that I was about to start playing tabletop Dungeons & Dragons again for the first time in 35 years. We met for the first time a week ago, got to know each other a little, talk about the campaign, and roll up our characters. It went well and I managed to survive my major anxiety. It is pretty overwhelming, all of the rules I need to learn. I may as well just consider it learning the game from scratch. I remember virtually nothing from way back then, other than rolling lots of d20’s, eating potato chips, and drinking far too much soda.

We agreed to play every other week and today was going to be our first session. It has been postponed, however. Half of our party had to back out yesterday and one of them lives in the house we’re supposed to play at.

At any rate, this gives me more time to read the Player’s Handbook and maybe get a small grasp on the rules. It also means that all of that fantastic anxiety I’ve had this week about not knowing the rules and spending five hours with relative strangers was completely wasted.

The State of the Voice

Well, it has been two weeks since the ENT visit. That’s the time he said I would see “marked improvement” by. I do see improvement. The voice is getting better. I’m able to sing some of my regular repertoire songs again. Others still elude me. (I’m looking at you, Dexy’s Midnight Runners.)

The throat is still sore, though. I mean, come on. It’s been 2-1/2 months. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in all that time and now I’m avoiding caffeine, tomatoes, citrus, spicy foods, and more. When do I get my throat back? More importantly, when do I get my fucking coffee back?

The State of the Head

I haven’t been doing all that well lately when it comes to my head space. Anxiety has been climbing for a while. I’m doing the Isolation dance. Hate leaving the house, dread facing people. It’s been worse and worse since I got sick with the crud. Now ask me what I’m doing about it.

Staying home all the time.

Hiding out at home

Very healthy.

My shrink asked me a couple of days ago what I was doing for therapy. I told her I’m not. I’ve been through so much therapy I feel lke all I need to do is take the test and I could probably get my license and start giving other people therapy. I’m numb to it all at this point. And I just don’t want to get into it…one…more…time. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to start all over with a new therapist, giving the same background information over and over. Anyway, she wants me to try this group thing. I told her I’m receptive to hearing about it. I sure have seen my share of group therapy, too.


Pencil Me In

There are generally two brands of people with regards to how they handle time. You’ve got your ready-to-go-whenever people. These people often don’t plan shit. Apparently, they just fly wherever the wind takes them, devil may care. They can be out the door within moments if need be, no problem.

Then you have me.

To do list

See, I like notice and I like specifics. I like getting a “let’s shoot for next Tuesday at 2 PM” instead of a “let’s touch base sometime in the next couple of weeks.” I like putting stuff in my phone’s calendar (with ALERTS) so I don’t forget about it. I like the opposite of springing up and out the door within five minutes, this is what I’m saying. And I sure as shit don’t like pop-ins. Don’t even think about showing up on my doorstep unannounced. I just had the trap door serviced. It’s good to go.

There is a whole slew of reasons why I am this way. I don’t like being caught unawares. I haven’t done squat today so I need time to shower and get cleaned up. I don’t like being rushed. I don’t know where we’re going or who’s going to be there or how many people will be there. Reasons. By the way, have I mentioned that I live with major anxiety?

My bud wanted to have lunch a couple of weeks ago, but I still hadn’t eaten breakfast, let alone gotten ready to face people. He gets up way earlier than I do, often skips breakfast, and is subsequently ready to savagely eat an elephant by the time lunch rolls around. Then, out of the blue, he suddenly remembers he’s urgently starving and he’s going to pass out within moments unless he gets food, STAT. Only then do I get the emergency text to move into gear.

“Want to have lunch?” he asks.

“I’m still on coffee.” I answer.

“My treat, make it quick. Let’s go.”

…sighhhhh. “All right, give me 20 minutes.”

“20 minutes? That’s not very quick.”

“Have you even MET me? 20 minutes is like lightning.”

Hell, I need hours to prep myself to go get eggs and bread. You want me dressed and there to face people in 20 minutes? I mean, would a little notice kill you? A few weeks is all I ask. I mean, you know you’re going to have to eat today, right?

I’m not entirely unbending in this regard. It’s not like I had “Write a blog post” penciled on my calendar for this afternoon. That’s ridiculous. I just set a reminder on my phone. I can do spur-of-the-moment if I have to. For example, let’s say the house is on fire. I’m pretty sure I could make it out within 10 minutes.

Anyhow, in an attempt to compensate, I sometimes try hitting my bud up around 1 or 2 in the afternoon and ask if he wants to go out for dinner later. That gives me plenty of notice and time to get things done.

“I don’t know yet.”

He has such a busy social calendar, you see, that it’s hard to know what’s going on three hours down the road. Around dinner time.

I remember being more carefree about this sort of thing, but my anxieties and symptoms have intensified quite a bit since then. Plus, I have added all-new neuroses as I’ve gotten older just to keep the fresh hell fresher!

I cope in different ways. I try to call in advance and get a date and time pinned down from people. I have a to-go bag. It’s just a canvas reusable grocery tote full of supplies. Glucose tablets and juice boxes in case my sugar runs low. Phone charger, along with cables for micro USB and a couple of others. Tissues, some paper towels, mints. Lots of stuff. It’s a heavy bag. I’ve been made fun of on multiple occasions for my “purse.” But when someone is panicking because their phone is about to die and I pull out a backup battery with 4 USB slots, they shut up pretty quick.

I wish I could make people feel what I feel for just a day. Getting asked to go pick up a prescription at Walmart before the pharmacy closes in half an hour is probably not the same for you as it is for me. Sure, Walmart is hell no matter what, but for me, those spiders are pretty fucking huge, especially when you throw a 30-minute countdown timer into the mix.

Yes, it is a pain in the ass to deal with this shit sometimes…hell, a lot of the time. But I’m used to it. I have to live with my brain round the clock. It’s those around me that get to deal with my oddities. I’ve had friends call me, asking if I want to make a last-minute day trip to Tampa. First of all, there is nothing appealing in the term “last-minute day trip.” That sounds awful. “We’re taking off in 45 minutes!” I’ve turned them down. Even if I’m very comfortable around you, it’s probably no. There are some people who think I’ll never go anywhere because I always say no when they ask, but that’s not true. It’s just that they always ask me at the very last minute.

All of this said, I just want to let it be known that I will have absolutely no problem being spontaneous if the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol Van wants to pay me a visit and give me a check bigger than my whole body. I won’t even bitch about the pop-in.

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