I’m exhausted. No. It’s not the daily walks on creaky hips. Not even my cardio dance video workouts. Like I’m ever going to put them to good use . . . break out my Paso Doble at the next family wedding. Right. And have the guests wondering if my epilepsy had just come on suddenly or if I had been born with it. Not likely. No. The exhaustion is not a result of my sad attempts to keep my body from cracking apart like river ice after a long winter. It’s those darn hamsters endlessly spinning the wheels in my brain. Day. Night. Awake. Asleep. On and on they run, their tiny paws racing, their itty-bitty tongues flapping, their pea brains leading them down the circular path to nowhere.
I believe it was Socrates who said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” I should be so lucky. Just try to keep me from feverishly turning over every leaf, rock, and creature sharing my life’s journey to uncover the hidden meaning. Please. Oh, to attend an event of any size or import without spending the entire night and into the next day scrutinizing every conversation like some overzealous ape plucking the fleas off its mate. To cover my ears and whistle Walk Like an Egyptian when someone is about to spew forth with way too much personal information. To refrain from involving myself in lives that are no longer or never were my responsibility. To whip through the daily news without the urge to jump on every bandwagon that passes by. To let it be, let it be, let it be. Heaven.
Yes. I hear you and Dr. Phil. I know that there are all kinds of tidy solutions to my over-thinking problem because I have tried them all. But do you really think that Dr Phil is any match for my hamsters? Hardly. I make a resolution to stop trying to fix everything from the war on terrorism to my neighbor’s rose blight, and the vow lasts as long as it takes for a problem to float my way. At that point, the hamsters rub their greedy little paws together, snicker, ha, ha, ha, and off they scramble.
From very early on, I was acutely aware of the ignorance is bliss paradox. There was a time when I wondered if Nurse Ratchet’s post-pro-frontal lobotomy patients were as serene as they looked. That thought, however, only lasted as long as it took me to realize that a lack of awareness may be the perfect antidote to an overactive mind, but life can’t possibly be all that blissful if you are not in for the whole enchilada, for better or for worse.
With that the case, the best that I have come up with in dealing with my hamsters is to accept the thing I cannot change: I just don’t have it in me to slow those furry little beasts down. So we struck a deal – they get to keep cranking out their daily truckload of random notions – I get to record those thoughts that motivate me to seek a higher level of understanding of life and my sliver of it, and those thoughts that are simply entertaining, kind of like having my own little satellite TV Company right inside my head – something that I would definitely not want Nurse Ratchet to hear.
Another peculiarity that would have Nurse Ratchet clamoring to wrap me up in a straight jacket is that I often use the second person, you, in my writing, and the you I’m talking to is me. Hey, if the queen can use the 3rd person, Her Majesty, when referring to herself, as in “Her Majesty would like a spot of schnapps with her tea this evening,” what’s the matter with me asserting a little “you this” and “you that” in my own direction? Now, if I could only get me to listen to me.
Those of you who also happen to have your own hamsters scratching around in your brain may take comfort in knowing that you are not the only one who has raised sweating the small stuff to an art form. At the very least, you may want to join my therapy group. Meeting time: 2:30 AM. See you there.
Susan Hart Snyder