Controlled Panic and the Tailgating Angel

“But above all, in order to be, never try to seem.” ~ Albert Camus

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” ~ Anne Lamott

“There was a basic logical paradox that I called the ‘fraudulence paradox’ that I had discovered more or less on my own while taking a mathematical logic course in school…The fraudulence paradox was that the more time and effort you put into trying to appear impressive or attractive to other people, the less impressive or attractive you felt inside – you were a fraud. And the more of a fraud you felt like, the harder you tried to convey an impressive or likable image of yourself so that other people wouldn’t find out what a hollow, fraudulent person you really were.” ~ David Foster Wallace

Alliteration is the prize of the day: cat, coffee, and coyotes. Mostly it was dogs, but the shrill provocations from coyotes could also be heard on occasion from within the ruckus. Good on me. I like this. Of course, I am reticent to leave home to face the day, perhaps even to enjoy it, yet my reticence rarely goes that far. I almost always enjoy my days in town . . . among people. It’s that way with introverts and agoraphobic folks in general – unless the anxiety is running so high that ya just can’t muster up much cheer at all. Today I will go to a local car dealer to check out a car that is relatively inexpensive, and is suited to my needs. Here’s the thing: my car died last week. Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely a metaphor for my current life. The engine runs just fine, the tires are almost fresh, but it won’t go. Clutch, don’tcha know. By industry specs it is right about on schedule for failure. Repairs, replacement, can go as high as $2000. Ya think I’ve got that kind of money laying around? Think again. Putting that much money into this, that, whatever, car is just not wise – so says me. Nor preferable. I’ve driven that car for fifteen years. The drive home that night (I made it without a tow) was excruciating, as a panic attack manifested just as I was leaving the parking lot from work. I could barely get the beast to move, but when I did it did well enough to navigate the streets of town, though the slippage of the clutch was near profound, in my eyes. For some reason I thought it was okay to stop for a couple of pints and shots to get good and buzzed, since I did not have to work the next day. The car and I barely limped back out of the parking lot to head home. We crawled across the middle lane with a sporty little thing coming fast from the other direction. I was in shock by then, and necessarily so. Then that sporty thing made a U-turn and sped right on up near the rear bumper. I reckoned there was a road rage encounter coming on. All the way home (4 miles) he hung on, right there, no matter my speed (I was up to the speed limit by then). Left at the light – he remained up close. Right turn onto the side road – still right there. I accelerated and gained a little breathing room. I signaled to turn into my driveway – so did he. When I parked the car I got out, tremors in process, and looked back. He was gone. I was safe. As I rolled a cigarette to calm my nerves it dawned on me. It was not road rage at all. The guy was an angel of sorts, who flew behind me to be sure I got home okay. Here’s the thing: having a full-blown panic attack, when necessity requires you to keep control, is something I would not wish on anyone, ever! I’ve been all week recovering. Still not there on this fresh Monday morning. But boy howdy I’m a gettin’ there. I’ve no more time to write, but I’m glad I did. Putting it into words feels good. Wish me luck. I’ve got a car to go look at, which I can afford to purchase on credit only with generous support and help from my brother. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

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