I have big anxieties about whether I’m being a good mother, whether something catastrophic is going to happen at any moment, and whether my loved ones are going to suddenly decide I’m a complete fraud and leave me forever. This post is not about any of those things. This is instead about silly things I worry about but continue to act as though they’re actual problems.
Equating the IRS with the Boogey man
I have a rather irrational fear of the IRS. We don’t own a business so it’s not like we’re trying to write off hundreds of questionable deductions, but I cannot bring myself to mail our tax documents to our accountant. I know I could photocopy them and keep a copy in case they get lost, but I’m so worried that we won’t even know in time that they’re lost, so I drive them 15 miles each way just to make sure that they get there without mishap. I’m also too lazy to weigh the envelope and figure out how many stamps it would require. I’m pretty sure I’m spending more money on gas than I would on postage, but this way gives me peace of mind. Or at least quiets down a little of my crazy.
Parking RIGHT up against the curb
This one is truly ridiculous because it’s inspired by a line in Neal Stephenson’s book “Snow Crash” (excellent read, by the way). He writes that minivan-driving mothers know “it’s better to take a thousand clicks off the lifespan of your Goodyears by invariably grinding them up against curbs than to risk social ostracism and outbreaks of mass hysteria by parking several inches away, out in the middle of the street (That’s okay, Mom, I can walk to the curb from here).”
I tell myself that I’m parking right up against the curb so it’s easier for my son Zach to climb in to our SUV, which sadly gets better gas mileage than our minivan, but really, I’m just committed to maintaining the standard of perfection set in a work of FICTION. It’s alright, by the time my kids are teenagers and likely to make this wisecrack, I’ll be an expert at parking with the tires just kissing the curb.
I did actually say this line to my poor mother once, and was immensely gratified to have embarrassed her enough for her to continue parking for a few more minutes. Yes, I was a brat, and I will never do this again, except maybe to my own kids when they’re learning to park.
My mother drives differently because of me
It’s funny how one bad experience can affect not only one’s future, but also someone else’s future. When I was 16 and learning to drive, I once forgot to disengage the emergency brake before driving a few feet. My mother was so upset by this, to this day, over 20 years later, she still takes the emergency brake off before putting the car in gear (which by the way, is less safe). When shifting into drive, you’re going to shift through neutral at which point you have no emergency break and are not in any gear.
Do you have innocuous fears from your past that still haunt you?