As hard as a copper tries to “turn off the badge” while off-duty, their constant training and continued readiness is a curse to their personal lives. The human psyche was not meant to be in a constant state of activation. But such is the life of a cop. A residual affect of this constant state-of-readiness often plays out as good ol’ Mr. Anxiety.
The following narrative is an example of how that anxiety can play out in the most simplest of everyday tasks.
My shoulders pressed towards each other while my neck shrunk. My chest heaved in short bursts. My focus was pinpoint but my mind was absent.
In one hand I held a jar of mayonnaise. I held it close to my heart.
It was empty.
Except for some mayo remnant residue on the deep concave interior corners.
In the other hand I held a silver knife, rounded at the tip. I began scraping the mayonnaise from the jar with the knife.
And then all hell broke loose.
I scraped and scraped but I couldn’t get enough mayo onto the knife for a good slather onto my sandwich. The harder I tried the less mayo seemed to find its way onto the silver knife.
I would press harder.
I would clink louder and louder.
But the amount of mayo on the knife would stay the same.
I choked up on the knife handle to maybe get a better grip on the whole situation, but that only caused the mayo from the rim of the jar to get onto my fingers and onto the handle of the knife.
I tried twisting the jar while I scraped with the knife.
I tried closing one eye to look into the jar. Maybe there was an angle I couldn’t see from the outside.
The more I scraped and clinked the more my heart raced. I was frenzied and frustrated until my eyes swelled and a hot flash came over me.
I couldn’t slow down. I couldn’t. This mayonnaise jar epidemic had control of me and I was NOT going to let it win.
I will NOT let it win.
I WILL NOT LET IT WIN!!!!!!
I dropped the mayo jar into the kitchen sink and sang out a loud “Fuck!”
I threw the silver knife into the sink as well. It bounced out onto the kitchen floor. Next to it was a goop of mayo. The exact amount I needed for my sandwich. I placed my palms on the sink ledge, closed my eyes and pressed all my weight down upon my hands.
My shoulders pressed towards each other and my neck was gone. My chest heaved in short bursts.
I had no focus now.
I was defeated.
The jar won.
I could smell burnt toast.
I opened my eyes and looked down at my hands as they held the counter.
I lifted my fingers.
There was mayonnaise everywhere.
But none on the bread.
The Day I Realized Anxiety was Part of my Life & How I Have Coped
(To be posted Tues June 2nd)