I feel a panic attack coming on. I stop tearing apart the house looking for my packing list and try to relax, breathe, visualize...
by Frank South
Its 3pm - later than I thought. But that’s okay. Packing, getting on the plane and all the rest of that trip stuff is covered in the perfect, beautiful list calmly sitting on my desk, in front of me.
I decide to leave it there and to walk, not rushing, out to the garage to choose a suitcase. I pass my son, Harry, and our over-sized standard poodle Danny-Boy lying together on the living-room couch watching Family Guy on his i-Pod, and give them both a calm, fatherly nod.
In the garage, I stop and look at the locked door to the storage closet where the suitcases are kept and realize I need my keys to open it. No problem. Still calm, I walk back inside past my son and poodle who don’t look up from the iPod this time, to get my keys from the desk drawer and maybe while I’m there check my beautiful list for any information that might help with the suitcase decision.
The list isn’t on my desk. I left it right there, before I walked out, I know I did. Back to the garage, moving into a trot – list not there, but take a minute look around the garage carefully – check on the art table, on the junk shelves – no and no. I zoom back through the front door to the office. Danny Boy barks as I fly by.
In my office I start tearing through drawers and bookshelves. I feel a panic attack coming on. I stop and activate an ADHD coping skill from my psychiatrist – relax, breathe – slow and steady then visualize… I’m supposed to lie back in a chair or lie down when I’m doing this but this is an emergency and it’s not working anyway.
Where is it – where is it – where is it? I swear I’ll rip this whole house down to the studs if I have to. I hear Harry behind me, stepping into the office.
I’m tearing into the back bookshelves. “What, Harry? What!?”
I turn to him, my face flushed in frustration. “Can’t you leave me alone for a second?”
“Sure,” he says, “But out in the driveway? I found this yellow pad of yours on the hood of the Jeep.”
Harry holds my beautiful list with scotch tape tabs and promise of sanity out to me. As I take it I say, “Harry, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I yelled, and I’m… well, I’m going to miss you.”
Harry smiles and pats me on the shoulder. “I’ll miss you too, Dad,” he says, “But you know, you gotta calm down.”
He’s right, of course he is. But I’ve just realized I forgot to confirm the car rental – I didn’t even put it on the list. Harry turns to walk back out to the couch as sit down and start clacking furiously away on the computer keyboard.
Next – in Part 3 - Harry, Margaret, Coco and Danny Boy, the oversized, standard poodle, all try to help.