Saturday, February 5, 2011

Park and Shop (or structure binds anxiety)

I lay awake in bed this morning anxiously running through my list of errands:
  • Post office - mail packages, buy stamps

  • Gym - exercise

  • Transfer station - trash and carboard recycling

  • Library - return books (get more?)

  • Bank - for cash

  • "In-laws" - return book, leave newspaper.

I also want to go shopping for a new wallet, check out the possibility of getting new gloves (on sale) and look at late season winter coats. The house needs to be cleaned, dishwahser unloaded, laundry started, cats' nails trimmed, and homemade bacon smoked.

By now the horse is out of the gate and my mind starts to race.

If I really wanted to go nuts I could also mention that I want to return a book I borrowed from my sister and send her that t-shirt I don't want anymore while I'm at it, stash the spare buttons from the new suit jacket, and find a place to store all of my pashminas.

Am I going to hook up with that guy who wants to buy my mom's old beer steins?

I probably should start getting my tax receipts in order too. And research plane tickets to Orlando for May, And return that Christmas gift, and look for an olive oil vessel for the counter.

I could go on. But I'm getting anxious.

So anxious that I just ate dinner for breakfast.

And I haven't even finished one cup of coffee.

Stop. How do I manage this?

Structure binds anxiety. What this means to me is that the more boundaries I create to control my life - my day - my errands - the less likely it will seem out of control. You know the feeling - like you can't relax until you've cleaned the house, or you can't get started on that paper for school until your desk is straightened up.

To manage the anxiety about "everything I have to do" I turn to Park and Shop.

This is a board game that belonged to my mother when she was a girl. My siblings and I played it when we visited Gramma, and eventually it made its way to our home. The object of the game is to run your errands downtown more quickly than anyone else. You start in your car at your house on the game board. You drive to a parking garage and then start your errands on foot. Your errands are assigned to you by the dealing of yellow errand cards labeled "Fish Market," "Laundry," or "Haberdasher." The idea is to find the most efficient walking route, grouping your errands together and avoiding "red lights" marked on the board.

My siblings and I use the phrase "park and shop" as a verb i nour adult lives.

How will I park and shop my errands.

The Post Office, gym and bank are all downtown. I could go by way of the transfer station. (Ugh, if I carry trash in my car then I need to add "car wash" to the list of errands.) I really want to get the gym over & done with. But, if I do that first I'll be sweaty and likely cold when I run my other errands. Augh! In the amount of time I've been fretting over this I could have had all of these shenanigans done.

Deep breath. This is what I'm planning to get me through the first (functional) 2.5 hours of the day.
0. Write a note to put into the book package for my sister.
1. Post office
2. Gym
3. Library - drive through book deposit
4. Bank - drive through
5. Transfer station.
When I come home I'll get the pork belly being magically transformed into bacon out of the over. Then I'll shower. Then I'll make another list to get me through the next part of the day.

Easy does it, one step at a time, park and shop.

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