I believe I’ve talked about it before, but I can’t find the post and it’s way easier to just tell you again than go back through five years of posts just to show you the last time I mentioned my first mental breakdown. The summer after my freshman year of college was a toughie. My life went kerplunk when I learned I wasn’t Asian and then failed organic chemistry. I wasn’t going to be a doctor and my chem professor suggested I be an English major or something “nice” and I just kind of stood there and next thing I knew I was drinking beer in a frat house listening to a bunch of Phys Ed majors tell me about their life plans. So, I went back to Texas and did what any overachieving failure would do: tried to live in a one bedroom apartment with three other girls. Anyway, the point of all this is to tell you that two things stand out about that summer: my mental breakdown in my closet, amongst my beloved shoes, and my chosen method for coping with the loss of my identity: reading.
No, no. Not leisurely reading of New York Times Bestsellers, but panicked, manic reading. Day and night I would read. If I started a book in the morning I was certain I had to finish it before I went to bed. I would read through the night and into the next day. I read War & Peace and Anna Karenina over a four day bender. In a matter of 30 days I read nearly 50 books. Loser doesn’t even scratch the surface.
It was then that I met Mr. Vonnegut. And every book he ever wrote. All these years later, I continue to believe that Mr. Vonnegut and I could have be the best of friends should things have worked out differently. (And, for starters, he not died.) Moreover, I believe that he and I could connect on a deeply spiritual level whilst conversing about WTF is going on with the universe and who is behind the madness. A favored quote from Breakfast of Champions, ” The Creator of the Universe had put a rattle on its tail. The Creator had also given it front teeth which were hypodermic syringes filled with deadly poison. Sometimes I wonder about the Creator of the Universe.”
Kurt, I too want to know what the fuck is going on with The Creator of the Universe.
Today was an interesting day. For starters, I had to make the hubs really, really anxious right before his Big Interview by telling him not to do that “awkward handshake thing he does” and then not be able to adequately explain it so he could not do it. I would have offered him a Xantex or something, but the hubs is clean. He doesn’t like drugs. Or herbal laxatives, as I learned last week.
Then, to ensure that his confidence was wasted, I blamed the demise of my entire future on his inability to remember to buy ink for our home printer. Something I like to do every few months at a time when it’s completely ridiculous to believe that he can do anything about it. (“What do you need to print?” he asks. “EVERYTHING I’VE EVER NEEDED TO PRINT. THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN THE WORLD. RIGHT NOW. BABY ELEPHANTS WILL BE SLAUGHTERED IN SIX MINUTES.” I say. Or something equally as rational and compelling.)
Oh, also. I woke up at 7AM ready to start the week and felt like a reheated shit casserole. I was nauseated, hot, and I’d managed to sweat all over my new feather bed. I felt really sorry for myself because I was really counting on this morning being the one that would restore my faith in my ability to function as a normal adult. Fail.
I did decide to get out of bed and do the things I had planned for the morning. I made some wheat berry and lentil soup for the week, did some work that I neglected to do over the weekend, read some emails, and sneezed a remarkable twelve times in a row. (I also emailed work to let them know that my pansy ass would not be coming in. Who needs job security in a recession? Obviously not me.)
By 9:45 I was exhausted. I told the hubs that I was going to get into bed and take and nap and that he was to wake me up in an hour and a half. At which time I would assess whether or not I wanted to get out of bed. It was the best plan that I’d had all day. And it was still early.
Almost exactly an hour and a half later, the hubs comes in to tell me that it’s time for me to get out of bed, both because it’s time and because he’s sort of disgusted with me and needs me to get up in order to keep on loving me. While we were debating whether I really was going to get out of bed, we heard Stuart avidly engaged with something in the hall. These few years of parenting Stuart have taught us that anything that Stuart’s excited about is likely breakable and probably valuable. So, the hubs, doing his due diligence, goes into the hall to see what fuckerface is up to.
A moment later he pops back into the bedroom with something in his hand.
“This thing I’m holding right in front of your face.”
“Looks like a pill. Why? Where did you get it.”
“Let me see it.”
<SILENCE. DEAFENING SILENCE.>
“OMFG. It’s a birth control pill.”
I know what you’re thinking. Did your cat get into your birth control? Did he eat it? Is is bad for him? Is this about you having to take him to the cat hospital to have estrogen pumped from his tummy before he sprouted tits and dropped some octaves from his voice?
No. I wish that was what this story was about.
This story is about two people standing (well, I was still lying) in their bedroom rapidly retracing the last four weeks to get a grip on what this little teensy tinsy white pill could possibly mean for the future. Our eyes locked and there seemed to be agreement. It meant nothing. We would move on. We’d know if there was a problem.
So the hubs went on his merry little way, preppy for his interview and stressing about his unexplained, but guaranteed queer handshake thing and I began the slow decent into madness. As the minutes ticked on I grew more panic stricken. My internal monologue went from a lulled, self pitying stream to a tsunami of crazy.
“Oh god. Oh god. You are fine. This is silly. Women know. You can’t grow a human-fucking-being without knowing. That’s a rule of nature. But, oh my god, oh my god. I woke up nauseated. Oh my god. I have morning sickness. Why didn’t I see it? And I didn’t want oatmeal for breakfast this morning and I ALWAYS want oatmeal for breakfast. My palate is changing. Oh shit. I ate a leftover piece of pizza on Friday and I didn’t like it. But I had the same pizza the day before and loved it. My breasts. They are tender. Oh shit. Am I going to start lactating? Do I crave pickles? Oh fuck. I think I want a pickle. PICKLES PICKLES PICKLES. I got a zit last week. I never get zits. Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh. This is terrible. I’m pregnant. OMFG. Julie is going to get a kick out of this. What about the Santa Speedo Run? I guess that’s out. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? We’re going to St. Thomas in THREE WEEKS. Oh shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. I’ve been drinking. I SMOKED POT OUT OF A SINK. My baby is retarded. I can’t raise a retarded child. I’m not a good enough person. I’m hungry. I just ate breakfast and I’m hungry. THAT’S WHY I WAS EATING ALL THOSE CUPCAKES OVER MY BIRTHDAY! OMG. My birthday. My birthday. I drank so much. I played DARTS. The fetus is scuba diving in Rapscallion Honey Brew. I can’t believe we didn’t see this. What am I going to do? I’m pregnant with a mentally disabled child. I think we have to move to Texas.”
The hubs walked in from his office to see what I was up to.
“Nothing.” I managed. “Just doing some work.”
“Oh my god. How am going to tell him? What am I going to tell him? He’s going for an interview an he has no idea what’s riding on it. YOU HAVE TO SUPPORT A CHILD NOW. Oh my god. I can’t have sushi. And we’re supposed to have fish tacos for dinner. Oh my god. Oh shit. Oh my god. I think I need some tea. Can I have tea in my condition?”
I managed to keep my melting psyche to myself so that the hubs could get to his interview without the burden of his nameless, unborn child weighing upon his every answer, but it was clear that I was weekday TLC programming away from a hysterical phone call to my mother to tell her how I’d gotten knocked up and nothing was ever going to be right again.
So I sat there. Silently. Flicking my abdomen and noticing how obvious it was that I was pregnant.
Eventually hubs texted to let me know that he had gotten ink for the printer. Calculating where in the city that meant he was, I quickly texted him back. “Woo! How about a baby test just to ease our minds?”
“Fine.” he replied. “But you’re getting the cheapest one.”
I told him it didn’t matter, but to please make sure it was passably reputable.
About a half an hour later I was using a perfectly good juice glass to confirm the existence of our mentally deficient triplets.
As I sat on the couch trying to busy myself for three minutes I started wondering what the hell The Creator of the Universe was doing to me. What kind of sicko orchestrates a pregnancy notification via cat?
I walked into the bathroom with lead feet. I thought I was going to fall over. And there is was. Just the one line. The “don’t you worry, little lady, we know you’re not capable of hosting another human being” line.
The hubs popped his head in to see how things had turned out.
“One line. As expected. We’re in the clear.”
“See. I told you. And you made me waste $11.”