Tag Archives: Self-Help

I’m a Triple Threat

I am an avid rule-follower and a control freak.  Not a good combination on a normal day.  But send me to the airport to get on a plane and all my addictive triggers kick in.

I have the normal irritations with the people who carry on enormous bags.   They hold up the line of passengers as they spend several minutes trying to jam their suitcase into the overhead bin.  (Wait.  That does irritate everyone else, right?)

But I have to take it a step further.  On one leg of a recent trip, we were on a tiny commuter plane.  The man in the seat across the aisle from us had just such a bag.  He couldn’t cram it into the overhead bin so he tried to shove it under the seat in front of him.  When that didn’t work, he just left it on the floor and put his feet on top of it.

I squeezed my husband’s hand in a vice grip.  “That’s never going to work,” I whisper through gritted teeth.

“Maybe it won’t.”  He shook his hand to return the circulation.  “But it’s not your problem, right?”

He’s technically right.  The man’s bag was not my problem, but it was a problem for my angst ridden personality.

Security screening at the airport is another big trigger for me.

“What?  I have to take my shoes off?”  the woman in front of me asks.  While she unlaces her *thigh-high boots, my Rule Following Alarm starts ticking. [*slight exaggeration]

“What do you mean I can’t carry it through?” she says holding a bottle of water.  “I haven’t even opened it yet.”  My inner Control Freak begs to intervene.

The security guard announces that all jewelry must be removed and I notice that the woman sports a gold chain with a cross on it. I shove my hands in my pockets.  As we inch forward the guard makes the no-jewelry announcement again and points to her necklace.

“This?” she says, lifting the chain off her neck.  “Surely, you don’t want me to take this off.”

I break out in a cold sweat as she pauses to slowly remove her belt.  “What kind of a country do we live in?” she complains.

“A country with rules!” I want to shout.

We are within inches of the x-ray machine when the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  Right before the woman’s security bin slides on to the conveyor belt she turns it longways.   My fingers itch to reach out and turn the bin the other way so as to keep them the shortest distance apart in order to slide through the process quicker.

This is my third and final issue (yes, family, I said FINAL.)  I’m the Idiot Savant of Organization.  I walk into a room and my brain rearranges every piece of furniture into it’s most logical position.  A trait that has caused me no end of problems.

Oh yes, I’m a Triple Threat.  A Control Freak, Rule Following, Idiot Savant of Organization.

I understand they have officially removed the term “Idiot” from Savant.  But in my case, I think it still applies.

I think I can’t. I think I can’t.

You know those people who believe they can do anything?  Well, I am not (surely, to no one’s surprise) one of those people.

My husband, on the other hand, never met an obstacle he didn’t try to tackle.

Once, at a skating rink, he saw someone perform a half-axel, jump and turn.

He said, “I’ll bet I could do that.”  Away he went.  He raced forward, spread his arms wide, lifted off and twisted.

The thundering boom of his crash-landing shook the rink.   I slipped and tripped my way over to his limp body spread-eagled on the ice.  He opened his eyes, blinked a couple of times and said,  “I think I can do it if I build up more speed.”

I’ve spent years researching ways to become a self-assured “I Think I Can” kind of person.  My bookshelves bend with a library-worthy collection of self-help tomes :  Daily Meditations of the TaoBecome a Better You….The Power of NowThe Secret.  There’s even a section on parapsychology and the study of dreams.  But my Little Engine That Could, chugged along repeating, “I think I can’t.  I think I can’t.”

I recently completed my first novel and had the opportunity to submit it to an agent.  I spent weeks dragging my feet, pulling my hair, shouting, “I can’t!”

But, with the help and support of my writing critique group (who cleverly named themselves WTF Critique Group when they learned “I can’t” curse) I did it, I submitted the first three chapters of my book to the agent.

I’ve been flying high ever since.  Sure, there was a blip on my radar when I got her rejection letter, but this time I shouted, “I reject your rejection!”

My Little Engine That Could has a new phrase now.  “I think I might be able to…maybe?  I think I might be able to…maybe?”