They happen rather regularly, though not as often as they once did. I'm at about once every three months now. I deal, and deal, and deal with all the stresses of everyday life just like everyone else... and then, without any real reason, I find myself unable to deal anymore. Nothing big has to happen; just a bunch of little things piling on top of my already too stressed life.
I can feel the tension building for a couple of days before the breakdown hits; can tell that I'm too exhausted to cope with one more straw on this camel's back. The second-to-last straw hit this morning in the form of yet another co-parenting folly by The Ex. So we're just about there, folks. Just. About. There.
At least, we were just about there...
And then I headed out to walk the dog. This dog, who is one of the reasons I live so close to the edge these days. This dog, who wakes me up every night with her sleepbarking; this dog who's bankrupting me with vet bills and antibiotics; this dog who still comes to work with me every day because she can't be trusted to leave her bloody back alone when unsupervised; this dog who refuses to heal.
(And I mean "bloody back" literally. I didn't just suddenly turn British.)
We walked up the hill, away from the busy streets and into the residential neighborhoods. The Dog was being extraordinarily difficult, pulling me this way and that in an effort to track the scent of god knows what; electing to pee on the sidewalk rather than the abundant swaths of grass; performing a frenetic victory dance after taking a shit, making it nearly impossible to scoop the poo before she stomped through it.
I was close to losing it right there. But my eventual entrance to the loony bin, I'm determined, will be a classy one. I'll be the grande dame of lunacy, with rhinestone earrings and a purple boa. I will NOT be clutching a green plastic bag of dog shit.
And so we continued on.
We approached a large home with a folding table set in the front lawn. It looked a bit like an abandoned lemonade stand, and I clumsily guided the darting dog toward it. Instead of lemonade, the table held a bowl of fruit and a sign: "Too many plums. Please enjoy!" Indeed, the trees on their parking strip were overflowing, branches gracefully bowed with the weight of their load.
And so I enjoyed.
One block over, we passed the rose house. The rose house often has a plastic jug of fresh-cut flowers sitting on a retaining wall near the sidewalk, with another sign: "Free roses. Please leave jug." Usually when I pass, the roses have all been claimed, but today the jug was full. I reached in to retrieve my selected rose, and found that it was part of a three-rose set. Bonus. I inhaled the floral perfume deeply.
And I enjoyed.
Two houses down brought another yard display and sign: "Have a poem." And on the table, in a neat stack held down by small stones, I found this:
Gift, by Czeslaw MiloszAnd I enjoyed.
A day so happy.
Fog lifted early. I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.
Crisis averted. I kinda love this town.