My mind loves worse case scenarios. For instance, I am running late for work. Even if I am destined to only be a minute or two late, I immediately begin envisioning catastrophic consequences. I will surely be fired, but before I get fired I will be severely reprimanded by whomever my boss is (even if this boss loves me and has never reprimanded me, ever). I will be publically humiliated for being late. I will be sent away from my former place of employment immediately…after the private yelling and public stoning of course. I will have instantly lost any and all connections, references, letters of recommendations, or benefits from having said job. I will then become homeless, living in a cardboard box eating out of trashcans because I no longer have any income. Yup, that’s what happens when I am late. Oh wait, no it doesn’t! That has NEVER happened or even come remotely close to happening. And yet, this is where my brain goes (it really should not be left unattended for any length of time).
Let’s take another example. I was walking up to my building fairly late on a Thursday night. Behind me comes a man who looks to be about my age, dressed in a nice suit, and carrying a briefcase. While it is close to midnight and there are many professions that require late nights at the office I am instantly suspicious. He makes no move to get his keys and grabs the door from me as soon as I open it quickly saying, “Thank you.” He then waits for me to open the second front door and instantly grabs it from me. Then, once in the building, he stays on my heels to the hallway where the mailboxes are. I turn around just as he is reaching his hand into his briefcase. “He is pulling out his gun so he can shoot me,” I instantly think. He might drag me at gunpoint up to my apartment, rape me, kill me, and steal all my stuff…that would be the logical thing to do. So here I am, face to face with death. I am going to die tonight. My only prayer is that he at least takes my cat and lovingly cares of her once he kills me. And then he pulls out his keys, opens his mailbox, takes out his mail, and says, “Have a good night.” I wait for my heartbeat to reach some semblance of normal before realizing I was just a rude jackass to one of my friendly neighbors because in my terror I did not reply to his, “Have a good night.” Thankfully I have not run into him again. Probably because he works crazy hours at some very demanding job so he can pay his bills and live in a nice apartment that happens to be in the same building where I reside. Or he is out murdering people in other buildings with the gun he keeps in his briefcase. I’ll let you decide.
And then my most recent freak out. I just began working the front desk at a yoga studio, a studio where I have been a student for four years and just completed my yoga teacher training. There was a substitute teaching the last morning class Sunday and I was scheduled to leave before her class ended. I realized after she had started class that I had failed to tell her how to close up. There is an alarm, but I figured it would be okay to not have it set as there would be another class at the studio three hours later. The front door automatically locks so there was no need to worry about her lack of keys. After having a small freak out I decided the best thing to do would be to leave a note taped to the wall right by the front door. This way she would see it on her way out. I asked her to turn off the lights and shut the door behind her. Any moron can do those things. And she appeared to be a smarter than average moron based on our brief conversation before she started teaching for the morning. And still, my brain went on a little adventure. What if she didn’t close the door? What if not having the alarm set was a huge no-no? I was sure to get in trouble. Being fired was definitely in the cards. The biggest concern however was the fact that the studio would be left wide open and unattended. Someone was sure to walk in and steal all of the stuff, all of the yoga mats, all of the blocks, straps, blankets, bolsters, eye pillows, all $60 in the cash box. The tiny yoga studio was going to be ransacked…and all because of me. It was going to be tragic. I would be banned. Everyone would hate me. I would have a ruined yoga studio on my conscious for the rest of my life. Or I would walk in Monday evening to be greeted by the owner and studio manager with huge smiles and absolutely no important news to be briefed on. It’s nice to have an active imagination…sometimes.