Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The Girl (calling from the bathroom): We might be out of toilet paper!

Me: I'll get you a new roll.

The Girl: No, I don't think we are all out, because I took the last roll the other day.

This conversation meant that there was no getting out of a small foray to a store. With two kids, in Denmark, on December 29th. Why, Universe? I've always had a touch of agoraphobia, but it has been evolving from a personality trait to an actual problem. Feeding on the burdens of life, work, kids, wife; my life has been saturated with stress the last 5 years and my agoraphobia has thrived.

Another problem with me, among the many I have, is extreme impatience with everything. It's always been impatient; I've gotten grief for it from when I was a little kid. We have called it my condition, and I've even been somewhat proud of it, like it was a sign of efficiency. But agoraphobia and impatience don't go well together.

One of the ways I get around my agoraphobia is that I only venture out, when I know there will be no crowds. I shop for our groceries 15 minutes before the stores close. We go swimming on Friday nights in a rural community pool, which we have all to ourselves. Any visit to a theme park or such similar attraction has to happen in the way off-season

But when the Girl announced that we were out of tp, I knew there was no alternative to diving into Danish Christmas craziness. Most Danes have the week off between Christmas and New Year's and it seems like they love to shop all day, every day.

The Lorax was crying most of the time; he screamed "skoldkopper!" (chickenpox) to get my attention and was hard to handle in the busy store. He is through his run of pox, but he still likes to be pitied, apparently. The toilet paper and other necessities were quickly located and I tried wrangling the kids toward the registers. Or, I should say kid, because Natali is actually more help than bother at this point.

In a packed store, with a screaming Lorax, without room to maneuver, it's gotten to the point where I have to control my breathing to prevent getting shivers. It's never bad when I'm alone; it's when I'm with the kids that it really ignites.

The stress is getting to me. There is no other way of looking at it.

At least I have been running well on the treadmill at the gym. I had a winter a few years ago, where I ran almost exclusively on the treadmill. That winter led to my 1:13 half marathon PR, so maybe this Wisconsinesque snow is good for something.


SteveQ said...

You really need to learn some stress management techniques.

Ever try exercise?

olga said...

May be that's why you run at the front of the pack?

PiccolaPineCone said...

that sounds horrible.
it seems to me that there must be well established techniques for dealing with this, other than just avoidance b/c avoiding crowds will probably become more difficult in the near future with the advent of child # 4.
i know you are uber busy, and probably way too busy to try therapy (god help me, i have become a proselytizer for therapy) but could you use your ridiculously long commute time to listen to some podcasts on the topic or listen to some CDs on the topic (if you drive). i feel like this is a common problem, there must be well established techniques for dealing with what is ultimately stress.

SteveQ said...

I think you'd find the following blog very interesting:
He tries to be the scientific ultrarunner.

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