Every now and then a scene from the movie Royal Tennenbaums, bubbles up in my thoughts and I laugh. In the movie, Ben Stiller is hyper-vigilant for disaster. Ben plays the character Chas and he has two little boys. Chas has his boys practice timed fire drills in the house. Fire alarms blaring in the background, Chas yells at the boys to go, go go! Once they safely exit the house, Chas clicks on his stop-watch to see if he and his boys will survive or be burned to a crisp.
I can relate to Chas’s character. I, too, have been known to awfulize. Perhaps my vigilance for disaster began in childhood. I had a vivid imagination and once believed I saw the outline of a bear in the darkened hallway of our house. It turned out to be a pile of rugs.
Then, when I was seventeen disaster did hit — my Father collapsed in the house and died from a massive heart attack.
Ever since then, the Grim Reaper taps me on the shoulder and tries for my attention. It is a life-long challenge to be at peace with the knowledge that some day I, too, shall pass.
Until then, why not have faith that there is a reason for the way things happen? Being crisis-oriented is horrible. It robs life of joy, detracts from living in the moment.
Oddly, my worries took on a deja-vu turn a few years ago. My husband collapsed in the kitchen and at first I thought it was a repeat of what I experienced with my Father. But it was not a heart attack. He’d been broiling Leeks Au Gratin and bubbling cheese dribbled down the rubber mitts he wore, burning his wrist. The doctor in the Emergency Room lightened things up about the Leeks disaster, joked about wine pairings.
My husband still makes Leeks Au Gratin. I just look the other way.