Do you ever have those moments when take a step back, realize what you’ve just said or done, and all you can think is, Holy shit. I’m turning into my mother?
This doesn’t happen to me too often, but it happened to me Monday night, when I found myself imagining the absolute worst things ever happening to my boyfriend.
Sorry I’m not sorry — this behavior is clearly in my genes.
My mom is a bit of a Debbie Downer and immediately believes the worst-case scenario when the smallest thing goes wrong. I blame the late-night crime shows she’s always watching. I’ll walk into the kitchen at midnight and find her sitting there with a glass of milk and a few cookies while the serious, deep-voiced announcer says things like, “….Sandy had always told her friends and family that she feared one day Hank would kill her.”
Cue the ominous music.
“I think Hank did it,” I say to my mom. “Because everyone knows all men kill their wives. I actually don’t want to get married because I’ll just end up dead…according to TV shows, that’s what happens to every woman.”
Of course Hank did it — first he took out a $2 million insurance policy on Sandy, then he poisoned her using a drug he’d stolen from the lab where he worked.
When I flew down to Texas for the first time, I’m pretty sure she ran a background check on Eric. The second he gets a life insurance policy on me, she’s going to call the cops.
She can’t seem to get enough of these sick, sad shows. When she drove us back to the airport after our Halloween trip, she spent most of the trip telling us the stories she’d seen on “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” I was horrified. If I watched shows like that on a regular basis, I’d never be able to sleep at night.
I try to explain that shows like this aren’t good for the psyche. These shows are why she is always concerned for my safety. If I have not updated my Facebook page or blog in a day, she simply assumes I’ve been abducted.
I’ve always judged her for this, but lately…well, OK, in the past month or so, I may have been dabbling in “Law & Order: SVU.” And by “dabbling,” I mean “discovered the entire eleventh season on Netflix and have been watching a few episodes every night, to the point where I’m now afraid to check my mail by myself.”
I have now become a special victim — a victim of a condition called “assuming everyone is probably just dead.”
Eric and I had been texting early in the day on Monday; he had been at a job site in the morning and the last I heard from him was around noon. I responded but didn’t hear back, which was fine — it wasn’t something that needed a response. Then I texted him something else unrelated later and still didn’t hear back. I assumed he was busy at work. Around 6:00 I texted him to see if he wanted to come over for dinner. Hm…still no response. I wasn’t too concerned.
But then I went and watched another goddamn episode of “SVU” and it was the season finale, so you know everyone was getting shot. As soon as it was over, I decided something could be seriously wrong. It was 8:00, so at that point, I could pretty much assume that he’d left the office, or at least checked his phone at some point. Even if he was working out or something, he would have texted me when he read the dinner text.
I called him. No answer.
Now, before you think I’m some way-too-clingy biatch, let me just say that Eric and I text a lot and we’re both really plugged in. We rarely miss calls from each other and always respond to texts promptly. If I do miss a call from him, he’s kind of like, “What the hell?” — the implication being that we’re always near our phones. So eight hours without a text response or an e-mail was pretty unusual.
Just before I went to bed around 10:30, I remembered that he sometimes plays poker on Monday nights. That made perfect sense! The last time I didn’t hear from him for several hours was also a Monday — turned out, he was playing poker and called me on his way home. I left my phone on, figuring he’d call or text me when he got home.
I woke up at 2:45 in the morning and didn’t have a text or a missed call from him. I called him again. Still no answer.
It was then I totally freaked out.
Within minutes, the 20 recent episodes of Law & Order led me to come up with several extremely possible scenarios.
- He had lost his phone
- His phone had been stolen
- His car had been broken into
- He had gotten a DUI and didn’t know my number by heart so I couldn’t be his one phone call (I briefly imagined him asking the police if he had a computer where he could just Facebook me)
- His apartment had been broken into and he had been there and so the intruder shot him — and without a phone, he couldn’t call for help
- He had died of natural causes in his apartment
- He was breaking up with me
- He had been kidnapped
- He had been mugged
- There had been an attempted mugging but then they just went ahead and kidnapped him
- He had been in a car accident
- He had a gambling addiction so he had bet his phone in the poker game and then lost it
- The poker game had gotten heated and someone had pulled a gun
- His office had been taken hostage by a former employee who was going postal
That last one was when I was like, Holy shit…that is TOTALLY WHAT MY MOTHER WOULD ASSUME.
So, naturally, I did what my mom would do — I got online at 4 AM to look for car accidents, break-ins, and hostage situations.
I didn’t find anything, but I still didn’t feel better. I mean, the rational explanation was that he had lost his phone at the job site he’d been at around noon. But why hadn’t he e-mailed me to tell me that? I mean, when you lose an iPhone, you need to complain to someone. When he lost his iPhone over the summer during a drunken outing, he came in at 3 AM, fell directly on top of me (not in a sexual way, more like he just wanted to sleep on something soft), and whined, “Raaaachel…the bad man made me drink too much…I lost my phoooonneeeee.”
I certainly consider that complaining and I expect nothing less from future iPhone mishaps.
I checked Facebook, but he hadn’t updated his status since…November. I sent him an e-mail to his work e-mail and his personal e-mail.
I tossed and turned for the next five hours. I had one nightmare after another about all the horrible things that could be happening to him.
When my alarm went off, I still had nothing from him. I called him again. At this point, I was worried that the murderer was going to answer. Then I started to freak out that there might be semi-scandalous pictures of me on that phone, which the murderer now had access to. What if they texted me back pretending to be Eric to lure me into a situation where they could try to get a piece of that?
Ridiculous? Maybe. But, mom, can you agree that you would have thought the same thing?
I sat by my computer for the next 45 minutes. As 8:00 approached, I hoped Eric would be getting to work soon, but who even knew? Some days he goes in at 8:00, but if he had to go back to the job site, he might not get in until noon, at which point I would have already begun the laborious task of calling all 100 of the hospitals in the Houston area. And would anyone even go look for him if he didn’t show up for work? Was I listed as an emergency contact??? Does anyone even know I exist?????
I nearly burst into tears. I was momentarily relieved that he was alive…and then I just wanted to kill him myself.
This morning, I’m owning the fact that “Law & Order: SVU” has made me overly concerned for others’ well-being.
I’m owning that I’m turning into my mother with my irrational fears and my tendency to assume the worst-case scenario.
I would be devastated if anything ever happened to the people I love most, so I’m owning the fact I will call 70 emergency rooms looking for you, even if I know on some level that you just flaked out and forgot your phone.
That’s just how I love.
Sorry. I’m. Not. Sorry.